Opinion
I have lived in Garden City my entire life, and in my opinion the spirit of the Community Agreement, under which the Property Owners' Associations (the POAs) sponsor candidates for public offices who run un-opposed on the official village election ballot, has - on balance - served us well. It has kept "Republican/Democrat" politics out of village government; it has fostered our spirit of volunteerism (rather than a paid village mayor and trustees); and it has avoided "single issue" candidates who have a predisposed agenda. We have historically set the goal of "the office seeks the candidate; the candidate doesn't seek the office," and our Property Owners Association customs have largely attained this goal by having the Property Owners Associations Nominating Committees seek out willing volunteers. As I near the end of my term of office, let me therefore offer some advice: notwithstanding the emotions which the St. Paul's issues have recently fanned, be slow to change our political customs; be wary of "single issue" candidates who have not worked their way up through the Property Owners Association "chairs;" be suspicious of those who do not have a track record of years of service; and - most especially - be wary of those who are "seeking the office" instead of having the office seek them!

There are many things that make Garden City such an appealing place to live and work. One of these is our viable and welcoming business districts with their fine restaurants, unique shops and regional stores.

Many residents consider shopping and dining in our business districts as "experience shopping" because they meet friends and neighbors along the way and have an opportunity to interact with them. This is in stark contrast to frantically dashing through the crowds in the mall or the big box retailers.

I encourage residents to make a conscious effort to choose Garden City as the place to shop and dine. Customer service, selection and quality are outstanding. While shopping or dining let the merchant know that you appreciate them and all that they offer.

In keeping with the idea of shopping locally and supporting our local merchants I am happy to announce that the Garden City Chamber of Commerce's program "Friend of the Chamber" is getting a great response from the community. This program is one of the great benefits available to chamber members.

To date exciting and generous discounts are being offered by over 50 local merchants, including Grimaldi's Coal-Brick Oven Pizzeria, The Garden City Hotel, diSalvo Interiors, Bonaventure Tuxedo, Taylor Warner Realty, Uncle Bacala's Restaurant, Gold's Gym, Seventh Street Café, and Garden City Alarm, Upper Crust Cafe and the Town Meat Market just to name a few!

Through this program, participating merchants will offer discounts on goods/services or promotional items to card bearing members. Already many of the residents, business people and school children are making inquiries about this program and how they can purchase cards in order to receive the special discounts and promotions.

The "Friend of the Chamber" program card is valid through Dec. 31, 2009. The cards will be available for purchase for $10 through local fundraising organizations. Cards come with a pamphlet that explains the program, lists the participating merchants along with their discounts, and references the chamber's website, www.gardencitychamber.org, for program updates and more information on the program. So don't miss out!

In order to participate: as a merchant or card selling organization print out the necessary form from the chamber website at www.gardencitychamber.org and return to Grimaldi's Pizzeria 980 Franklin Ave., Garden City, NY 11530 c/o Russell Ciolli. If you are not currently a chamber member but would like information on joining the chamber in order to participate in this new program please contact: Russell Ciolli at 294-6565 or Suzanne Eigl at 384-4773.

The fire department has asked that residents be reminded that smoke detectors are required in all residences.

Smoke detectors come in an assortment of models, including types that can be plugged in wall outlets or directly in a home's electrical system and others that are battery operated. While all are worthwhile, residents are cautioned to purchase only those detectors, which have been approved by testing laboratories such as Underwriters Laboratory (UL). These devices can be purchased from hardware and department stores.

For minimum protection, a smoke detector should be installed outside of each bedroom or sleeping area with at least one detector on every level of your home. For maximum protection, sleep with doors closed and install a detector in each bedroom or sleeping area.

It is essential that smoke detectors be installed, tested and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations. In the event that you have any questions with regard to the selection or placement of a smoke detector, please feel free to contact the Garden City Fire Department at 746-1301 as they will be pleased to assist you.

The next regularly scheduled board of trustees' meetings will be on Thursday, Feb. 5 and on Tuesday, Feb. 17, at 8 p.m. I encourage residents to periodically utilize the village's website for information regarding the village's operations, as well as items of seasonal and special interest. The address is www.gardencityny.net. Also please be aware that I have a village email address and would be delighted to hear from village residents about their concerns - it is as follows: MayorPBee@gardencityny.net.

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