On The Beach… With Beverly Baxter
Every now and then there comes a candidate who enters onto the local
political stage with soooo much potential, who is soooo sharp, soooo savy, and soooo well versed on the complex issues that are germane to Rockaway that he is much deserving of our consideration of his candidacy.
In recent years there has been a whole new wave of young and talented political aspirants whose stars are about to rise. I refer to them as the "young breed". They are the John McLoughlins, the Michael Devers, and Anthony Stasi, who are intellectually equipped and able to bring refreshing ideas and solutions to our community's problems. Although there has been much cynicism over the past decade with fewer young candidates venturing into the political arena, there have been a few on the local level who have ventured to do so and with remarkable distinction like State Committeewoman Joann Ariola, Congressman Anthony Weiner, and on a broader stage, the Senatorial Candidacy of Rick Lazio.
There is another such candidate of this new and youthful breed who has decided to step up to the plate and take on the status quo. His name is Anthony Stasi and he has boldly entered into the State Assembly race against Audrey Pheffer. Although I've heard the name Anthony Stasi mentioned in various political circles over the past several years, I only had the opportunity to meet him
last spring when he was still pondering mounting his State Assembly
campaign. I was immediately impressed by his grasp and articulation of the issues; however I had to ask him, "Who is Anthony Stasi? and "Why Anthony Stasi?" to which he replied with a sheepish smile, "We can simply no longer afford Audrey Pheffer's prosperity." Hmmm!
Mr. Stasi continued with a litany of areas where it is evident that our
current State Assemblywoman has failed our district. He points out that "we are not sharing in the prosperity that other districts through out the city are receiving. We have an unemployment rate of nearly 20 percent and vast amounts of undeveloped land that lay dormant. Elected officials should be made accountable to their record every two years. When Assemblywoman Pheffer voted to get rid of the commuter tax, her vote helped Long Island and
Westchester; however her vote hurt her district. Us. Ms. Pheffer continues the practice of killing bills in committee so that they are not even given a chance to be deliberated and voted on. The practice furthers special interests; but is unhealthy and ethically wrong for the democratic process. I am a pure untainted candidate, a new broom who will sweep clean and one who isn't owned and obliged to exchanging our interests for outside interests. Our interests should be special enough to those whom we elect to represent us."
I have always believed it imperative that there should be healthy
competition among political candidates and that elected officials should be accountable to their voting record. After-all, they are empowered by us! For some reason, they often seem to forget this. Legitimate competition raises the bar of excellence. Political parties should be responsible for cultivating and supporting new candidates. Mr Stasi agrees.
He states that "party-building is vital to the process. It has been a great race so far and I feel good about it. One reason why it is so difficult for a candidate to get their message out is that if you're not an incumbent or a major player in the Democratic Party, then it is almost impossible to promote a candidacy that is independent. The Republican Party has always been the minority; and yet we succeeded in electing a Republican governor and mayor who have done extraordinary things for New York. Who would have imagined it possible that Democrats like Mario Cuomo and Walter Ward could be defeated? And yet they were. Audrey's great; but there's a problem. The problems we have, have lasted forever! Problems like transportation and accessibility and economic development. How many times do we need to study a problem before we actually administer a realistic remedy? It's apparent that it is through the effort of the many civic organizations that results are obtained; and yet Audrey Pheffer keeps getting re-elected. I recently attended the Rockaway Beach Civic Association meeting; and while its members are excited about Audrey, they still cite the many problems we still have. It's as if we have lowered the bar of our expectation of our elected officials. We seem to be merely content that they simply return our phone calls! Something anyone with manners would do! And if the substance of what they deliver isn't there, then their appearance at our social functions will do. We should expect more
than that. As I speak all around the district I am amazed that she is so
excused from accountability. It's as if she were treated like a member of
the family and we continue to look the other way. We can do so many great things here in Rockaway; but we haven't been blessed with the attention we deserve."
Anthony Stasi is a graduate of McClancy High School where the seeds of his interest in public service were first planted. He graduated Fordham University and received his Master's Degree from St. John's. He has been employed in the private sector having worked for NBC News, Time Warner and Viacom. He is currently employed by HBO as an on-air programmer.
There will be a community forum with elected officials and their opponents on October 24 at Beach Channel High School at 7:30 p.m. The event will be hosted by The Wave and The Rockaway Chamber of Commerce. All are invited and urged to attend.