UPDATE: Tom Suozzi officially conceded the election this afternoon at 12:30 PM. The race is officially over, and Ed Mangano is County Executive-elect.
We have entered the month of December, and the race for Nassau County Executive is nearly over.
According to the latest reports, Legis. Ed Mangano has opened up a 377-vote lead over incumbent Tom Suozzi. Paper ballots are now fully counted, but the results will not be official until a judge in State Supreme Court in Mineola rules on roughly 600 challenged ballots. Unless something changes, Ed Mangano is likely to become the next County Executive.
Mangano displayed a firm commitment to the Lighthouse Project during our interview, which ran in October. I believe Mangano's commitment to doing something is sincere, especially since he already has success pursuing a re-development of the old Grumman property in Bethpage. Mangano realizes the status quo on the Coliseum site is unsustainable, and I share his hope that we will reach a positive resolution. In the same vein, the optimist can look at the political climate and see that, with Republicans controlling both layers of government involved in the Lighthouse process, neither the Town nor the County will be able to lay all the blame on the opposite political party anymore.
Some have looked at our interview and seen reason to be concerned. Mangano stressed (as I have) that SEQR is a state-mandated process with which the County Executive should not interfere. This raised concerns from some quarters that he will not encourage Kate Murray and the Town of Hempstead to move the review process along in the quickest way. This is a delicate balancing act, since Tom Suozzi's constant excoriations went nowhere, but a real concern.
I've talked to a few people connected to the situation, and I understand what we need to look for in Mangano's behavior. The key for the Lighthouse process is how quickly Mangano tackles the issue after taking office.
If the Lighthouse Project is a priority for the possibly-incoming Mangano administration, we will hear about it within two weeks of his taking office in January. If this time passes, and we have not yet heard, we need to step up as citizens and intervene. In the meantime, we need to continue to make our presence known and make it clear that this project is important to us as citizens and voters.
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