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Post-Sandy needs key in Lawrence elections

Superstorm Sandy's destructive effects on Lawrence Village and need for improvements in emergency communications and infrastructure top the list of concerns among the three candidates -- one incumbent and a pair of challengers -- running in Tuesday's village elections.

The candidates vying for two two-year trustee seats on the five-member board include incumbent Michael A. Fragin, who is running on the Good Government Party line. Newcomers Alex H. Edelman and David J. Seidemann are newcomers running on the Unity Party line.

Fragin, 39, a communications and government relations consultant, has served five years on the board and is running for a third full term. Fragin, who has lived in the village since 1999, said he plans to make improvements to the village's emergency response plan.

"While still recovering from Sandy, we need to target some of the issues that arose," said Fragin, an EMT with the Hatzolah Volunteer Ambulance Corps and a former member of Lawrence-Cedarhurst Fire Department. "The village lacks a comprehensive emergency plan and needs to improve on evacuation plans and communications."

Fragin also said he wants to build playgrounds, update zoning codes, use social media, and offer the ability to apply for permits and pay tickets online.

"We need to bring the government into the 21st century," Fragin said. "We live in a 24-hour world. There is a lot that people should be able to do from their computer."

Edelman, 64, owner of several health care, transportation and payroll businesses, said he wants to address LIPA's post-Sandy responsiveness and needed repairs in the village.

"Many blocks in Lawrence were very dark for many months," said Edelman, who has lived in Lawrence for 10 years. The village and LIPA sparred for months about who was responsible for streetlight outages. "They [LIPA] have not cooperated with us and we need to communicate more with LIPA."

Edelman said other goals are to install brighter streetlights and advocate for better garbage pickup and more police patrols. The vice president of New York State United Ambulette Coalition said he also wants to address traffic and congestion on roads like Rockaway Turnpike.

Seidemann, 54, a senior partner with a law firm, said Sandy pointed out the need to upgrade the village's power lines and to address drainage issues. Seidemann, who has been a resident of Lawrence for 12 years, said he would push the board to commission a study to look into updating evacuation routes.

"The village was unprepared for the storm," said Seidemann, who serves as an alternate on the village's zoning board. "I'm not saying it is the village's fault. Some of it might be on LIPA and the county."

Seidemann said he also would look into placing more traffic lights and stop signs at dangerous intersections, paving additional roadways, and planting trees to help prevent flooding. The business law adjunct college professor said he would also advocate for the expansion or relocation of the local library and offer more services for seniors and teenagers.

Voting is Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Lawrence Village Hall, 196 Central Ave.


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