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Challenges in the East, Estates

Run-off elections to be held Jan. 31.

Challenges to trustee nominations in the East and Estates have forced run-off elections in both sections on Tuesday, Jan. 31. Locations and times for each election will be determined by each property owners' association.

The challenges were brought forth during annual resident electors' meetings held Tuesday evening in each of Garden City's four sections - East, Estates, Central and West. Current deputy mayor John Watras' and current sitting trustee Andrew Cavanaugh's nominations in the West and Central respectively were not challenged.

Michele Harrington is set to challenge current village sitting trustee Brian Daughney in the Estates section while former village trustee Jon Segerdahl will challenge current second deputy mayor Nick Episcopia in the East.

Harrington, a long time resident of Garden City, said she's frustrated with the current representation, or lack thereof. "Residents want cooperation, problem solving and altruism, NOT personal agendas and obstructionism," she said.

Harrington says her platform is simple: fiscal responsibility and cooperative government. "Let’s face it, we pay dearly and sacrifice a great deal to live in Garden City!" she said. "This village is at a crossroad and I am concerned that the residents’ voices are not being heard and that we are heading down the wrong path. The time to steady the ship is now!"

Daughney, who was nominated by his property owners' association's Nominating Committee, is thankful for the nomination to serve another two-year term.

"I believe I have established a strong record of requiring that our village budgets hold the line on tax increases, while maintaining services and facilities. I have also sought changes in the manner in which we contract for services with a goal to obtaining cost savings," he said Wednesday. "I have spearheaded village efforts, as suggested by the Citizens Budget Review and Advisory Committee, to review our insurance needs and costs, which resulted in significant savings to the village. I am not beholden to, or controlled by, any special group that seeks to force its will or opinions on the taxpayers. But we also need to look towards the future. For example, as trustee liason to the Recreation and Cultural Affairs Commission, I am working with the Commission to develop public surveys regarding the needs of our seniors and the community at large. For example, I believe we should undertake a needs analysis to determine if the public wants a village recreation center and how much our taxpayers are willing to pay for any such project."

Segerdahl, a 39-year resident who served as a village trustee from the East years ago, said he supports a representative form of government that "respects the wishes of the residents of the East." 

"I believe we need to see the big picture and address the issues that drive budget increases, not 'nickel and dime' residents with minor fees," he said. “We have a dysfunctional majority on the BOT that does not respect the wishes of the residents, does not have a vision for tomorrow and does not have a vision for enhancing our village. There is a leadership void and a vision void that I am attempting to fill. It is time to bring a future back to our community, a time for rebuilding our government and a time for rebuilding our village."

Episcopia, who was unanimously nominated by his property owners' association's Nominating Committee to a new two-year term effective April 1, said he's once again honored to have received the nomination.

"As I have done since 2005, I promise to serve the interests of all the residents of the East and never be the captive of any special interest group," Episcopia said. "I will continue the policies of sound fiscal management that over the last six years have given the taxpayers an average annual tax increase of 2.70 percent, compared to an average inflation rate of 3.12 percent. These savings were achieved by cooperating with our neighbors on the Citizens Budget Advisory Committee, and by analyzing the absolute necessity of all our expenses and capital projects. This was vast improvement over the period 2000 to 2005 when tax increases in several years more than were double the inflation rate. I am especially proud that this was done with no diminution in services. I sincerely believe I have earned the support of all our residents and I ask for your vote on Jan. 31."

GCBob January 18, 2012 at 09:23 PM
I can truthfully say that a vote for Mr. Episcopia and Mr. Daughney is a vote for fiscally responsible members of this community. Both Mr. Episcopia and Mr. Daughney were nominated overwhelmingly by their corresponding Property Owners' Associations as part of the community agreement. The candidates that have challenge these two positions apparently feel that the community agreement is nothing more than a document that can circumvented in order to put forth their own agendas. I also believe that their smear tactics,which were demonstrated at the EPOA meeting the other night, have no place in this village election and certainly reflects their condescending attitude towards anyone who doesn't see things their way.
Jack O'Niel January 18, 2012 at 09:49 PM
St Paul's, St Paul's, St Paul's. That is what these challenges are about. It's barely beneath the surface. If they truly want the people to decide they'd put it to a vote but after doing the survey years ago they know the will of the people is they do not want to spend a dime on St Paul's. Look it up, the village sponsored a survey regarding St. Paul's. That's the reason why we dance around and have all this positioning - the issue has been resolved but the losers want another bite at the apple.
Robert Bolebruch January 18, 2012 at 11:55 PM
I don't agree with you both. First of all the survey that was done was done by the POA"S not the village. Secondly, this is not a violation of the process but another part of it. In order for any of these challengers they would have had to get votes on a petition from other residents of their respective POA. I think it is time to stop tying everything to St. Pauls. It is about their entire body of work. Yes, St. Paul's is a part of it but so is the services, contracts and agreements that the trustees do. That is what this vote is about. If we let the people stand by their record it is the process that will determine if the residents in that POA want to continue on that same path. I applaud anyone who is willing to go thru the process and offer to voluntier their time for our community. It will be interesting to see how the vote goes.
Ron Tadross January 19, 2012 at 02:22 AM
The Trustees have rubber stamped egregious union contracts for too long, and all Garden City's infrastructure is suffering. I am not in love with St. Pauls by any measure, but it could be a healthy rallying cry for the people. Personally, I want to see our roads, ball fields and occupied buildings better maintained.
Jack O'Niel January 19, 2012 at 02:35 AM
I agree about the contracts Ron but is an ex-school principle collecting a decent pension really the one to sort that out? I can't believe you would believe that. St. Paul's is more than the rallying cry, it's what these challenges are about. The selective "facts" in today's mailer makes this pretty obvious because it starts with St Paul's then list some other minor votes. Pretty slick mailer but nowhere does it say who paid for it which I thought was a condition for political mailers.
Jonathan Schwieger Jr. January 19, 2012 at 02:48 PM
Shouldn't anyone who would like to serve be allowed to? Just because the nominating committee doesn't want a certain person, doesn't mean that the village wouldn't. There should be a candidate from the committee's electors, but anyone who collects, say 100 signatures from residents of the section they are living in, should be able to run as well. By leaving the nomination process in the hands of a few men in each section, you really are taking true representation out of the hands of the citizenry. It's not like there are rogue members in Garden City setting out to obliterate the community....I mean, it's one of the most homogeneous places on Long Island.
Bill Garry January 21, 2012 at 04:13 PM
Agree with Jon. And could we save the irrational rants for your privte forums? GC deserves a respectful, thoughtful debate on important issues that directly impact our property values. POA's need challenges to the status quo considering they represent less than 20% of residents. Let the other 80% speak. EPOA peddles classic passive aggressive gibberish about wanting to do the right thing on St Pauls. Their actions speak volumes about their real agenda for the building. CSSP is but one route to preservation. Jon Segerdahl is not committed to this plan but is committed to preservation as an investment in our property values. The silly demagoguery suggesting Jon is all about a blank check for St Paul's has no place in this discussion. Ask Jon and you will learn Bill Garry
Linda Wangner January 21, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Sadly some of our neighbors do not know enough about the government of Garden City to mention any reference to the Community Agreement of 1919. They are not aware of the work done by the Nomination Committee. This is a random group of dedicated individuals who convene to discuss the issues of the day. The attributes, experience, skills needed by a candidate to deal with the current events of the Village of Garden City. One thing is for sure; a Trustee must have knowledge of the community; know how the government works as well as be capable to deal with a myriad of issues / not just budget / not just St. Pauls. The Estates Property Owners Association did their due diligence to advertise vacancies and ask for names, and resumes. The Committee met; interviewed; discussed the results of the interview. The final decision represented a consensus of opinion / by a majority vote. NOT A RUBBER STAMP. This shows ignorance or inability to comprehend how the government works. Why didn't these people submit their name and go through the interview process? Are they above these procedures? Our Village of Garden City has remained stable through all kinds of crises. Why? The government is a sound one. We like to keep it that way. This is not a town where Mavericks are invited. The Village of Garden City needs team players who demonstrate knowledge of the workings of a government. Vote for Brian Daughney and Trustee Nick Episcopia
Jonathan Schwieger Jr. January 21, 2012 at 07:05 PM
It's not a lack of knowledge of the community agreement, it's a beilef that anyone should be able to run on any type of platform. If you don't like how the town is being run and you think you can do a better job and you don't get a nomination from your property owners association for one reason or another, does that mean just lay down and take it?!? No it means you are going to run anyway on your own platform and see if enough people in your region agree with you. Is there any reason that people should not be allowed to freely run for office? Just because a small group of people nominated someone else, doesn't mean the broader section of town shouldn't have the right to hear all points of view and make up their own mind on who they want representing them.
Linda Wangner January 21, 2012 at 07:48 PM
EXCUSE ME, I quote you: "...and you don't get the nomination" I am not sure of the symbol that is next to your name. It brought to mind the symbol for the Centennials / the soccer league in town. We are about to watch the NY Giants tomorrow. According to you, I can call in and give my judgement for play: off sides, illegal formation, etc. Parents at the Centennial games can start officiating and disregard the official who has taken classes; passed a test; has been interviewed, etc. This spells CHAOS. The Constitution of the United States is a relatively short document. The Community Agreement is not that lengthy. I am talking about respect for what works. Many people who are not given the nod from the Nomination Committee have taken volunteer positions within the Estates Property Owners Association. Some of these have return to represent our community in the capacity of Trustee. I vote for someone I am sure can handle all of the problems of the Village. Having taught Government and U.S. History and Law,for almost 40 years has given me a healthy respect for government structure that is stable being supported. I do not trust Mavericks.
Rob Williams January 23, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Linda - I'm so proud you are using this forum to brag about your accomplishments in US History and law. I'll save my accomplishments for a more appropriate time. I agree with a healthy respect for goverment structure but only if they represent the best interest of the people, which has not been the case as clearly shown by the residents that it is time for a change. I agree with Jonathan Schwieger Jr. and I also suggest you go back to Bill Garry's comment because he hit the facts and these facts aren't from 1919, they are from 2011&12. I can assure you no one in this election is a maverick.
Linda Wangner January 23, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Dear Rob and any one else who reads this. I am not bragging about my credentials. However, it does give credability to my view.. I am surprised that someone is intimidated by my education and career. The folks that are trying to achieve a change are going about this the wrong way. If they were solidly supported as you perceive, they would be supported by the random grouping by the nomination committee / but these candidates did not show respect for those residents who donate their time to support the government of Garden City. They show no respect or perhaps understanding ot the workings of the government. They didn't show up. They ignored the procedure. They are critical of a government that they choose to side step the procedures. Should I interpret that the Constitution of the United States is no longer valid because it was created in 18th century? It is the simplest of ideas and procedures that last the test of time and deserve respect. Getting into the trenches and working within the property owners association is more likely to be the way to achieve a change / providing that the majority of the residents agree.
Raymond Rudolph January 23, 2012 at 05:50 PM
Linda, aren't the challengers following the procedure set forth within the Community Agreement you claim to uphold?
GCBob January 23, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Ray, these challengers may be following procedure but one must question their motives. Neither candidate, and especially Ms. Harrington who has never volunteered her services or has been active on any committee, as far as I know, suddenly gets a calling to serve. What makes her qualified to take a lead position in our village government? While Jon has not been seen at any public meeting since he left office some years ago. There has been many issues challenging the quality of life here in Garden City over the past few years, the question is where were they during these troubling times? Let's face facts, they are both one issue candidates and that issue is St. Paul's. I have never heard of anyone moving to Garden City because of St. Paul's nor have I seen any credible studies that show that the existence or nonexistence of St. Paul's will have any impact on property values. If I am wrong in my conclusions then show me through credible documentation where I'm wrong.
Raymond Rudolph January 23, 2012 at 09:21 PM
Bob, We don't disagree on their motive or their main platform. And I agree with you, there are far more pressing issues in GC currently than St. Paul's. I am not an ardent St. Paul's supporter so I cannot show you conclusive evidence of impact to property values if St. Paul's isn't restored, nor do I believe it. St. Paul's does represent the most visible neglect of our Village infrastructure however. I only commented because Linda somehow feels slighted that a challenger dared to oppose the nominating committe without even interviewing? The challenge process is laid out in the community agreement and if you uphold that agreement, then why would you be upset that someone challenged under it's provisions? As well, there is a common misconception that those that volunteer for committees and work within the POA's are more qualified to hold Village offices. While I agree they have worked within the system that prevails, however, in my opinion, that just means they have accepted the lethargy with which the system works. A challenge is healthy for our Village.
Betsy January 23, 2012 at 11:40 PM
2 clarifications: Michele Harrington has participated on various village & POA committees and has been and still is an Estates POA director. She has also been active in many other organizations such as GC Centennials (division leader & coach), Friends of APR (director), Andy Foundation, TWIGS and many others. It should also be noted her mom is a former CPOA president so you may say Michele has been active in Village life for many, many years! With regard to the timing of her run - her clearance didn't come in time to put her application in so it was just a matter of timing but she is still well within the guidelines of the Community Agreement. She's nobody's puppet - she is smart, honest, capable and professional. I am her representative in this election (each candidate chooses a rep). Just thought I'd clarify some things, feel free to contact her if you have other questions - she's always more than happy to discuss GC! - Betsy Andromidas
Jonathan Schwieger Jr. January 23, 2012 at 11:53 PM
Wow did you take all of that in the wrong direction....Chaos and "Mavericks"?!? In Garden City?!? hahaha. The Constitution is also an evolving document. When the Community agreement was written in 1919, women did not have the right to vote (1920 Nineteenth Amendment). If it was static, you wouldn't even be involved in this discussion. That's why there are amendments to not only the Constitution, but also the community agreement...because the populace agreed that something wasn't working. Just because a small number of people that comprise the nominating committee believe a candidate is right, it doesn't mean that they speak for the entire section of town. I believe that anyone should be allowed to run and to make their positions known. I don't call that chaos, I call that democracy.
Jonathan Schwieger Jr. January 23, 2012 at 11:56 PM
Bob...I am not the one who held an offices, that was my father. Just wanted to clarify that.
GCBob January 24, 2012 at 02:37 AM
Betsy, I still question the timing. Something or someone must have influenced her to make her move at this late date, could you state what or who that was? Saturday's budget meeting was I believe one of the few times she has attended any BOT meeting. Please correct me if I am wrong or is she now taking some interest because she is running for office and needs the public exposure?
Nicole Russo January 24, 2012 at 04:53 AM
I believe Mrs. Harrington left the meeting early and Segerdahl was MIA, surprise surprise.
Betsy January 24, 2012 at 01:11 PM
Michele had to leave early because the weather was icy and she was going to a banquet luncheon at UPenn where her daughter was receiving an award - I taped the meeting on my flip video for her. Since I'm her official rep (as stated earlier each candidate has a rep) please email me your phone & email - it's early so I don't want to post her email without asking. If you have questions ask - it's not right for people to offer speculations on a comment page - she will get back to you - ask for yourself - don't speculate. My general email is practicemyputts@aol.com - I will forward to Michele.
Betsy January 24, 2012 at 01:18 PM
For the last three years there have been quite a few of us from the Estates who have tried to get her to run, especially me. I don't want to name some of the others because they are very involved in our POA. Michele has been one of the regulars at BOT meetings - I usually sit with her. Michele is always reading about our village govt too - I urge you to send me your contact info and she will give you a call or email you.
Raymond Rudolph January 24, 2012 at 02:45 PM
Betsy, Why would you think that if you are supporting a challenger, the response would be different? You treated Ron, Tom and I exactly the same in our challeneg last year with your comments.
Luis January 25, 2012 at 12:09 AM
In your earlier comment, there was a clarification about Ms Harrington's participation and involvement. Can you please list what Village & POA committees she was on? And I am not sure that her mom being a former Central section POA President adds to Ms Harrington's qualifications. What's her stand on St Paul's & the CSSP proposal?
Jack O'Niel January 25, 2012 at 02:54 AM
Ray, perhaps you should consider running again next election. Now that I've seen more of what happens in the town and the opinions on certain issues I can see what you were up against. While I'm not saying you can count on my vote, you certainly have earned my attention.
Raymond Rudolph January 25, 2012 at 02:58 PM
Jack, we have until the first Tuesday in February to decide whether or not to challenge the general election. Furthermore, I am not posting to gain support, I would really like to know what all these candidates stand for, both challengers and incumbents. The POA's have said nothing because really they aren't concerned. It is a monumental challenge to even get residents to be aware of a challenge and even more so to get them engaged enough to go vote. Without the challengers really getting their platform out and detailing what they will do, they have no shot. At this point my opinion is a vote for either the incumbents or the challengers doesn't place GC on the right path as I see it.
Publius January 25, 2012 at 03:22 PM
But you can always email the candidate and they will tell you their agenda one-to-one. Why don't presidential candidates think of that? Maybe cause people want full disclosure and public pronouncements so the official can be held accountable a la "read my lips...no new taxes". Maybe to make sure they are being consistent? Right now there's just a St. Paul's litmus test to distinguish the candidates.
GCRes1 January 26, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Betsy: I agree we shouldn't speculate regarding Ms. Harrington's views, we should ask her about them. I am not sure why Ms. Harrington can't speak for herself, but when you next speak to her, could you ask her to answer publicly the following questions: 1. How much are you willing to commit the Village to spend to renovate and rehabilitate St. Paul's? A specific amount, please. And remember, the annual budget is about $53 million. 2. You are apparently in favor of the CSSP plan for St. Paul's. Why have you chosen to ignore the analysis of the CSSP plan contained in Appendix M to the St. Paul's FEIS? It called the CSSP plan "underestimated . . . largely wasted if a reuse option is implemented . . . [and] insufficient to avoid future deterioration of unused portions of the building." Thanks.
Luis January 30, 2012 at 12:09 AM
So sorry to repeat my question, but even Ms Harrington's ad does not list the committees she was on or was chairperson of. In your earlier comment, there was a clarification about Ms Harrington's participation and involvement. Can you please list what Village & POA committees she was on? And I am not sure that her mom being a former Central section POA President adds to Ms Harrington's qualifications. What's her stand on St Paul's & the CSSP proposal? What will she do to find out what the residents want to do with the space. Since you said to ask about her, I really would like to know please.

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