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Hempstead elections: 22 candidates, eight tickets

(L-R) Candidates Lance Clarke, Trustee Henry Conyers, Theresa

(L-R) Candidates Lance Clarke, Trustee Henry Conyers, Theresa Drye, James Garner, Mayor Wayne Hall Sr. and Trustee Perry Pettus. (March 14, 2013) Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

This year's contest for Hempstead Village mayor, two trustee seats and the village justice position has resulted in a heavily contested election, with 22 candidates on eight party tickets on the ballot.

Seven candidates are running for mayor in Tuesday's elections, including the current mayor, a former mayor, a former village judge and two incumbent trustees -- both of whom previously had been running mates of the current mayor. Ten candidates are vying for two trustee seats, while five candidates are challenging each other for one village justice seat.



Incumbent Mayor Wayne J. Hall Sr., 66, who has served on the village board for 14 years, including two terms as mayor, is running for re-election on the Moving Forward Party line. Hall, who has lived in the village for 35 years, said he would continue to focus on improving the village's fiscal stability, transforming Hempstead into a thriving commercial and residential hub through the downtown revitalization project and attracting development that will create permanent jobs, mixed-income housing and cultural amenities. He also wants to improve public safety and increase services for youth and seniors, he said.

"The village has been fiscally solvent for the last six years," Hall said. "We've had no deficits. We're looking to continue having the Village of Hempstead being financially stable and we want to continue to move the village forward."

Deputy Mayor Henry Conyers, 61, who has served on the village board for eight years, is challenging Hall on the Village First Party line. Conyers, a retired state correction officer who has lived in the village for 40 years, said he would work to create jobs, direct the police department to do more foot patrols, provide more street lighting to help deter crime and get more involved in what he said was the low-performing Hempstead school district.

"A mayor, if he truly understands his obligation, would automatically realize anything negatively impacting the taxpayer's quality of life also impacts the mayor," Conyers said.

Trustee Perry M. Pettus, 56, who owns several local repair and collision businesses, including a towing company in the village, is running on the Pettus Team Party line. The 49-year village resident, who has served on the village board since 2002, said he will work to stabilize taxes, bring jobs to the village, provide a safer community for residents and improve the quality of life in Hempstead.

"It's time for a change," Pettus said. "We need to improve the village. The quality of life has went down and the crime is just out of control right now."

Longtime former Mayor James A. Garner, 67, who is a Nassau County deputy comptroller, is running on the Unity Party line. Garner, who has lived in the village since 1969, said he would focus on economic development, job creation, youth investment, tax relief and making the community safer. He said crime has risen during Hall's tenure, citing FBI statistics that show a 31 percent increase in the total number of violent crimes committed in Hall's second term compared with his first.

"Hempstead is going in the wrong directions. The team that I have chosen will reset the compass to put it on course for the right direction," said Garner, adding that he was mayor for 16 years and a trustee for four years.

Hall cited village police department statistics that show overall crime in the village is down more than 12 percent from 2010, which had 1,104 incidents, to 965 incidents in 2012.

"They are doing selective statistics and they are trying to skew the truth," Hall said.

Former village justice and 15-year trustee Lance D. Clarke, 60, who is an attorney with his own firm in the village, is running for the second time for mayor, on the Good Government Party line. Clarke, who has lived in the village for 31 years, said he would fight to change the state sales tax revenue-sharing formula so that Hempstead would receive a "fair" share. He also would seek to amend the payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) law so that the Town of Hempstead and Nassau County industrial development agencies cannot award a PILOT agreement within the village's borders without authorization from the village board, he said.

Clarke, a volunteer with the local fire department for 22 years, said he would work to reduce crime through development of a walk-and-ride patrol program and increase the number of village police officers. He also would develop capital improvement plans, improve street cleaning, create a resident permit-parking program and advocate for more after-school and youth programs.

Theresa A. Drye, 51, chief operations officer of her family's independent senior living home business, is running on the Change Now Party line. The lifelong village resident, who is running for the first time, has been a community activist for 25 years and served as past president of Democracy Inspiring Voter Awareness, a women's group dedicated to increasing community activism. Drye said she would work to establish fiscal accountability, improve the quality of life, make streets safer and create affordable housing, economic opportunity and jobs.

Warren Stith Jr., 44, a maintenance worker for 20 years with the village parks and recreation department, is running for the first time, by himself on the Community Party line. The village native and former star quarterback for Hempstead High School in the 1980s said he wants to keep streets clean, make village workers accountable to residents and improve youth and senior programs, as well as build more youth facilities.

"We have a lot of situations with kids on the streets with no place to go, and seniors need to feel safe inside our community," Stith said. "I grew up through these programs and the population of the village is growing."



Incumbent trustee Livio Rosario, 60, a Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus driver, is a former running mate of Hall now running on the opposing Village First Party line. The 15-year resident, who has been a trustee for four years, said he would address public safety and quality-of-life issues and would make sure that the village uses electronic scanners and electronic identification cards that track employees' hours and work schedules; the scanners, he said, are in place but not employed.

"I want to get a grasp on our policing proactive approach and ensure that our public safety and enforcement agencies develop an affinity with our residents," said Rosario, citing the same statistics referenced by Garner.

Tia Morris, 43, an import specialist for a contractor of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, also is running on Conyers' Village First Party line. The 15-year village resident said she would increase the police presence in local business and residential areas, provide job opportunities for residents, create more recreational activities and youth programs, install brighter lights and beautify the village with more trees and flowers and cleaner streets.

Luis Figueroa, 58, owner of a local travel agency and a retired Con Edison employee, is running for the first time, on Hall's Moving Forward Party line. The 29-year resident, who is vice chairman of the Hempstead Hispanic Civic Association, said he would target wasteful spending, improve village finances, see the downtown revitalization project through to completion and promote a more transparent government.

Waylyn Hobbs, 50, senior pastor of Coney Island Cathedral Church in Brooklyn, is also running on the Moving Forward Party line. The 40-year village resident, who is vice president of the local board of education and a lieutenant with the volunteer fire department, said he would strive to reduce crime, taxes and unemployment rates.

Sally A. Thompson, 67, a retired Hempstead school district administrator and a consultant with the New York State Education Department, is running with Garner on the Unity Party line. The 21-year resident said she would help promote economic development, jobs for village residents and safer streets by targeting drug dealers, and would provide more after-school activities, tutoring services and cultural programs. She said she would also work to provide tax relief for residents so they can maintain their homes, saying she deplores the sight of neighbors being foreclosed and boarded-up homes on many blocks in the village.

Kenneth Arroyo Roldan, 48, chief executive and managing partner of an executive search firm that looks for minority candidates to fill corporate jobs, is running on the Unity Party line. The eight-year resident said he would focus on spurring new commercial development projects that would reduce the burden on homeowners who pay property taxes and create new jobs for village residents. He also would create more children's programs and institute measures to fight crime, address gang violence and get drugs off the streets.

Iris D. Atkinson-Kirkland, 62, an emergency and financial management expert, is running on the Pettus Team Party line. The 20-year resident said she would use her business and accounting experience in reviewing the village budget to better use tax dollars, and would be accessible to residents and work with the county to develop youth and training programs.

George Knight, 64, a financial services representative, is running on the Pettus Team Party line. Knight, who has lived in the village since 1988, said he would address crime, provide more after-school programs, target unemployment, hold down taxes, repair streets and enforce village codes.

CathyJo Hunt-Edmonston, 53, a registered nurse and nursing administrator at a rehabilitation facility in Far Rockaway, is running on Drye's Change Now Party line. Hunt-Edmonston, who has been a resident of Hempstead since 1977, has served on the board of Hempstead Dale House Community Center. Hunt-Edmonston said she would address unemployment, which she said is the root of the village's high crime rate. She also would investigate the community benefits agreement with the master developer of the downtown redevelopment project and make sure that 25 percent of the jobs promised will go to village residents. She also would take a closer look at the current budget and cut unnecessary expenses, she said.

Guillermo Calle, 50, a former engineering consultant who supervises a project designed to increase awareness of local environmental issues among residents, is also running on the Change Now Party line. Calle, who has lived in the village since 1981, is a veteran of the U.S. Army National Guard and a community activist focusing on commerce and social and environmental issues. Calle's campaign provided biographical information, but he did not return calls seeking details about his campaign platform.



Ayesha Brantley, 33, works in New York City Family Court as a child protection court attorney and as a prosecutor in Hempstead Village Court. A Bronx native, she has lived in the village for eight years and is on the Moving Forward Party slate. She has a bachelor's degree from Cornell University and a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Brantley serves on the executive boards of the New Hempstead Democratic Club and of Jack and Jill of Nassau County.

Paul R. Delle, 61, is an attorney in private practice running on the Unity Party line. He grew up in Levittown and Garden City and has lived in Hempstead Village for 37 years. He has a bachelor's degree and a law degree, both from Hofstra University. Delle served as an assistant district attorney in Nassau County from 1987 to 1996. He has also served as counsel to the New York City Police Benevolent Assocation and as a deputy village attorney in Sea Cliff. He owned a delicatessen in the village from 1976 to 1991.

Lawrence Goldstein, 88, is a lawyer with his own practice in Hempstead who had a previous stint as Hempstead village justice that ended in 2001. A former resident of the Bronx and Brooklyn, he has lived in Hempstead for 40 years and is running on the Justice Party line. He received a bachelor's degree from Brooklyn College and a law degree from Brooklyn Law School. An Army combat veteran who served in World War II, he helped found the Little League in Hempstead; a field in Kennedy Park is named for him. He formerly chaired the Hempstead Cancer Society and is a member of the NAACP.

Vernadette Horne is director of career and professional development at the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University. Horne, 52, has lived in Hempstead for 15 years. She previously served as associate director of career services at Brooklyn Law School. Before that, she was an attorney specializing in asbestos litigation. She received a bachelor's degree from Hunter College and a law degree from the University of Maryland. Horne is a member of the Nassau County Bar Association, the Nassau County Women's Bar Association and the Amistad Long Island Black Bar Association. She also serves as a mentor at Alverta B.G. Schultz Middle School in Hempstead.

Casilda E. Roper-Simpson, 50, is an attorney and adjunct professor at Molloy College. She graduated from Baruch College and received a law degree from Brooklyn Law School. She is running on the Perry Pettus line. A Brooklyn native, she has lived in Hempstead for 18 years. She is a former president and board member of the Hempstead Boys and Girls Club, former president and trustee of the Uniondale board of education and also has served as president of the Duncan Estate Civic Association. She ran unsuccessfully for the State Senate in 2011.


Voting will be Tuesday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at 12 polling locations throughout the village.

- With Nicole Fuller

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