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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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Jack O'Niel January 16, 2013 at 02:04 PM
Good stuff Larry, I like the way you're thinking.
Bill Sweeney January 16, 2013 at 03:38 PM
Seems like a NIMBY that wants to demo St. Paul's and change everything about the Village, which while not perfect, is pretty much the best on the Island. Awesome.
Reed Marcus January 16, 2013 at 04:40 PM
I am reposting this here. I posted it on the other article but think it is best read here......From seeing both of these Trustees in action at Board meetings, I think Mr Quinn is usually more prepared and his comments show more insight. I think he is experienced and also brings his experience from being involved in POA and Board of Education. I think he is a better candidate. I know that Mr Watras has been involved for a very long time, but he has always seemed very flippant even with important issues. Also he tends to look to others as a means of his own vote. He definitely appears to be ill-prepared at many meetings as well. Maybe he needs to focus (but while sitting in the Mayor's chair). Good luck Mr. Quinn.
Bill Sweeney January 16, 2013 at 04:44 PM
One thing we do not need is someone who's knee jerk reaction is to not want anything done around us. Face the facts, the areas that surround us need some help. Those areas getting help in turn helps us. We need people that recognize that. Hub development..check, downtown Hempstead redevelopment...check, Mineola improvements...check. All of this would make GC that much better.
Reed Marcus January 16, 2013 at 05:04 PM
No disagreement in general terms, but certainly there are impacts that are sold to many communities as low impact with infact it is just the oposite. That is the specific case with the LIRR and freight. I think that whatever gets developed at the colliseum will also need impact study. I dont think that when we express concern over change and future impact we should be labelled as NIMBY. Of course there are times when that happens with many communities and we are not different, but certainly the development of the Hub and specifically the LIRR expansion of any tracks on the mainline will have significant impact on many things in Garden City. I think that Mr Quinn will be a responsible mayor that will weigh issues individually and act accordingly in tandem with the Board of Trustees.
Bill Sweeney January 16, 2013 at 05:07 PM
Agreed. I just seems to me that the venom comes out whenever any development in somewhat close proximity to GC is proposed. We need people to fight for and defend GC, for sure. I hope whoever is in office does just this.
Reed Marcus January 16, 2013 at 07:20 PM
If you've been to Board of Trustee meetings, you can certainly see that Mr. Quinn is prepared, whereas Mr Watras many times defaults to "wing-ing" it. It is sometimes amusing, but Mr Watras' sarcasm and perceived lack of preparation, will not cut it as mayor. Mr Quinn can do the job and will represent the Village well.
GcSupporter#2 January 16, 2013 at 10:16 PM
I think a lot of older residents in this village ESPECIALLY the baby boomers are completely out of touch with the problems our village will face over the next twenty years plus and the obstacles closing in on us. But that is what the younger generation has come to expect from the generation ahead of us. Like trailing a gaudy obnoxious yacht in a little boat, thrown into chaos by its wake and waste. The out and out dismissal of all planned improvements from Mineola downtown development to the Hub. From increased high density housing to rail development. It's laughable. Imagine a village set up and planned around a railroad, a railroad which is more responsible for its development and enrichment than any other single factor within its village limits then screaming in protest over any further development and improvement. The LIRR faces huge debt and unfunded pension obligations. If they do not find ways to increase revenue other than raising fares every other week you will see major reductions in service. The GC line is one of the least profitable lines it runs. Ask riders on the West Hempstead line how the new schedules look. Guess who is next. How will the gradual reduction of service effect property values in the village. If you don't like the prospect of increased rail traffic then you should probably should have considered that when buying your house near a railroad track. The same track which increase the value of your home and village. Also we are no longer competing with Manhasset, RVC, Sea Cliff or Jericho. None of my friends are moving their young families to these towns. They are moving to SC, NC, FL, TX, OR..... Every year two or three more families move out of here. They are probably the smart ones dodging the impending catastrophe known as unfounded pension obligations the village and school/library will drown us in. When the bill comes due property taxes will have to increase at rates we can't fathom. We will be short on funds just as our infrastructure starts to crumble and is in need of repair and replacement. How will the current library look in 2025? The high school? Admin building? Sewers? We have already seen the horrors of the current state of our electrical system. And all the money will go towards paying people for services rendered twenty years in the past. And all I hear about is St. Paul's. Just so I understand you will leave us a crumbling infrastructure, unsustainable pension obligations, record property tax levels but could not dare leave us with St Paul's. When ranking the villages biggest problems this village faces St. Paul's doesn't make the top three. Except I guess for thosewho get no immediate gratification from it. Solve the other problems and leave us St. Paul's and we will gladly deal with it once you have fled for some God forsaken gated golf community in western Florida. Suburbia as we know it does not work. It is on a one way road towards insolvency. Solutions are needed. But first step is for everyone to recognize the problems. The problems driving people out of here in record numbers.
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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