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Quinn: Why I Am Challenging John Watras For Mayor

Sitting trustee says vocal minority that insists on maintaining a decaying structure has essentially side-tracked progress within the village.

Trustee Laurence Quinn has challenged the WPOA Nominating Committee's selection of John Watras for mayor.
Trustee Laurence Quinn has challenged the WPOA Nominating Committee's selection of John Watras for mayor.
A shock and awe moment at Tuesday night's resident electors' meeting in the West left many caught with their mouths open.

Unbeknownst to many, including WPOA president Tom Whalen who told Patch he had no prior knowledge of the challenge prior to Tuesday's meeting, sitting trustee Laurence Quinn challenged the West Nominating Committee's unanimous selection of John Watras for mayor.

The nine-member West Nominating Committee accepted Watras’s resignation from his current position as trustee and his request to be considered for the office of mayor, a two-year term beginning in April 2013. The committee also selected Robert Bolebruch for the remaining one-year of the village trustee seat vacated by Watras.

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Quinn, who's two-year trustee term expires in April, however, told Patch Wednesday that he's challenging the "Old Guard candidate for mayor" for many reasons, including the "endless delays caused by the influence of a vocal minority that insists on maintaining a decaying structure for which no plan for full use presently exists have essentially side-tracked progress within the village."

"Responsible government requires open discussion, respectful argumentation, and a commitment to progress. I wish the Village to move forward on many fronts—more environmentally responsible initiatives, fiscal prudence when dealing with labor contracts, and improved social and recreational services," he stated in an email.

Quinn continued, adding, "The Village of Garden City needs a mayor who will act to help the entire village. I do not believe we will see any progress on use of St. Paul’s if we allow business as usual. Twenty years have passed. You will see real progress in the next two years if I am elected.

"There are many vital issues facing the Village today. The development of the Coliseum property as a biotechnology center looks promising but its potential impacts on traffic, local commercial interests and environmental quality are real concerns. The LIRR’s plans for increased freight along the Main Line are a real concern. Air traffic, noise and pollution issues are finally getting the media attention they deserve. Zoning, code enforcement and housing issues require closer attention. Property values are tied to educational and municipal services.  We need state-of-the-art recreational, social and senior citizen services if we are to compete with other up-scale communities.

"Others look at our past to 'preserve equity.' Trustee Larry Quinn wants to invest for the future and 'build equity.' I thank my opponent for recognizing I am 'really on the outside looking in.' A fresh perspective is what the Village of Garden City needs."

A run-off election will now take place in the West on Jan. 29 (time and place to be announced.) Run-off elections are already scheduled for the Estates and East.

The Nominating Committee for village and school board was chaired by WPOA director Maureen Traxler, and its members included Bill Allen, Ralph Aquino, Germaine Greco, Maureen Lyons, Mike Ryder, Bill Sollins, Richard Vallely and Gloria Weinrich.

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Washington Ave. January 17, 2013 at 08:26 PM
Great points, by all. Of GC's $70 mil in liabilities, $24.4 goes to "other post employment benefits" as of the 5/12 budget...scary indeed. I can see the Lirr Mineola line from my house....but who am I to say they can't use those tracks for other than passengers....
GcSupporter#2 January 17, 2013 at 10:37 PM
Mr. Marcus I guess you can't appreciate how ridiculous your stance on improvement/development of the LIRR main line sounds to those outside the bubble. I have basically 7 RR stops in my town but I disapprove of any further advancements for that same RR!?! Really. That is not NIMBY???? It just wasn't for freight. A third rail is need to bypass broken/stalled trains as well as adding more express trains during rush hour. This is a general improvement of all who use the RR and that too effects our property values and quality of life. Again when you moved near a RR you should have foreseen the need for future improvements and developments. If not that is your own fault. It would be like people screaming bloody murder over airplane noise while living near a major international airport. Oh wait...
Reed Marcus January 22, 2013 at 11:13 AM
Sorry for the delayed reply.... You forgot to list "reverse commuting" which was the LIRR’s first public relations bungled answer; only later followed by the express trains, the bypass (which primarily exists now anyway), and the increased access for the new tunnel to midtown (absurd). None of which are the real reason or need. They have opportunities to improve service every day, and they fail miserably, I am sure giving them money (our tax dollars) will be much more than wasteful, it will create a very dangerous situation that the LIRR/ MTA cannot manage whatsoever. The only big money for them will be through the significant increase in FREIGHT. While that is not a bad thing for them, it is not ridiculous at all to remind them (and our residents) that the LIRR needs to be responsible. They must find ways to enforce specific safety regulations, especially while increasing the possibility of severely unsafe conditions. The LIRR/MTA needs to pay strong attention to the safety of the communities through which this FREIGHT will pass. That however, makes the project not as lucrative, and that is where their behavior is irresponsible. Most importantly, they had an opportunity to provide better controls on the safety and the monitoring of hazardous contents through Garden City and other communities along the line. When they costed that out, it did not create the proper return on investment (of our Tax Dollars). But rather than coming up with other alternatives and pushing back on freight companies to be responsible “carters” of freight, the MTA/LIRR took the easy road and ignored some rules and decided to push back on us (the taxpayers and the potential victims of freight related accidents and hazardous by products). Those safely factors included reduced speed and maximum number of cars as well as maximum weight of freight. All of which could minimize dangers of fast moving, heavily weighted, long trains that could also possibly be carrying hazardous waste. So, I guess I am ridiculous to think that you considered all the facts before asking me if I am NIMBY. We throw that word around when it is convenient. When Federal and State government better communicate and coordinate with local governments, and when they push back on their private partners to abide by safety rules, then we can feel better about how their decisions affect our community. By the way, the new “Double Track” project you see on the flyers on the LIRR is a repositioning of the same Third Track Expansion or Mainline Corridor Improvement Plans. I hope that the Village gets back on “track” with communicating again with the MTA. Garden City once again, should ally with Floral Park and New Hyde Park to get a jump on this before a fast schedule of EIS meetings are planned.
Jack O'Niel January 26, 2013 at 09:47 PM
Good luck Larry, I really liked your letter in the GC News.
GcSupporter#2 January 27, 2013 at 10:46 PM
So let me get this straight. The guy getting a govt pension is going to be the guy taking a hard stance on village pensions. Seriously? You can't make this stuff up. Step aside Larry and do us all a favor.

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