By Larry Gordon
This is the best type of election—one in which all the candidates are running unopposed. To an extent, this is actually the unwritten law in the pristine Village of Lawrence here on the western edge of Nassau County. Two excellent civic-minded individuals are looking for your vote as a vote of confidence in the work they are doing on behalf of local residents. If only a few people come out to vote, that would be an unfortunate demonstration of extreme apathy.
If a few hundred people make it their business to take time to fill out a ballot at Lawrence’s Village Hall next Tuesday, that will mean a great deal to the candidates as well as to the inner workings of the community. It would be an expression of public support and genuine interest in the vision of the volunteer trustees, the time they put into their jobs, and the results they achieve.
It is difficult or impossible to report with precision on the fashion in which the Lawrence Village trustees interface, but you can rest assured that while everyone’s heart is in the right place, these are successful businesspeople and professionals who sometimes have different priorities and even sometimes conflicting ideas. That is the beauty of a democracy, even if it happens that the candidates do not have anyone running against them.
The candidates this year, Michael Fragin and Danny Goldstein, are both good friends. Not enough can be said about the time and efforts these gentlemen dedicate to seeing to it that our village functions properly and efficiently. Past and some current village officials have commented that Mr. Fragin’s objective is to one day, perhaps as early as next year, become the mayor of Lawrence.
It is no secret that the current mayor, Alex Edelman, made it clear from the outset that his intention was to serve just one term as mayor and that he would support Mr. Fragin’s candidacy in the next election. So it was a somewhat interesting turn of events when another good friend and neighbor of mine, Idel (Larry) Kolodny, filed petitions to run for trustee with the possible intention of unseating Mr. Goldstein.
The Goldstein campaign challenged the veracity of the petition, which requires 100 signatures and names that are properly recorded. The Nassau County Board of Elections then disqualified the Kolodny petitions, thereby eliminating Mr. Kolodny as a candidate for trustee. The case ended up in the county court, with the judge—Daniel Palmieri—ruling that the petitions were submitted in an untimely fashion, beyond the deadline. So that put an end to that.
Now there is a concern that Mr. Kolodny might mount a write-in campaign. Such campaigns have happened—though rarely—in previous village elections but have never succeeded.
For Danny Goldstein, a real-estate developer, this is his first time facing election, after he was appointed to his trusteeship to fill the seat vacated by the election of Mr. Edelman as mayor. Goldstein, who is also an electrical contractor, has dedicated a good deal of his time to overseeing the vastly improved infrastructure projects in the village during the last year. He is looking forward to gaining votes next week as a way of receiving community affirmation for his efforts. If we do not make it our business to go out and vote on Tuesday, we will be sending a signal that we do not care—which, for the most part, is just not the case.
I asked Michael Fragin about the Goldstein candidacy, and he said that they are running as a team. Election posters hanging in store windows on Central Avenue call for people to vote the Fragin–Goldstein electoral team.
So, if there are any disagreements, what are they about? Personalities aside, what are the agenda items that we as Lawrence residents should look to the board of trustees about? Michael Fragin says that the issues on the board’s agenda include continued infrastructure improvements, the ongoing effort to upgrade the Peninsula Public Library, and continued improvements at the Lawrence Yacht and Country Club. And then there is the matter of the four-acre property that was once the location of the local sewer plant at the foot of Rock Hall Road and Route 878.
Our information is that there was an effort to build a new hotel at the location, which at present a majority of trustees oppose. Amongst those opposed are Mr. Goldstein, who says he fears that a hotel at the location will potentially diminish the attractiveness of the area. Mayor Edelman said that he counts on Mr. Goldstein as a partner in governing the village. “He is enthusiastic, cooperative, and responsive,” Mayor Edelman said in a letter of endorsement, in which he also states that “Goldstein has established himself as a vital component” of village government.
We are the proverbial big small town. It’s nice that both Michael Fragin and Danny Goldstein are running unopposed. That’s just another way of saying, You’re doing a great job.