Reades Write: Letter-writer misrepresents column


Judy Rosenthal charges that she did not say there was a “secret agreement” between the Village of Great Neck and RealTerm Energy.

However, during the NYCLU program, she repeatedly charged there was a secret deal to allow RealTerm to use the village to pilot smart technologies, and provided me with a document she FOILed from the village which had a “confidentiality” paragraph.

I asked Mayor Bral to explain what confidentiality meant and it had nothing to do with giving RealTerm carte blanche to test new systems.

Rosenthal says that “despite what you wrote in your column today, the possibility for camera surveillance and audio sensors is real.”

I never said there was not the possibility to add surveillance technology, but when I confronted Mayor Bral, he said that would require the acquisition of different system and the village has no intention to do that at this time.

If the village decides at some future time, there would be public hearings, just as there were on the street lighting. He clarified what “smart cities” technology meant in terms of the street lighting system RealTerm installed: the ability to monitor environmental conditions and dim or intensify the LED lights.

 Rosenthal also asserts that she “never said anything for print about Bral and a dictatorship. That’s not my style.”

But in one of the reams of documents and letters she sent me was this: “Thank you for attending, for actively taking pictures and demonstrating enthusiasm for a Great Neck project which is being implemented in a veil of secrecy. For two years, VGN Mayor Bral refuses to answer challenging questions in public and print… We are a community in crisis and 99% of community does not even know it – because the facts have been so well concealed. This protects Mayor Bral who is running our village like a dictatorship.”

 If she did not want me to consider these statements in my column, why would she have provided them for me.

 I even gave Judy the opportunity to answer each of the objections she raised, which I similarly posed to Mayor Bral in two phone interviews, lasting over two hours:

 Do I have this correct?

 You had these objections:

  1. Board, and especially Bral, is disrespectful, dismissive, disparaging to women

2. Village has secret agreement with Real Term that it can do whatever it likes to “pilot” Smart Cities technologies, beyond the installation of LED lights it was contracted for, such as using the nodes to install video and audio surveillance technology.

3. Village installed 4000 kelvin LED bulbs in the blue-white spectrum that pose health risks including cancer, premature birth

4. LED lights are too bright and invade homes including bedrooms, spreading unsafe microwaves in addition to unwanted light.

I asked why she did not speak up, when she had the opportunity at the Feb. 6 board meeting to get the village board’s answers to these concerns on the record because both Janelle Clausen and I were reporting on the hearing, and she said she had already spoken out too much and did not want to be the focus of the story.


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