Readers Write: Bral, his divisive remarks

The Island Now

It was disturbing to learn that during the run-up to the recent library elections, Pedram Bral, mayor of the village of Great Neck, had once again put his political thumb on the scale of fairness.

As he had done during the school budget controversy a few years ago, Bral used his position as mayor of a small village to influence the outcome of a political contest having nothing whatever to do with his official duties.

But it, unfortunately, has appeared to many that Mayor Bral believes his election entitled him to a crown and scepter, as well as a gavel.

Private citizens may, and do, express themselves on whatever public issues they wish. But when elected officials presume to throw their weight around on matters having no connection with their official business, then one wonders what exaggerated sense of their own importance is fueling such interference.

Much worse, it has become apparent that Bral, despite his frequent solemn sermons on the need for a kinder, gentler community, is himself our most obvious village practitioner of abusive, sometimes virulent, ad hominem attacks on those who do not applaud his every move.

Residents who have had the gall to criticize this mayor have often found themselves the targets of shockingly inappropriate accusations. In our largely Jewish community, Bral has repeatedly used the word “anti-Semitic” to describe other residents of the Jewish faith who have criticized him.

For a civic “leader” to openly engage in such antagonistic name-calling is gradually poisoning our atmosphere.

Although resistance to this type of verbal harassment is growing, the threat of being called a bigot or an anti-Semite has already cast a chill on some residents’ desire to participate in local politics.

One has only to look at the treatment accorded one of the recent library candidates to wonder if the risk of possible public slander is worth it. Of course, the better outcome would be for public officials to resist the urge to exaggerate their influence, as well as their expertise.

Some of the ugliest opinions circulated in the library election would probably never been circulated if Bral had not interjected himself in library business.

Perhaps the mayor will instead take his own advice and refrain from creating discord and divisiveness as a method of defending his political turf.

Elizabeth Allen

Great Neck

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