For the second straight year, incumbent trustees in the Village of Hewlett Harbor are being challenged, as newcomers Domenico Calandrella and Afrim Pulatani will oppose sitting Trustees Gil Bruh and Leonard Oppenheimer in the at-large election on Tuesday. The two candidates with the most votes will win the two contested seats.
Oppenheimer, 53, Hewlett Harbor’s deputy mayor, is seeking his seventh term on the board. Bruh, 39, was appointed to his seat in February when Trustee Jonathan Polakoff stepped down, and is seeking his first full two-year term. Neither Pulatani nor Calandrella returned multiple requests for comments on the details of their positions and their reasons for running.
Oppenheimer, a Hewlett Harbor resident since 1995, owns the Golden Box Company in Lynbrook, which creates custom promotional packaging for brands aiming to boost their business. He is running for another term, he said, because he wants to deliver “value” to village residents.
“In the past year, I came to the conclusion that being part of something where I add value is what’s important to me,” Oppenheimer said. “I need to deliver value, and the day I don’t deliver value is the day I walk away from what I’m doing.”
If re-elected, he said, he wants to keep focusing on improving the village’s security. “We’ve made a big push in creating what we’re calling a virtual gated community,” he said. “We’re working on adding more cameras and license plate readers. We know that if we can create a secure environment in our neighborhood, it will attract more people to move to the village.”
Before joining the board, Bruh served as the village’s treasurer for a year and a half. He said he started attending board meetings when he moved to the village three years ago. “My involvement picked up from there,” he said. “In particular, I was focused on security and the license plate reader program.”
Bruh, an information technology consultant, added that he hopes to continue to serve on the board because he wants to “plant his roots” in the village. “We were lucky enough to buy our forever home three years ago, and I plan on being here for the future,” he said. “I’m very fortunate to be able to live here now, and I would love to continue to keep the village as beautiful as it is.”
Oppenheimer and Bruh confirmed to the Herald that they had offered to have a debate on village issues with Pulatani and Calandrella. “We asked the other candidates to debate us with the League of Women voters,” Bruh said. “They accepted the debate but declined the League of Women voters to moderate because they wished to seek a neutral party of their choosing. After some hours, they came back and declined the debate altogether, [saying] that it would not be useful to village residents.”
Voting will take place on Tuesday from noon to 9 p.m. in Hewlett Harbor Village Hall, at 49 Pepperidge Road.
Hewlett Bay Park incumbent Trustees Alex Salomon and Jay Levy are running unopposed for re-election. Levy has been a trustee for over a decade. Salomon previously served as the village’s deputy mayor, and has sat on the board since 2013. Voting is at Hewlett Village Hall, at 30 Piermont Ave., from noon to 9 p.m.
Woodsburgh Mayor Lee Israel and Trustees Alan Hirmes and Jacob Harman are running again, and Village Justice Brian K. Ziegler is up for another four-year term. All are unopposed. Israel has been mayor since 2013, and is running for his fifth term.
Hewlett Neck incumbent Trustees Michael Levine and Kenneth Frenkel are also unopposed on the ballot.
Voting for Hewlett Neck and Woodsburgh is from noon to 9 p.m. at the Keystone Yacht Club, at 190 Woodmere Blvd. S. in Woodmere.
All trustee positions are two-year terms.