Village Elections On June 18

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Voters will head to the polls in the villages of Great Neck, Kings Point and Lake Success on Tuesday, June 18, as one mayor and seven trustee seats are on the ballot for terms of two years each.

The mayor and trustee positions in the Village of Great Neck are contested, while the races in Kings Point and Lake Success are uncontested.

All candidates were invited to submit background information and headshots, which follow. Poll times and locations for each village election are also included.

Village of Great Neck

A contested election for mayor and two trustee seats will be held at EM Baker Elementary School, located at 69 Baker Hill Rd. in Great Neck, from 12 to 9 p.m.

Mayor Pedram Bral of the Village Alliance Party is seeking a third term, and running mates Anne Mendelson and Steven Hope seek reelection to their trustee seats.

Mayoral candidate James Wu, along with trustee candidates Julia Shields and Harold Citron, are running against the incumbents on the Village for All ticket.

Village of Kings Point

Photo by Sheri ArbitalJacoby

Incumbent Trustees Hooshang Nematzadeh and Kouros “Kris” Torkan are running uncontested for two-year terms, seeking reelection as trustees.

Elections will be held from 12 to 9 p.m. at Village Hall, located at 32 Steppingstone Lane in Kings Point.

 

Village of Lake Success

Photo by Sheri ArbitalJacoby

Three incumbent trustees, Lawrence Farkas, Eugene Kaplan and David N. Milner, will each run uncontested for two-year terms.

Residents can cast their votes between 12 and 9 p.m. at Village Hall, located at 318 Lakeville Rd.
in Lake Success.

Great Neck Estates, Great Neck Plaza, Kensington, Russell Gardens, Saddle Rock and Thomaston held their elections in March.

Read about the results here.


Pedram Bral For Great Neck Mayor

Pedram Bral

It has been an honor and privilege for Pedram Bral to serve as mayor of the Village of Great Neck, and he looks forward to continuing his service. Since being elected four years ago, he said he has stabilized the village’s finances by cutting waste, brought new, vibrant businesses into the commercial district on Middle Neck Road and made the village government more accessible and responsive to its residents.

After securing a state grant for LED streetlights two years ago, the village has installed more than 800 lights, covering the entire Village of Great Neck at no cost to taxpayers. This has increased street safety and reduced the village’s carbon footprint and energy expenditures.

In his second term, he made greater efforts to increase the village’s commercial tax base, attracting new businesses. He’s renegotiated contracts with vendors to save the village money. Village property that was not being used was leased with short-term contracts, providing a steady flow of income to the village. All these initiatives have kept the tax rate flat.

While he strives to revitalize the village further, he will continue to listen to community input so that the downtown can be built into an area that everyone can appreciate and be proud of.

He is excited about finding a new location for Village Hall, so that the village can enable the Great Neck Public Schools to expand the EM Baker Elementary School on a continuous piece of land and relieve its overcrowding. With the money from this sale, and some of the growing funds in the community-benefit fund, the village will be able to pay for the cost of building a new village hall in a central location accessible to all residents.

Having grown up in an authoritarian country, he has come to enjoy the benefits that a democracy affords. That is why his commitment to the residents of the village has been an open and transparent government, having public comment at board meetings and livestreaming board meetings on Facebook, so that those who cannot attend can watch live or at a later time. He is proud that the village has some of the best attended meetings on the peninsula. The village welcomes the ideas of all residents, as they come to share their thoughts, allowing people from different backgrounds and viewpoints to exchange ideas in a respectful forum.

He looks forward to conducting more discussions outside of Village Hall, as he recently did at the Great Neck House. This allows people to discuss village issues that affect them in a more casual setting. The board invites local businesses to host these events to bring exposure to their businesses and allow residents the opportunity to approach the board in a relaxed environment. He is always available via email, telephone and social media to address concerns.

He came to the United States as a teenager and worked hard to learn both a new language and finish his studies. He completed medical school and then a residency in obstetrics and gynecology. He became one of the pioneers in the field of gynecologic robotic surgery and, soon after, he developed and became the director of the fellowship program in minimally invasive gynecologic surgery at Maimonides Medical Center. Education is dear to him, and his personal responsibility is to educate the next generation with the most advanced and state of the art technology.

He has been a resident of the Village of Great Neck for more than 20 years, and together with his wife, Samira, is raising four children. He appreciates all Great Neck has to offer and, as mayor, his goal has been and continues to be to keep Great Neck an affordable place to live while maintaining the excellent quality of life. He and his family love the village and the people in it, and he looks forward to continuing his service as mayor.

—Submitted by the candidate


James Wu For Great Neck Mayor

James Wu

James Wu is a 10-year resident of the Village of Great Neck, who has a long career in business and political involvement.

Wu believes that the condition of the village, the failed revitalization policies of the current administration, the almost total breakdown of village operations and the failure to foster a sense of inclusiveness and community unity, make it clear that it is time for a change.

He said the challenge for government leaders is to create and implement community supported plans revitalizing the business district, while preserving the very qualities of life that attracted residents to the Village of Great Neck.

Wu also believes that the public schools are an integral and most important part of the community and deserve the support of all local government leaders. He has served on the Great Neck Public School’s Financial Advisory Committee and founded a Great Neck Girl Scout troop.

He has done work for the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors. In 2001, he received an award from the New York City Police Department in appreciation for his assistance following the September 11 attacks. He volunteered for the U.S. Marine Corps during the Gulf War and was awarded a National Defense Service Medal.

Wu is a graduate of the Hofstra School of Law and works as a commercial real estate agent for Douglas Elliman.

As a rapidly changing community with residents of all different ethnic, religious and national backgrounds, Wu said the village needs and deserves a local government that will truly represent everyone.

—Submitted by the candidate


Harold Citron For Great Neck Trustee

Harold Citron

Harold Citron has been an active member of the community during his 20 years as a Great Neck resident.

He received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a concentration in International Business from The George Washington University and an MBA from the Olin School of Business at Washington University in St. Louis.

Citron has a long career in finance, including eight years as an equity analyst at several investment banks and 15 years as a credit analyst covering the retail industry.

For 10 seasons, he coached local soccer and Little League teams for the Great Neck PAL league, and during the past few summers he has been a member of the Rotary Club summer band. He also served as a member and president of his co-op board.

Citron has served as president of the Men’s Club of Temple Israel of Great Neck for the past two years. He is a member of the congregation’s board of trustees and has been a member of the Religious School and Waxman High School Education committees. He has also been an organizer of Temple Israel’s participation in New York City’s Israel Day Parade.

—Submitted by the candidate


Steven Hope For Great Neck Trustee

Steven Hope

It has been an honor for Steven Hope to serve as a trustee on the village board for the past two years. He has had the pleasure of working on a productive board of trustees that made eco-friendly, low maintenance lights a reality in the village, saving taxpayers money on energy costs.

He cochaired the Great Neck music festival and street fair, which provided village residents with fun outdoor activities in the warm weather. He has appreciated these types of events since moving to Great Neck from South Africa when he was a young boy.

His parents heard that Great Neck had the best schools, parks and the best commute into the city. He and his siblings went through the Great Neck Public Schools, his eldest daughter is a North High graduate, his second daughter will graduate from North High this month and his youngest daughter is a Great Neck Public Schools student.

He has worked in property management at the same company for more than 22 years. Since it is a small company, he learned many aspects of property management and construction. 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.

His volunteer positions include Great Neck PAL for more than 10 years as a coach, trustee and soccer commissioner, where he helped implement a new soccer format.

As a former president of the Brotherhood of Temple Beth-El, they raised money and food donations to help maintain the food pantry at St. Al’s Church, as one of their many community responsibilities.

Mayor Bral appointed Hope to the Planning Board in August 2015, and he served until April 2017. Mayor Bral appointed him to the board of trustees in 2017 when Deputy Mayor Ray Plakstis, Jr., had to resign due to illness.

He hopes to be reelected to his position as a trustee, so he can continue to serve the community he loves. He wants to be part of the team that has already made many positive changes, continuing to serve the community in the future.

—Submitted by the candidate


Anne Mendelson For Great Neck Trustee

Anne Mendelson

Annie Mendelson is honored to be a candidate for reelection to the Board of Trustees. For the past four years, she has 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, she serves on the Architectural Review Committee and is a representative to the Manhasset Bay Protection Committee, whose purpose is to help preserve and protect the water quality in Manhasset Bay. She appreciates that our quality of life is directly impacted by how we safeguard the environment around us.

She is running for reelection because she wishes 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 she was elected, the board 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. When trees have been removed or have died, the Department of Public Works has been instrumental in planting new, appropriately sized trees to replace them. It has emphasized beautifying village roads and the center median along Middle Neck Road.

Mendelson currently 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.

Her current work requires attention to detail, as well as to design, to create a better-functioning and easily understood software product. Working for the village requires similar skills. When details are considered, and careful thought is applied, appropriate decisions can be made.

Having grown up on the peninsula, she returned to the village with her husband more than 25 years ago. The couple and their children have enjoyed all Great Neck has to offer. As a trustee, she hopes to further contribute her knowledge and skills to a board that continues to transparently and economically manage the village’s wise development, while maintaining a necessary greenspace. She also hopes to work toward making the village website even more user friendly, making information more accessible to the public, so residents can easily access village services and information.

—Submitted by the candidate


Julia Shields For Great Neck Trustee

Julia Shields

Julia Shields has been at the forefront of community activism in Great Neck and the larger North Hempstead community for more than four decades. She is a passionate voice in the community and has worked to build bridges across race, ethnicity, religion and class to create a stronger community for everyone. She has worked diligently for tenants’ rights, human rights and religious tolerance and understanding. 

In 2011, she was named to the May W. Newburger Women’s Roll of Honor by the Town of North Hempstead for her community activism.

Her record includes service as a board member of the Great Neck and Manhasset Equal Opportunity Council,  the NAACP, as president of the Academy Garden Tenants Association and as campaign manager with the New York State Tenants and Neighbors Coalition and the organization’s Long Island coordinator/organizer. She currently works as the Housing Specialist at Astella/BCS Development Corporation.

Shields is also an active member of St. Paul’s AME Zion Church in Great Neck, where she currently serves as chair of the St. Paul’s Board of Trustees, class leader, chaplain of the Usher Board and president of the choir. 

—Submitted by the candidate


Hooshang Nematzadeh For Kings Point Trustee

Hooshang Nematzadeh

Village of Kings Point Trustee Hooshang Nematzadeh, a resident of Kings Point for 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 degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Bridgeport.

—Submitted by the candidate


Kouros “Kris” Torkan For Kings Point Trustee

Kouros “Kris” Torkan

With extensive knowledge of land use, real estate development and construction, Trustee Kouros “Kris” Torkan has been a valued member of the Village of Kings Point Planning Board for many years and as a past member of the Board of Appeals. He joined the Board of Trustees in February of 2019. 

A dedicated public servant and resident of Kings Point since 2007, Torkan began his career in real estate in 1985, when he founded Villadom Corp. With its beginnings in residential development, building custom homes on Long Island’s Gold Coast, Villadom later expanded into the commercial markets, with an emphasis in high-end retail.

He is executive vice president of the Iranian American Jewish Federation of New York and a board member of the Nassau County Police Foundation.

—Submitted by the candidate


David Milner

Lake Success Trustees

Incumbents Lawrence Farkas, Eugene Kaplan and David Milner are running for the three uncontested Village of Lake Success trustee seats, each for a two-year term.

Eugene Kaplan

Milner, Kaplan and Farkas have served the Village of Lake Success as trustees for the past 14, 10 and 3 years respectively.

Currently, Milner is the village’s House Chairman, Deputy Golf Commissioner and Liaison to the village’s Department of Public Works.

Lawrence Farkas

Kaplan is currently the village’s Golf Commissioner.

Farkas is the village’s Park Commissioner.

All three trustees look forward to continuing to serve the residents of the village they love for another two years.

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