By The Island Now -September 21, 2020
To all those who came out to vote, I want to say Thank You! In our country, we still have the right to express ourselves in the election of our leaders and that’s what you did. Despite all the COVID-19 fears and anxiety you wore your masks and came out to vote. On Election day, last Tuesday, of the 340 people who voted in-person, 200 voted for change and only 140 voted to keep the Plaza in its current moribund state. That was a resounding act and statement to demand in a change in the Plaza. Unfortunately, that wide margin was not enough to overcome the huge imbalance of absentee ballots that were cast for the current administration.
My fervent prayer and desire are that our message for change will be heard and something will be done to reverse the inexorable downward slide of our village. Other villages are thriving and ours can, too. Spending money on outside consultants (i.e., experts) who do not know nor understand the wants and needs of the residents in our village can’t be relied upon for meaningful advice. All it will take is a lot of imagination and some hard work. Or maybe, a lot of hard work and some imagination. Either way, we need to do something. When at least 45 percent (of those who voted in-person) of us are dissatisfied with the state of our village, our concerns should be addressed by our political leaders.
I hope our voices will be heard and I’m looking forward to seeing progress on the many issues that need attention in the Plaza.
May the coming year be a blessing for us all.
Village of Great Neck Plaza
SEPTEMBER 15TH - GREAT NECK PLAZA
Dear Great Neck Friends, Residents and Family,
It’s past midnight on Sunday so It’s actually very early Monday morning as I compose this note to all the residents of the Village of Great Neck Plaza. Tomorrow, Tuesday, September 15th we will all go to the polls and cast our votes for the next mayor of the Plaza as well as for two trustees. Many times, elections are framed as very decisive, crucial to our future, or even ‘the most important election in our lifetime’. Without being dramatic, the future of the Plaza is being decided tomorrow. Residents who are happy with the way the Plaza looks will support the incumbents and those of us who are extremely upset with the devolving of our once-great village will write in their votes for myself and my team.
It’s been said that voters deserve the leaders they get because in our democracy we do have the freedom to choose our elected officials every two or four years and if we are unhappy with the results of the election or find that our leaders have disappointed us by their actions or inactions we can easily cast our votes for the opposition and vote the incumbents out of office. Thank goodness, in our country, no one gets shot for the way they vote. So, it will be in this election. You, the voters, will choose which way the village will be governed over the next one and a half years. I wish you all well.
In conversations, I’ve likened our campaign to a pregnancy. It’s lasted almost nine-months, with the first trimester (January through March) being very emotional, the mid-trimester (April through June) being relatively calm and the final trimester (July through September) being, once again, very active with the anticipation of a final, hopefully, good ending.
This short note is getting rather long, so I’ll close by thanking the residents of the Village of Great Neck Plaza for being open to listening to our ideas and plans. I hope we’ve generated a different view of the Plaza and that, should the incumbents hold sway, some of that view will percolate into new policies that will benefit us all.
It’s been my pleasure to share the ticket with two outstanding people and I look forward to maintaining my relationship with them, as well as other members of the campaign committee.
My best wishes to all,
Village of Great Neck Plaza
Resident Writes September 14, 2020,
Dear Great Neck Plaza Resident,
Many of you know me from Kron Chocolatier, the store that has been my second home since 1998 (is that 22 years already?!) or perhaps as a parent at Great Neck Community School, Saddle Rock Elementary, or Great Neck North schools. Maybe you do not know me at all. Since 1990, when I moved to Great Neck Plaza as a newlywed, I have enjoyed walking and shopping in this town. I have taken my kids to every park on the peninsula. I have spent hundreds of hours at the ice rink, the library, and the movie theatre. I’ve been to almost all the gyms, restaurants, stores, street fairs, craft fairs, antique shows, and even the “I Don’t Have a Garage, Garage Sale!” I know I am not alone when I remember all the amazing qualities Great Neck had to offer.
And that is the problem.
We “had” it all, and we’ve let a lot of it slip away.
After several years of watching Great Neck Plaza spiral downward, I felt compelled to step forward during a pandemic and make an effort to help change this town into something we can all be proud of again. Another uncontested village election was not going to accomplish that goal. I joined the Business Improvement District as a board member and have been so extremely impressed with what the team is doing for the town, but it’s not enough. This town needs leadership that understands that bold moves are vital to change here and that we cannot simply do as we’ve done for a decade and expect real growth. I’ve joined the team of Leonard Katz, a natural leader who is unafraid to challenge the status quo, in the hopes for a better tomorrow. It’s critical that the voices of the residents are heard loud and clear this time and this is the team to act for those voices.
After months of postponing, the Village election is finally here! This Tuesday, September 15, 2020, we all have our chance to vote to ‘revive Great Neck Plaza’.
Don’t let the other side fool you into thinking that we need a leader who has been in local government for years and has the experience that Leonard Katz’s team lacks. We are all excellent decision-makers who intend to listen to the expert trustees, lawyers, accountants, and board members who help make up this wonderful Plaza government. We have all made hundreds of policy changes in our own lives and businesses that have made us well qualified for the task at hand…REVIVE GREAT NECK PLAZA.
The polls will be open Tuesday from 9 am to 9 pm at Village Hall. Social distancing will create a safe environment along with mandatory mask-wearing and plenty of hand sanitizer. If you prefer, walk into Village Hall and pick up an absentee ballot to write in our names: LEONARD KATZ, MARNIE IVES, AND ROBERT FARAJOLLA.
Make a note to yourself to stroll over to the Village of Great Neck Plaza at Gussack Plaza and write-in your vote for our team!
Call or text us if you need more information: (516) 660-3710.
Resident Writes September 13, 2020,
Three Reasons To Vote For Katz
I watched the mayoral debate between Leonard Katz and Ted Rosen, moderated by Steven Blank, publisher of this paper, among others. But there are reasons why I felt Katz won. The first had to do with why Katz is a write-in candidate. This means that his name won't appear on the ballot. If you want Katz you must write his name in. This is a decided disadvantage, but there is precedent for "write-in candidates" winning local elections. Katz was removed because he changed the date below where peoples' signatures appeared. This is a mere technicality which just happens to work to Rosen's advantage. The powers that be refuse to make an accommodation. There was no attempt at fraud. It was, in fact, an honest mistake that could have easily been remedied.
A second reason for voting for Katz is that, as he said in the debate, he listens to people. I know for a fact that there are people who live in Great Neck Plaza who have been ignored by the Jean Celender/Rosen dynasty. So we have one candidate who listens to his constituents and one who doesn't. This gives us a real choice.
My third reason for supporting Katz is that he is asking for term limits. Ordinarily, I am opposed to these, but there is a good reason for them. I used the word "dynasty" above. That's exactly what we have here. Jean Celender is passing that mantle over to her deputy mayor. If you attend meetings you will be surprised at how many 5-0 votes there are. This leads to the inevitable conclusion that it's a "rubber stamps" vote. Whatever Celender wants Celender gets! Parenthetically, I have written a letter asking that an environmental impact study should have been done, which would have proven that the removal of mailboxes outside the main post office was an inconvenience and a danger to folks living near there.
This is not how democracy works. Fresh blood and new ideas are necessary. You have an opportunity to "throw the rascals out." Please write-in, Leonard Katz, for Mayor of Great Neck Plaza.
You won't regret it! One-party rule is about experience defeat.
Dr. Harold Sobel
Great Neck Plaza
Readers Write September 11, 2020, Great Neck News
By The Island Now - September 11,2020
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:
Additionally, the RGNP administration plans to:
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, September 15, at the Village Hall, 2 Gussack Plaza. Polls are open all day from 9am to 9pm. 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
I am the managing partner of a real estate management and mortgage financing company. I've known Leonard Katz both professionally and personally for more than 30 years. Having done business with Len for many years, I know that he takes his fiduciary responsibility very seriously. His ethics are unimpeachable, he is a man of his word and it was a pleasure and was profitable doing business with him. I know that in his volunteer endeavors he has been selfless with his time, management abilities, identifying and solving problems, attention to detail, and organizational abilities. All of those qualities are required to be a great Mayor.
Leonard Katz has demonstrated in many organizations that he's not looking for personal glory but has the will and ability to understand and solve problems. I know that Leonard will do the right job for his constituents and never let anyone down.
If you want a better village, Leonard Katz will be the mayor who can revive Great Neck Plaza and bring it back to its former level.
On September 15th write in your votes for Leonard Katz and his team.
Village of Kings Point
Readers Write September 11, 2020, Great Neck News
By The Island Now - September 11,2020
Ted Rosen does not have the best interest of Great Neck Plaza residents at heart, something that was abundantly clear for anyone who watched the recentGreat Neck News candidate forum. Ted was arrogant, combative, defensive and antagonistic, and could not provide one example about his record other than the creation of a parking brochure. I for one would have loved to hear the incumbent review his record publicly and explain why he has served as nothing more than a pawn of the current mayor.
Though this village has a sad history of not electing anyone who wasn’t first appointed by Jean Celender (Schneiderman in 2000 and Marksheid in 2009, for example), we now can demand change. After Rosen’s 35-year reign of insolvent leadership, complacency and disinterest, we have the opportunity to write in three candidates on Sept. 15.
By doing so, we could effectively write away a group of long-serving politicos who collect annual salaries, pensions and free health insurance, courtesy of the Plaza taxpayer. Imagine what a successful write-in campaign would mean, particularly since it is likely that a mere 200 voters would determine the outcome of the election. This village deserves forward-thinking leadership, and Ted Rosen is not the answer. For decades Ted has failed to be transparent, creative, tenacious or thoughtful, andin election after election he has banked on low voter turnout.
During the candidate forum, Ted mentioned that village revenue was down by $300,000 this year and he was concerned. Yet he never once mentioned that Plaza taxpayers (his neighbors!) have paid out more than $2 million over the past 20 years in salary, health insurance, pension contributions and other special perks afforded to him and his band of part-time politicians. The data is available at www.SeeThroughNY.net.
While Ted and his running mates continue to chastise those challenging them for office, I thought I would take an opportunity to break down some of the adjectives Ted and his team have used to describe themselves:
Experienced. Yes, they are in fact experienced at selfishly placing their needs ahead of the community’s. Ted Rosen is experienced at taking benefits from the community while ignoring the many quality-of-life issues that continue to plague us (such as doing nothing to address the dangers that confront us every day as people run stop signs and put pedestrians in danger). Pam Marksheid is experienced at sitting on the stage at Village Hall and never raising an issue, never offering up legislation that would improve the community, and never disagreeing with the mayor, a fact so salient that upon reviewing her voting record she appears to support the mayor 100 percent of the time. Michael DeLuccia is experienced at never holding elected office (something he has personally attacked his opponents for) and at being someone in the community that no one ever heard of prior to this election.
Dedicated. Perhaps this term was chosen because Ted Rosen and Pam Marksheid are dedicated to supporting the status quo, a system that is designed to better only the lives of Plaza politicians and not the few people who put them in office. I for one appreciate their public acknowledgement of being dedicated to failed economic policies, burdensome barriers for new businesses, shameful self-promoting political tactics, and a reckless dependency on a part-time mayor whose singular success is securing grant money for concrete slabs that are referred to as “parks” and dangerous bike lanes.
Effective. Perhaps this term is most accurate. Ted Rosen and Pam Marksheid are effective at ignoring the fact that over 6,000 people reside in this village. The success of this approach comes in the form of ensuring voter apathy, whereby most elections are determined in great part by the assisted-living centers through absentee ballots.
Plaza residents should go to the polls in droves and vote for the write-in candidates because the people of Great Neck Plaza deserve better than Rosen and Marksheid. We deserve local government that is about public service, not about the perks. It is time that the core issues we face in our village are addressed. There is no question that 35 years of ineffective service is enough. It’s time to retire, Ted!
Write in Leonard Katz, Marnie Ives, and Robert Farajollah on Sept. 15th.
Michael S. Glickman
Great Neck Plaza
Readers Write September 7, 2020, Great Neck News
By The Island Now - September 7,2020
To my fellow residents of the village of Great Neck Plaza,
I am supporting Leonard N Katz for mayor not only because he has a heart of gold and is always thinking of others’ well-being before his own, but I have seen Leonard’s leadership firsthand when he was the president of The Rotary Club Of Great Neck and I was a new member. He inspired me to become active in many new projects and initiatives that the club sponsored, always leading by example, first and foremost. The international motto of Rotary is “Service Above Self” with honesty and integrity. I can think of no one who embodies these qualities better than Leonard and hope you will consider him as a wise choice as an ambassador of positive change.
Being a resident myself for the last 18 years, I can see the need for changes for the better. He is a man of action and and his actions will speak louder than words in 2021 and beyond.
Join me in supporting Leonard N Katz as the next Mayor of Great Neck Plaza!
Readers Write September 7, 2020, Great Neck News
By The Island Now - September 7,2020
Kudos to Publisher Steve Blank and the Great Neck News for moderating the candidate debate for mayor of Great Neck Plaza. Great debate!
I think Katz came out on top. He’s right about the village stagnating and going down over these last several years and the people who’ve been in charge have nothing positive to show for having been in charge so long. The village was looking drearier before Covid-19.
Now, they say “they have a plan?” I don’t buy it. If they had a plan, why didn’t they put it in place before the village had fallen so far down? I say, vote Katz and his team into oﬃce to get a breath of fresh air with new ideas and energy to get the village back on track.
Great Neck Plaza
Readers Write August 31, 2020, Great Neck News
By The Island Now -August 31, 2020
Remember to vote for change in September. Call for your absentee ballot, or come to the Village Hall on Sept. 15 and let your voice be heard. Write in your vote for my team, Leonard Katz for mayor, Marnie Ives, and Robert Farajollah for trustees,to Revive Great Neck Plaza.
Where has the Plaza current administration been during March, April, May, June,
and early July? Almost five months and nowhere to be found. Finally, they have
started to crank out some Constant Contact notices and have sponsored two Zoom meetings, where they’ve given the floor to many other politicians and bureaucrats who introduced programs that were created by other political organizations to help in their respective jurisdictions.
But in our village, nothing. No home-grown created programs, no outreach to
residents, no merchant visitations, except that one of the current trustees whose
term is expiring created a photo-op, where, for the first time, she finally visited some stores on Middle Neck Road in the hopes of boosting chances for re-election. All they’ve done is to pass on information readily available on the internet and some of the programs discussed have either already been discontinued or their filing deadlines have passed. It’s still a continuation of all the years where nothing is heard from our political leaders except when they feel threatened in their elected positions. If not for the upcoming mayoral election on Sept. 15, there would typically be no presence at all from any member of the current administration. We deserve so much more than the poor judgment and lack of leadership that we have seen for decades.
I’ve been suggesting initiatives that will help our residents and businesses recover from the devastating impact of this horrible pandemic. I believe unusual
circumstances require unusual “out-of-the-box” solutions. As such, I will appoint a
volunteer health commissioner who would help our local assisted-living and
nursing/rehab facilities obtain on-site testing equipment to ensure a higher level of
protection than they have now, whereby tests are sent weekly to an outside lab for analysis.
I would give local businesses a temporary preference when they seek to do business with the village. I would propose a local law to award contracts for goods and services to a vendor, other than the lowest responsible vendor, where that vendor is located in the Village of Great Neck Plaza.
The current economic downturn being experienced by our village as a result of the COVID-19 virus has adversely affected our local businesses. I feel there are an overwhelming current need and a public benefit for our administration to spend our tax dollars in our local economy. I feel that the award of contracts for goods and/or services to companies outside the Village of Great Neck Plaza, at a time when the village is experiencing difficult economic times, will just prolong negative local conditions. We should take this step as a positive action to help our village begin to move forward again.
Thanks to Gov. Cuomo, we now have a better chance to unseat this unpopular and unimaginative administration. In his recent Executive Order 202.58, Cuomo has mandated that voters can obtain absentee ballots by simply calling 482-4500
and asking that the ballot be mailed to them. The village cannot require anyone to
fill out any type of request form. If you encounter any problems, please call us at
516-660-3701. Once you have the form, please, in the box under the mayor label,
write in Leonard Katz and under the two trustee labeled boxes, write in Marnie Ives and Robert Farajollah. For a picture with exact instructions about how to fill out the absentee ballot, as well as to find out more about us and our plans and ideas, just visit our website, revivegreatneckplaza.com.
Join us via Zoom for an online Town Hall meeting every Tuesday and Thursday
evening from 7–8 p.m. The link information to the event can also be found on our
We will listen and respond promptly to all your concerns. We want to hear from you. Call us at 516-660-3701. We will work to improve pedestrian safety, address our parking problems, bring together the various stakeholders on projects to achieve effective solutions for everyone involved, and begin to rent the empty stores in our village. You’ve all waited a very long time for a chance to reverse the dramatic slide in our village and now is your chance.
Remember to vote for change in September. Call for your absentee ballot, or come to the Village Hall on Sept. 15 and let your voice be heard. Write in your vote for my team, Leonard Katz for mayor, Marnie Ives, and Robert Farajollah for trustees, to Revive Great Neck Plaza.
Leonard Katz, Revive Great Neck Plaza Mayoral Write-IN Candidate
Readers Write August 31, 2020, Great Neck News
By The Island Now -August 31, 2020
I know that politics is a dirty game and that people have mud slung at their faces. But I could not believe that this guy Katz was the terrible person his opponents are accusing him of being, so I asked around and looked into it. What I found amazed me. Leonard Katz was very well spoken of—personally, professionally and within community groups.
As one of its charter members, Leonard served as president of the Rotary Club of Great Neck for two terms, raising membership by 60 percent and increasing the scope of the charitable efforts of the club. He worked hard to bring back the Kiwanis Club to Great Neck.
Katz also served as treasurer of the Great Neck United Parent Teacher Council when his three children were in the Great Neck school system, working with superintendents Mort Abramowitz and Bill Shine, as well as longtime board members Don Ashkenase and Larry Gross.
He had not only been the president of the Men’s Club in his temple. He also revived the organization, which to this day is still a thriving and vital arm of the temple. He went on to be elected as president of the entire New York Metro Region of the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs, was elected to the Executive Board of the International Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs and served as treasurer of that international organization.
Leonard Katz was also instrumental in organizing and becoming one of the three founders of the Silverstein Hebrew Academy of Great Neck, serving as its first treasurer and he also shepherded the building permit application of the Chabad of Great Neck through the Kings Point bureaucratic maze, working with the attorneys, engineers, and architects on the project.
During this time, Leonard was also board president of his co-op for eight years and was elected to the board of directors of the Long Island Broker Dealers Association.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention that our Town of North Hempstead Supervisor, Judi Bosworth, on June 29, 2016, presented Katz with a proclamation, personally signed by all eight of the sitting council members in recognition of his contributions to the community.
I believe all Plaza residents would be proud to have as our mayor a man who has shown such a high level of commitment to his community and who has had many accomplishments to his name. For all of the above reasons, I wholeheartedly recommend Leonard Katz for the next mayor of the Village of Great Neck Plaza and urge all registered voters either send in absentee ballots or to come to the polls on Sept. 15 and write in your votes to elect him and his team to office.
Village of Great Neck Plaza
Readers Write August 28, 2020, Great Neck News
By The Island Now -August 24, 2020
COVID-19 has been a major problem for us in the Plaza and I believe that the current Celender/Rosen administration should have acted more responsibly than they did regarding our having to cope with the restrictions imposed by our state and county governments.
According to a recent Newsday report (Aug. 21), the Village of Great Neck Plaza has the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases on our peninsula. However, on a per capita basis, we stand at the highest, with over 3 percent of our population infected. The next closest, with about 10 percent fewer cases per capita than us is the Village of Great Neck; the Village of Kings Point is behind them with 13 percent fewer cases per capita.
It appears that nursing and post-acute facilities are partially the reason for a large number of cases, but not the only reason. When Plaza officials issue a blanket response that there is nothing that they can do because they are working from home, that response is unacceptable.
As mayor, I would recruit an on-call health commissioner to look at the situation. I’ve already consulted with several healthcare professionals familiar with infectious disease protocols and they shared my view. A physician with whom I’ve consulted is willing to function as the Plaza’s health commissioner on a volunteer basis and work with me to look into and come up with the proper guidelines to reduce exposure to the risk of COVID infection.
I’ve mentioned before that I believe we have a wealth of untapped talent and experience in our Village. My administration will reach out to partner with these residents, recruiting them as volunteer resources to act as a board of mentors for their neighbors.
I’ve also discussed wearing masks to allay the fears of our senior citizens so they can venture out safely to shop locally. Also, because merchants need to maintain their services to the public, I’ve suggested that the Village sponsor and maintain a job bank so our merchants can post local job openings, and residents seeking employment can find a match for their skills and experience. I’ve continually offered counsel and encouragement to the residents of the Plaza. And this is just the beginning.
My team will always be open to hearing from and being responsive to our constituents. To find out more about how we will positively change our Village, call us at 660-3701 or visit our website, www.revivegreatneckplaza.com. Come to the Village Hall and let your voice be heard on Sept. 15th. Write in your vote for my team, Leonard Katz for mayor, Marnie Ives, and Robert Farajollah for trustees, to Revive Great Neck Plaza. Remember to vote for change in September.
Village of Great Neck Plaza
Readers Write August 21, 2020
Great Neck News
It’s hard to believe that it will be 6 months since our village election was canceled by Gov. Cuomo. So much has happened in our lives and so much has not happened by the current Plaza administration. You might ask, “Where are they now?” but the real question is “Where have they been for the last two decades?”
Nothing has changed for them. They have been unchallenged at the ballot box for so long that their attitude seems to be, ‘why do anything because we will get re-elected anyway’.
Well, we want to change that. Both Marnie Ives and Robert Farajollah have joined with me to create a team that, in a write-in campaign, will bring to the Plaza an administration that has a real sense of understanding and reassurance to all the residents of the Plaza.
We will work to protect and enhance our property values. We will listen to all our constituents’ concerns and act to meet their needs. Our residents have real needs and issues that cry out to be addressed, i.e., stores leaving our Village due to an administration seeking to micro-manage through overburdensome regulation, inadequate parking, lack of pedestrian safety, and a lack of true transparency.
Where is the ‘leadership’ from our current administration? I have heard so many residents complain that their issues fall on deaf ears. How often have we heard politicians brag about their many years of ‘service’, yet all they’ve done is fill a seat. How many votes by the Board have not been 5-0? Where are the new initiatives?
Fulfilling my responsibilities as Chairman of the Legislative Action Committee of the Great Neck Chamber of Commerce, I’ve been at almost all of the Board meetings since early 2019. Many times, I’ve been the only member of the community, other than applicants, sitting in the audience.
I found it disheartening listening to the myriad discussions over seemingly minor issues that focus on what will be on the menu of a prospective restaurateur looking to establish a business in our Village or the color or the size and style of the typeface of an awning being installed by a new retailer looking to promote awareness to the new business.
I’d report back to the Chamber and would listen to all the complaints from members about the do-nothing Plaza administration. Finally, in November 2019, I decided to seek the office of mayor so I could effect positive changes in a village that has begun to seem more like a ghost town than the thriving place I moved to in 1971.
The current long-time deputy major expects to be anointed as a successor to our long-time mayor simply because he has been on the government payroll since 1985. This includes a taxpayer fully funded health plan and pension plan, to which our village makes contributions that are higher than the national average – all for a part-time paid employee.
For years, the deputy mayor has championed policies that have worked against improving the village and have caused an erosion in the reputation of Great Neck as a prime shopping destination. Empty stores mean fewer commercial taxes collected, so there’s a looming real estate crisis that will affect the value of every co-op and home in the community, and that was well before the advent of the COVID-19 epidemic.
The deputy mayor has offered nothing in the way of new ideas, plans, needed change, or any specific policies. Stating that his primary concern is the safety of residents, he has failed to act to address the reality that this community suffers from one of the highest rates of pedestrian and vehicular accidents, more than most other communities in the state of New York.
A letter to the editor in this paper pointed out that he said that the Maple Drive garage hours were unrestricted after 8 pm, but the hours are posted as 2-hour metered parking 9-6. In an interview with this paper, he stated that Plaza parking was not a problem. Where has he been? Is 35 years of his hypothetical experience’ not enough time to address his supposed concerns? He hasn’t yet had a chance to do something?
I have the will, organizational experience, creative energy and drive to see that positive change will happen in the Plaza once I and my team are elected. We will put in the time and work hard for you and represent your interests.
To find out more about us and our plans and ideas, join us on Zoom via an online Town Hall meeting every Tuesday and Thursday evening from 7-8 pm. Just visit our website, revivegreatneckplaza.com, for the link to the event.
Remember to vote for change in September. Come to the Village Hall and let your voice be heard. Write in your vote for my team, Leonard Katz for mayor, Marnie Ives and Robert Farajollah for trustees, to Revive Great Neck Plaza on September 15th.
Leonard Katz, 516-660-3701
Village of Great Neck Plaza
REVIVE GREAT NECK PLAZA
Readers Write - August 11, 2020
Great Neck Record
I grew up in Brooklyn and had always heard of Great Neck as the best place to live on Long Island. I moved here in the early ’70s and was thrilled to take my children to the parks, playgrounds, library story hours and I also enjoyed shopping and just looking into the many unique storefronts that lined our main street.
Today it’s different. No longer are we proud of our main thoroughfare. Even before the advent of the Coronavirus epidemic, we had so many empty storefronts with “for rent” and “closed” signs in their windows. The current Celender/Rosen administration, after being in power for several decades, has brought us to this sorry state of affairs by the policies and procedures they have promulgated.
As residents, we expect a certain level of services and we agree to be taxed so that these services can be provided to us. However, as stores close, we lose the tax money they pay into the village so we have to pay higher taxes to meet the budget deficit the vacant stores created. My team and I want to put a stop to this. We have endured this long enough and now it’s necessary to make a change.
We need real revitalization! We want to remove incentive overburdening regulation so businesses can once again either come to Great Neck or promote and expand their current operations. We need business tax monies now and once in office, we will work with the Town of North Hempstead and Nassau County to assure that time is not wasted while waiting unnecessarily for permits to be approved. We will actively seek out specialty shops, small chain stores, and bring back the sense of personal service that is unavailable on the internet. We will also cooperate closely with the Great Neck Chamber of Commerce as well as more fully utilizing the talent and resources of the Business Improvement District (BID) organization to encourage and develop outreach promotional programs to grow a business, old and new.
We want more open communication with our fellow residents and will encourage them to connect with us in the village hall either by a special ‘residents only hot-line’ or via email. We will listen and respond to all of our residents and follow through on their positive suggestions to improve our village.
Unlike my opponent, I believe that we do have a parking problem for both residents and shoppers and I will work hard to find creative solutions to improve this situation. I will personally visit other villages on the island who have successfully solved this problem and we can pick the best of their plans to implement in the Plaza. Builders and commercial property owners bring to the table years of experience in creating thriving business areas and we intend to reach out to them to solicit their ideas and suggestions.
Pedestrian safety is another major concern and we intend to confer with law enforcement from the town and county officials to explore possibilities where we can mitigate traffic congestion and accidents throughout the Plaza, and especially Middle Neck Road.
We also believe that we have a treasure trove of experience and talent in Great Neck and we will welcome input from all those people to assist us in our efforts. There is also the issue of someone being in a position of authority too long and losing touch with the changing times. We will re-implement term limits because new people, new perspectives, and new ideas are critical to keeping the positive allure of the Plaza up-to-date and at the forefront of a positive quality of life for all our residents.
I am excited at the chance to revive the plaza, a place I have called home for almost two decades. I’ve lived here long enough to see successful businesses and how amazing the Plaza can be for our residents. I have the will, creative energy and drive to make change happen. I’m running because I want to participate in the efforts to revitalize this area and work with the community to do so.
To find out more about how we will positively change our village, call us at 660-3701 or visit our website, www.revivegreatneckplaza.com. Vote for my team, Leonard Katz for mayor, Marnie Ives, and Robert Farajollah for trustees to
Revive Great Neck Plaza on September 15th.
Leonard Katz 660-3701
Village of Great Neck Plaza
By: The Island Now
August 4, 2020
We’re tired of waiting. Our village has suffered the second-highest death toll on the peninsula from the coronavirus, yet the Celender/Rosen administration has not made any effort to offer a word of solace or support to the families and friends of the bereaved.
Nor have they sought to ask any of our retailer merchants if there was anything that they needed from the village. It’s still a continuation of all the years where nothing is heard from our “leaders” except when they feel threatened in their elected positions.
Such was the case recently when one of the Plaza trustees up for re-election — after being called out for not caring—staged a photo-op by walking into a few stores.
If not for the upcoming mayoral election on Sept. 15, there would typically be no presence at all from any member of the current administration. We deserve so much more than the poor judgment and lack of leadership that we have seen for the past 25 years.
Our team is looking forward to the election. Myself, Leonard Katz as a write-in candidate for mayor, as well as Marnie Ives (of Kron Chocolatier), and Robert Farajollah, as write-in candidates for trustees, have pledged to get our village moving again.
We are committed to being proactive in seeking solutions to the many issues that plague our village. We will invest our time to bring together the various stakeholders in our village and, through a free exchange of positive ideas, will forge policies to move our village forward.
It has taken little or no effort by the Celender/Rosen administration to forward notices on COVID-19 from the Township of North Hempstead or Nassau County, but what really would help our village is an administration seeking ways to truly listen to the voices and concerns of our residents and our local businesses.
I’ve talked about wearing masks to allay the fears of our senior citizens so they can venture out safely to shop locally.
I asked the Vigilant Fire Department to sound their sirens on Memorial Day as a reminder of so many men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice so we can all live our lives in freedom and safety.
I’ve talked about sponsoring and maintaining a job bank so our merchants can get the workers they need to maintain their service to the public. I’ve offered counsel and encouragement to the residents of the Plaza.
And our campaign committee has even chipped into a fund so we could show our appreciation to the COVID-19 workers at North Shore/LIJ by sending them pizza lunches.
Our team will always be open to hearing from and being responsive to our constituents. As a starter, we want to announce the advent of a new program. We are opening a Zoom meeting channel, and every week from now until election day we will be hosting a town hall open house to hear your ideas and insights that will help make our village a better place to live, work, and play. We will also be available to answer any questions and concerns you may have.
Village of Great Neck Plaza
We’re tired of waiting. Our village has suffered the second-highest death toll on the peninsula, yet the Celender/Rosen administration has not made any effort to offer a word of solace or support to the families and friends of the bereaved. Nor have they sought to ask any of our retailer merchants if there was anything that they needed from the village. It’s still a continuation of all the years where nothing is heard from our ‘leaders’, except when they feel threatened in their positions.
Such was the case recently, when one of the Plaza Trustees up for re-election—after being called out for not caring—staged a photo-op by walking into a few stores. If not for the upcoming mayoral election on September 15th, there would typically be no presence at all from any member of the current administration. We deserve so much more than the poor judgment and lack of leadership that we have seen for the past 25 years.
Our team is looking forward to the election. Under the leadership of Leonard Katz as a write-in candidate for mayor, Marnie Ives (owner of Kron Chocolatier), as a write-in candidate for trustee, and Robert Farajollah, as a write-in candidate for trustee, we’ve pledged to get our village moving again. We are committed to being proactive in seeking solutions to the many issues that plague our village. We will invest our time to bring together the various stakeholders in our village and, through a free exchange of positive ideas, will forge policies to move our village forward.
It takes little or no effort by the Celender/Rosen administration to forward notices on COVID19 from the Township of North Hempstead or Nassau County, but what really would help our village is an administration seeking ways to truly listen to the voices and concerns of our residents and our local businesses.
I’ve talked about wearing masks to allay the fears of our senior citizens as they venture out to shop locally. I’ve talked about a new administration sponsoring and maintaining a job bank so our merchants can get the help they need to maintain their service to the public. Our team will always be open to hearing from our constituents.
As a start, we want to announce an open Zoom meeting every week from now until election day. We want to hear your ideas and insights that will help make our village a better place to live, work, and play. We will also be available to answer any questions and concerns you may have.
Please watch for our ad next week.
For further information, please call us at 516-660-3701 or visit our website at www.revivegreatneckplaza.c
This time it is different.
In traditional recessions, usually we experience an increase in the unemployment rate and a decrease in consumer spending. Then, after the recession has run its course, both of these indicators reverse themselves, and we are well on our way back to a sense of normalcy.
However, now we find that although the rate of new claims for employment compensation is slowly moving down, the expected increase in business activity is almost absent. This is understandable, as we have only just entered Phase 3 in our recovery process.
What is missing beyond the Phase 3 restrictions is the reality that it’s the richest Americans who have cut their spending the most during this pandemic, which is limiting the economic recovery to a larger degree than in past recessions. Unlike other recessions, this one has decimated the service sector, which depends increasingly on consumption by those at the top.
So what kind of businesses are we talking about? Mainly small firms, contractors, and professionals who provide services to wealthy people in relatively wealthy neighborhoods—high-end restaurants, boutique and fashion shops, spas, gyms, therapists, theaters, florists, and so on.
Data from daily credit card receipts (tracked by ZIP codes) broken down by average household income show that the top 25% of wealth-related ZIP codes are spending dramatically less than those getting the first stimulus checks, presumably not the wealthy. The average personal savings rate has skyrocketed to an unprecedented 33% in April. And nearly all of this gain has come from the affluent.
Much of this money now flowing into banks would have been spent in restaurants, hotels, and other suffering service businesses. Additionally, half of the consumption decline in April and May came from the top quartile of households, and over half the spending decline in the current recession is coming from the top 20% income group.
Many empty stores were making our village look shabby enough and now, to add to the toll, additional ‘Vacancy’ and ‘For Rent’ signs are something that many of us do not want to see. The face-to-face contact required to produce many goods and services in the service sector came to an abrupt end once people decided to stay home. It’s time to come together as a community and support the commercial tax-paying businesses in the Plaza by shopping either in person or via orders delivered.
Controlling the coronavirus is not sufficient. Spending won’t recover unless people feel safe. We must all use mask-wearing as the best and least expensive economic stimulus program available to us.
Recognizing that this presents a real problem for businesses in which crowds and small spaces are unavoidable, we must be cognizant of the fact that senior citizens, and those with health conditions that make them more vulnerable, are concerned and afraid when they see large numbers of unmasked people walking around in public.
Legal mandates aside, we should always be respectful of our senior relatives, friends, and neighbors. Cooperating by wearing masks seems to be the least we, as residents and visitors to the Plaza, can do to stem the slow but menacing decay of our long-neglected downtown area.
Doing nothing is not a viable option. We may not have many good choices now, but we simply have to pick the best that we can as of today. We have an excellent option for creating a brighter future in Great Neck Plaza by voting in a new administration at the next village election—one that will energetically and realistically address the real needs and concerns of this community.
You can make a difference on September 15th. Your voice and your vote are the only way we can effect the changes we need in Great Neck Plaza
Stores are finally opening up again and it’s a testament to the resilience and resourcefulness of our Plaza merchants—especially to those restaurant owners who have managed to persevere through the prospect of a complete closedown, to a partial opening of take-out and delivery only, and now to outdoor seating, with the hope of a full (although somewhat restricted) reopening.
However, it now seems that due to unintended consequences of federal government intervention, many workers are not reporting back to work, but instead are staying off the job and collecting unemployment insurance—which in many cases is almost equal to or higher than their previous salaries. What’s a restaurant owner to do when workers don’t come back to work? How can they operate their businesses without a full staff of employees?
What has our Plaza administration done to help when we, the residents and visitors to our town, want to frequent the restaurants in town but find that the restaurants cannot accommodate them for lack of staff? And, what does a builder, plumber, electrician, or remodeler/handyman do when they can’t get the help to work on necessary jobs?
Village officials should be taking the lead and doing what they were elected to do, not providing excuses or pointing fingers. They should not be reactive. A proactive administration would consider such things as creating and publicizing a Job Board, listing all the openings in town that are available, along with the requisite skills that each job entails. That’s something that would help all of us.
Other villages have taken advantage of the lack of activity in their towns by engaging in long-needed maintenance, while the Plaza administration can’t seem to find the energy to create schedules that would direct Plaza workers to keep our town from looking shabby, leaving dirty streets and unsightly weeds growing throughout our area.
We need an administration that will seek out solutions to the real issues that affect all of us.
The COVID 19 epidemic has had a huge impact on our Village of Great Neck Plaza, as it has had all over the world. June 10 is the scheduled start of Phase 2 in the ongoing effort in Nassau County to get business re-opened and all of us back to some semblance of normalcy. We have to open up the county, from both a medical and economic perspective.
In addition to the tragic toll visited upon the inhabitants of senior assisted living and nursing home facilities, we’ve experienced both resident and employee deaths and near-deaths. Continuing lockdowns may cause more deaths for other reasons. The economic pain is real and obvious. Thankfully, our County Executive, Laura Curran, has instituted several steps to aid in the business recovery through financial assistance programs and now some new rules regarding outdoor dining for restaurants.
People have to participate by leaving home to visit stores, restaurants, etc. They have to feel safe doing so, but we have to open up smartly. We also have to realize who is at risk and take care of them responsibly. We need to be more aware of our neighbors and their needs, doing what we can to help. We have to create a sense of security for everyone, even if that means minor personal annoyances that we might think unjustified.
Wearing a mask, while admittedly annoying and uncomfortable, gives others confidence, especially older people. Many seniors in our area are fortunate to have disposable income, and we all need them to be confident and participate in the economy. Seeing crowds of unmasked people is frightening to a large part of the population. It encourages them to stay home and cut spending, which further delays our economic recovery. We will get back to normal much faster if we all cooperate and help the vulnerable people return to society without undue fear.
Working together, let’s move forward to the time when we can all feel safe in putting this stressful time behind us.
Taking exercise walks around town it has been heartening to see that most of our residents are heeding the wise advice of our national government and staying indoors; and when they venture out, they are keeping a safe social distance between themselves and others. We are doing the right and smart thing. We should all stay with this program.
The recent recommendation to continue to remain indoors until the end of April and avoiding contact with others as much as possible, seems to be both prudent and necessary. Worldwide reporting of the spread of this as yet incurable virus is at a minimum growing and at worst possibly under-reported by several countries.
During this stressful time, our committee decided to add as much helpful information, suggested guidelines and tips as possible to our website, (www.Revivegreatneckplaza.com).
Please keep yourselves informed and stay safe. Once we’re well past the crest of medical necessity, we’ll have time to address other matters of concern. Our sincerest prayers go out to all as we look forward to better times ahead.
Wishing everyone good health,
Revive Great Neck Plaza