Village elections decided across LI
The bitter contest for control of the affluent village of East Hills ended Tuesday when 16-year Mayor Michael Koblenz decisively defeated challenger Matthew Weiss.
Incumbent trustees Gary Leventhal and Peter Zuckerman also won handily over challengers Gregg Resnick and Jonathan Penn.
For weeks before the election, Weiss and his running mates from the East Hills Advocacy Group traded jabs with Koblenz and fellow incumbents from the Unity Party over alleged conflict-of-interest violations and other issues.
“I think people don’t want dirty campaigns,” Koblenz said after learning he had won. “They want platforms and issues.”
All incumbents won by substantial margins, for terms of four years. However, village attorney William Burton, who volunteered for Koblenz during the campaign, cited inconsistencies in the count he said gave Weiss too many votes.
“We’re going to challenge these,” Burton said. “We want to make sure the numbers are correct, that’s all.”
The challengers called for new ideas and ethical accountability. The incumbents countered that the East Hills Advocacy slate lacked experience and failed to file financial disclosure forms on time.
As the acrimonious campaign drew to a close, Koblenz and Weiss finally found something to agree on: that by 3 p.m., voter turnout in the village of 6,800 people had exceeded that in the 2008 presidential election.
“This is going to be the biggest turnout in all of East Hills history,” Mitchell Studley, acting village justice, said outside the polling area.
Elsewhere on Long Island, incumbent mayors lost in Bellerose and Roslyn Estates. Residents of villages across the Island went to the polls Tuesday to choose mayors and trustees. Not all races were contested.
Besides East Hills, contested races were held in Mineola, Williston Park, East Williston, Roslyn Estates, East Rockaway, Valley Stream, Bellerose, Stewart Manor, Freeport, Hempstead village, Garden City, Malverne, Greenport and Amityville.
In an upset, six-year Mayor Donna Sherrer was ousted by challenger Henry Schreiber, a retired bank officer.
Challengers Joseph Juliano and John Tweedy beat incumbents Laura Tamparo and Ronald DeSouza.
“I’m elated tonight,” Schreiber said. “Work begins tomorrow. It’s not about us -- not about the candidates who lost and won -- it’s about the people. We have a program and we intend to move the village forward.”
Tweedy said he thought voters in the village “just want to have a new, open government. . . . Part of our approach is more communication, to be open, honest.”
Incumbent Mayor Susan Ben-Moshe lost her seat to challenger Jeffrey Schwartzberg by 10 votes, according to an unofficial count of the balloting. Election workers counted absentee ballots after the polls closed because of the closeness of the race, clerk Nancy Yoshii said. Schwartzberg won, 188-178, in the unofficial tally.
“I’m feeling absolutely fabulous,” Schwartzberg said. “Top of the mountain. This thing was very stressful and went right down literally the last few seconds. We had to open up absentee ballots to find out what the bottom line was.”
Schwartzberg added, “I’m very passionate about the village and I feel very passionate about stepping into the role and helping the village.”
In the mayor’s race, Trustee Francis Lenahan, a former Nassau police detective, defeated Deputy Mayor Richard J. Meagher. Lenahan and Meagher sought the post following the sudden death in July of Mayor Ed Sieban, 49.
Lenahan ran on the Village Pride Party line with trustee candidates Edward Corrado and Stanley Lombardo, who beat Meagher’s running mates, Robert Klose and Harry Levitt.
Lawrence Werther, who was appointed mayor when then-Mayor Jack Martins won a State Senate seat in November, won one of two open trustee seats. The other was won by George Durham. Trustee Scott Strauss ran unopposed for mayor.
Residents voted a straight ticket, electing trustee Edwin Fare as the village’s new mayor and handing trustee seats to his running mates, Dermond Thomas and incumbent Vincent Grasso. They ran on the United Community Party slate.
The trio beat mayoral hopeful Joseph Margolin and his running mates, Carol Crupi and Michael LoCascio, from the Citizens Independence Party.
Incumbent trustee Barbara Alagna won a one-year term over rival James Bumstead.
Caroline DeBenedittis of the Involved Party and Bonnie Parente, a member of the village board of zoning appeals, edged out Robert Shannon, of the Community Party, for the two four-year trustee seats, clerk Marie Hausner reported. None of the three is an incumbent.
Incumbent trustee Gerard Tangredi and James Lynch, a physician running on the Unity Party line, defeated Sally Martino-Fisher, a retired New York City employee on the Independent Party line, for two trustee seats.
Incumbent trustees William H. White Jr. and Jorge Martinez defeated challengers Annette Dennis and Jane Dugan, both of the Freeport First Party.
Incumbents Perry M. Pettus and Donald Ryan won two trustee seats, defeating challengers the Rev. Waylyn Hobbs Jr., Jean Bligen and Michael G. Abrahams.
Four trustee seats were won by incumbents Laurence J. Quinn, Dennis C. Donnelly
Trustee incumbents Michael T. Bailey and James Callahan III of the Independent Party beat tea party candidate Dr. John Hassett Jr.
Incumbent George Hubbard Jr. and first-time candidate David Murray won two available trustee seats, defeating former village trustee William Swiskey.
Incumbent Peter Casserly and newcomer Dennis Siry won two trustee seats. Casserly and Siry defeated Joe Morin and Kevin Smith. Voters narrowly rejected a $4-million bond proposal to replace the village’s most decrepit roads.
With Yamiche Alcindor, Emily C. Dooley, Mitchell Freedman, Deborah S. Morris and Nicholas Spangler