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Suffolk red-light camera foe on ballot against John Flanagan

Stephen Ruth Jr. of Centereach speaks with reporters

Stephen Ruth Jr. of Centereach speaks with reporters on Friday, June 3, 2016 at Riverhead Criminal Court. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

A Centereach man who has been a bitter opponent of Suffolk County’s red-light cameras — and faces criminal charges for disabling the devices at more than a dozen intersections — will be on the ballot against State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-East Northport) in November.

Stephen Ruth will be on the Libertarian line against Flanagan after no challenge was issued to his signatures, Suffolk Board of Elections officials said Wednesday. Flanagan will have the Republican, Conservative and Independence lines. Peter Magistrale, of St. James, is the Democratic candidate.

Ruth has been a frequent presence at Suffolk legislative meetings, sometimes disrupting meetings. He has complained that the red light cameras are aimed at making money for the county.

Ruth, who has never run for office, has said he wants to extend the length of yellow traffic lights and ultimately end Suffolk’s red-light camera program.

Ruth said he was “willing to put my freedom at stake to make our streets safer,” and thanked those who signed his nominating petitions and the Libertarian Party for supporting him.

Flanagan has represented the Second District since 2002.

“Sen. Flanagan has always run on his record. This year is no different,” said spokesman Scott Reif.

Ruth was arrested last August for tampering with several red-light cameras in Ronkonkoma. Ruth, who has admitted the tampering and posted a how-to video on YouTube, was charged with third-degree criminal tampering and obstruction of governmental administration, both misdemeanors.

He was arrested again in April and charged with 19 counts of second-degree criminal mischief, a felony, for damaging red-light camera poles in Brookhaven and Coram.

Ruth, who pleaded not guilty to all the charges, faces up to 7 years in prison if convicted.

His next scheduled court appearance is Sept. 14.


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