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2 Woodsburgh trustees vie for mayor

A rare contested election in Woodsburgh has two trustees vying to become mayor.

Lee A. Israel faces village deputy mayor Ed Mukamal, while Susan Schlaff -- the mayor for 19 years -- plans to step down because she is moving out of the village.

Israel, 44, has lived in Woodsburgh for 13 years. The Friends of the Village Party candidate is serving a second, 2-year term as trustee and is the police commissioner. He has also been treasurer and roads commissioner.

Israel, who owns an aerospace parts and repair service company in Hicksville, said he will use his business background to be fiscally responsible so "people feel that they're getting value" for services.

He also said it is "imperative" to create a village website and engage in social media to distribute community information and issue emergency alerts.

"We learned firsthand in Irene and Sandy," he said. "Our residents were very upset. They had no idea when the power was coming on."

Mukamal, a 66-year-old dentist with offices in Manhattan and Woodmere, has been a trustee every year but one since 1982, and deputy mayor since 1989.

A village resident for more than 30 years, Mukamal is running on the Citizens Party line. He said he has the experience to lead the affluent village of about 800 people and wants to stabilize school taxes and implement security measures to deter robberies that Woodsburgh has experienced.

"There are only about seven entrances into the village and maybe we can investigate having security cameras at those entrances that could record vehicles that are entering and leaving," said Mukamal. A portion of the $180,000 that will be saved in the village's roughly $700,000 annual budget after paying off a road bond this fall could be used toward surveillance, he said.

Incumbent trustees Gary Goffner and Carl Cayne are being challenged by political newcomer Jake Harman for two board seats.

Goffner did not respond to several requests for information and his stance on issues.

Cayne, 59, has lived in the village for more than 30 years and has served as trustee since 2004. A Citizens Party candidate, Cayne is the fire commissioner and a former zoning board member.

An owner and manager of commercial real estate in Queens and Brooklyn, Cayne said he wants to open to interested residents commissioner positions that typically are appointed.

Cayne touted his experience in working on village budgets and community issues, like helping to establish an eruv -- a symbolic boundary that allows Orthodox Jews to carry items and wheel strollers within its space on the Sabbath.

"I always find the solution that's palatable to both sides," he said. "Change is good, but change can also be bad. When you have a certainty in me, why would you vote for someone else?"

Harman, 59, a certified public accountant and senior partner at an international accounting firm, said he is running for trustee because of his "deep sense of commitment to the community."

Living in Woodsburgh for more than 15 years, Harman -- a Friends of the Village Party candidate -- has served as village budget officer since 2007.

Harman said he wants to "elevate the dialogue about fiscal spending" so "there's a clear understanding that the high taxes are seriously impacting home values," and create a centralized, interactive website.

"The fact that somebody has been on the board for many years is not necessarily a reason that makes that person the best qualified individual," he said. "What you have to look at are what are the skills of the individual and what do they bring to the table."

Incumbent village justice Brian Zeigler, who has served since 1998, is unopposed.

Voting is June 18 from noon to 9 p.m. at Keystone Yacht Club, 190 Woodmere Blvd S., Woodmere.


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