I have always written letters about weighty matters such as the presidency, gun control and the war on women. I have avoided local issues because I am not particularly interested in them, although admittedly they are important. I thank Muriel Pfeifer for her very informative letter, which appeared in the May 3 paper, and Leo Pfeifer’s piece, which appeared on May 10. Each of them details how undemocratic local government can be.
Muriel Pfeifer speaks of Mayor Jean Callendar’s “vanity park.” I could not agree more. We ignore local issues at our peril and do so until our ox is gored.
When I moved to Great Neck about two decades ago, I understood that there were many amenities, such as the beautiful parks, the pool complex and the free movies on the weekends. One minor amenity was the fact that in front of the main post office there were six mailboxes. One could drive around the island and deposit letters in any of the six without getting out of your car. Then three of the mailboxes were removed, leaving three. While annoyed, I said nothing. Then the supermarket opened with all the attendant problems delineated in the Pfeiffer letter. I found myself angered that a private enterprise was allowed to cause such congestion bringing traffic to a grinding halt.
Now, I wish I had attended the public hearings and voiced my dissatisfaction (although if Mrs. Pfeifer is correct, my objections would have gone unheeded). When Mayor Callendar approved her renovation project, she did not consider the seniors (like myself) for whom walking is painful. Currently, due to construction, there are very few places to park one’s car. The people who work in the post office are aware of the problem but cannot do anything about it.
I have tried to learn from my mistakes. I am reminded of Edmund Burke’s dictum that “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” I am also aware that local elections are important. When Mayor Callendar is up for re-election, I will do everything in my power to work for her defeat. I hope you will too.
Dr. Hal Sobel