Village of Great Neck Mayor Pedram Bral will have the easiest of paths to reelection this year—he is running unopposed. So are trustees Annie Mendelson and Steven Hope. All are campaigning under the Village Alliance Party line. Election Day is June 15.
Bral, 51, who emigrated from Iran in his teens, upended four-term Mayor Ralph Kreitzman in 2015. It is believed that about a quarter of Great Neck’s 10,000 residents are of Iranian (or Persian) extraction, many originally coming after the overthrown of the Shah in 1979. The vast majority, like Bral, are Jewish. Bral has won two contested elections since first winning office.
The mayor has presided over the switching of the public lighting system to LED lights—reportedly saving the village about $100,000 per year—and the reduction of a structural deficit he inherited. Last March, as the pandemic gained strength, he declared a state of emergency in the village, prohibiting outdoor gatherings.
He has led the move to sell the aging village hall to the Great Neck School District and the board is now mulling a number of proposals for a new village hall at a property the village bought on Middle Country Road.
Bral’s bio lists him as “Director of Minimally Invasive Robotic Gynecologic Surgery, a division he developed when he joined Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn.” In a candidate statement before the 2019 election he claimed that he “brought new, vibrant businesses into the commercial district on Middle Neck Road and made the village government more accessible and responsive to its residents.”
Mendelson, first elected in 2015, serves on the Architectural Review Committee and is a representative to the Manhasset Bay Protection Committee. According to her 2019 candidate’s statement, she “works as a software product manager for Refinitiv, formerly Thomson Reuters. She had previously worked in the defense and software industries, before getting her teaching certificate in 2003. She then taught math at Great Neck North High until 2013.” She emphasizes improving the quality of life in the village.
Hope was appointed by Bral in 2017 to replace then Deputy Mayor Ray Plakstis Jr., who resigned for health reasons. Hope moved with his family from South Africa as a young man and developed a love of the village’s parks and schools, with his three children making their way through the school system. A property manager, he “oversees office buildings, retail and multifamily dwellings. Previously, he worked for Sy Luba HVAC in Great Neck and an electrical contractor. As a property manager, he uses his expertise to advise the board of trustees in issues related to construction and the improvement of the village business district.”
Village Justice Mark Birnbaum, in office since 2013, is defending his four-year seat against David Kirsch. Birnbaum served as a village trustee from 2002-13 and was commissioner of the Great Neck Senior Housing Authority and chairman of the Great Neck Village BZA. Kirsch has been the managing partner at his own practice. A former assistant district attorney in The Bronx, his profile states that he specializes in criminal defense law and estate planning, among others.