Herald Editorial

Good choices for Woodsburgh trustee


On Tuesday, residents in six villages can go to the polls and vote for trustees, village justices and a mayor. Trustee and the mayoral terms are two years and village justice is four years.

In Woodsburgh, there is a three-way race for two board seats. Incumbents Gary Goffner and Jake Harman and newcomer Jeffrey Smith are vying to represent the 270-home municipality. The two candidates with the greatest number of votes win.

Goffner and Harman are a part of a board that has made several improvements, which have added to the residents’ quality of life, including modernizing the method for community members to access their tax bills, installing license plate readers for increased security, ensuring the roads are free of debris and that snow removal is done as quickly as possible.

Both Goffner, 52, and Harman, 62, are accomplished in their fields — health care and finance, respectively. The candidates are running for their third two-year terms, and served in appointed roles before they were trustees. They are longtime village residents and seem to care deeply for Woodsburgh.

Smith, 31, is a well-spoken person and one of the leaders of the Residents of Five Towns, a grassroots organization that strongly opposed the sale of the Woodmere Club, and continues to contest the possible development of the land. He is in real estate management, and his portfolio includes 20 million square feet of property and billions in revenue, he said. Smith has lived in Woodsburgh for about three and a half years.

He said that he would add to what has been achieved, and open the board to what he thinks are the newer and younger voices coming into the village. Smith said be believes in transparency and will tell residents what is happening.

We think there is much to like about all three. What we do not like is what we believe has been an anti-Smith campaign as much as there was pro-Goffner and Harman stumping by their supporters.

There is an understanding that in political campaigns, no matter how small or large, that there is bound to be a bit of sniping. Everyone running for office and campaigning and voting for the candidates wants to believe they and their candidates are the best people for the job. That’s the way it should be. But for neighbors to do or say some of the things we have heard or read is wrong.

What could happen with the Woodmere Club casts a shadow on this election and ones in the future. Five years from now might seem like a long time, but it is not. Woodsburgh residents will need and possibly want all the community involvement it can muster ensure that the development of the club’s 110-acres into homes does not impinge on their quality of life.

Goffner and Harman noted that the village board did deny a change of zone for a proposed 23-unit townhouse complex on 2.2 acres in Woodsburgh as evidence they will fight to protect the village. Smith has shown where he stands on this issue.

We believe that the residents cannot go wrong by voting for any of the three candidates. We strongly urge Woodsburgh residents to vote for their candidates of choice on June 20.

Uncontested elections

In Atlantic Beach, incumbent Trustees Danae Muddiman and Andrew Rubin, along with Village Justice Michael Meyerson, are running unopposed.

After a candidate petition challenge in Lawrence, sitting Trustees Daniel Goldstein and Michael Fragin are the only names on the ballot. Larry Kolodny is not running.

Trustees Jay Levy and Alex Salomon are running unchallenged in Hewlett Bay Park.

Board members Leonard Oppenheimer and Jonathan Polakoff are on the ballot in Hewlett Harbor.

Trustees Brett Cooper and Michael Levine are running in Hewlett Neck.

Also in Woodsburgh, Mayor Lee Israel is running for a third term and Village Justice Brian Ziegler for another four years.

Though these elections are uncontested, we encourage residents to exercise their voting muscle and cast ballots for the candidates to show support for their respective village and the people who have served you well.