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Challenge in the Estates Forcing Another Run-Off Election

Greg Blair of Oxford Boulevard is hoping to unseat John DeMaro, current trustee.

Greg Blair of Oxford Boulevard is challenging the Estates POA Nominating Committee's selection of John DeMaro for village trustee.
Greg Blair of Oxford Boulevard is challenging the Estates POA Nominating Committee's selection of John DeMaro for village trustee.
An Oxford Boulevard resident is challenging his property owners' association's selection of John DeMaro for village trustee, forcing a run-off election Jan. 29 in the Estates section of Garden City.

This will be the second run-off election scheduled for this month; Francine Ryan is challenging the Eastern Property Owners' Association's selection of Dennis Donnelly for village trustee.

Greg Blair, a 15-year resident of the village, told Patch he filed a requisite nominating petition with the Estates Property Owners’ Association (Estates POA) after participating in the annual Nominating Committee process in late November 2012.

The position is a two-year term beginning in April.

"Garden City faces many challenges to our way of life, most importantly the ever compounding growth of the cost of delivering municipal services. We cannot continue business as usual and must seek new ways of thinking about old problems," he said.

"With the experience of success and the lessons of many challenges, I have learned that the contributions of a group, properly channeled, lead to results superior to that of the individual. Our board of trustees must do a better job working together as a team to achieve meaningful gains in cost savings while preserving expected levels of service.”

Blair is a graduate of St. Anne’s School, Holy Cross High School and Fairfield University and says he's especially proud of the role he played in the "turnaround of St. Anne’s School," where he served as a member of the school board and chair of the budget and development committee from 2001-2007.

Blair is the founder and president of National Public Energy, Inc. and has spent his professional career in industrial management, international energy project development in the USA, India, Pakistan and the Caribbean. His professional background has focused on complex contract structuring and negotiation, conflict resolution, staffing and cost analyses for efficiency and value creation, as well as strategic planning and corporate development, according to a press release announcing his candidacy.

“I have learned that a path to probable solutions can evolve through cooperation and respectful collegial effort that is in agreement as to the nature of the problem, the goal that is sought and the resources at hand to be deployed," he said. "I offer my time and my talent to my neighbors in Garden City to bring this approach to our village board of trustees."

Blair and his wife, Rene, raised two sons and three daughters in Garden City.

Both candidates are members of St. Anne’s parish.

A run-off election will be held Jan. 29 in the Estates section at Stratford School; times to be announced.

GcSupporter#2 January 17, 2013 at 10:26 PM
I'll play along regarding which departments are overstaffed. Library. Police Department. Fire Department. And whatever department the guys in the orange trucks work for who take naps midday in the parking lot behind Citibank. Lets start there. Then we can move on to the bonus round and ask how the pensions of former employees, current employees plus salaries of future employees will be covered by the current tax base in the village. Put thirty seconds on the clock....Mr Donnelly?
Greg Blair January 17, 2013 at 10:32 PM
It's not just me, but just about every resident I speak with. Our neighbors roll their eyes on the subject of staffing levels, salary levels and pension obligations. Mr. Donnelly is surely doing his best and I have no doubt he thinks staffing is not bloated. I'm running to give a voice to my neighbors who feel otherwise. I respect the stridency of his beliefs but I'm forced to pay greater attention to the voices behind the doors I'm knocking on. Over 1,000 thus far.
Reed Marcus January 19, 2013 at 04:57 PM
Knocking on doors to meet residents and inviting us for coffee to discuss issues during a campaign sounds nice, but the truth is there are issues being identified, resolved and addressed at every committee meeting, POA meeting, BOT meeting and at Budget meetings. People asking about all issues not just St. Paul's attend meetings and have their issues addressed (supported or directed to proper area of the village). The coffee at the POA meetings is pretty good. John DeMaro is at every POA meeting and he performs his duty at BOT meetings as well. John DeMaro has been attending these meeting since he moved into the village. He is a caring, dedicated, and strongly qualified Trustee who has made significant changes that make a difference. These are the things we applaud about Garden City and its residents. While Mr Blair claims to be qualified and forthright in his pursuit of getting involved now (after several years in the village), he seeks the highest office to do that, rather than volunteering his services at any of the other positions in the village. I had hoped that the Estates challenge was more than just about St Paul's, but as I understand it, Mr. Blair appeared at the Estates meeting this past Tuesday with one of Ms Ryan's campaign people (both are high level active members on the CSSP). In fact that was the only person Mr Blair sat with and spoke to. So between that and the fact that Ryan and Blair share a campaign flyer designer, the St Paul's connection exists in the Estates as well. It is a shame than these challengers need to make GC look so bad (with all their distracting issues that are either already fixed or on the mend) when in fact, things are pretty good here, and have been getting better with all that the current board has done (John DeMaro certainly contributed). This election should truly be about best representation with most qualified individuals. GC residents will only get that with John DeMaro in the ESTATES. A hardworking, dedicated and qualified Trustee with remarkable experience from all levels of the village and a track record of making changes where needed and controlling spending while improving/maintaining services. I hope that people get out and vote for Mr DeMaro, I think that voting is very important especially in our local elections.
Greg Blair January 19, 2013 at 06:55 PM
Actually, I spent the first half of the meeting sitting next to Colleen Foley who I've known for 28 years.
Reed Marcus January 20, 2013 at 12:52 PM
Firstly, please tell us who was the other person that was with you at the meeting as previously mentioned? More importantly, I think that Colleen Foley is a very big fan of John DeMaro. Colleen also attends POA meetings. Colleen worked very closely with him when John volunteered and was selected to serve on the ad hoc facilities committee with the Board of Education. John also volunteered his time helping with that project while also being involved with the Village as Treasurer and then later as President of the Estates POA. I am pretty sure she supports John for many reasons, but certainly because of his involvement and experience.
Frank.Reynolds January 21, 2013 at 11:40 AM
Thank you for stopping by Mr Blair. My wife and I are very impressed with your platform. Your approaches to existing problems are fresh, and I think you would be a very valuable member of the BOT. You have our votes next week.
Reed Marcus January 22, 2013 at 12:15 PM
As I said earlier, knocking on doors and communicating now is nice, but residents really need to evaluate your experience not just in business, but through public service "action". There were so many ways for you to get involved, all of which are rewarding to those who are committed to public service, and not just those expecting short term change with little concern for long term affects. Many residents with varying degrees of happiness or frustration with the VIllage are still wary of putting a relatively unknown person in the Trustee spot without seeing you in action. Also, residents should wonder how long you are committed to this new venture of yours. The commitment to dedicate time and communication is much longer than a campaign, and the two year term. I still think many residents know that John DeMaro is the best candidate for Trustee.
Greg Blair January 22, 2013 at 12:51 PM
Thanks for your point of view.
Frank.Reynolds January 22, 2013 at 02:59 PM
Marcus, I did not read your comments before, but you bring up a reasonable point, however, I don't think a village trustee needs the specific type of experience you personally deem necessary. If he/she did, there would be bylaws to prevent him or her from running. I think if you met Greg in person (assuming you live in the Estates) you'd arrive at the same conclusion that my wife and I did-Greg Blair should win this and we wish him well in his campaign
Reed Marcus January 22, 2013 at 06:42 PM
Mr. Reynolds, I do not think this has anything to do with bylaws; this process is open to anyone to get involved. It’s just common sense that you should get to know more about the details of the village, directly (rather than by hearsay) before assuming that you understand it as well as those who have been involved. Mr. DeMaro has done a great job of making change, involving residents and being fiscally prudent, while improving village services. Mr. Blair may think he can come in and make new changes, but without any direct contact with the Board of Trustees, the POA, the various committees of the Village and POA, or with Village residents who attend those meetings, it is simply impossible for Blair to have the experience and qualifications that John DeMaro has. He has only spent time with person’s (his supporters) who “tell him” what is happening, rather than him being actively involved and making direct observation through real communication and interaction. Let me ask you, don’t you think that if Blair were to bring his ideas and points of view to the Village in a manner as do many other committees and boards, he would be much more capable of determining what would work and what would not. His learning on the job and his trial and error would not be so wasteful and would not be forced to happen while on the Board of Trustees but instead would be tested and valued in a committee or POA environment. It just does not make sense. More discerning is why he is connected with the specific CSSP folks who are trying to take over the Board after their plan was criticized and rejected by the Board. This makes his, I only want to get involved at the top approach seem to be less than nefarious. This is the point of view of many residents, and all of us should consider Blair’s avoiding getting involved at levels below the Trustee level, and trying to get us to think it does not matter. You might want to consider that before you vote next Tuesday. I can see you are a fan of his since he came to visit you this last weekend, but surely you know that door to door salesmen have been known to be selling snake-oil.
Tony Bevelacqua January 22, 2013 at 07:18 PM
Mr. Marcus: You are very well informed and I am glad to see you on this Patch looking out for the average Joe like me. These politics issues often go over my head but you make good sense to me. Although I have only recently moved to Garden City from Queens I do have a number of issues with the way things are done here. I agree completely about St Pauls--it is an eye sore and should be demolished. You could fit many new homes or a small shopping mall also with a Jiffy Lube, etc., which would be convenient, in that space and this would make taxes for the town. we had something like this in queens and i do not see why we cant have it here. From what your saying it sounds like Demaro would agree with me 100 %. Another problem i have are the trees. they are a danger to our homes and i am tired of raking leaves off my driveway all the time. the trees are a dirty nusiance. i have pulled down the trees in my own yard but i cant take down the ones on the street because of the town. do you know where candiadate Demaro stands on the tree issue? thank you for your time mr. Marcus.
GC Joe January 22, 2013 at 08:54 PM
It is unfortunate that such a lovely Village can be tarnished by haughty individuals assailing the credentials, viability, and even the character, of a candidate. I find the increasingly negative and accusatory tenor of Mr. Marcus to be offensive on a couple key levels: 1) Presumably we are all residents, even neighbors, I'd hope we can have an intelligent conversation without presuppositions and attacks ("salesman" & "snake-oil"). 2) Operating and managing business operations for decades does not make you qualified to hold office? Governance involves dealing with varying interests, skillful negotiation, complex understanding of budgetary constraints and more. I'm not convinced sitting in on hearings and meetings supersedes real world professional experience.
Frank.Reynolds January 23, 2013 at 12:44 AM
Mr Marcus, your conspiracy theories are far fetched but amusing, yet your logic is sound. I will think long and hard about this decision, but I would like to know if Mr. Demaro's views are aligned with Mr Bevelacquas, as we seem to be on complete opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to preserving our image. Mr. Bevelacqua, pulling down all of our trees and putting in a Jiffy Lube would turn our village into Queens. What was the point of moving here in the first place? There is no "tree issue."
GcSupporter#2 January 23, 2013 at 04:42 AM
Mr. Marcus and his agenda become more transparent with each post. His hypocrisy knows know bounds. Tossing and turning in his bed with nightmares of CSSP and their henchman. It's laughable. Unfounded accusations on who is backing Mr. Blair yet no mention of who is backing the current trustees. Mr. Donnelly has a found raiser at the firehouse and is raising money from whom?? And his position in the firehouses is what? No mention from Mr. Marcus. He also blabs on and demeans Mr. Waters yet no mention of other trustees and their gross arrogance and condescending tone towards residents at meeting. Surly because they support his position in St. Paul's. and yes St. Paul's an issue that does not even make the top three when pressed on our biggest problems in GC. He waxes poetically of Avalon Bay. A project that would have added mass traffic problems and deprived our village of the recreational benefits we enjoy today. Funny he has no issue with plopping a nursing home in the middle of town at a historic landmark but rants over rail improvements to the LIRR. Let me guess what he lives closer to. Mr. Marcus has been exposed for what he is. A textbook NIMBY who epitomizes he generation. Not worries about the long term issues of our town and Islam d only what effects him directly today and the immediate future. Oh and to tell Mr. Blair to run for the school board if he is concerned about taxes shows just how much folks like Mr Marcus and Mr Donnelly don't get it. The problem here is that long term the current tax base here will not be able to support the pensions and costs coming due. The make up of the tax base most be altered. You can't do that from the school board. And I actually am not sure who I will vote for. I like Mr Damaro as he seems to be of high character. The choice would be easier Mr. Blair was running against our other Trustee from the Estates. Much easier as would be the decision in the East iffy Ryan were running against the other Trustee there.
GcSupporter#2 January 23, 2013 at 09:43 AM
A few spell check problems there from typing on phone. Mr. Waters became Mr. Waters and island becme Islam. Sorry
GC Joe January 23, 2013 at 10:38 AM
As we know GcSupporter#2 - the internet grammar police can be quite aggressive. Truly.
Reed Marcus January 23, 2013 at 11:45 AM
Sorry to say, but spell check and internet grammar could not save those comments (any of them). But seriously, it is great that people are interacting here, but I am not saying many of the “other” things that some of you have mentioned. I don’t want to confuse anyone by trying to connect the issues you are presenting. More to the point, the fact is that it makes much more sense to re-elect an incumbent Trustee that is doing a job that can be rated as "very good" to "great" depending on where you stand. It also makes perfect sense that while many of you "think" or "suppose" that Mr. Blair might be able to do a good job, Mr. Blair by his own words, if elected will do a "not such a bad job, but differently". So it should be clear that Mr. DeMaro has several years of the exact experience in the Village. Additionally, by Mr. DeMaro communicating and interacting directly with residents and fellow volunteers during various meetings (continuously since he started his involvement in Garden City) will continue to make him more informed and aware. Mr. DeMaro has proven results, is fiscally responsible, provided improvements and has made changes. If folks are upset about certain Village issues, they should get involved at a level where they can discuss and coordinate solutions not just complaints. The important part is to do this type of thing in a committee, commission, POA, or as a resident making public comment, so that views and understanding is out there rather than needing to be spread by campaigning door to door just for an election. And with respect to my CSSP nightmares; those worries are that the small but influential voices within the CSSP that have pushed the whole group into a corner with the insistence of an ill-fated plan will eventually wear residents down by constantly pushing (seems like endlessly) the plan that most residents are certain the CSSP knows cannot work. Sadly, it seems that Mr. Blair has gotten caught up in that too (ala Ms Ryan and her campaign treasurer). So, I am sorry that many of you might disagree, and while I imagine I cannot convert your supporters who have commented above), I am strong in my certainty that Estates residents will see that Mr. Blair needs to be more openly involved in the Village at some level to show his commitment to the residents of the Estates. Even more certain am I that the majority of Estates residents will go to Vote for John DeMaro next Tuesday (January 29th at Stratford School from 4:30 to 9:00).
Tony Bevelacqua January 23, 2013 at 12:51 PM
Mr. Marcus: Once again I think I agree with you 110%. We must all be involved in our democracy and get the word out to interact and participate as you say. What you say about candidate Demaro makes me think that he is the best man for the job and I will tell my neighbors that if they want a politician who wants to get rid of st Pauls and put in developments and isn't afraid to be tough on dangerous trees that they should elect him to. Thank you Mr Marus
Jack O'Niel January 23, 2013 at 12:56 PM
Gee Tony, your comic wit is just amazing. After the two current CSSP volunteers lose I can't wait to see what they come up with next!
Frank.Reynolds January 23, 2013 at 02:59 PM
Mr O'Neil...thank you pointing that out to me. I thought he was just a very confused man at first. take it you support Demaro as well? Would you care to state specific reasons and things that he's done/plans to do if re-relected? If you could do so without slandering Greg and including CSSP conspiracy I would greatly appreciate it to balance the facts that I care about, which is my bottom line
GC Joe January 23, 2013 at 03:38 PM
So we are clear as to where you are coming from Mr. Marcus: You proudly proclaim in your first sentence that, "Sorry to say, but spell check and internet grammar could not save those comments (any of them)." Looking at that comment it is hard to not interpret as, 'I know I am more intelligent than you and your input is meaningless to me.' So, in assessing your word choice, your "internet grammar", it appears from your own words that you have no desire to have a respectful and constructive dialogue.
Reed Marcus January 23, 2013 at 06:18 PM
Mr Bevelacqua, you seem to be misunderstanding something, but I am not sure what it is. There is no mention in any of my posts (nor in DeMaro's record or his current info) with any reference to getting rid of St Paul's nor is there any reference to trees. Sorry... Take a moment to re-read my comments. But if you want the most qualified person to represent you as Trustee, it is certainly Mr DeMaro.
Reed Marcus January 23, 2013 at 06:42 PM
GC Joe, I like your sense of humor, so feel free to have fun playing your game. I expect that you should allow me the same humor. And Mr Reynolds, John DeMaro does have a record of his support and communication within the Village for as long as he has been here. DeMaro also has supported fiscally sound budgets as well as moved forward on improved Village processes and residents premier services. You can certainly read all about it in various posts. I know you really dont need me to post them again. Mr. O'Niel - Thank you. Hopefully, Mr Blair will want to stay invovled after Tuesday.
GC Joe January 23, 2013 at 07:07 PM
I promise you I have no sense of humor. Just observations of how you interact with people via the comment section.
Reed Marcus January 24, 2013 at 10:14 PM
Blair and Ryan are supported by the same small group of CSSP individuals ...... ask your neighbors in the East, A large flyer arrived in today's mail that is the same flyer that Ryan is using. The only difference is the photo. So I guess I am not so conspiracy theory crazed after all. Certainly, residents see this for what it is. Challenging with points that are obvious and that are being handled already. Presenting future proposals that are either no action or are scenarios that have already been considered... Blair and Ryan as challengers have nothing to bring to the table other than their lack of village experience and their common CSSP agenda. The only way to maintain our premier services and improve how they are delivered in a fiscally responsible manner for our VIllage is to vote for John DeMaro and Dennis Donnelly. They are the best qualified candidates and they can win this election if everyone goes to VOTE on Tuesday. Cast your vote for DeMaro and Donnely because you really know them from their responsible and dedicated public service experience on the Board and prior to that they particpated in all public village service areas of Garden City. On TUESDAY, from 4:30 to 9:00 please bring proper current Photo ID; Vote for DeMaro in the ESTATES (at Stratford School), and Donnelly in the EAST (at Stewart School).
GcSupporter#2 January 24, 2013 at 10:23 PM
Looks like Mr. Marcus woke up in a sweat again frightened by the returning nightmares of CSSP henchman or maybe it was a bad blue plate social from the early bird dinner. Once again Mr. Marcus address the real problems the village faces like the I funded pension liabilities you and your friends are leaving us. All of us on the under 40 crowd here will gladly tackle the issue of St. Paul's if you and the other gray shingles can figure out how we can clean up the mess you plan to leave. Ok and now back to your regularly planned hysteria.
Greg Blair January 24, 2013 at 11:54 PM
I would like to exchange views with Mr.DeMaro and not another apologist, however well intentioned they may be. The people I meet know not who he is or the views he holds. They tell me his flyer describes where he sits but leaves them wanting as to where he stands. They are left to assume he stands for the way things are and the cost we currently bear for that status quo. Mr Marcus drives that point home and I have no basis to disagree. I do hope to accomplish change in the way we do things and the costs we bear. I would like to work toward reform and challenge the status quo.
Frank.Reynolds January 25, 2013 at 12:07 AM
I saw another article about the firefighters report being inaccurate. Is this one of the added services that the current BOT is responsible for? This is something I think everyone will lose sleep over. Or is this report discrepancy another CSSP conspiracy you think?
Tony Bevelacqua January 25, 2013 at 01:03 AM
Mr Marcus: again thank you for your time on this Patch. Pls clarify about candidate Demaro on St. Paul's. i am a businessman and would like to see an economic solution to this problem such as replacing the old building with a new business. There is a UPS sorting facility in Canarsie--would candidate Demaro bring this sort of business instead of St. Paul's?
GC Joe January 25, 2013 at 10:16 PM
In Mr. Marcus' interesting world I assume DeMaro and his other trustee buddies and supporters are not and have not coordinated their resources to assail Mr. Blair and Mrs. Ryan. The more the rhetoric on this site and other avenues it's quite apparent the machine is quite operational - to Mr. Marcus' liking. Hypocrisy is an interesting inconvenience isn't it? I'll allow his conspiracy 'they're coming for us' theories reside in his brain where Mr. DeMaro does no wrong. It's easy to do no wrong when you do not actually discuss your platform and your accomplishments and plans for the future.

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