Wild Card Candidate

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Local resident to run for Massapequa Park mayor as an independent

Dr. Cynthia Paulis, a candidate running to be mayor of Massapequa Park, in front of the POW/MIA Remembrance chair she donated to the lobby of village hall.
(Photo by Dave Gil de Rubio)

When 38 bullets flew through Marc Martinez’s home in Massapequa Park at 1:26 a.m. in the morning of Oct. 28 of last year, Dr. Cynthia Paulis saw it as a call to action. As someone who lives across the street from Martinez, Paulis woke up shortly after the incident by a detective knocking on the Navy veteran’s door to find out if she heard anything or had security cameras that may have captured what happened. It turned out she did and what Paulis saw chilled her to the bone.

“Life is a series of defining moments and for me the decision to run for mayor came when 38 bullets rained down on my neighbor’s house,” she said. “Suddenly, the street I played on as a child growing up was transformed into a crime scene and mercifully no one died, this time. But what about the next time?”

Police later revealed that a man walking near Manhattan and Glengariff Avenues was shot at by gunmen who jumped out of a car and opened fire on him. He escaped, but the shots hit Martinez’s home, despite the fact that detectives believe that he was not targeted. As disturbing as the incident was, Martinez was upset at the lack of reaction from local officials, who eventually held a press conference at village hall to explain what happened.

“Unfortunately there was no response from the village leaders of any kind,” he said. “It was only after Cynthia provided me with Mayor [Jeff] Pravato’s phone number that I was able to call and tell him Cynthia was at my residence. It was only then that he agreed to visit us. I did appreciate the concern shown by both of them.”

It was at that point that the lifelong Massapequan decided to challenge Deputy Mayor Theresa Spinosa for the mayor’s seat, which will be up for grabs in a special March election following the resignation of Pravato, who was recently elected as Town of Oyster Bay Receiver of Taxes. Spinosa was appointed interim mayor of Massapequa Park at a recent board of trustees meeting. She publicly stated that “I think it would be irresponsible to leave the village without a mayor for two-and-a-half months, which is the period until the next mayor can take office.” The board was not unanimous in its decision over this appointment, as trustee Dan Pearl declared his intention to run against Spinosa.

Deputy Mayor Theresa Spinosa (right) getting sworn in as interim mayor of Massapequa Park.
(Photo by Dave Gil de Rubio)

“It’s a sad day in the Village of Massapequa Park, when back room deals are reached in secret rooms with no public input,” Pearl said. “Today, the mayor is being declared by self-serving political candidates. No interviews were held and no resumés were collected. This process is unprecedented. Let’s face it—this appointment is unnecessary and all the residents know it. With the election just two months away, it’s wrong to declare a mayor and circumvent the will of the voters. I want to make it clear that my comments are in no way personal. I am only looking to do what is in the best interest of the village and its residents, which is how we all should govern. While this movement is intended to tip the scales in favor of Theresa for the March election, voters won’t be fooled by this scheme to grab control of government. Our village has always prided itself on being free of big-time politics and it’s clear that this is no longer the case after today’s action. Because of these actions, I officially declared my candidacy for mayor. I will restore transparency in village government, stop the back room deals and put our residents first.”

Paulis declared her candidacy at the same meeting, offering up her credentials as a lifelong resident, military veteran and a concerned citizen. She also chided Spinosa and the rest of the board for their response to the Martinez incident.

“You all knew about the shooting and the way the mayor knew about it, I texted [Pravato] to talk to Marc because nobody from this board came to our neighborhood. We were terrified,” Paulis said. When Spinosa responded that the board was advised to stay away from the crime scene by law enforcement officials, Paulis upbraided her by saying “You came to our neighborhood to campaign and ask for signatures. How come you didn’t ask any of us how we were doing?”

Martinez, who was also at the meeting, echoed this sentiment.
“I want to say one thing—no one is blaming you for the shooting. What I’m blaming you for is the concern. No one came to the house to ask what was going on or to ask if everyone was okay,” he said.
Paulis is running as an independent under the Get It Done party line looking for change in village government.

“You have two choices in life, you can sit back and complain or step up and make a difference. I am running for mayor because I’m fed up,” she said. “Being mayor would be a full-time job for me because I am not working another job so issues and problems can be addressed in a timely manner.”

Count Martinez as one resident fully behind Paulis’ board aspirations.
“I think it’s a great thing that Cynthia is running and [I believe she] is someone who would fight and work full time for the community,” he said. “Cynthia really doesn’t have to do this but she really does care about this community she has called home her whole life.”

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In addition to being editor of Hicksville News and Massapequa Observer, Dave Gil de Rubio is a regular contributor to Long Island Weekly, specializing in music and sports features. He has won several awards for writing from Press Club of Long Island (PCLI).

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