Voter's Guide 2011

Where to vote, when you can vote and a roundup of the candidates to vote for.

Planning to vote on Election Day? This guide will tell you everything Merrick residents need to know to prepare yourself for Tuesday's elections.

Where to vote

Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday. Not sure which polling place to report to? Check here for the correct place to report to.

Top community concerns

Those in the community told Patch that there are several major concerns going into this election. Some of these include taxes, jobs and a cutback on police patrol units. See what else they were concerned about and if you agree here.

The Candidates (links to Q&A sessions with each candidate are included prior to bios):

Hempstead Town Supervisor

R - Kate Murray: Prior to serving as Hempstead Town Supervisor, Murray was the first attorney to be elected Hempstead Town Clerk. Elected in 2001, she established a full service passport facility that has grown to be the nation's largest passport processing center. On Feb. 3, 1998, Murray became the first woman elected to the New York State Assembly from the 19th District.

Before serving as an elected official, Murray worked as an Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Justice Section handling prisoner litigation. Prior to her work with the Attorney General, Murray served as advocate for Suffolk University Battered Women's Advocacy Project.

D - Gary Port: Port graduated cum laude from New York University in 1983 after only three years with a double major in psychology and history. After obtaining his Juris Doctorate from Brooklyn Law School, Port decided against a Wall Street type job and joined the United States Army. After serving for a number of years as an Army captain, he joined the Kings County District Attorney’s office where he investigated and prosecuted serious felonies.

After he left active duty, Port continued his military service in the Army Reserves, attaining the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and is currently assigned to the 78th Training Division, where he serves as the legal advisor and Ethic Counselor to the commanding general.

In 2002, Port started his own law firm and thereafter formed Port & Sava, a small, local law firm, with a member of his military reserve unit. Port’s practice focuses on commercial litigation, matrimonial law, entertainment law and the protection of the rights of military veterans and their spouses.

Hempstead Town Clerk

R - Mark Bonilla: 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.

D - Steve Anchin: 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.

Receiver of Taxes

R - Donald X. Clavin Jr.: Clavin earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Canisus College in Buffalo and a Doctorate of Jurisprudence from Hofstra University School of Law. He was a trial attorney practicing in all New York courts, as well as the United States Federal District Courts.

Prior to his work with the town, Clavin gained experience in local government while working in the Office of the Nassau County Attorney as deputy county attorney. In the county attorney's office, Clavin was responsible for defending various agencies of government ranging from the Department of General Services to the Nassau County Police Department. After leaving the county attorney's office, he entered the private sector and went on to defend various corporations ranging from Home Depot to General Motors.

D - Wilton Robinson: In June of 1996, Robinson and his family moved from Brooklyn to Roosevelt. Shortly after moving to Roosevelt, he joined the Freeport/Roosevelt NAACP. A year later, Robinson became the political chairperson of the Freeport/Roosevelt NAACP.

In the 15 years that Robinson has been a resident of Roosevelt, he has become involved or participated in a wide range of organizations and community events. Below is a list of some to the organizations that Robinson has been a member of:

  • Currently serving on the board of trustees at Roosevelt Public Library
  • Board member, 100 Black Men (Long Island Chapter) — 100 Black Men is an organization that mentors young men.
  • Member of HEVN “Help End Violence Now” organization in Roosevelt
  • Member of NOBLE (National Organization of Black Law Enforcement) — An organization committed to fair and unbiased law enforcement policy and procedure.


19th Legislative District

 Denenberg is a ranking member of the Planning, Development and the Environment and Public Works Committees and member of the Finance, Government Services and Operations and Public Safety Committees. He is the only legislator to maintain a district office, doing so at his own expense. He also hosts bimonthly public meetings.

Jones is a Merrick little league coach, a Freeport volunteer firefighter, a member of the Kiwanis Club of Merrick, Lions Club of Merrick, Merrick Chamber of Commerce and is the founder of the Three Old Cranks Car Club.

13th Legislative District

Gonsalves currently serves as chairperson of the Planning, Development and Environment Committee and vice chairperson of the Minority Affairs Committee. Gonsalves is the project director for crime watch and the East Meadow Civilian Patrol.

D - Patricia Maher: Maher was the publisher of a local newspaper in East Meadow and also founded “Stop the Redistricting,” a group formed to fight the redistricting division of families in the East Meadow/Salisbury community.

WFP - Joseph Spinola: Spinola recently stepped down from the judge's bench in 2010. He also coached many youth sports teams around the East Meadow area.

5th Councilmanic District

D - Claudia Borecky: Borecky is president of the North and Central Merrick Civic Association. She sits on the board of the Merrick Historical Society and is a member of the Merrick American Legion Auxiliary, as well as the Merrick Kiwanis, Operation SPLASH and the Surfrider Foundation. In 2011, Borecky was the recipient of the Geraldine A. Ferraro Award for Courage and Grace.

Borecky currently works for the Nassau County Board of Elections. Before her work at the board of elections, she was the former Chief of Staff to Legislator Dave Denenberg.

R - Angie Cullen: Cullin was re-elected to represent the Town of Hempstead's 5th Councilmanic District in November 2007, where she has served since her appointment in January 2001 and subsequent election in November 2003.

Cullin was the first woman to serve as receiver of taxes, having been appointed in April 1993 and subsequently elected to the position. She made history on Nov. 3, 1987 when she became the first woman in the history of the town to be elected to the town board. She served as a councilwoman since her appointment in January 1987 until being appointed Receiver of Taxes in 1993.

Prior to that, Cullin served as administrative assistant to the New York State Assembly for eight years.

Patch will have all of the results of the election as they become available. Make sure to check in on Tuesday for all the latest information.

Emily Cappiello November 07, 2011 at 09:19 PM
Thanks, Ann! We try!


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