Steve Bellone the new County Executive of Suffolk County has vowed to be "a different kind of Steve"-different from outgoing County Executive Steve Levy-and there was no more effective campaign slogan than that.
While Bellone is obviously in a happy, celebratory mood as he should be in light of Tuesday's solid win, the real work starts here an he likely won't have a long honeymoon period to get started with it.
As a Newsday editorial says today (pg. A38) "For new exec, cold, hard reality; Suffolk's Bellone will need to make a quick pivot to tackler county's problems."
As "BEEBOPS" said on Newsday.com "Congrats Steve Bellone! Please turn this county around!"
Even more to the point, this comment by BAM_BAM: "OK Steve B. Let's see what you've got. Please try to remember why people voted for you and make some changes to straighten things out in Suffolk County before we all move way."
Newsday (pg. A2) listed 5 main things on Bellone's to do list as: the county budget, unions, Foley Nursing Facility(Levy had planned to close it down to save money), fostering a better relationship with the Legislature(this shouldn't be hard; just not being Steve Levy will do a lot towards this), and finally law enforcement-the police and sheriff's respective unions have gotten into a turf war about which one gets to patrol the highway.
The budget will be really tough. The Legislature gave him a shot in the arm late last night by passing a temporary 6 month budget-the first in county history, that cuts only 88-as opposed to the 710 Levy sought-and raises police property taxes-Levy had ruled out any tax increases. Bellone, prudently has eschewed saying too much about how hr will deal with it but makes it clear his approach will be different that Levy who puts it all on public workers. He has ruled out any override of the 2 percent property tax cap, a move I'm not sure I agree with.
Not being Steve Levy will take him far. He decried Levy's "confrontational style" and that "You'll never hear that kind of rhetoric from me." He said that, "elected officials have a responsibility to bring people together and calm things down" and that verbal attacks should be a last resort. A less confrontational style will be helpful both in better relations with the Legislature and with the immigrant and minority communities-many of Levy's "confrontational" comments were plain racism and hate speech.