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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

In an earlier column, Mayor John Watras shared some helpful tips on how to secure your property in preparation for a hurricane. The following are additional recommendations on what you can do now to be prepared in the event that a major storm hits Long Island.

As the storm approaches, customers should take the following steps to prepare for the arrival of either a hurricane or tropical storm:

New online company debuts

Two Long Island childhood friends, Scott Reich and Michael Winik, recently left their respective careers as an attorney and investment banker to pursue their dream of starting a business together, online food market OurHarvest.

“When Mike and I decided to start a business, we knew it had to reflect our shared love of food, address the lifestyles of our fellow Long Islanders, and be socially responsible,” said Reich.


Sports

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.

The league started on Saturday, Sept. 13 at Garden City’s Tullamore Park. It runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. A uniform shirt and soccer balls are provided. Cleats and soccer shorts are recommended and players must wear shin guards. Age groups range from pre-k through 12th grade. Garden City residents and non-Garden City residents are welcome. Middle school and high school age volunteers are needed. No soccer experience is necessary. If you have any other questions, please contact Andy Garger at ajgarger@verizon.net or 516-775-8058.

— Submitted by the Challenger Soccer League


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