Two longtime trustees of the Village of Port North, Edward "Charlie" Ratkoski and Gary Levi, are seeking re-election in next Tuesday's election, running on the Environmental Party ticket. Peri Sue Zausner and Janet Orloff are challenging them for the trustee positions, running on the New Millennium Party line.
Incumbent Mayor Tom Pellegrino also seeks re-election, running unopposed on the Environmental Party ticket.
Recently, the current board rezoned the Lewis Oil Company property from Economic Development A to business, thereby allowing Lewis Oil to redevelop the site into an expanded Delco Shopping Center. Ms. Zausner and Orloff wanted a full environmental impact statement on the property. The incumbents maintain that one is not necessary and promise that any contamination that exists on the site will be cleaned up, with Lewis Oil being responsible for any costs related to the remediation of the property.
The possible rezoning of the now-vacant Dallas Realty 41 acres is also under contention. An application to rezone the property from Economic Development A to allow senior housing to be built there has been submitted to the board. The challengers say that, if elected, they will vote against rezoning the site to residential.
The challengers also criticize last year's 20 percent village tax increase. The incumbents counter that for years they kept the taxes low, claiming that at times they have been amongst the lowest in the county. Last year, they explain, the increase came from a combination of over $100,000 in tax certioraris and the certiorari negotiator's fee.
Election Day is Tuesday, March 20 from noon-9 p.m. at Village Hall, (Chase Bank Building) One Soundview Drive.
Mayor Thomas Pellegrino--Running Unopposed on the Environmental Party ticket for Mayor
Mayor Pellegrino has spent the last 30 years as mayor, after serving one year as a trustee. In a partial list of accomplishments, he included: removal of oil tanks at Lewis Oil site; reclaiming the waterfront; Halloween curfew; Pooper Scooper ordinance; annual program for planting trees; sidewalk replacement for those residents whose tree roots up-ended their sidewalks; anti-noise ordinance; forcing LILCO to underground its wires on Shore Rd.; establishing a code of ethics for village officials; passage of the toughest building zone codes in New York State; keeping a low tax rate, which at several times was one of the lowest of the 64 villages in Nassau County.
The mayor is proud of his party's vision for Port North. He says, "Our never ending discussions with village residents, the elected officials of other villages, the Town of North Hempstead, Nassau County and the state, businesses in the village, and top-notch professionals (such as the planners our village board retained) are part of our vision. This is to maintain a safe and attractive community, and to plan for the use of village properties through the application of our zoning laws judiciously.
During the next two years, he says, the current board expects to resurface two more village roads, continue with the village's sidewalk replacement program and continue to work on tax abatements for seniors and veterans. "We are also meeting with the management of Soundview Marketplace and Blockbuster Video with the aim of moving their film drop box to another location in the center which would do away with the dangerous condition existing today. He adds, "In the next few months, we will put together a team of professionals and residents to assist us in planning the overall development of our waterfront property."
Edward "Charlie" Ratkoski- Environmental Party Candidate for trustee
Mr. Ratkoski was born, educated and married in Port Washington. He also raised his kids here. "I love Port Washington and feel I want to return something to it for all it has given to me and my family." He has been a trustee and superintendent of public works for Port North for eight years. As superintendent, he is responsible for roads, sidewalks, street sweeping, snow removal, and tree trimming and replacement. Prior to being elected trustee, Mr. Ratkoski was the superintendent of public works in Sands Point, retiring in 1992.
He has been a volunteer fireman for 51 years and last year was named Citizen of the Year by the Polish American Society of New York.
On taxes, he says, "I always strive to cut taxes without cutting all the important services that we provide our residents and businesses.
Gary Levi- Environmental Party Candidate for trustee
"For most of my adult life, I have been a public servant. My idea of a good American is to be involved in government. I am currently a trustee of the village. Before that, I was a member of the Board of Appeals of the village. He is currently the president of the Intrac Group, a company he started in 1990. It is an international media, marketing and financial service.
Mr. Levi notes that his involvement in government goes back some years. His activities include: a member of the board of directors of the Jacob Javits Convention Center; a Special assistant to the New York Secretary of State; a special assistant to the New York City Commissioner of Sanitation; a community liaison officer for the New York City Environmental Administration and a vice-chairman of the New York City Industries for the Blind.
The two candidates feel that there are urgent quality of life issues that must be addressed. "There must be a full environmental impact statement on both the Lewis Oil and 41 acre properties," they say. They feel that new development should be researched fully with its impact on and with surrounding areas and other development projects.
Noting that traffic has become more and more congested, they insist on keeping any increased traffic to a minimum. Janet and Peri want to initiate breast cancer studies in Port Washington, especially in Port North.
In general, they feel that the interests of the residents have not been protected.
Janet Orloff- New Millennium Party Candidate for trustee
Janet Orloff has been a community-minded citizen and environmental activist for 23 years in Port North. Janet is co-founder of the Port Washington North Civic Association and its past secretary. She was instrumental in the effort to stop the incinerator and worked closely with Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington to that end. Janet was vice president and president of Citizens Promoting Recycling. Orloff represented the Soundview area as a Democratic Committee person for 10 years. A past nursery school teacher, Janet was also president of the Guggenheim PTA and active on numerous committees. The "soccer Mom extraordinaire" was PW Soccer Club administrator. She was inducted into the Port Soccer Hall of Fame. Janet Orloff has been attending many Port North Village and school board meetings over the years both as a resident and writer for the PW Sentinel. A caseworker for the Nassau County Department of Social Services, Janet is now enrolled in a Master's program in public administration at C.W. Post College. Janet Orloff has lived in Port North with her husband, Howard, for 23 years. They raised two sons, Scott and Stephen, both graduates of PW schools
Peri Sue Zausner- New Millennium Party Candidate for trustee
Peri-Sue Zausner is co-founder and was president of the PW North Civic Association until she stepped down to better serve the residents of Port North as trustee. Peri also represents Port North as vice president of the General Council of PW Homeowners, where she has also been a member of the Committee for Responsible Development. Zausner, a Soundview Democratic Committee person, has represented citizens for many years. Deeply involved in civic and environmental affairs, Ms. Zausner has worked closely with local legislators and other elected officials in the Town of North Hempstead. She spearheaded the campaign for timely, responsible development in the PW peninsula. A member of Residents for a More Beautiful PW, Ms. Zausner has been affiliated with many environmental groups.
Ms. Zausner attended Skidmore College, the Art Students' League, and the Fashion Institute of Technology, and is an award-winning multi-media artist. She lives with her husband Fred and their two sons, both PW high school students, Alex, 14, and Eric, 18. They have lived in Port North for over 18 years.