Katz says Plaza safety, businesses need assistance, Rosen defends village’s efforts

Katz says Plaza safety, businesses need assistance, Rosen defends village’s efforts
Village of Great Neck Plaza Mayor Ted Rosen (left) is running for re-election against village resident Leonard Katz (right) in the upcoming March elections. (Photos courtesy of Hi Tech Studios and Marc Katz)

Village of Great Neck Plaza Mayor Ted Rosen is running for re-election against resident Leonard Katz less than two years after their controversial mayoral race.

Rosen, a practicing lawyer, was first appointed to the Board of Trustees in 1985 and was elected to replace longtime Mayor Jean Celender against Katz in a 2020 election that was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. Katz, a Great Neck resident since 1971, has served as the president of the Great Neck Rotary Club, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce’s Community and Government Relations Committee and treasurer of the United Parent Teacher Council.

Katz, who was critical of the village’s efforts to aid its business district in the 2020 election, said “public health and pedestrian safety” are prominent issues he wants to address if elected.

“Concomitant with that is repairing dangerous infrastructure, which includes anchoring loose bricks in our sidewalks, repairing our crumbling curbsides, and attending to the various places in our village where the back-up of water after a heavy storm causes serious problems for pedestrians, motorists and buildings,” Katz said in a press release.

Katz also called for more transparency in the village and said he will prioritize responding to residents and business owners in a timely manner. Doing so, he said, will help fill the Plaza’s businesses.

“Responding to the needs of residents will be a top priority in my administration,” Katz said. “Supporting and revitalizing our local businesses is essential to the health of our local economy and our team pledges to work hard to remove the overly burdensome regulations that deter our ability to attract quality businesses to fill our empty storefronts.”

Rosen, in a press release, said the village has made “tremendous progress” in efforts to make Great Neck Plaza a safer place to live with the help of the Nassau County Police Department.

“We have undertaken major renovation projects to improve the village’s infrastructure, worked to improve traffic and pedestrian safety, practiced fiscal restraint in an era of inflationary pressures, continued to provide high quality services to our residents and businesses, worked closely with the Nassau County Police Department and have provided programs that make the Plaza a very special place to live, work and shop,” Rosen said.

Rosen also said the village was ranked the best place to live in New York by Niche.com last year and received an overall A+ grade. Various initiatives, including a “Prosper in Great Neck Plaza” program, have also been launched since Rosen was elected in September 2020.

“We have focused on improving the downtown vitality of our Village by taking significant steps to attract new businesses to our Village and to provide important support to the existing businesses to help them succeed and continue in business,” Rosen said.

Katz said he has become “disillusioned with the results of the policies” that have been implemented by the current administration and stressed the need to have new faces and fresh ideas in the village government.

“There needs to be a new energy that comes with new people involved in government because we live in a dynamic society and new times require new, fresh, innovative, and creative ideas,” Katz said. “Our campaign is absolutely set on addressing the issue of term limits, too. We have had administration officials in office, seemingly in perpetuity, for far too long.”

Rosen said now is not the time to have inexperienced individuals running the village.

“This is not the time to turn over Village government to those who have absolutely no governmental experience,” Rosen said. “Running the Village is not, and cannot be, a school to learn how government works.”

Rosen is again running on the United Residents Party line with Deputy Mayor Pamela Marksheid and Trustee Michael Deluccia, while Katz is running under the Revive Great Neck Plaza Party banner along with Jason Hertz and Ruomei Hu for trustee positions.

Katz and his previous running mates ran on a write-in basis during the 2020 election after the party’s election petitions were rejected by the Nassau County Board of Elections.

The board said the petitions had the wrong election date and the date was changed after the petition was signed.

Katz acknowledged the errors, but blamed the incorrect election date on village Clerk-Treasurer Patricia O’Byrne, who he said gave him the wrong date “in early January” 2020.

O’Byrne denied she had provided Katz with the wrong date. She said she initially corrected Katz on the date of the election.

Responding to Katz’s claim, village Attorney Richard Gabriele said Katz was fully to blame for filing election petitions with the wrong date of the election, leading to the disqualification.

Gabriele presented petitions from the Revive Great Neck Plaza Party signed on Jan. 4. The petitions show an “8” written over the originally printed “9” on the election date, which reflected the previous election date of March 18.

This year’s election will take place on March 15 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Village Hall in Gussack Plaza. The mayor and trustee seats each carry two-year terms.

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