subscribe to the Great Neck Record

Re Facebook Anti-Semitism Post

By now, most readers of this newspaper have learned about the Facebook graphic on which a student, from outside the Great Neck district, drew symbols of Nazism. Many in our town responded vocally to this blatant act of anti-Semitism. Although some among us responded (both verbally and in print) a little too impulsively and without knowledge of the facts, most responded out of grave and passionate concern. Continuous acts of hatred, whether directed at Jews or other religious and ethnic groups, have no place in Great Neck nor in any community. Fortunately, the school administration responded immediately. There will never be unanimity when it comes to determining an appropriate and just response to such heinous acts, but we encourage the school leadership to continue teaching both students and parents about the values of tolerance and respect we so dearly cherish.

When someone commits a bias crime, that crime affects all of us, and not exclusively the religious or ethnic community to which that crime was directed. To live in Great Neck means that we commit to living in a diverse community and that we take responsibility for enhancing the quality of life for all people. As representative of the Great Neck clergy, I urge colleagues of all faith groups to join together in ongoing dialogue; so that we may help address all issues of intolerance and bias, regardless of to whom that bias is directed.

On a positive note: Although we tend to publicize incidents of intolerance, I want to share a wonderful illustration of how diversity can bring us together. In February, the South Middle School held its annual Cultural Heritage Night. The first part of the evening included an impressive display of the food and culture which reflected the various ethnic communities in the school. The latter part of the evening was devoted to dances performed by Middle School students; dances which also reflected our ethnic diversity, Hispanic, Greek, Armenian, Russian, Chinese, Korean and Israeli to name a few. As I was honored to choreograph the Israeli dance, I watched not only the performers, but the students (most of the school, I believe). Following each performance, students applauded wildly and with great pride. One dance was performed by a single male student, dressed in the clothing of his family’s culture. During and following his performance, no one laughed or spoke derisively. This boy received a loud reception when he finished; every student in the auditorium appreciated his efforts. Perhaps I missed a larger picture, but from my vantage point, I only witnessed pride, joy and a celebration of diversity.

We in Great Neck will confront many challenges in the years ahead, including our response to diversity issues. Unfortunately, there will be (hopefully isolated) incidents of bias not only against Jews, but against other groups living in our town. My hope is that together we will combat the evils of racial, religious and ethnic bias, so that we can remain proud of our community and even prouder of the diversity within.

Rabbi Michael Klayman, Lake Success Jewish Center, Great Neck Clergy Association president

Plaza Trustees Thank You

We want to thank our residents for their continued support in the election for village trustee. The village experienced higher than typical turnout, and that’s a win for grassroots democracy.

We value the continued trust you have placed in us. We take the responsibility associated with that trust with the utmost seriousness.

We urge all residents and other concerned individuals to stay involved in Plaza government by attending the bimonthly meetings of the board of trustees at Village Hall, volunteering for a resident committee and communicating your concerns and thoughts to us. We pledge to keep the lines of communication open to everyone.

Lawrence Katz,
Gerry Schneiderman

 

Saving Public Ed

I am writing this letter as a retired teacher who has been disheartened to watch the profession I love maligned, discredited and blamed for educational problems that occur mostly in areas of poverty.

Currently it appears that our policies in education are being dictated by the testing industry, politicians and well-meaning philanthropists like Bill Gates, not by those professionals who are trained to teach and spend their lives developing ways to improve learning. The testing industry has made hoards of money designing tests which has resulted in a narrower and test-driven curriculum. Now the governor is suggesting that 50 percent of teacher evaluations be based on testing results. This means the curriculum will be further stripped of any creativity or imagination, and will instead hold children’s minds hostage to the profit-driven testing industry.

I do not say there are no problems or inequities in education, or that all teachers are adequate. As in any profession there is a wide range of ability and talent. However, it seems absurd to punish everyone for a minority of inadequate staff. Better to find more effective ways of weeding them out. The governor’s attempt to extend the probationary period for tenure from three years to five is simply another method of curtailing tenure and weakening teachers’ unions. Unions are essential to protecting workers and helping workers move into the middle class. The Republicans and also some Democrats might do well to look at this issue and re-evaluate their positions on unions.

Where students struggle, the common denominator is poverty. Correcting the state’s failure to provide adequate resources to less advantaged areas should be the objective of this budget season. Instead, the governor wishes to provide tax relief for private education and drain more money out of public education by giving a 4.8 percent boost to charter schools. Some charter schools are very successful but many are not. We do not see a push for a more meaningful evaluation of the effectiveness of charter schools before more money is allocated to them.

Many of us have come through public education, city colleges and state colleges and have done well, contributed to our communities and would have found it to be an impossible journey without public education. Therefore, I also speak for no cuts in higher education in our SUNY and CUNY systems which have provided us with numerous Nobel Prize winners.

We need the active participation of our legislators and citizens to protect and support all areas of public education in our state, and to thwart the governor’s attempt to demolish public education.

Charlotte Sear

 

Sone’s Laundromat

Great Neck really is great! I went to the bank yesterday and withdrew $500. When I returned home the money was gone. I searched and called stores to find the money, all to no avail. Several hours later, I went to pick up my laundry at Sone’s Laundromat at 4 Welwyn Rd. The owner, Kay, asked me if I was missing any money. There it was!! Kay would not take a reward and I thank him for his honesty and integrity. What a nice town.

—Gerry Schneiderman

 

Plaza Incumbents Endorsed

I strongly endorse trustees Gerry Schneiderman and Larry Katz for the Great Neck Plaza election. I have attended many board meetings at the Plaza. No matter what is in front of the board, the mayor and trustees always asks for input from the public. Each person is given time and opinions are listened to and valued.  A recent example was when the gym in the shopping center closed and Planet Fitness wanted to open. There were many meetings with every seat taken. Each person who wanted to speak, was allowed. All their concerns were included in the conditional use permit regarding operating time, safety issues and use of tanning beds. This village has representatives that listen and are inclusive. These trustees are diligent in being fiscally responsible. Since the governor passed his 2 percent tax cap, every village, town, school district, library district and special districts has had to pass a law giving them the right to override if needed when their budget is completed. But, this board never overrode it and did not raise village taxes in six out of eight years. In addition, safety is a major concern for the residents and over $4 million of government money has been secured to address that. I know the bump-outs, roundabouts, and redesign of Great Neck Road has led to a reduction in pedestrian injuries as confirmed by NYS. I love going to the events the village organizes, whether it is the summer weekly concerts, restaurant weeks or the many outdoor dining promenades. We need the continued expertise, honesty and dedication Schneiderman and Katz have give to Great Neck Plaza. Please vote for them to continue as trustees.

Eileen S. Falk

For Lawrence Katz

I’m writing to express my support for Lawrence Katz in the upcoming Great Neck Plaza trustee election.

I am a resident and business owner in the Plaza for many years. Larry has always been supportive of the merchants in the Plaza. He and his family shop in the Plaza. He cares about the Plaza maintaining its vibrant and prosperous downtown; a place where there is a positive atmosphere for all to gather, shop, eat and enjoy. With the goal of helping local businesses and all residents, Larry has supported low Plaza taxes, even in challenging economic times; physical improvements to infrastructure; and investment and private development in the downtown area.

Please join me in voting to re-elect Lawrence Katz as trustee of Great Neck Plaza on March 18.

Marnie Filler Ives, Kron Chocolatier

Schneiderman Supporter

I am writing to support Gerry Schneiderman for village trustee in the March 18, Village of Great Neck Plaza election.

As a former Village of Great Neck Plaza trustee for over 10 years, I am deeply aware of the time and commitment it takes to be effective in the trustee position. I have known Gerry for over 30 years and have seen both his strong character and the dedication and experience he brings to capitalizing on the opportunities and addressing the challenges facing the village.

I urge all village residents to vote on March 18, and to support Gerry so he can continue to serve all village residents.

David Weiss

Praise For His Mail Carrier

On Thursday, March 5, everyone had to deal with a long and difficult snow that did not end until 6 p.m.. I was out all day long shoveling. Many of my neighbors went to work and had not yet even returned home to begin shoveling. Our local villages, Town of North Hempstead and Nassau County were still struggling to clear the roads. While sipping  hot chocolate by our fire place around 5 p.m., I was surprised to hear a thump by my mail box. How pleasant to see that Roland, our favorite mailman serving the Lakeville community (adjacent to Lakeville Elementary School by the Great Neck/Little Neck city line), was able to deliver our mail. Recently retired, I have come to enjoy not only our excellent local library system, but receipt of our six-day-per-week mail. A day without mail is a day without sunshine! I can fully appreciate the life line and connection between senior citizens, retirees and your local mailman. Hats off to Roland and all the other brave mail deliverers who still made their appointed rounds, despite eight inches of snow by many homes and sidewalks, with no clear shoveled paths. You are all true unsung heroes!

Larry Penner

For Schneiderman and Katz

As an immigrant, I really respect the democratic process in America, and as someone with an engineering background, I believe in the classic theory that says “if it is not broken don’t fix it.”

I have great admiration for the village government of Great Neck Plaza. To me they are a model. Take a look at the roads, facilities, magnificent and well-planned buildings, caring and involved village hall, etc. No wonder  people want to live in the Plaza and invest in the Plaza.

I have attended their trustee meetings numerous times to observe their handling of the new stores and permit applications, as well as new building projects hearings. They have always impressed me with their efficiency, objectivity, detailed analysis, toughness, involvement and above all, being pro business and development.

They meet twice a month, which is extremely helpful in expediting the applications and they are tough and objective when they don’t see a store or a development project that can benefit the village. I have personal experience. I had a project denied because of density and traffic issues, and I had a project approved at a much smaller scope than originally applied for. Later on, I realized that they were correct in their analysis.

As a landlord, I truly  appreciate their building department’s oversight of the buildings maintenance in terms of compliance with the fire and safety annual inspections. The Plaza building department also has a reputation among homeowners and developers as being the toughest and most strict in terms of code compliance, but helpful in sharing their expertise in construction methods and moving the project to a timely conclusion.

I don’t know about the qualifications and the experiences of the candidates running against trustees Gerry Schneiderman and Lawrence Katz and respect those who volunteer to serve their community , but I reiterate my prior point: why fix it when it is not broken?

Katz brings in his expertise from serving on the Board of Zoning and Appeals. Schneiderman brings service to the community. Talk about qualification: any moment. WENDY PLEASE CLARIFY

I asked Gerry the number of store vacancies, types of pending applications, the business trends in downtown, and the reason for success and or failures of the stores, he had the facts and figures.

Talk about dedication: Schneiderman was present at every new stores’ grand opening in the Plaza that I attended. No matter time of the day.

Although I express my opinion only and not the organizations that I serve, I have no doubt that Schneiderman and Katz’s constituents share my opinion that the choice is clear and they deserve re-election.

Hooshang Nematzadeh, president, Great Neck Chamber of Commerce and trustee, Village of Kings Point

For Israel

President Obama, former Democratic Senate Majority leader Harry Reid and former Democratic House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi have had plenty of opportunity to extend an invitation for Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress. We are living day to day in a time of internal crises between the growing terrorist threats of ISIS, Hezbollah, Al-Qaeda and Iran on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons. Republican House Speaker John Boehner has extended an invitation to Netanyahu to address Congress. Pelosi’s first public reaction was to say she wasn’t sure if she or other Democratic members of Congress would attend. Within days, Pelosi backpedals and says she will attend, but with a caveat. Many other Democratic Congress members may not be able to attend because “It’s not a high-priority item for them with all the other important work going on.” Vice President Joseph Biden says he has a previously scheduled engagement out of town and will not be able to attend.

Actions speak louder than words. Israel is our most reliable ally in the Middle East and world today. Now is the time for all elected officials, Democrat or Republican, to stand up and show their support. There is no excuse for not being able to find a hour or two to attend. Let’s see if Senators Chuck Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand and all members of the New York Congressional delegation vote with their feet and attend. Friends of Israel should remember who showed and who didn’t show up when they stand for re-election in 2016. Any elected official who fails to show is tref to the Jewish community and Israel. They are not worthy of your vote.

Larry Penner