Last month the News ran an article reporting on a discussion held by various mayors and elected officials to address the problems afflicting our downtown. While it is too soon to tell, it is likely that nothing will come from that gathering or any other that these elected officials participate in.
In fact, a recent piece on the front page of the News titled “Traffic Study Shows High Crash Rate” was a revealing look at our electeds for what it didn’t report. The article briefly described a gathering of 50 people to discuss their concerns about the hundreds of reported accidents along Middle Neck Road over the past few years, a problem that continues to plague our community.
Yet, of the 30 mayors and trustees who cover the stretch of villages that encompass this problematic area, all were silent.
For anyone who travels down Middle Neck Road (and quite frankly, anywhere in Great Neck), pedestrian accidents and near-misses are a recognizable problem.
When added to the number of senseless car accidents that don’t involve pedestrians, it’s fair to say that this is a significant quality of life issue that our elected officials continue to ignore.
The article should serve as a call to action for the tens of thousands of residents and voters throughout Great Neck, particularly those who live in villages with elections taking place in March 2020.
As the paper reported that crashes in our community exceed statewide rates, it’s time to ask these politicos when will they actually do something to help their neighbors? Their friends? Their children? Their constituents?
While it appears that the engineering firm that conducted the study was given a very specific task that included reviewing, classifying, and grading intersections along Middle Neck Road, maybe they should also have been asked to grade our local elected officials on their level of inaction on this hyper-local issue.
In fact, if we follow the same methodology of the engineering study and travel Middle Neck Road from Darley Road and Susquehanna Avenue to Redbrook Road, we travel through six of the nine villages and local governments and touch 30 local elected officials (not to mention those elected from Great Neck proper to govern us at the town, county and state levels).
Some of these elected officials are full-time employees of our local governments and earn full-time salaries, such as Great Neck Plaza Mayor Jean Celender, and yet no one, not even among those paid to advocate on our behalf, is championing this issue.
None of these politicians appear to be doing anything to demand that Nassau County and the Town of North Hempstead act, or to require that the Nassau County Police step up their presence and work to reverse years of often-blatant traffic offenses.
Every politician and every local government official overseeing our villages should insist that illegal U-turns, intolerable double-parking, excessive speeding, and a complete disregard for the rule of law when driving in Great Neck become top priorities to be addressed immediately.
If you venture a few feet from Middle Neck Road, you could also add the transgressions of running stop signs and failing to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks.
With that, let’s give special recognition to the many elected officials waiting for someone else to act:
In Russell Gardens, we have David Miller, mayor; Lawrence Chaleff, deputy mayor; Martin Adickman, Jane Krakauer, and Matthew Ellis as trustees.
In Thomaston, we have Steven Weinberg, mayor; James Sharkey, deputy mayor; Jill Monoson, To-On Pang, and Burton Weston as Trustees.
In Great Neck Plaza, we have Jean Celender, mayor; Ted Rosen, deputy mayor; Lawrence Katz, Pamela Marksheid, and Gerald Schneiderman as trustees.
In Kensington, we have Susan Lopatkin, mayor; Darren Kaplan, deputy mayor; Phil Bornstein, Jeffrey Greener, and Alina Hendler as trustees.
In Great Neck Estates, we have William Warner, mayor; Jeffrey Farkas, deputy mayor; Ira Ganzfried, Howard Hershenhorn, and Lanny Oppenheim as trustees.
In the Village of Great Neck, we have Pedram Bral, mayor; Barton Sobel, deputy mayor; Steven Hope, Anne Mendelson, and Norman Namdar as trustees.
Perhaps the next study conducted in Great Neck should be one that seeks to determine if we have more elected officials per capita than any other region statewide?
Maybe it’s time to put some of these folks to work and demand that they focus on addressing quality of life issues in the peninsula – or simply explore the process of dissolving our villages and do a rethink about what purpose local government in our community should really serve.
Michael S. Glickman