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Mayor, trustee positions up for vote

In Manorhaven, incumbent mayor John M. Di Leo

In Manorhaven, incumbent mayor John M. Di Leo Jr. faces Giovanna Giunta. Credit: Handouts

In Manorhaven, incumbent mayor John M. Di Leo Jr. faces Giovanna Giunta, while Julian Patricio Auquilla and trustee James M. Avena face Mark Lazarovic and Noelle Joy Smith for two trustee seats.

Di Leo, 48, a trustee for nine years, was appointed mayor in May after Michael Meehan resigned. Di Leo was on the board of zoning appeals. Di Leo, who is running on the Manorhaven Residents Party line with Auquilla and Avena, owns a landscaping business and works for North Hempstead's highway department.

"I pretty much know the daily operations of village hall," he said. "And I'm pretty fluent in most all the village codes."

Di Leo said he wants to continue such initiatives as renovating Morgan's Dock and upgrading Cambridge Avenue. He also said he wants to recruit volunteers to maintain a proposed dog park.

Giunta, 39, owns a transportation company and works as a paraprofessional in the Port Washington school district. She first ran for mayor in 2010 and spearheaded a campaign against a cellphone tower on village property.

"I plan to follow the footsteps of other municipalities by enacting new policies and village laws that will govern telecom and other cell companies," she said.

Giunta, who heads the Manorhaven Revival Party slate, said her concerns also include village transparency and accountability. "Any inflated budget items will be realigned and frivolous expenses will be eliminated to keep our taxes down," she said.

Giunta said she would address drainage issues on several streets and the issue of accessibility to the village's pump station, which she said is hindered by the cell tower.

Avena, 68, a former president of several brokerage firms, including Cantor Fitzgerald, was appointed in February after a trustee resigned.

Avena said he would use his financial and management skills to help govern the village. "I'm fiscally very conservative and I think I can bring that to the village," he said.

If elected, Avena said he wants to add workers to the highway department to improve street maintenance and increase code enforcement of quality-of-life issues such as unkept lawns.

"If we can toughen our procedures and enforcement, I believe we can make a very noticeable difference to the way the village looks," he said.

Auquilla, 41, a bakery manager, said he wants to become a liaison between the village and its Spanish-speaking residents. "A lot of people, they know me and they trust me," Auquilla said. "If I'm elected, they're going to trust me that I'll do a good job in office."

He said if elected, he would improve maintenance in the village, and planned on spearheading charitable activities, such as food and clothing drives.

Auquilla also said he wanted to increase safety -- "nice and clean with no gangs," he said.

Lazarovic, 66, a builder, formerly chaired the village's architectural review board. He first ran for trustee in 2010.

He said the cellphone tower issue made him feel the village government wasn't responsive: "They don't care that we're the neighbors, we're the constituents. They disregard us."

Lazarovic said as trustee, he would expand bidding opportunities for village jobs, such as garbage pickup, and would work to build a dog park.

He also said he would consider pushing to increase the allowable height of residences by 2 feet.

Smith, 35, a product-development director and designer in the home furnishings industry, said power outages after Tropical Storm Irene last year prompted her to run.

Smith said she successfully gathered neighbors to lobby the village for help in getting attention from the Long Island Power Authority.

"It felt good being able to do something and getting to know people in the neighborhood," Smith said.

As trustee, Smith said she would look for ways to fund more maintenance, and would increase communication to residents through newsletters and informational sessions at each village board meeting.

She also said she was interested in finding a way to evict the cell tower from village property, and said she would increase code enforcement, especially over absentee landlords and overcrowded homes.

Voting is 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Village Hall, 33 Manorhaven Blvd. All terms are two years.

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