On Tuesday, Nov. 8, Republican incumbent and current Hempstead Town Clerk Mark Bonilla will be challenged by Democratic candidate Steve Anchin. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Click here to find your polling station.
Candidates appear in alphabetical order.
- Hometown: Hewlett
- Occupation: Real Estate Agent
Anchin is a graduate of Hewlett High School. He also attended Adelphi University (BA in Political Science) and the NYU Graduate Program in Public Administration while assistant to the Hempstead Town Supervisor.
During the 1960s Anchin was a teacher in NYC and followed that with his service in the Hempstead Supervisor’s office. In 1972 he went into the family’s retail wine and spirits business, followed by successfully developing a national wine importing company as exclusive U.S. importer of Carmel and other wines of Israel. After briefly retiring, Anchin was licensed as a Five Towns real estate sales agent. He is currently on the Woodmere Merchants Association Board of Directors.
Anchin has participated in professional, community and synagogue activities, and has been politically active in the Democratic Party for many years, serving as the president of the Five Towns Democratic Club and Hewlett Democratic Zone Leader.
- Hometown: Bellmore
- Occupation: Town Clerk
- Time in Office: Eight years (2003)
Bonilla made history in 2003 by becoming the first Hispanic to be elected to a town-wide position in the Town of Hempstead. This is the first public official position he has sought and held.
Bonilla's public service began in college when he served as guidance counselor for Youth Ministries, assisting troubled teens. In law school, he mentored several high school students, encouraging them to remain in school and refrain from violence and gang activities.
Bonilla earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from St. John's University and a Doctorate of Jurisprudence from Touro College, Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center. He was a trial attorney having practiced in virtually every area of the law including criminal law, real estate, domestic relations, landlord-tenant and personal injury.
Patch asked candidates the following questions. Their answers appear below:
Patch: Do you anticipate any challenges if elected or re-elected? If so, what challenges?
Steve Anchin: The biggest challenges will be, one, changing the town's Republican political culture of patronage to a business-like, cost-reducing culture and, two, updating Hempstead Town's out-dated website. Unlike other towns on Long Island and throughout the state, Hempstead has fallen behind and its website is antiquated — it is barely interactive. You can pay your babysitter using PayPal or text to vote for someone on a TV show, yet simple licenses such as a $3 parking permit in Town parking districts cannot be printed, renewed and paid for online with a credit card. My opponent claims that each credit card processing fee would be $6-9. This is untrue. Credit card processing companies charge a special municipal rate of only 2 to 3 percent for each transaction which would equal 6 to 9 cents.
Mark Bonilla: Being very demanding of myself, the greatest challenges I see ahead are those I set for myself. That being said, I also prefer to view challenges as opportunities to perform at the very highest level for Town of Hempstead taxpayers. I worked very hard with Supervisor Kate Murray to deliver an honest and accountable 2012 budget that holds the line on all town taxes. The budget has earned the respect of Wall Street credit rating agencies, which have awarded Hempstead Town its top credit ratings available. The budget also has won the trust of neighbors on Main Street, who need relief from taxes and fiscal mismanagement by other levels of government.
Patch: What major issues or concerns are you focusing your campaign on?
Anchin: It is time to re-imagine the town clerk’s office as more than record keeping and license issuing. It can and should be a place that provides information and services to all taxpayers that make their lives more convenient and economical. Therefore, in addition to the reforms I have proposed and campaigned on (above), I would:
- Immediately initiate a forensic audit of all the functions of the town clerk's office to reduce expenses, eliminate waste and end job redundancy.
- Create a town clerk’s “Energy Information Hub“ to help all town residents — from seniors to young families — to reduce their home energy costs by 25 percent or more and by providing renewable energy information online, by phone and in person. For details see my website.
- The Town of Hempstead’s population is the largest of any township in the United States. Unlike my opponent, I would take advantage of the NYS Town Clerk’s Association continuing education program promoting the professional development of town clerks by becoming a Certified Municipal Clerk (CMC) — as have hundreds of town clerks throughout NYS. The residents of the Town of Hempstead deserve no less.
Bonilla: Rather than focusing my campaign on specific issues, I place all of my energies into providing increasingly excellent governmental services to taxpayers. One of the most rewarding programs that I expanded is the town’s passport services program. My office is the “highest-volume” passport processing center in the nation. Another positive program implemented by the clerk’s office has been the child safety ID program. The initiative provides a permanent record for parents/guardians in the event a child is missing. I am currently computerizing this program, expanding and adapting it to senior citizens. Now, seniors can get a non-driver town ID card that has important contact and medical information that can be vital to emergency responders in a medical emergency. The ID can also be used as a convenience for residents seeking senior discounts at groceries, drug stores, etc.
Patch: If elected or re-elected, what would be your goals for the town and how would you prioritize those goals?
Anchin: My goals and priorities for the Town of Hempstead are:
- Like any modern business, the Town Clerk’s Office must streamline its operations through the use of contemporary, 21st Century technology.
- I would immediately conduct a forensic audit of all functions to reduce expenses, eliminate waste and end job redundancy and patronage.
- I would introduce the use, wherever possible, of online credit card payment of fees while retaining in-person fee and licensing processes for those who do not or prefer not to use computers for these functions.
Bonilla: Setting goals and delivering on the promise of those goals are very affirming for me as a servant of the people. Approaching a new term as town clerk, I am eager and enthusiastic to meet new goals in governmental service. My top priority in my good government agenda is to keep delivering excellent value for the tax dollar to residents. Hempstead Town represents only nine cents of the average resident’s property tax dollar — less than one cent out of every dollar for residents of villages — while our government provides the lion’s share of local services, excepting police and education. Second, I am eager to expand outreach efforts and bring my governmental services to more residents, making our town’s services more accessible and convenient. Additionally, I am ready for the launch of the town’s new website, bringing more information to people and making it easier for taxpayers to avail themselves of governmental services.