With Gov.Andrew M. Cuomo scheduled to headline Monday night's Suffolk Democratic dinner, and protest demonstrations planned for the street outside, election-year politics involving schools, unions, taxes, business and the environment should be on display.
Teacher-union locals will advertise their dissatisfaction with the state's direction on public education, arguing as before that state caps and freezes on local property taxes and a flawed Common Core curriculum are damaging schools.
"The idea is to send a message loud and clear not only to Cuomo but to those who support his policies," including other elected officials, said Connetquot Teachers Association president Anthony Felicio.
The planned rally and informational pickets happen to come as the New York State United Teachers, a federation of 1,200 locals statewide, undergoes a leadership change. A new slate of top officers just elected had the backing of New York City's United Federation of Teachers, NYSUT's biggest bloc, and its president, Michael Mulgrew.
NYSUT's ex-president, Richard Iannuzzi, from Central Islip, pointedly noted before he was unseated earlier this month by Karen Magee of the Harrison teachers' union that city schools weren't hit with layoffs as other districts were. Now, some Island unionists privately express a wait-and-see wariness about whether and how NYSUT might become more UFT-oriented.
Carl Korn, NYSUT's Albany-based spokesman, on Friday called the demonstration, outside the Villa Lombardi in Holbrook, "a locally organized action in which NYSUT will be showing its solidarity and support." Paul Pecorale, president of the Patchogue-Medford Congress of Teachers for eight years before his recent election as a NYSUT vice president on the new slate, is due to take part.
Leaflets for the rally from the ad hoc group Take Action Long Island proclaim "Cuomo's Gotta Go!" and "Let Cuomo and friends know that enough is enough!"
Back in October 1983, Gov. Mario Cuomo showed up in Suffolk for a county Democratic dinner but spent more than an hour outside in the rain talking with people protesting Democrat Pat Halpin's stance on the Shoreham nuclear power plant. Then Cuomo went inside and, qualifiedly, endorsed Halpin for county executive.
Environmental groups are due to rally at Monday night's fundraiser, demanding current Gov. Cuomo ban natural-gas fracking and that he veto a proposed liquefied natural gas facility off the South Shore.