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Five candidates vie for trustee, two for mayor in Great Neck village election

The Village Hall of Great Neck on Baker

The Village Hall of Great Neck on Baker Hill Road is shown on May 29, 2013. Photo Credit: Newsday / JC Cherubini

An insurgent write-in campaign that nearly ousted Great Neck leaders in 2013 has re-emerged this year -- on the ballot.

Challengers in the race for mayor and two trustee seats are advocating new leadership and more affordable housing, and calling for a reversal of zone changes that condensed the business district. Five trustee candidates are running for two spots and two candidates are running for mayor.

The incumbent mayor and two trustees, of the Better Government Party, say their collective experience in government is needed to usher in plans approved under their tenure to attract retail and rental units to the business district, and build a new village hall and public works facility.

Mayor Ralph Kreitzman, 69, senior counsel at Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP in Manhattan, is seeking a fifth two-year term. A key accomplishment, he said, was rezoning parts of the village to allow for more town houses and apartments.

"We want to see this development done appropriately and see our downtown improved," Kreitzman said.

Mayoral challenger Pedram Bral, 45, said the village should be more transparent in its dealings with residents and not rush to make changes.

Bral, director of minimally invasive & robotic gynecologic surgery at Maimonides Medical Center, led a slate of write-in candidates in 2013 that surprised village leaders who were running unopposed.

Running on the Voice of the Village ticket, Bral is joined by trustee candidates Anne Mendelson, 50, a technical product manager at Thompson Reuters who was his write-in running mate in 2013, and Raymond Plakstis Jr., 53, owner of auto shop Doray Enterprises Inc. in Great Neck.

"It's time for a change," Bral said.

He and Mendelson said they would, if elected, review recent rezoning policies and add term limits for village officials.

Plakstis criticized the potential sale of the village hall and says "For a decade this village has declined in its appearance."

The potential sale of the village hall and public works facility has become an election issue. Voice of the Village candidates say a better solution is to renovate them, while Kreitzman said that option is costlier and that selling the facilities would largely cover building new sites. Bridge party trustee candidate Samuel J. Yellis, 56, a teacher at the Village School, is the only candidate not running with others. Yellis said he is wary of overdevelopment and wants to add electric shuttle buses to the village. He also wants to highlight the "Village Green" better to attract merchants.

Incumbent Mitchell B. Beckerman, 62, a trustee who has his own accounting firm in Great Neck, said his fiscal experience is critical. "The village is constantly changing," he said.

Trustee Jeffrey Bass, 65, of Great Neck, owns a consulting firm, Executive Strategies Group LLC, in the village.

The board has created a plan for a walkable downtown and "needed housing for younger residents, and hopefully older residents as well," Bass said.

Key was rezoning a property that allowed AvalonBay Communities to start last week building luxury rentals where fuel tanks had been stored.

Voting in the June 16 village election is from noon to 9 p.m. at Great Neck House, 14 Arrandale Ave.


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