Uncontested Great Neck elections draw few voters

Janelle Clausen
Pam Marksheid, as seen at a previous board of trustees meeting, was one of 14 village officials re-elected in the March 2018 elections. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)
Pam Marksheid, as seen at a previous board of trustees meeting, was one of 14 village officials re-elected in the March 2018 elections. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

Races for 16 positions across the Great Neck peninsula went largely uncontested on Tuesday, with 14 incumbents facing no opponents and the other two candidates running unopposed to secure two-year terms.

A total of 283 people cast ballots in the villages, which according to the U.S. Census Bureau are estimated to have a total population of 15,404.

The plurality of the votes were cast in Great Neck Plaza, with an estimated population of 6,924, where incumbent Mayor Jean Celender – serving in that role since 2000 and on the board since 1984– was re-elected with 112 votes.

Deputy Mayor Ted Rosen, who has been a trustee since 1985, received 113 votes, Pam Marksheid got 112, and there were eight write-in votes, seven of which were for trustees.

Marksheid, who has served as a trustee since 2008, said it’s not uncommon for elections on the Great Neck peninsula to have low voter turnout – something she said was both “pretty shocking” and “unfortunate.”

In the case of Great Neck Plaza, Marksheid said she believes it was a combination of people being content and some uninterested. But, she said, she was grateful to those who came out and looks forward to continuing to serve.

“It was uncontested and I think they know that we’re dedicated for the people living in the Great Neck Plaza,” Marksheid said.

Marksheid said the village board plans to change its zoning code for two of its districts to continue transit-oriented initiatives, complete a transportation enhancement project near Shop Delight and help keep stores opening up this term.

The Village of Saddle Rock, population 868, saw the highest turnout as a percentage of population, with 43 votes cast for incumbent Trustee Kamran Barelli and Ronen Ben-Josef, respectively.

Ben-Josef ran uncontested for the trustee seat of Manny Alani, who did not file papers for re-election.

Susan Lopatkin, the mayor of Kensington since 2008, was re-elected with 36 votes in a village that has an estimated 1,176 people. Thirty-nine people voted in total.

Neil Garfinkel, an attorney who has served on Kensingon’s Zoning Board of Appeals for five years, ran an uncontested race to join the Board of Trustees. He secured 34 votes and will be taking the seat of Philip Bornstein, who declined to seek re-election.

Trustee Jeffrey Greener, who has served since 2012, won re-election with 38 votes, while village Justice Richard Dennett secured re-election with 35 votes.

A total of 30 people voted in Thomaston, with an estimated population of 2,737, with Deputy Mayor James Sharkey receiving 19 votes and Trustee To-On Pang getting 30 votes. Both races were uncontested.

In Russell Gardens, with an estimated population of 879, Trustees David Miller and Matthew Ellis each secured 26 votes and village Justice Allen Cohen was re-elected with 27 votes. All races were uncontested.

In Great Neck Estates, with an estimated population of 2,820, 22 people voted in an uncontested race for Trustee Howard Hershenhorn and 23 people for Trustee Lanny Oppenheim. Both were re-elected.

The villages of Great Neck, Kings Point and Lake Success will hold their elections in June.

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