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1919 Agreement Challenged

Residents have mixed reactions to run-off elections

Three Garden City Property Owners’ Associations ran run-off elections on Tuesday, Jan. 29 due to unprecedented challenges by two residents and a current trustee.

Garden City operates under a non-political form of government called the Community Agreement, with origins dating back to 1919. The mayor and board of trustees, as well as members of various boards and commissions, are village residents who are nominated by four POAs (Western, Estates, Central and Eastern) and serve without compensation. This is a typically unchallenged process, though the last two years have resulted in challenges and run-off elections.

Village Clerk Brian Ridgway advised that three simultaneous run-off elections and one made by a sitting trustee was unusual. Ridgway is election officer for village elections annually held in March. This year’s election, for the slate of run-off winners, will be held on March 19.

This year residents residing in the West headed to the polls, for a run-off election, to vote for their mayoral candidate while Estates and Eastern residents voted for their trustee.

Resident Greg Blair challenged trustee John DeMaro, the Estates POA’s nominee, while Francine Ryan ran against Dennis Donnelly, the Eastern POA’s candidate. Sitting trustee Larry Quinn challenged John Watras for mayor. Watras was unanimously nominated by the Western POA.

Residents at polling locations had mixed reactions to the run-off elections.

Voter Maureen Moynihan, of the Western section, found the run-offs an opportunity to come together and be supportive.

“It’s a positive sign for residents to have a desire for these positions and the run-offs allow us to make our own decision.”

Western resident Joan Collins described the run-offs as “democracy in action” and conceded that the village’s Community Agreement is unique.

“It’s good to rock the boat,” shared Collins. “I know both of the Western candidates to be of high character. They are good citizens with different approaches who are committed to volunteerism.”

However, fellow resident, Michael O’Conor felt the run-offs went against the spirit of the way the governing process was set up.

“The POA candidates are tremendously well qualified and a challenge is inappropriate,” added O’Conor.

Jonathan Kashimer, co-commissioner of the Western POA, said the overall feeling of the election was quite positive, describing the polling center as a lively atmosphere.

“I’m proud of the community involvement and excited about our residents’ participation in the process.”

Volunteers, including board of education members Tom Pinou and Barbara Trapasso, came out to lend a hand and support the property associations’ efforts.

Estates resident Barbara McElroy relayed that any opportunity for an open election is healthy but decried the “old guard” system.

“It’s time for the Community Agreement to be challenged for the farce that it is,” said McElroy.

Perhaps that comment holds a grain of truth among residents. The facts are that out of 16,000 registered voters in the village, 1,529 voted in the three run-offs resulting in a 9.5 percent turnout.

News

The Garden City Chamber of Commerce is gearing up for the 35th annual Fall Festival Street Fair set for Saturday, Oct. 25 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Seventh Street. The chamber thanks the Garden City Hotel which will serve as the primary event sponsor.

JGS entertainment will return for the 16th year as master ceremonies providing music and vocals. There will be plenty of activities for the kids. Included will be the return of the two trackless trains carrying children 12 years of age and younger up and down Seventh Street sponsored by Coach Realtors and Garden City Teachers Association. There will be the traditional inflatable bouncy house sponsored by SMPL Technologies and the ever-popular money cube sponsored by Calogero’s and Leo’s. The Garden City Parks and Recreation Department will have giveaways and temporary tattoos.

Ever since the Garden City School District passed a $36.8 million School Investment Bond back in 2009, the upgrades throughout the district have been quite substantial. And while most of it has gone towards infrastructure, external visible improvements have rightfully been a source of pride for the board, which has taken to conducting tours at the different schools preceding the monthly public meetings that are normally held at Garden City High School. On the night of the school board meeting held on Tuesday, Oct. 14  at the Homestead Building, the school board, administration and Superintendent Dr. Robert Feirsen went on a guided tour of the building by Homestead Principal Dr. Suzanne Viscovich.

Feirsen described the tour as a new tradition started last year where administration travels around each of the district’s school buildings in the Fall to observe its current offerings and recent upgrades.


Sports

Reminder

With the fall sports season upon us, the department of recreation and parks would like to remind all residents that pets are not allowed in any neighborhood parks, Community Park, or St. Paul’s fields. Non compliance with this rule will result in the issuance of appearance tickets.

Register For The Online Registration Option

Garden City’s Department of Recreation and Parks will offer the option of online registration with credit card payment beginning with its winter programs in early December.

In order for a family to use the online registration option, the family will first need to visit the recreation and parks office at 108 Rockaway Ave. to verify residency and their family information and receive their password.  A list of instructions as to how to use the website will be included.

Stretching tips for the high school athlete

Prior to the start of high school running season, Garden City’s Physical Therapy Options (PTO) had an opportunity to provide a presentation to members of Sacred Heart Academy’s cross country team. Team members gathered at Garden City’s New York Running Company to learn strategies and tips for a successful fall season.

PTO staff members Dr. Meghan Goetz, Doctor of Physical Therapy, and PTO Aide Mike Murphy discussed the importance of stretching to prevent injury and provided strategies and tips for success for the high school runner.


Calendar

Garden City High School Homecoming

Saturday, October 25

Marvelous Movie Matinée

Monday, October 27

A Map Of Artistic Inspiration

Saturday, November 1



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com