Readers Write: Plaza mayor wastes taxpayers’ money

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I was sorry to read the article in last week’s newspaper about Gov. Cuomo’s proposed initiative to cut state aid and incentives for municipalities. Such budget cuts will have severe impacts on many villages.

In the article, Jean Celender, mayor of Great Neck Plaza, stated that her village stands to lose $65,000 if the proposed budget cuts aren’t reversed, stating, “I feel we have to do everything we can to have it not eliminated and restored if possible.”

Unfortunately, Celender has a knack for spending our tax dollars on projects we don’t want or need, while foisting her vanity projects on the community.

It should be noted, however, that the mayor also has the wherewithal not only to replace the possible loss of $65,000 but to easily exceed that figure from an obvious revenue source: Shop Delight.

All Celender has to do is enforce the terms of Shop Delight’s conditional use permit; but she and her village officials have continued over many years to refuse to enforce the rules that they themselves made.

If the mayor allowed code enforcement to ticket, rather than bypass the daily multitudes of Shop Delight’s illegally parked employees who usurp dozens of parking spaces in an area where street parking for residents is already compromised, the parking fines would quickly fill village coffers.

Then there are the “rules do not apply” Shop Delight patrons who double park and park in the fire zones and who are never ticketed; and how about the vendors who block up the streets adjacent to the market while illegally unloading their deliveries all day and all night in violation of Shop Delight’s conditional use permit.

And why isn’t Shop Delight itself severely fined for all the violations of its conditional use permit? Revenue from oversight and enforcement of all their violations would not only replace but exceed the loss of $65,000 in tax cuts if they should take place.

No matter how much or how often residents of the area document to the mayor and village officials how Shop Delight’s infractions have destroyed their quality of life, their concerns fall on deaf ears.

Shop Delight is allowed to have free reign because Celender has chosen to close her eyes to their violations and do nothing to stop them.

When County Executive Laura Curran appointed Celender to head a committee last year to improve quality of life for residents of the county, Celender had a public relations article published in this newspaper about how she was going to improve quality of life for residents, particularly for the folks in Great Neck Plaza.

In the article, the mayor actually addressed the dire parking problem suffered by those living in the Welwyn/Shoreward area and she reiterated her intention, originally stated more than two years prior, to re-purpose the unused post office garage under its building to become a garage for residents of the area — just another empty promise that has yet to materialize and probably never will.

In her infinite wisdom, our well-paid full-time mayor insists on moving forward with worthless projects such as the creation of bicycle lanes on Shoreward Drive that nobody will use, and a park in front of the post office that nobody wants.

She doesn’t care about the garbage that will be thrown on the grass by uncaring individuals eating take-out food in the park; or the air pollution and trash caused by the smokers; and who would want to sit in a park in front of the post office, inhaling fumes from a dozen buses an hour over-congesting the already impassable streets while listening to the constant cacophony of the horns from Shop Delight’s customers.

And while forcing her vanity projects upon her constituents, Celender coldly continues to ignore their needs — particularly the promise of the sorely-needed residential parking garage, which would provide a stream of income for the village as well.

It’s sad that Jean Celender holds the office of first vice president of the Nassau County Village Officials Association, while at the same time wasting our taxpayer money with self-serving initiatives.

It’s time for the “Jean Machine Regime” to go.

Leo Pfeifer

Village of Great Neck Plaza

(We want our “Great” back!) 

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