The extraordinary scene at Great Neck House on Election Day in the Old Village last week will long be remembered not only by the newly-elected mayor, Pedram Bral, and new trustees Ray Plakstis and Anne Mendelson, but also by Mayor Ralph Kreitzman, defeated trustees Jeffrey Bass and Mitchell Beckerman and the more than 1,400 Great Neck Village residents who came out to vote.
Bral won the election by a wide margin over Kreitzman, 1,040 to 391, and brought running mates Plakstis (1,020 votes) and Mendelson (980) along with him, reflective of a vigorous door-to-door campaign organized by their Voice of the Village party. Bass received 350 votes and Beckerman had 346. Independent trustee candidate Sam Yellis had 136 votes.
Despite rain showers in the late afternoon, snarled traffic, a filled parking lot on the brink of gridlock and cars parked on Arrandale Avenue from Middle Neck Road to past Margaret Court, residents kept showing up throughout the noon to 9 p.m. polling time.
The line of those waiting patiently to vote continuously stretched from Great Neck House’s lobby, where two voting machines were in use, to out past the front entrance to Arrandale and then to the right on the sidewalk.
Those on line were remarkably patient. When police closed the long line at 9 p.m. an estimated 150 were still waiting. It took almost 90 minutes more to process them. The results were announced to the waiting crowd of about 75 just after 10:30.
Perhaps the most patient one on line might have been two-and-a-half month old Moshe Mehdizadeh whose parents, Sasha and Melissa, were among the last to cast their ballots. Moshe slept through it all, resting comfortably on his father’s shoulder.
In contrast to the election two years ago for mayor, when Bral led a last-minute write-in campaign, last week’s process was more orderly, even though more than three times more voters showed up. Kreitzman defeated Bral 325 to 232 then, but the vote count went past 1 a.m.
Bral and his running mates will officially take office in early July.
Speaking last week at Great Neck House just after the vote was announced, Bral said, “It was an amazing show of support. That never happened before. I think people wanted to express their opinion and support and I think that this was democracy at its best.”
“I am humbled,” continued Bral, who is Director of Minimally Invasive & Robotic Gynecological Surgery at Maimonides Medical Center, “and I’m hoping that I can serve the community to the best of my ability. That I can promise. I’m hoping that with Ray and Annie we can lead the village to a better and brighter future.”
Rebecca Rosenblatt Gilliar, who managed the Voice of the Village campaign, gave credit to the party’s many supporters. “We covered 145 streets and that’s a total of 26.4 miles,” she continued. “And we got our message out. I think it was because of the message.”
Mayor Kreitzman, who has served in office since 2007 and six years prior as a trustee had this comment: “I congratulate my opponents and I hope they will do a great job for our residents and our great village.”
“I am very proud of the 14 years that I’ve served the village,” said Beckerman, the village’s deputy mayor. “I feel that we’ve done some very awesome things. I wish the new administration all the luck in the world.”
Bass was also reflective after his loss. “Last night’s results were understandably disappointing but I thought that the campaign was certainly hard fought.”
“I look back at my eight years as an elected village official…and the five years I spent on the zoning board and the two years I spent on the planning board,” he added. “I’m pretty proud, as one individual, of what I was able to contribute to the village. I have nothing to hang my head about. I wish them well. We accomplished quite a lot in those eight years.”
Other elections held last week in Kings Point and Lake Success involved unopposed trustees running for re-election and voting was light.
Hooshang Nematzadeh (108 votes) and Ron Horowitz (96 votes) were elected to new terms in Kings Point and Adam Hoffman and Gene Kaplan, both receiving 48 votes, were re-elected in Lake Success along with David Milner (47 votes).