Readers Write: Katz team lays out detailed plans for GN Plaza

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In five days, we, the residents of Great Neck Plaza, have the opportunity to decide the fate of our village. The choice is clear.

Either you stay home and the current state of decline in our village goes unchecked or you vote to write in Leonard Katz for mayor and Marnie Ives and Robert Farajollah as trustees. Your vote will give us a majority on the Plaza Board of Trustees and allow us to institute the ideas we have already put forward to make Great Neck Plaza, once again, the flagship destination of the North Shore Gold Coast.

For a quick review, here’s a list of some of the ideas we’ve advanced:

  1. A Plaza volunteer health commissioner specializing in infectious disease who will offer help to post-acute care facilities for obtaining PPF and testing machines, work with retailers to create safe space for shoppers, offer assurances to our residents that they will be safer following certain procedures and will be on-call to discuss personal information.
  2. A Plaza job bank offering businesses and residents an open channel to post help wanted qualifications for job openings to the community and offering residents the opportunity to find positions suitable to their skills set.
  3. A Plaza Zoom community forum where residents can interface with our administration and discuss positive improvement ideas without having to leave the comfort of their own homes.
  4. A Buy Plaza initiative instituted by our administration to provide village businesses a preference when the village purchases goods and services.
  5. A Direct Phone Hotline and/or a dedicated email address for residents to communicate with our administration and receive timely responses and follow-thru.

Additionally, our administration plans to:

  1. Address our empty storefront issue by bringing together our property owners, brokers and retail store owners so each can appreciate the position of the others and work together for not only their mutual benefit and profit, but for the Plaza as well.
  2. Reduce the over-burdensome micro-managing and commercial regulation that is stifling the entrepreneurial spirit of our business people and contributing to the downward spiral of our village.
  3. Actively seek out specialty stores and small chains to enhance and diversify our downtown retail presence. In order to combat the onslaught of internet selling, we want to reverse the current impression of “you can’t do business in that village” into making Great Neck Plaza known as being welcoming to business and new approaches to retailing,
  4. Partner more closely with the Chamber of Commerce of Great Neck, The Gold Coast Arts Center and many of the other village organizations that are incubators of positive community programs.
  5. Reach out to the community, wherein we believe lies a wealth of experience and talent, and invite volunteers to augment our administrative staff, utilizing their skills in the most appropriate manner.
  6. Hold open community meetings to receive residents’ comments on the issues of term limits, which we believe people who have been in office too long tend to defend because they ‘own’ their policies and are resistant to any change; or the propriety of giving part-time elected officials taxpayer funded health insurance and a pension plan, where our village makes contributions that are higher than the national averages.
  7. Contact recognized leaders of the various ethnic communities that comprise our village in order to seek to understand their preferences for village shopping and dining. We need to meet the “wants” of our ethnic communities so our village can grow and prosper.
  8. Begin a planned rotational schedule of visitations to all our retailers to hear their visions for the future of their businesses and of our village. We will attend to their concerns.
  9. Bring together appropriate representatives from the 6th Precinct Police Department, the Town of North Hempstead and Nassau County, as well as local traffic safety specialists, to devise a comprehensive plan for pedestrian safety in our village—which has the highest rate of traffic incidents per capita of any village in New York state.
  10. Create a resident-populated committee to survey our most dangerous street and sidewalk issues, and work with the committee members to tackle these issues.
  11. Engage fully, through the Great Neck Village Officials Association, with the other mayors who share our peninsula and work to combine as many municipal services as possible, while still maintaining the independence of each village. Our goal is to eliminate waste and duplication so that our budgets can be lowered and thereby, reduce village taxes.
  12. Visit the mayors of other Nassau County villages and closely, if not completely, emulate their successful revitalization programs which fit the needs our community.
  13. Devise a workable solution to our parking issues and bring the plan before the residents for a full discussion before proceeding with its implementation.
  14. Work with the Great Neck School District to offer an internship program for our local high school students to work in our village office, giving them exposure to government service and, at the same time, also bringing in new ideas from the younger generation to help keep our administration current with the times.

As mayor, my first step will be to personally meet with each employee of the Plaza because I believe that each person, no matter what position that they may hold, is a person of worth and dignity. I want to know what positive insights they can bring forth from their vantage point on everyday operations of the village. Concurrently, I will work with the village attorney to become familiar with the status of any current legal issues to which the village is a defendant.

All of the above will be judiciously addressed and, in the interest of transparency, a full public report will be issued. I will institute videos of all public Board of Trustee meetings so that every resident will be able to see and understand the important issues faced by our community. Everyone should have the right to know what is happening and particularly how their tax dollars are being spent.

Our experience encompasses the areas of organizational management, and retail and executive business management. Together, we have the balanced group skill set to successfully manage the affairs of our village. We are not wedded to the past failed policies of the current administration whose results we see all around us, and we are committed to being open to new ideas and approaches to solve our current problems.

There you have it, my friends and neighbors. All the above initiatives and issues discussed may seem ambitious to many, but with dedication and hard work, I believe that we will accomplish what we set out to do. We were motivated to mount an insurgent campaign challenge against the too long-term entrenched current politically powerful administration by seeing the results of their decisions as witnessed by the current state of decline in our village.

Please support our campaign. Let us work on your behalf and you will see what we will achieve. We have the desire, the energy, the will and the drive to succeed. Working together, we can make positive change happen in Great Neck Plaza.

Voting will take place vote next Tuesday, Sept. 15, at the Village Hall, 2 Gussack Plaza. Polls are open all day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.  Appropriate safety precautions are in place, with masks being required, sanitized writing instruments available and social distancing measures respected.

Please write in Leonard Katz for mayor and Marnie Ives and Robert Farajollah as trustees. You won’t be disappointed!

Leonard Katz 516-660-3701
Village of Great Neck Plaza

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