Readers Write: Apathy won in GN mayoral race

The Island Now

The Squire closed. Dozens of restaurants and shops shuttered. Rosen wins. Great Neck suffers.

We could bury our heads under the stack of absentee ballots from assisted-living centers that determined Rosen’s recent win and simply resign ourselves to the fact that yet again, this small village hasn’t elected a mayor based on a mandate or vision or capacity. Instead, as a village, those who determined the election chose to elect someone because mediocrity is an OK place to be. I think I get it. Our garbage is picked up. Our streets are plowed. Our neighborhood is quiet. And some areas remain lovely. We are, for the moment, fine.

Still, we have to ask was this recent election a precursor of what’s to come? Did anyone notice how many ballots in favor of the write-in candidates were disqualified and tossed by the village? With approximately 600 votes cast and 10 percent or so of those never counted, does it really matter? We are fine, aren’t we? This is Great Neck, a place still so overconfident from its long-ago heyday that we sometimes forget there are no places left to shop, few restaurants left to patronize, more empty storefronts than ever before, dangerous road crossings, and a budding homelessness problem surrounding the train station.

This has become a place with no ability to navigate the present crisis so that our community can emerge ready for the future. But we are, for the moment, fine. Our property values and taxes appear to be relatively stable, though our villages are financially insecure. Still, for the moment, we are fine. However, this moment probably won’t last. It never does.

I tend to believe that the recent mayoral election in Great Neck Plaza was a missed opportunity of ordinary proportion. Neither candidate was particularly charismatic. More importantly, neither presented compelling enough ideas to inspire voter turnout. However, Len Katz was charismatic in his ideals. He wanted better for his neighbors. He understood the importance of community engagement. He sought consensus on his positions. He was committed to improving our quality of life. The mayor-elect is the polar opposite – an opinion based not on conjecture but on his actions of 30-plus years in office in this small village.

In this recent round of village voting across our peninsula, most elections were uncontested and, based on the numbers, even more went unnoticed. Beyond Rosen’s $65,000 jackpot, there was one clear winner across Great Neck: apathy.

As we continue to be distracted by the circus that is national politics and as we struggle to carry the burden of human loss and suffering across the country, let’s try to remember not to abandon our community. Though this moment has demanded a great deal of us, there is still so much more to be done. Awaken your soul, your intellect, your curiosity and your desire to do what is right. We residents of Great Neck neglect this community at our own peril.

We still have time to care, think and act. In just a few months, the residents of Great Neck Plaza will have an opportunity to once again elect two new trustees. And shortly thereafter, the entirety of Great Neck will have the opportunity to right the school board and elect two new members of the Great Neck Board of Education.

Michael S. Glickman

Great Neck

 

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