Hempstead: A vast waistland

With one eye on the electorate and the other on the electorate's waistlines, Hempstead Town Supervisor Rich Guardino this month announced the calendar for fall aerobics classes.

The Republican chief took time out from more minor tasks—including saving Hempstead's decaying downtown and waging legal war on minority voting rights—to rattle off the benefits of public recreation in a Sept. 3 press release headlined "Guardino Announces Fall Slimnastics For Women Schedule."

"With four conveniently located parks scheduled to host upcoming classes, SLIMNASTICS participants are only minutes away from an entire season of fun and fitness," commented Supervisor Guardino, who is running for re-election in November. "With the motivation provided by enthusiastic instructors, SLIMNASTICS sessions help to instill the discipline and dedication so vitally important to a regular exercise program."

SLIMNASTICS classes in the GOP-controlled town begin Sept. 28 and continue through Dec. 16. The cost for the 10 weekly sessions is $37.50, collected in the form of a check or money order to the Town of Hempstead. Senior citizens can attend for $18.75. Contributions to Guardino's campaign should be sent separately.

Parks and Recreation Department official Brad Holland says SLIMNASTICS is but one of many classes offered for the good people of Hempstead. Holland, who has worked for the town since he got out of college two decades ago and now makes $58,479 per year, cites a full roster that includes courses in tai-chi and self-defense. Having pumped out press releases at what he estimates is a rate of one every three days, Holland himself could likely qualify as an "enthusiastic instructor" of spin control.

According to Holland, SLIMNASTICS classes typically have 20 students, who learn moves designed to build endurance without the kinds of joint-stressing leaps and bounces so common in other forms of exercise—such as squashing multi-party politics or cranking the handle of the GOP machine. "[SLIMNASTICS are] what we consider low-impact aerobics. It's not leaving the ground with the exercise routines," he says. "We've offered it for many, many years. It's popular. I don't know if it's the most popular, but it's popular."

Guardino was joined in hailing the advent of SLIMNASTICS by Republican Town Councilor Linda Reed, who is also running for re-election in November. Reed weighed in on the press release with remarks that were so spontaneous they were rendered with most of the word "SLIMNASTICS" in lowercase letters.

"Slimnastics classes afford great physical and emotional reward," declared Councilwoman Reed, who was just warming up. "With spirited routines and spontaneous enthusiasm, the program will be enjoyed by new and seasoned participants alike."

At press time, it wasn't clear whether Town Clerk Daniel Fisher, Receiver of Taxes Angie Cullin or councilors Robert Barra and Gary Hudes—who are all running this November—also supported Hempstead's fall SLIMNASTICS schedule for women. Town spokeswoman Marlene Kastleman, earning her $80,500 annual keep, says she is "sure that they do."

 
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