Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino’s remarks Sunday night about his political opponents at an anti-hate rally were “not appropriate,” a member of one of the sponsor organizations said.
In remarks at the Break the Hate rally at the Mid-Island Y JCC in Plainview, Republican Saladino, said his “political opponents come forth and just continue to spew hate.” They engage in “name calling . . . finger pointing . . . accusations” that he said was “the opposite of what we’re learning tonight.”
Lou Karol, Long Island Advisory Committee chairman for the Anti-Defamation League, an organization that advocates against anti-Semitism, questioned Saladino’s political message.
“It’s not appropriate to talk about your . . . campaign or political fighting,” Karol said. That “can’t be equated to what we’re talking about, our greater mission that’s out there for the community.”
Karol said in the future the group will ask speakers to refrain from “self-promotion” at its events. “When we invite politicians, we’re asking them to support our mission of combating hate and bringing the community together,” Karol said. “That really is not a Democrat versus Republican issue.”
Karol said the event drew about 450 people and was about “helping our society get better, to heal.” Earlier Sunday, swastikas and gang symbols were found spray painted on Syosset High School, prompting a police investigation and Crime Stoppers to offer a reward for information leading to an arrest.
Saladino’s remarks Sunday began with comments about fighting anti-Semitism and racism, but veered into his political campaign toward the end when the former state assemblyman said he “didn’t experience much hate throughout my experience as an elected official until I came to be the supervisor.”
On Monday, Saladino said his remarks had not been about his election campaign.
“My message was that there should be civil discourse, but not lies and distortion aimed at driving anger,” Saladino said. “That’s what they’ve been doing throughout the campaign.”
Saladino declined to identify the subject of his comments other than to say “I will not tolerate hate from these hate mongers. . . . They all know who they are.”
Saladino’s Democratic opponent for Supervisor, Woodbury dentist Marc Herman, said his team has “never expressed any hate.”
“Last night was not the place or the time for him to be crying for himself; this was not about him, this was about a big picture to denounce racism and violence,” Herman said.