5TC: Thank you very much for taking the time to sit down with us Danny. We would like to take just a few minutes out of your busy schedule to ask you a few questions and to make this interview as informative as possible for the community.
DG: It is my pleasure to sit down with you today and I believe this will be informative for the community as well.
5TC: Great. So, let’s jump right into it. Obviously, it is very exciting that you have decided to run for Mayor of Lawrence, and we will get to that in a minute but first can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
DG: Absolutely. I was born in the states then we moved to Israel in 1971 when I was about six years old. I went to school there. Then when I was older, I went to electrical school. I graduated as a licensed electrician. I was the youngest electrician in the state of Israel when I graduated.
After that I came back to the States. I worked here for about 10 years with an electrical company, then an alarm company, until I went back to Israel where I met my wife in 1992. I got married lived in Israel for a couple of years, had two kids and then I came back to the United States in 1999. I was in Brooklyn for two years and then I moved to Lawrence. Since then, I have been involved in real estate.
5TC: That sounds like a lot of moving around. So how did you get into politics?
DG: I used to be a captain in the fire department in Meadowmere Park. So, when I moved to Lawrence, I said what’s the best way to really help the people? You must know the community from a different angle. I became a trustee in the village of Lawrence.
5TC: So why have you decided to run for Mayor of Lawrence?
DG: Alex Adelman has been a mayor for 4 years now. He’s running again in June. I decided basically I want to run for mayor for a couple of different reasons. Mainly that I feel that his policies do not have the best interest in mind for the people of Lawrence anymore.
He and I disagree on many things. I’ve been trying to get Alex to vote for bike Lanes. He has been fighting it from the beginning. Kids on Shabbos have no place to walk in some areas. Let’s say you are going down Rockhall Road and you want to walk down Causeway going towards Ocean Avenue, the cars are going in and out, the golf carts are going through the cross walks-everyone’s screaming at you. “What are you doing over here? Get off the golf course!” But with all due respect to all these people on the golf course, they don’t even live in Lawrence! They’re not benefiting the residence of Lawrence. They have a right to have a path and not only that, they have a right to have a bike lane. He’s been fighting it. Also, one of the big issues I’ve been fighting is that there is an old sewer plant that Alex wants to go ahead with this 4 and 1/2 acres that used to be a sewer plant, that they want to subdivide into houses.
I’m fine with them subdividing into houses or senior housing or multi-family, but my question is two issues. Number one. What do you do with the money? That land is going to be sold for $8 million dollars. Alex wants to go ahead and build a public swimming pool in the golf course. This is what Lawrence needs a public swimming pool.
Who’s going to use it? Don’t you think there is more important things to do with that money? We’re going to be paying more taxes- who’s going to maintain the swimming pool when it’s finished? Our taxes are going to maintain it. This is what Alex is saying he wants a public swimming pool.
The other issue is that if they are taking 4 and 1/2 acres away-why don’t you replace it somewhere else? You know, Lawrence doesn’t have a park? Let’s put the money and resources back into the community. Lawrence must come together and stop it. Not only that, but if you look at the history in the United States right now go online on Google and search, most all golf courses are dying. Look at the Woodmere Club- failed, the Seawane Club- failed. If you go online, you’ll see they say by 2050, 90% of the golf courses in the United States are going to close. So what’s going to happen with Lawrence? We’ll have an $8 million-dollar public pool that no one’s going to use.
These are a few reasons why I’m running for mayor.
5TC: So, let me ask you, what would be your plan for that money?
DG: $8 million dollars is a lot of money. We could build the park. We can build better infrastructure around Lawrence. We can build a community center. We can put the money back into Lawrence. Don’t take it and build a public swimming pool which the only people that want it is Alex himself. Let the Village decide what they need, let them build stuff that we will benefit from not just today but things to benefit our children, our grandchildren and future generations.
And that’s one of my biggest fights that I’ve been having with them.
5TC: So, what other policies do you and the current mayor disagree on?
DG: Lots of policies. Let’s assume in the building department. Like for example, if it was up to Alex, he wanted to pass the law that people cannot have a generator above 20 KW. So that means everyone that has generators must get rid of them because he doesn’t like the noise, so we should tell every resident in Lawrence to get rid of the generators. I voted against it, together with Michael Fragin and Uri Kaufman, we voted against it and because of us it didn’t go through.
These little things make our lives better. There’s a lot of laws he was trying to pass that I stopped him, that I wouldn’t let him do. Lots of things he wants to push through aren’t good for the community. We’re a community here. We changed a lot of the zoning laws to help benefit the people there- if it was up to Alex he would have made it even more stringent.
People need a place to live, people need more to live. He’s often trying to push his agenda on to the residence of Lawrence. And that’s what needs to change. This is not a one-man show, a Lone Ranger. This is about being and working with the trustees and the community to make a better place. He doesn’t work with the trustees. It’s either his way or the highway.
5TC: With you being a trustee right now, and for the past few years, do you feel that you have a better sense for what the village and the community needs?
DG: People are not always going to agree on everything one hundred percent but in general to get the right things done that the village needs- that’s what we need to do. Now again, it’s not my decision as a mayor. I will make sure that the Board of Trustees and the residents will decide what needs to get done. But now it’s not about that. It’s about his way, what he wants to vote. He doesn’t care about the trustees or ask them anymore and it’s getting worse day by day.
5TC: Let’s talk about security in the neighborhood. Is there anything that you would change if you become mayor?
DG: Yes. Since I came into the village, I tried to get cameras installed in all the parking lots. You can go back on the minutes. You can see every week or every month I bring it up. What about cameras? What about cameras? You know behind Central the parking lot behind seasons and the parking lot on the Far Rockaway side next to the Inwood to train station. Only now that the Federal government said they’re going to help him get some money, Alex woke up and decided it’s a good idea, let’s pass the law but when I wanted to do it for two and a half years, everything was ignored. This is my point. We need to think to do the right thing and grow with the times with this village.
5TC: Let’s talk about your support. Do you feel you have the backing that will be able to push you through as mayor of Lawrence?
DG: Well, I do have the support. I have the support of Michael Fragin. I have the support of Uri Kaufman. I have my supporters and I have what I think, is definitely a fighting chance to give Alex a run for his money. Politics is really a lot of talk, I’m not like that. Less talk and let’s get it done. Personally, I wouldn’t have ran against Alex, it’s only because I just can’t stand by and let him continue to run Lawrence like this anymore.
5TC: Can you give us some more insights into who you are and what you have accomplished, so people can understand how you run things?
DG: I think we’re running the Village of Lawrence like a business. That’s the way you’re supposed to run things. You know, I’ve been successful in business for a long time. I mean, I was very successful in Israel, built a company then sold it. I came back to the states, built up an Electrical company then I sold that. I teamed up with my partner Irving Langer. He’s my business partner. We have an office on Central Avenue. We’ve been in real estate for a long time together with a lot of shalom bayis, we get along beautifully because you know, there’s no agenda- the agenda is to make sure that whatever we do, we do it right and we do it straight. We built a very successful business and I’m sure that I have the experience in the village. Not only that. I know maybe I’m selling myself short here that I’m not going too much.
I’ll give an example, of one of the first things they did when I came to the Village, I went over all the electric bills because I have an electrical company, I’m a licensed electrician and I said, why are we paying so much money, paying close to $120,000 a year on the electric on the light poles? Why? So, it took me a while to convince Alex, but we switched all the light fixtures in the village of Lawrence to LED light and then I got them to apply by PSEG in a reduction of rate because we’re using a lot less electric. We saved nearly $70,000 a year just on electrical alone.
There are a lot of things that I did in the village that I do from a business point of view and if you can run the village like a business- I believe that the savings will go directly to the people in the village instead of always raising their taxes. How about we lower their taxes! How about we save the money and lower their taxes.
Also, I ran for Knesset in Israel in 2012 in what we called the Finance Party, you can look it up online. It was not really to get elected but to make people realize how ridiculous some laws are there and Baruch Hashem, a lot of what we did, we see today in Israel. For example, one of our ideas you could see a predates all the laws that they came out. One of the ideas was that we want food to be marked. What’s bad for you, what’s good for you? They’re marking the food now. One of our ideas of housing they did, an idea we had to combat money laundering, and a few others. I was on the cover of one of Israel’s biggest magazines for “Man of the Year”. We were out there in Israel, everyone knew us because of our ideas and because of what we were doing. I feel that I can bring these ideas to the village and implement them.
5TC: Very interesting. Is there anything you are working on currently that you care to share with us?
DG: Sure. One item I am working on for example, is the water. Why is Lawrence paying such high water bills on the fire hydrants? Do you know we’re paying nearly over $100,000 a year to American water for fire hydrants? Why? We don’t use them; it should be the fire department or let Lawrence Village dig a well and do their own water like they do in Freeport. I worked on it and Alex shooed me off on it. He didn’t want to hear it. Another thing I changed, was from only head in parking by Stefan’s parking to any type of parking, back in as well. Why? Because I proved to them that someone coming out of a space headfirst is safer than someone backing out, so let them park any way they like. These seem like small things, but the key element is simply to improve overall living for the residents.
There is one last issue I want to bring up. Everyone is so worried about the Woodmere Club.
They never wanted to speak to the people. Everyone is upset at me that I abstained from the vote. The current mayor forced through a vote for the Village to join the Town of Hempstead to hire lawyers to stop them from building which could end up costing Lawrence $300,000 in lawyer fees. Who’s going to pay it? The residents, of course. Alex asked me why I abstained, I said did you ever meet the people proposing this? No! For 2 years? No! So how do you want me to vote on something in a straight heart? If you never even met them, never even spoke to them, but you want to spend $300,000 of village money because you don’t want to meet with them to even discuss. You know, they only want to build there a 150 senior housing and 67 homes. That’s it. Yet, Alex allowed Inwood to pass zoning to build 300 units of housing. That- Alex allowed to go through.
300 units of housing and they are building another two hundred more, that’s going to impact Lawrence ten times worse than what they want to build on Broadway.
How come I heard no cries for that? How come no one fought it? How come no one complained about it? Where was the whole village? Where was the mayor?!
No one said a word. Yet when it came to Woodmere everyone was screaming and hollering and its half the amount on a hundred acres, however by Inwood it’s only about 20 acres. That’s why I feel the mayor needs to be replaced because he does not have the best benefit of the Village at heart. That’s the problem.
5TC: Very interesting. Well, we would like to thank you very much for your time today and good luck on the upcoming election.
DG: Sure, it is my pleasure.