Mayor Bral and Board of Trustees:
Let’s talk about disrespect.
We, the people, see disrespect when our mayor turns a blind eye and refuses to acknowledge two years of unsightly, leaking garbage on residential streets. Residents in the Baker Hill vicinity are long overdue for a new village sanitation truck. We wonder how you can consider a leadership role of a more complex nature when the day-to-day functions of running a village and the public’s health and hygiene fail to concern you.
We, the people, see disrespect when an elected leader excludes the majority of residents from the initial process to redevelop and rezone the community in which we live.
From the start, residents requested you gather their input first — but you refused — in favor of the consultants. The controversial Citizens Advisory Committee was hand-picked by you, consisting of only two ordinary citizens out of seven members. You discouraged residents from taking part by requiring related experience. You denied access to a community advocate/attorney who wished to observe committee meetings. How surprising was it that the remaining members had professional ties to real estate and development?
Could these combined forces be the reason why much of our village is currently for sale? Our village is a prime example of development gone wrong.
How can we trust you?
We, the people, see disrespect to the history and continuity of this village when you act in isolation — swapping out and relocating our Village Hall — in exchange for a sweetheart deal with developers. Prioritizing the wants of the developers over the needs of the residents. Operating in a veil of secrecy.
Divisiveness was guaranteed the moment you made the decision to exclude the majority of residents from your plans for our future.
Instead of the comprehensive presentation all village residents deserved, the consultant’s presentation was devoid of details. It was an extremely limited overview and an insult to our intelligence.
The Board of Trustees should never have been allowed to be the lead agency for the environmental impact study. No surprise, they checked off a resounding NO in every category from impact to traffic, to our water supply, to our excellent public-school system.
How can we trust you?
With an insufficient presentation, you asked us to read the consultants’ plans online and come back to you with questions. You never indicated the plans were 107 pages long — the environmental impact study was 237 pages long. You were counting on village residents being put off by the sheer volume of a highly technical document. But one female resident read through it all and discovered that your agenda was unlimited, unprecedented power of Middle Neck Road and East Shore Road — with zero accountability. Under these plans, you would be free to bring the businesses and activities of your choice to our community.
Any resident who favors the current development plans is a resident who has not taken the time to read over 340 technical pages.
The developers, and the developers alone, benefit from your unlimited power and they are already buying up our Village — brick by brick — parcel by parcel — sub-division by sub-division.
We cannot trust you.
How can you regain the public’s trust?
It would help if you reconsider how you interact with residents at your Board of Trustees meetings. Welcoming public comment at the start — and not the end — of board meetings is a solid first step. The second step must be the elimination of hostility and bullying toward residents who challenge you.
And please, do not be so casual with your use of the dreaded phrases anti-Semitism or religious persecution. Let’s please save those words for when it is appropriate. And not when you seek to silence a Jewish resident who is challenging you at a public meeting.
Many residents who come to Village Hall for the first time — especially women and seniors — choose never to return for the second time — because the atmosphere is so hostile. As an elected leader, it is your responsibility to create a safe environment — for all residents even in their opposition.
Judy Shore Rosenthal
Village of Great Neck