I am feeling nostalgic for a bygone age when leaders actually led. At a time when most of us suffer from information overload, we often fail to recognize the minutiae of the world around us. And we very often ignore the telltale signs that history does in fact repeat itself.
As I mentioned in a previous letter, for the past 10 years this village has not elected a trustee that wasn’t first appointed by Mayor Jean Celender: Gerry Schneiderman in 2000; Shelly Goodman in 2007; Rafe Lieber in 2008; Pam Marksheid in 2009; and Marion Green in 2010. Some went on to resign; others went on to be elected.
When complacency takes hold, as it has been allowed to do in the Plaza for the past decade, the very decisions that affect our property values and our quality of life begin to be made based on political ego that only addresses the needs of a few interested parties – those few include Gerry Schneiderman and Marion Green who count on a village paycheck and pension to serve as part-time trustees (and a part-time mayor that draws a full-time salary).
Gerry Schneiderman considers his 10-year reign of terror successful because he arranged to fix a few broken bricks on a sidewalk, supported Restaurant Week by eating out a few times, picked out a few flower pots for the village, and cashed about $100,000 in village paychecks. As a taxpayer, I am not sure that qualifies as a good return on our investment.
Let the suffering stop. A statement that might sound overblown to some, but one that is based on the notion that our local government has failed us. In fact, our local leaders are so disinterested in the needs of this community that they simply refuse to discuss their positions on the issues at hand and explain why they have imposed legislation as they have.
Gerry Schneiderman and Marion Green are a big part of the problem. They do what they can to ensure low voter turnout as they refuse to debate those that challenge them. Instead, they rely heavily on absentee ballots by a group of people who are discouraged from knowing that they have options, particularly those in the assisted living centers. And they have spent years working to ensure that our local government is less than transparent as they draw stately salaries and full benefits for their very part-time work.
At a time when many of us count our homes (apartments and houses all the same) as our most significant and important investment, we should be appalled that as a community, we have allowed the value of that investment to be driven by a group of financially inept trustees who have done everything possible to erode the business district that keeps our taxes at bay and our home values high.
As we go forward, I hope this community will rise up against political greed and ineffectiveness, and turn toward a local system that is transparent and open. In March 2011 help send the mayor a clear message that her reign is coming to a political end and that she will in fact be held accountable for her actions.
In March 2011, give the people of Great Neck Plaza what they deserve by voting Gerry Schneiderman and Marion Green out of office. It’s time to finally give the people of the Plaza a voice in local government.