Spin Cycle

News, views and commentary on Long Island, state and national politics

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Rick Brand

Rick Brand, a Newsday reporter for nearly three decades, writes about politics and government on Long Island.

The veteran reporter has covered a variety of assignments for Newsday in Washington, Albany and around the country and was part of the Long Island staff that won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for the paper’s coverage of the crash of TWA Flight 800.

During his career, Brand has been the paper’s lead reporter covering Suffolk county government, and spent three years as the paper’s beat reporter covering LILCO during the height of the controversy over the Shoreham nuclear power plant. He has also headed the paper’s East End bureau and even spent a summer doing a gossip column on the Hampton’s social whirl.

Brand had also worked several stints in Newsday’s Albany Bureau during the Carey and Cuomo administrations. He covered the upset victory of Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, Long Island’s first woman congresswoman, and the 1997 U.S. Senate battle between Alfonse D'Amato and Chuck Schumer and part of the marathon Senate campaign that led to the election of Hillary Clinton.

Before joining Newsday, Brand, a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, worked as news editor of Suffolk Life Newspapers and as a reporter for the Long Island News and the Buffalo Courier Express.

LIRR strike can be avoided -- based on what's visible

Emergency measures for a Long Island Rail Road Strike got a tentative airing today (see link below). But at least there are glimmers of promise that the mess can be avoided.

Latest from Newsday's main Web page:

As the MTA continues to evaluate the unions' latest counter-offer Friday, there were no communications between the parties as of late afternoon, according to one of the negotiators...

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Cuomo, Skelos meet

  Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who agreed to throw his weight behind Senate Democrats, met quietly this week with the chamber's top Republican, Senate co-leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre), several sources said.

  The governor and Skelos met Tuesday in New York City, sources said. Details of the discussion weren’t immediately available but one source said the get together was “interesting,...

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Teachout says she'll submit 3x signatures needed to challenge Cuomo in Dem primary

  Insurgent Zephyr Teachout said Thursday she will submit 45,000 petition signatures to enter a Democrat primary against Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. The total is three times the required amount to qualify, though the Cuomo campaign could legally challenge the validity of the petitions.

  Teachout, a Fordham University professor, is a liberal critic of the governor, contending his economic...

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3rd C.D.: Judge reschedules court hearing in Lally and Labate absentee ballot case

A court hearing to determine the outcome of 19 contested Nassau absentee ballots cast in the tight 3rd Congressional District Republican primary race between Grant Lally and Stephen Labate was rescheduled on Wednesday, July 9, in part to give Labate an opportunity to return from military reserve duty.

State Supreme Court Judge Dana F. Winslow said he adjourned the case to July 16 “in part”...

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Islip supervisor Croci reacts to dumping scandal, vows to fix problem

From Newsday's Sophia Chang:

Islip Supervisor Thomas Croci on Tuesday rebuked town leadership and oversight that led to the illegal dumping of thousands of tons of contaminated debris throughout town, and he said the town is committed to fixing the problem, in his first public remarks on the scandal since he returned from deployment in Afghanistan.

During a State of the Town Address...

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Hochul's low profile earns jabs from left and right

Gov Andrew Cuomo introduces running mate, Kathy Hochul,

(Credit: Barry Sloan)

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s running mate is getting criticized from the left and the right for her so-far low profile in the statewide campaign.

Cuomo foes – liberals and conservatives – say the governor is keeping his running mate, former Buffalo-area congresswoman Kathy Hochul, out of the spotlight in part because her views clash with Cuomo’s on immigration and gun control. Cuomo says the...

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Will 'Stop Common Core' ballot line aid Astorino?

People protest at the Common Core Education Forum

(Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara)

Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino said Tuesday that he’ll also run on a ballot line called “Stop Common Core,” as he seeks to use unrest over the controversial academic standards in his bid to upset Democrat Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

Astorino, the current Westchester County executive, would have to gather at least 15,000 petition signatures over the next five weeks to create a Stop...

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UPDATED: 3rd C.D: Lally announces state BOE declares him winner; that's news to BOE officials

Stephen Labate, left, and Grant Lally, right, both

GOP candidate Grant Lally sent an e-mail blast Monday announcing that the New York Board of Elections certified him as winner of the tight race against Stephen Labate for New York’s 3rd Congressional District Republican nomination -- but the declaration came as news to state board of election officials, who said they have no role in certifying the race’s results not certified the results.

In...

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Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union backs Haber against Martins

The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union is backing Democrat Adam Haber in his race against Republican State Sen. Jack Martins (R-Mineola) in Nassau’s 7th district.

The union, which represents 100,000 members across the country, pointed to Haber’s support for an increase to the state’s minimum wage as one of the key reasons for the endorsement.

“This is an important election...

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New York becomes 23rd state to allow medical marijuana

New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, seated,

(Credit: Charles Eckert)

Once an opponent of medical marijuana, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo ceremonially signed a new law Monday that makes New York the 23rd state to approve the drug for medicinal purposes.

Cuomo actually signed the law Saturday and held a news conference Monday to highlight the program.

"There is no doubt medical marijuana can help people," said the Democrat, who is facing Republican Rob Astorino...

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