Our once quiet, nice, idyllic old village of Great Neck has slowly eroded over the past few years. We talk, we put up signs, our schools have neon signs lit up against bullying and hate. Our library has a poster “I pledge to not remain silent to hate, intolerance or violence.” Not in our town, yet sad to say this past June election proved otherwise.
I have seen four mayors come and go over the years but never, never so much controversy, hysteria, bad mouthing to point of lies and slander against James Wu and his two trustee candidates’ party, Village For All. Note the word “all.” Mayor Bral’s Alliance Party was supposed to be responsive to its residents. That, to me, means all residents, not a portion of our population. I do not blame so much our trustees, Anne Mendelson, Steve Hope, Norman Namdar or our Deputy Mayor Bart Sobel.
No one speaks up, they just occupy the seats at the board meetings, which leaves me to believe that they have been instructed to sit there and not to engage with the public who might question why Bral purchased a piece of someone’s back yard at a cost of $150,000. Because the owner didn’t want to pay tax on it? Why are we renting a public parking lot for $3,500 a month and a lot of East Shore, also a car dealer, for $5,000 a month when Great Neck public school rents to a car dealer the Watermill property for $20,000 monthly? Why make a commitment in the back room to a school board member B.B. to sell our historic village hall on the pretense of overcrowding at Baker School? Why does Bral say his goal is to keep Great Neck an affordable place to live — for who? Certainly not the middle class. Take Millbrook Court and Academy Gardens, for example. Why has what was supposed to be a $12,000 to $15,000 Wooley’s Lane footbridge for a few to cross climbed to $200,000? Yes, $200,000. Why pay VHB $100,000 for a plan that we had spent $85,000 on previously to the same firm? Why does, after four years, the construction of a temple next to 7-11 still remain a giant hole with few steel girders and why does 733 Middle Neck Road have three derelict buildings that look like the London Blitz in World War Two?
I could go on and on back to the election. Now we live in a village with criminals. I say criminals because running around under cover of darkness, trespassing on homeowners property, vandalizing and stealing what belongs to someone else is a crime and whoever was responsible should be prosecuted. I hold Mayor Bral’s Alliance Party responsible. He could have sent word out to stop these tactics but he chose not to.
I understand Mayor Bral’s background. His growing up in an authoritarian country, Iran, but that cannot and should not work in our Village Hall. We need to install term limits, fair and decent behavior in future elections.