I rarely respond to letters written by others, so forgive the exception as I address John Ryan’s Jan. 7, 2011 letter to the editor.
While Mr. Ryan and I have never met, and despite the fact that he is not a resident of Great Neck Plaza, nor does it appear that he owns or operates a business in the Plaza, I want to offer my apologies for hurting his feelings.
I also want to thank Mr. Ryan for his service to the community, through his support of some wonderful local organizations (like me, he is a member of the board of the Great Neck Arts Center), as well as applaud him on the political status he has achieved (unlike me, he is a part of the political establishment as a leader of the Great Neck Democratic Club).
Perhaps Mr. Ryan will indulge me for a moment as I shed some light on his support of Gerry Schneiderman and on the Plaza.
If Mr. Ryan knew me, he would know that I take pride in helping the community understand what happens at the local level. (I only wish that more people in Great Neck would dive into the issues that affect their daily life and question all nine of the mayors and the dozens of people serving as trustees in the peninsula). My interest is not political. It is about improving the community, something I care deeply about as a parent, homeowner, taxpayer, and active participant.
My criticism of Mr. Schneiderman is not personal, rather it is criticism based on data and facts. Mr. Schneiderman is not good for business, as he actively supports a local system that creates barriers to entry for local store owners and obstacles for their long-term success.
This is well documented in the votes he casts and the commentary he offers at trustee meetings, recorded in the official transcripts of those meetings and available to anyone interested. Mr. Schneiderman is no friend of local business, as he himself was the one who personally threatened the full legal muscle of the Plaza when the BID attempted to write letters to the editor opposing school tax increases.
This too should be well documented in the minutes of the BID board meeting some months ago, a meeting which I attended. Mr. Schneiderman is also wrong to suggest that economic development in this community could be stimulated by an e-newsletter and a part-time staff person (who will not be offered benefits) to manage that endeavor for a mere $20,000 a year (or approximately one third of 1 percent of the village’s annual budget).
One might reconsider chastising me for pointing out such facts, in addition to these observations: Mr. Schneiderman has happily accepted village paid health insurance for his family, which based on national estimates has cost taxpayers over $150,000 in the past 10 years (this provides additional savings to him as the company he owns is able to save those fees by not having to cover him); Mr. Schneiderman has done nothing to speak out against the LIRR as they impose service cuts, especially at a time when the Plaza is investing hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to renovate LIRR property; and Mr. Schneiderman has left our firefighters in limbo as he has been unable to resolve the long standing 2010 open contract with the Vigilant Fire Company, even though 2011 is now well underway; the list goes on.
While it is not my intention to hurt Mr. Ryan’s feelings by exposing his friend, I guess the old adage is right…sometimes the truth hurts.
Michael S. Glickman