Like most of you, I read the Great Neck News every week. As a candidate for the position of Trustee, I’m reading the weekly articles sent in by Mr. Katz. Most recently, Mr. Katz has been promoting his own version of a Town Hall Meeting. Not only am I running for Trustee, I am, first and foremost, an active member of our community and share the same concerns as most of you. This being said, I decided to join Mr. Katz’ first Zoom Meeting. My running mate, Pam Marksheid was also in attendance. Our intention was to just sit back and listen and that is exactly what we did.
Needless to say, I left the meeting more concerned than ever about the future of our Village if Mr. Katz and his running mates get elected. The lack of experience is going to destroy the Village. The first point raised be Mr. Katz was the burdensome process that many new store owners face when moving to the Village, specifically, the many permit applications that need to be filed with the Village. Seemingly unaware of the process, Mr. Katz failed to acknowledge that the Village only requires one conditional use permit. Yes, that’s right… the Village only requires ONE permit. Of course, there may be other permits necessary for restaurants, new apartments buildings, but those permits are required by the county and NOT the Village.
The second point Mr. Katz raised was the length of time it takes to have a permit approved by the current Board of Trustees. Mr. Katz was concerned that the Village was holding permits longer than necessary because they only held one meeting a month. Mr. Katz, there are two Board Meetings a month. The first and third Wednesday of every month. I know this well as I have been attending these meeting for years. The actual application process is quite simple. Not only does the current Board ask relevant questions of the applicant to help their business succeed, they make sure the applicants know about ribbon cutting ceremonies and the eNewsletter sent out by the Village welcoming new businesses. In all my years of attending these Board Meetings, I have never heard a single applicant raise any concerns about the application process.
The third topic on the agenda was revitalizing the downtown. Mr. Katz was quick to blame the Village officials for store vacancies. Even, Mr. Katz’ running mate, acknowledged the down turn of the economy and the use of online vendors, such as Amazon, was hurting local retailers. What concerned me the most about this topic were Mr. Katz’ solutions. One solution was to close the movie theater and open up a Target mini store in its place. I don’t know about all of you, but I love the fact that the Village has a movie theater as one of its businesses. Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, the movie theater was forced to temporarily close but I personally, cannot wait until it opens. Mr. Katz, a Target store in the middle of the Village? Really???
Another reference was made to the empty stores on the corner of Middleneck Road and Maple Avenue. If Mr. Katz took the time to attend just one of the Zoning Board of Appeals meetings over the past year, he would know that there is a plan to make use of this space. As Chairman of the Zoning Board, I am formally inviting you and your running mates to attend one Zoning Board Meeting before the election.
Throughout his discussion, Mr. Katz kept on referring to “our broker”. I assume he was speaking of Phil Raices. In fact, he deferred to “our broker” Mr. Raices a number of times. Mr. Katz, why are you relying on a commercial real estate broker to guide your campaign? What is your motive here?
Finally, Mr. Katz keeps on referring to a lack of transparency within the Village government. His concerns over transparency are nothing more than a complaint that the Village does not post the transcripts of the Board of Trustees meetings on their website. Mr. Katz, the transcripts are available to anyone. All you have to do is request a copy from the Village Clerk. There is full transparency. Perhaps, because of your inexperience, you did not realize transcripts for all public meetings were available? All you have to do is ask. No transparency, really?
At the end of the meeting, I logged off my computer and had a terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. What if people really believe the nonsense Mr. Katz is spewing? Where are the fact checkers when we need them? Mr. Katz and his running mates have no experience in running a local government. They do not understand the ramifications of their decisions. They do not attend Village meetings, they do not understand the various Boards within the Village, i.e. the Zoning Board or Appeals. Once again, I have to bring it to the attention of the readers of this paper, Mr. Robert Farajollah has NEVER attended a Village meeting. He was NOT on this Zoom call. Surely, someone wanting to join the local government would have attended their own meeting. I was there, Pam Marksheid was there, where was your running mate? Again, I am appealing to the residents of the Village to vote for Rosen, Marksheid and DeLuccia. We need experience now more than ever