Nassau County: The Decade That Was

| Glen Cove Record Pilot

Joe Scotchie

There are some stories that go beyond the city limits, captivating the entire community. From the Gold Coast the south shore and everywhere in between, here ’s a look back at some of the biggest news and feature stories from our neighborhoods.

In 2008, Barack Obama was elected president of the United States. That meant that 2009 would be a good year for the party out of power. Nassau County Executive Thomas R. Suozzi was persuaded to run for a third term that year. In a Republican year, he lost to the challenger, Edward Mangano, by a slim margin. Suozzi, a former mayor of Glen Cove, was elected in 2001 on a wave of discontent over the county’s budgetary woes. He won reelection in 2005 and then ran for governor the next year.

Late in 2010, Nassau County police uncovered a grim discovery. In December, the remains of four victims of the now-notorious Long Island serial killer (LISK) were found along the South Shore. According to police, the unidentified LISK is believed to have murdered 10 to 16 people over a period of nearly 20 years. The victims were found along the Ocean Parkway, near the remote beach towns of Gilgo and Oak Beach in Suffolk County, and the area of Jones Beach State Park in Nassau County. The first victim was discovered in 1982 and as late as 2013 more victims washed onto the beach. Police have had suspects, but have made no arrests.

In November 2011, theaters across the North Shore were home to the first annual Gold Coast International Film Festival. The event has since then become an annual event, drawing film fans from across the tristate area to the region. The launch was held with great promise, which has been fulfilled in the succeeding years. Hicksville native Edward Burns was the recipient of the 2012 Artist of Distinction Award.

Over the years, property taxes have driven hundreds of thousands of Long Islanders out of New York to low-tax havens points west and south. When he ran for reelection as governor in 2010, Andrew Cuomo promised a property tax cap of two percent. In 2012, that legislation was signed into law. The 2020 state budget, the governor office’s maintained, would build upon the approximately $25 billion in taxpayer savings since the cap was implemented in 2012 by supporting the phase-in of the middle class tax cuts.

In April 2013, football great Jim Brown returned to Manhasset High School for an emotional homecoming. “This school formed my life, gave me my foundation and taught me to never give up,” he told an enthusiastic crowd. In addition to the plaque, a commemorative Jim Brown “Hometown Hall of Famers” road sign is now on display in the village. A Syracuse University alumni, Brown was All-American in both football and lacrosse and a letterman in basketball. The first player taken in the 1957 NFL draft by the Cleveland Browns, Brown’s immediate impact on the football field earned him Rookie of the Year and league MVP honors in 1957. In all, he earned league MVP honors four times (1957, 1958, 1963 and 1965).

In June 2014, Long Island footballers defeated all stars from New York City to win the annual Empire Challenge Football contest, 24-18. The challenge is also known as “the Boomer game,” in honor of its founder, football great Boomer Esiason. Proceeds for the game, which drew a crowd of 9,762 to Hofstra’s Stuart Stadium, benefit the Boomer Esiason Foundation, which supports cystic fibrosis research.

In the late 1990s, Nassau County was roiled by a financial crisis that resulted in the takeover of the county’s finances. By 2015, the county seemed to be out off the hole, but problems remained. Writing in The City Journal, E.J. McMahon claimed that ongoing budget deficits proved that “Long Islanders failed to learn from the mistakes of the big city…Instead, Nassau’s republican machine spent the boom years building a suburban version of the profligate… urban-governance model that almost bankrupted New York in the mid-seventies…The finances of Nassau and Suffolk counties…are likely to experience severe stress in any economic downturn over the next few years. Perhaps then, at last, real reform will happen.”

In 2016, former County Supervisor Ed Mangano and his wife were arrested on corruption charges related to a bribery and kickback scheme. The charges allege that Mangano helped restaurant owner Harendra Singh secure contracts with the county in exchange for free vacations and home improvements. Singh, federal prosecutors charged, also sought Mangano’s help in obtaining a loan guarantee from Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto. In October, Singh pleaded guilty to bribery. Mangano and his wife were convicted of multiple counts of corruption in March 2019.

On the heels of the Mangano scandals, Laura Curran, in November 2017, was elected as the county’s first female executive. Curran previously served on the county legislature from 2014 to 2017. Also that year, the state legislature approved a plan to add a third railroad track to the Long Island Rail Road corridor between the communities of Floral Park and Hicksville. The project will cost $2 billion and hopes to accommodate anticipated growth in rail ridership and facilitate commutes between New York City and Nassau and Suffolk counties.

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