3 Villages To Hold Elections On June 20

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The Villages of Great Neck, Kings Point and Lake Success will hold elections on Tuesday, June 20. Candidates were invited to submit a bio detailing their experiences, along with a picture of themselves. Voting and candidate information follows.

Great Neck
The election for mayor, two trustee seats and village judge will be held at Village Hall, located at 61 Baker Hill Rd. in Great Neck, from noon to 9 p.m.

Mayor Pedram Bral, who did not win the election as a write-in candidate in 2013, but was on the ballot as part of the Village Alliance Party in 2015 and beat out longtime Mayor Ralph Kreitzman for the two-year seat, is up for reelection. Rebecca Rosenblatt Gilliar, Bral’s campaign manager in 2015, will be running against Bral on the Village Unity Party in this year’s election.

Three candidates are running for the two at-large trustee seats of Anne Mendelson and Raymond Plakstis, Jr., each for a two-year term. On Bral’s Village Alliance Party, Trustees Mendelson and the recently appointed Steven Hope, who is completing the term for Deputy Mayor Plakstis—a two-time chief of the Alert Fire Company, who as the result of being a 9/11 first responder, is battling stage IV stomach cancer—along with Adam Harel, who is running on the Village Unity Party with Gilliar.

Village Judge Mark Birnbaum is running unopposed on the Great Neck Greater Village Party for a four-year term.

Kings Point
Two trustees, Ron Horowitz and Hooshang Nematzadeh, are running for uncontested two-year terms. Judge Gary C. Granoff is running uncontested for a four-year term. Elections will be held at Village Hall, located at 32 Steppingstone Lane in Great Neck, from noon to 9 p.m.

Lake Success
Three trustees, Lawrence Farkas, Eugene Kaplan and David Milner, will each be running uncontested for two-year terms. Voting will be taking place at Village Hall, 318 Lakeville Rd. in Great Neck, between the hours of noon and 9 p.m.


Pedram Bral For Village Of Great Neck Mayor

Pedram Bral

It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as mayor of the Village of Great Neck, and I look forward to continuing my service to the residents of the village. Since my election two years ago, I have stabilized the village’s finances by cutting waste, brought business back to the commercial district on Middle Neck Road and made the village government more accessible and responsive toward its residents.

I was able to secure a state grant which provides energy efficient (LED) street lights to the entire Village of Great Neck at no cost to the taxpayer. This will not only increase the safety of our streets, but it will reduce our carbon footprint.

Having grown up in an authoritarian country, I have come to love the benefits that a democracy affords. That is why my commitment to the residents of the village has been an open and transparent government, having public comment at board meetings and meeting with them once a month in a local business establishment. These gatherings have allowed people time to discuss village issues that affect them in a more casual setting, while bringing exposure to the local business host. I have also made myself available via emails, telephone calls and social media to address people’s concerns directly.

I came to the United States as a teenager and worked hard to learn both a new language and my studies. I completed medical school and then a residency in obstetrics and gynecology. I became one of the pioneers in the field of gynecologic robotic surgery and, soon after, I developed and became the director of the fellowship program in minimally invasive gynecologic surgery. I value higher education and accept it as my personal responsibility to educate the next generation with the most advanced and state-of-the-art technology.

I have been a resident of the Village of Great Neck for more than 20 years, and together with my wife, Samira, am raising four children. I appreciate all that Great Neck has to offer, and, as mayor, I would like to continue to eliminate the village’s structural deficit and attract anchor stores that will revitalize our business district to make Great Neck a destination point once again. I would like to keep Great Neck an affordable place to live and maintain the excellent quality of life that the village has to offer. My family and I love this village, and the people in it, and I look forward to continuing my service as your mayor.

—As submitted by the candidate


Rebecca Rosenblatt Gilliar For Village Of Great Neck Mayor

Rebecca Rosenblatt Gilliar

Rebecca Rosenblatt Gilliar is a dynamic and reliable presence in Great Neck, a keen observer of the institutions at the core of this community, a civic activist.

Rebecca was a freelance magazine writer. She produced a television documentary for WNBC and hosted a television series for WCBS. She did artwork on animated children’s films and published her photographs. She was one of the first women to drive a taxicab in New York City.

Rebecca is married to Raymond J. Gilliar, a fourth-generation resident, whose family had phone number One in Great Neck. His roots connected her to the Great Neck community.

The early family businesses in Great Neck included a pharmacy, a liquor store and a miniature golf course. His grandfather was a founder of the Alert and Vigilant volunteer fire departments.

Rebecca’s grandfather was a founder of Ohav Zedek, an orthodox synagogue. Her husband’s uncles put the bronze doors on St. Aloysius Catholic Church here in Great Neck. Their children attended a secular Yiddish after-school program.

She served the Great Neck schools for 12 years as a UPTC chairperson, and she was the photographer for the Girl Scouts.

In 2016, Rebecca saved 18,000 of an untold number of books our library mistakenly discarded, offering them to residents from a Book Bazaar at Great Neck House with the assistance of the Great Neck Park District.

Rebecca is clear-minded and fearless, and she is running for mayor of the Village of Great Neck. She has watched the current mayor disregard the Great Neck Village Zoning Code, the New York State Open Meetings Law and the laws regulating village boards and elections. He reneged on all his promises, and he undermines what we hold dear. This mayor was a mistake, and no one is more disappointed than she is.

—As submitted by the candidate


Anne Mendelson For Village Of Great Neck Trustee

Anne Mendelson

I am honored to be a candidate for reelection to the Great Neck Village Board of Trustees (BOT). For the past two years, I have listened to the issues of the village residents, learning from them and working to devise solutions resolving their problems. In addition to serving as a trustee, I serve on the Architectural Review Committee and I am a representative to the Manhasset Bay Protection Committee, whose purpose is to help preserve and protect the water quality in Manhasset Bay.

I am running for reelection because I wish to continue contributing toward improving the quality of life in the village, listening to residents’ ideas and suggestions, and finding solutions that preserve our environment and living space. Shortly after we were elected, the BOT rewrote the law to provide standards for the protection of trees and people. As a result, there has been better maintenance of trees, protecting both homes and citizens from potential damage.

I currently work as a software product manager for Thomson Reuters. I had previously worked in the defense and software industries before getting my teaching certificate in 2003, then teaching math at Great Neck North High School until 2013. My current work requires attention to detail as well as design work to create a better functioning and easily understood software product. Working for the village requires similar skills. When details are considered, and forethought is applied, appropriate decisions can be made.

Having grown up on the peninsula, I returned to the village with my husband more than 20 years ago. We and our children have enjoyed that which Great Neck has to offer. As trustee, I hope to further contribute my knowledge and skills to a board that continues to transparently and economically manage the village’s wise development while maintaining a necessary green space.

—As submitted by the candidate


Steven Hope For Village Of Great Neck Trustee

Steven Hope

I moved to Great Neck with my parents, brother and sister from South Africa. We moved to Great Neck because my parents heard it has the best schools, parks and the best commute into the city. My siblings and I went through the Great Neck Public Schools system.

I married Shari in 1994. We have three daughters who are currently enrolled in the Great Neck Public Schools.

I have worked in property management at the same company for more than 20 years. It is a small company, so I learned many aspects of property management and construction. I oversee office buildings, retail and multifamily dwellings. Previously, I worked for Sy Luba HVAC in Great Neck as an electrical contractor. As a property manager, I can use my expertise to advise the Board of Trustees to effectively govern the village in issues related to construction and the improvement of the business district.

My volunteer positions include Great Neck PAL for more than 10 years as a coach, trustee and soccer commissioner, where I helped implement a new soccer format. As a former president of the Brotherhood of Temple Beth-El, one of our many community responsibilities was raising money and food donations to help maintain the food pantry at St. Al’s Church.

Mayor Bral appointed me to the Planning Board in August 2015, and I served on the Planning Board from August 2015 until April 2017. Mayor Bral recently appointed me to the Board of Trustees, as Deputy Mayor Ray Plakstis unfortunately had to resign due to illness.

I hope to be elected to my position as Village of Great Neck trustee, so I can continue to serve the community I love. I want to be part of the team that has already made many positive changes. I hope to continue to serve you in the future.

—As submitted by the candidate


Adam Harel For Village Of Great Neck Trustee

Adam Harel

Adam Harel is a third-generation Great Neck resident, his wife second generation. They have four young children.

Adam and Odelia think Great Neck is a unique and special place. They embrace the diversity they believe has the potential to strengthen our thinking about community.

Adam studied political science in college and began his working career as a trader of equity stocks. He worked for the City of New York until he returned to the private sector in a new career in pharmaceutical marketing for a company publicly traded on the Nasdaq.

He is running for trustee of the Village of Great Neck because he wants to bring transparency to a village government steeped in secrecy by its mayor.

Recent events convinced Adam to step up. The mayor has made private attempts to sell village hall and build a new one at an undisclosed location for an undisclosed cost. By doing this, the mayor broke his promise to preserve village hall.

The mayor, while pretending otherwise, tried to displace our praiseworthy volunteer ambulance service, which has served Great Neck for 80 years. The mayor met with Northwell, kept it a secret for months and did not disclose a possible conflict of interest.

For Adam, the last straw was the attacks in recent months on the public schools that involved the mayor, and the effect this had on his fellow parents of school-age children.

This mayor has failed to communicate in other ways. A prime example is that he discontinued the village newsletter. He ended the tradition of inviting the Baker school children next door to visit village hall.

As a trustee, Adam Harel will work with Rebecca Gilliar, who has been a standard bearer for integrity and transparency and good government, to repair the escalating damage to the fabric of the village.

—As submitted by the candidate


Mark Birnbaum For Village Of Great Neck Justice

Mark Birnbaum

Mark Birnbaum is running for reelection as Great Neck Village Justice, having first been elected in 2013. Prior to becoming judge, he served as a village trustee for 11 years, following many years as a board member and chairman of the Great Neck Board of Zoning Appeals, and commissioner of the Great Neck Housing Authority.

He is a graduate of the Nassau County Citizens Police Academy and served as the Great Neck Village police commissioner and chairman of the Public Safety Committee.

Active in community affairs, he is a member of Temple Israel of Great Neck, serving as president of its men’s club and couples club, and vice president and trustee of the congregation.

He is currently, and has been for many years, the volunteer general counsel to the Great Neck Chamber of Commerce.

—As submitted by the candidate


Ron Horowitz For Kings Point Trustee

Ron Horowitz

Trustee Ron Horowitz, a Kings Point resident for more than 25 years, is also a member of the village’s Architectural Review Committee.

An accomplished attorney and real estate developer, he is chief executive officer of the Birchwood Organization, a third-generation real estate development company with business interests in New York, Maryland and Virginia.

He serves as an associate trustee of the North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System.

Horowitz holds a Bachelor of Science from Boston University School of Management and a Juris Doctor from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

—As submitted by the candidate


Hooshang Nematzadeh For Kings Point Trustee

Hooshang Nematzadeh

Trustee Hooshang Nematzadeh, a resident of Kings Point for more nearly 20 years, is also a member of the village’s Planning Board, where he brings an engineering background and extensive real estate development experience as president of Nemat Homes Inc.

In his dedication to public service, he is immediate past president and an active member of the Great Neck Chamber of Commerce. He also serves his community as former executive vice president of the Iranian American Jewish Federation of New York and the United Mashadi Jewish Community of America.

Nematzadeh holds a Bachelor of Science in aeronautical engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Bridgeport.

—As submitted by the candidate


Gary C. Granoff For Kings Point Village Justice

Gary C. Granoff

Gary C. Granoff has been a resident of Kings Point since 1977. He grew up in Lake Success, graduated from Great Neck South Senior High School in 1965 and then from The George Washington University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting in 1970 and from The George Washington University Law School, with honors, in 1973.

He is a member of the New York Bar, the Florida Bar and the United States District Court of the Southern District of New York. He was admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court in 2014. Granoff has practiced law since graduation in 1973 and was also involved in running a commercial finance company.

He has served the residents of the Village of Kings Point first as a commissioner on the Zoning Board of Appeals from 2006 to 2009 and as village justice since 2009.

Granoff also served as a trustee of The George Washington University for 12 years and he was elected an emeriti trustee of the GW Board of Trustees in 2011. He has also been involved for more than 12 years as a trustee of the Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation and serves as the vice chairman of the Board of Trustees. He served for six years on the Board of Governors of Fresh Meadow Country Club and has been active with the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces.

Granoff has been married to his high school sweetheart at Great Neck South, Leslie, since 1969. The couple has three adult children, all of whom graduated from Great Neck North Senior High School, and four grandchildren.

Granoff said that it has been a privilege to serve the residents of Kings Point as village justice, and he hopes to be reelected on June 20 so he can continue that service to the community.

—As submitted by the candidate


Lake Success Trustees

Lawrence Farkas, Eugene Kaplan and David Milner will each be running for the three uncontested Village of Lake Success trustee seats for two-year terms.

Lawrence Farkas
Eugene Kaplan
David Milner
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Sheri ArbitalJacoby brings more than three decades of publishing experience at national magazines to her position as editor of the Great Neck Record. She also writes decorating, travel, food and green articles for Long Island Weekly and Anton Media Group's special sections.

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