Rosen defeats Katz in Great Neck Plaza’s mayoral election

Robert Pelaez
The United Residents Party defeated the Revive Great Neck Plaza Party on Tuesday's election. (Photo courtesy of Hi Tech Headshots)

After serving the Village of Great Neck Plaza as a trustee for more than 30 years, Ted Rosen was elected as mayor on Tuesday, defeating challenger and write-in candidate Leonard Katz.

Rosen, who ran on the United Residents Party line, received 312 votes while Katz received 258, according to the village.  Efforts to reach either candidate for comment were unavailing.

Rosen will succeed longtime Plaza Mayor Jean Celender, who did not seek re-election.  Celender began serving on the Board of Trustees in 1984 and was elected mayor in 2000.

The other members of the United Residents Party, Trustee Pam Marksheid and Michael Deluccia were also elected to the board, defeating Katz’s running mates Marnie Ives and Robert Farajollah.

Marksheid received 310 votes, Deluccia received 306 votes, Ives received 234 votes and Farajollah received 238 votes.

Marksheid was first elected to the board in April 2008 after having served as a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals. A New York City teacher for more than 30 years, she has served as executive vice president of the Great Neck South Middle School PTA, as a delegate to the American Federation of Teachers and as chapter leader of the United Federation of Teachers.

Deluccia, who joined the zoning board 10 years ago, also serves as president for the Cuttermill Road Owners Cooperative board of directors. He said he has been a Great Neck resident for more than 20 years.

During the campaign, the United Residents Party denied opponents’ claims that the Plaza lacked sufficient parking, was unfriendly to businesses and suffered from too many empty storefronts.

Rosen said almost 900 of the 1,622 parking spots in the village are street-metered parking. Rosen said he does not see the empty storefronts as a problem, but rather an area for improvement.

“There are plenty of ways for our village to improve, just like any other village,” he said.  “Filling up those stores with attractive businesses and keeping them there is a way we can improve.”

Rosen said he would hire a downtown recruiter specializing in finding ways for the village to attract and retain new businesses.

“I know from teaching business, a lot of people go into business and are very good at what they do, but not necessarily finance and management,” said Rosen, an associate professor at Queensborough Community College where he teaches business law.  “There are tremendous services out there.  We need to also concentrate on working with businesses that are already in the Plaza to help them succeed.”

The party members denied the claim that the village is unwelcoming to potential new businesses.

“We want businesses here, and we want businesses to stay here,” Rosen said.  “The changes in an online economy have affected downtowns throughout the country, not just us.”

According to figures provided by Rosen, the village has approved all 69 conditional-use permits that have been submitted.

Though Rosen did not have a number for how many of those businesses were still operating, he said the village is much more accommodating than some people believe.

“We have passed new zoning laws to help new businesses come here and build,” Marksheid said. “We are happy to work with people who want to expand or start their businesses in the Plaza.”

Marksheid also said there were misconceptions about empty storefronts in the area.

“A lot of times, people will complain about empty storefronts that aren’t even in our village,” she said.  “There may be a chain reaction with the rest of Middle Neck [Road] but our village can only fix what needs to be fixed in our village.”

When asked about mixed-use developments in the area, Deluccia said that there is not much of an area for developers to come to build upon.

“There have been amendments to the zoning laws to be flexible with business owners,” Deluccia said. “We aren’t anti-business at all, but our main priority in the village is the safety of the residents.”

In the Village of Great Neck, Trustee and current Deputy Mayor Bart Sobel received 85 votes as he ran unopposed for re-election, while Trustee Norman Namdar is not seeking re-election.

Great Neck resident Eli Kashi, who also ran unopposed for the seat previously held by Namdar for seven years, received 122 votes.  Eight write-in votes for various candidates were also submitted.

In the Village of Great Neck Estates, Trustees Lanny Oppenheim and Howard Hershenhorn each won their uncontested races. Oppenheim received 167 votes and Hershenhorn received 171.

Hershenhorn began serving on the board in 2008 and Oppenheim in 2011.

In the Village of Thomaston, incumbent Trustees To-On Pang and James Sharkey won their uncontested races, with Pang receiving 26 votes and Sharkey receiving 27.  Grant H. Siegel and Karen Lynne Siegel each received one vote on a write-in basis.

Sharkey began serving on the board in 2010 and Pang in 2012.

In the Village of Saddle Rock, Trustees Manny Alani and Ronen Ben-Josef each received 43  votes on their way to winning their uncontested elections.

Ben-Josef won an uncontested race for Alani’s seat in 2018 after Alani did not file papers to run. Village Clerk Hinda Goldman said Alani has served on the board “off and on” for the last 15 years.

In the Village of Russell Gardens, Trustees Lawrence Chaleff and Matthew Ellis both won their uncontested elections. Chaleff received 34 votes and Ellis received 33.

Ellis began on the board in 2012, while Chaleff was appointed as deputy mayor this past year.

In the Village of Lake Success, Mayor Adam Hoffman received 82 votes to retain his position. Incumbent Trustee Robert Gal received 78 votes, resident Spyro Dimitratos received 77 votes, and former trustee Fred Handsman received 73 votes as all were elected to the board.

Associate Village Justice Mark Mermel also ran unopposed in his race to fill the seat left vacant by former Village Justice Howard Boris, receiving 81 votes.

In the Village of Kings Point, Mayor Michael Kalnick received 175 votes as he won his uncontested election. Trustees David Harounian and Sheldon Kwiat, who also ran unopposed, received 173 and 167 votes, respectively.

In the Village of Kensington, Mayor Susan Lopatkin, Deputy Mayor Phillip Bornstein, and Trustee Jeffrey Greener all ran unopposed in their elections, but efforts to reach the village for specific totals were unavailing.

Lopatkin began serving on the board in 2008, while Bornstein and Greener have served on the board since 2012.

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