This story was reported by Khristopher J. Brooks, Vera Chinese, Deon J. Hampton, Carl MacGowan, Ted Phillips and Antonio Planas. It was written by MacGowan.
Port Jefferson's mayoral race took on a higher profile than usual when former Suffolk County Republican chairman John Jay LaValle announced he would challenge five-term incumbent Margot J. Garant.
LaValle, 51, said he would use his experience as a former Brookhaven Town supervisor to address vacancies in the village's harborfront business district, as well as fix parking problems there and blight in Port Jefferson's struggling Upper Port section, near the Long Island Rail Road station.
Port Jefferson is one of nine Long Island villages with competitive mayoral and trustee races on Tuesday.
LaValle said parking shortages frustrate shoppers and visitors and faulted Port Jefferson officials for using "overzealous" parking enforcement to balance the village budget.
"The concern is, downtown we have more than two dozen vacant storefronts," said LaValle, a real estate attorney who stepped down as county GOP chairman in March. "Uptown is severe urban blight. ... It’s extremely concerning.”
Garant, 54, defended her administration and said she had led efforts to improve beaches and parks and pave roads. She said she wants to finish the village's plan to revitalize Upper Port with new shops and apartments.
Garant said she was most proud of settling a lawsuit with the Long Island Power Authority in which the state agency would gradually pay less taxes on a power plant in the village, in exchange for agreeing to let the village keep taxes paid on the plant over the past decade.
She acknowledged that some stores have closed, but said the village has little control over occupancy rates.
“To point the finger solely at government is not fair when these are privately owned businesses,” she said. “Businesses are coming. We’re right in the middle of a wave right now, and we’re going to work our way through it.”
In the trustees race, incumbent Stan Loucks and running mate Kathianne Snaden are running against Tom Meehan and Tracy Stapleton for two open seats, each carrying a two-year term. Trustee Laurence LaPointe is not seeking re-election.
Snaden, who runs a freelance photography business, and Loucks are running on a ticket with Garant. Meehan, a fire commissioner and elementary school principal, and Stapleton, an attorney and Port Jefferson Free Library trustee, are running with LaValle.
Voting takes place from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Village Center, 101 E. Broadway.
In addition to the Port Jefferson race, there are contested mayoral races in Bellport, Great Neck, Oyster Bay Cove, Sag Harbor and Southampton.
Belle Terre, Brightwaters, Great Neck, Oyster Bay Cove, Poquott, Sag Harbor and Southampton have competitive trustee races.
All of the elections are scheduled on June 18 expect in Southampton, where voting will take place Friday, June 21.
Incumbents Richard Musto and Judy Zaino and challenger Caroline Engelhardt are competing for two trustee seats, each carrying a two-year term.
Voting is noon to 9 p.m. at the Community Center, 55 Cliff Rd.
Incumbent Mayor Raymond Fell faces a challenge from Bob Morris, 61, a journalist and author, for a two-year term.
Fell said if he wins a new term he would focus on infrastructure, such as a bulkhead replacement at the village dock and installing ramps at the community center and Village Hall.
Morris criticized the village's plan to build a driving range at the village golf course. He said he would add a community pool and upgrade the concession stand at village-owned Ho-Hum Beach on Fire Island.
Voting is 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Bellport Community Center, 4 Bell St.
Incumbents Patrick Fawcett and Thomas Zepf and challenger Reginald Ligonde are running for two trustee seats. Each seat carries a two-year term.
Voting is 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Village Hall, 40 Seneca Dr.
Incumbent Mayor Pedram Bral will face newcomer James Wu for a two-year term.
Bral, director of minimally invasive and robotic gynecologic surgery at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, is seeking a third term. He said his focus would be on attracting more businesses to the village.
Wu, a commercial real estate agent, said he would work to make village government — and its officials — more responsive to Great Neck residents.
Incumbent trustees Steven Hope and Anne Mendelson are running against Julia Shields and Harold Citron. Both seats carry two-year terms.
Voting is noon to 9 p.m. at E.M. Baker Elementary School on Baker Hill Road.
OYSTER BAY COVE
Gina Weinberg is challenging Mayor Charles Goulding. Weinberg, 48, owns several businesses including bars in New York City with her husband. Goulding, 68, is a tax attorney and consultant. The term is for three years.
Goulding said he would focus on infrastructure improvements in a new term. Weinberg said she would make it easier for residents to file permit applications, and she said the village budget should be more detailed.
Goulding said a lawsuit filed against Weinberg by Nassau County raises questions about her suitability for office. Weinberg and her husband were accused of illegally renovating a garage and shed on county-owned property, according to court filings.
Weinberg said she thought a permit held by a previous owner to use the county-owned structures was transferrable to them.
Incumbent trustees Richard H. MacDougall and George J. Sheehan are facing challengers Azad K. Anand and Elizabeth De Angelis for two open seats, each carrying three-year terms.
Voting is noon to 9 p.m. at East Woods School, 31 Yellow Cote Rd.
Incumbent trustees John Richardson and Jeff Koppelson are facing challenges from Felicia Chillak and Tina Cioffi to fill two seats. Each seat carries a two-year term.
Voting is noon to 9 p.m. at Village Hall, 45 Birchwood Ave.
Mayor Sandra Schroeder, 62, seeking her third term, faces a challenge from Kathleen Mulcahy, 60, a marketing executive and a real estate agent.
Schroeder said her top priority is water runoff and storm water drainage, noting the village recently mandated nitrogen-reducing septic systems.
Mulcahy said she would hold at least one village board meeting per month on Friday evening or Saturday, and she called for hiring a village manager to oversee projects.
Trustee Aidan Corish and challengers Bob Plumb, Jennifer Ponzini and Silas Marder are running for two open seats in an at-large election. The terms are two years.
Voting is noon to 9 p.m. at the Sag Harbor Volunteer Fire Department, 1357 Brick Kiln Rd.
Jesse Warren is challenging incumbent Mayor Michael Irving for mayor.
Irving, 65, is seeking his second two-year term. He could not be reached for comment.
Warren, 36, owns Tenet, a lifestyle brand with a shop on Main Street. He said he would address vacancies in the vilage's downtown business district and improve wastewater treatment and possibly ban pesticides to protect water bodies such as Lake Agawam.
Andrew Pilaro and running mate Mark Parash will face off against Joseph McLoughlin for two trustee seats. Incumbent trustees William Hattrick and Nancy McGann are not seeking re-election.
Voting is 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, June 21, at the Levitas Center, Southampton Cultural Center, 25 Pond Lane.