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.

Cuomo to face reporters for 1st time since corruption panel conflict

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and top aide Lawrence

(Credit: AP / Mike Groll)

ALBANY -- Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is scheduled to face reporters Monday for the time since Wednesday’s article in The New York Times reported instances of intense involvement by Cuomo into a corruption commission.

Cuomo will be in Buffalo making an economic development announcement and is scheduled to meet with reporters afterward.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino is trying...

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3rd AD: GOP goes to court against Hennessey, on residency

Edward Hennessey on June 27, 2014.

(Credit: James Escher)

Suffolk Republicans have gone to court claiming that freshman Assemb. Edward Hennessey does not live in his district but rather still resides in East Moriches.

Hennessey won an upset victory two years ago, but did not have to live in the Third Assembly district at the time because lines in all legislative seats were redrawn that year as part of a once-a-decade reapportionment.


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Ex-Assemb. Thomas Alfano lands at NUMC as $199G staff attorney

Former Assemb. Thomas Alfano, a Republican who represented North Valley Stream until he decided against seeking re-election in 2010, has a new job at Nassau University Medical Center for $199,000 a year.

A spokeswoman for the public hospital said Alfano, a lawyer with 30 years experience, joined the center’s legal department in June to replace a staff attorney who had resigned a few months...

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Running unopposed, 4 NY House candidates have already won

Congratulate the four winners in the Nov. 4 New York congressional races! They have no opponents in the general election.

The winners are: Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-St. Albans), who represents Queens and two slices of Nassau County; Rep. Grace Meng (D-Bayside), who replaced longtime Long Island Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Roslyn Heights), who is now retired; Rep. Eliot...

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Moreland mess: The question of advice versus interference

ALBANY -- One critical element in Albany’s latest conflict is whether Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo simply provided advice to the Moreland Commission on corruption, or if he improperly interfered with it.

Cuomo said he and top aide Larry Schwartz provided necessary advice, because the commission Cuomo appointed was divided by factions and unfamiliar with how Albany works.

Good-government advocates...

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AG candidate to swim, bike, run in Ironman competition

ALBANY -- Republican John Cahill faces a race for attorney general ahead of him, but first he has a real race.

Cahill, 55, of Yonkers plans to compete in his fourth Ironman competition Sunday in Lake Placid. The route includes a 2.4-mile swim in Mirror Lake, a 112-mile bicycle race and a marathon run of 26.2 miles.

About 2,800 competitors are expected.

"The Ironman is a great event...

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Mineola deputy mayor files elections complaint against Haber, who claims violation by Martins

Mineola Deputy Mayor Paul Pereira has filed a complaint with the state Board of Elections, alleging campaign finance violations by Democratic State Senate candidate Adam Haber.

In a July 24 letter to board co-chairmen James Walsh and Douglas Kellner, Pereira cites a pair of July 12 in-kind contributions in Haber’s most recent state campaign filing from an unidentified limited liability corporation...

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Jon Stewart's take on Cuomo corruption panel: 'You lookin' at me?'

Here's the Jon Stewart riff on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's "commission impossible" mess. Better to watch in full than have us summarize, so just click below:



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Experts: Cuomo ethics controversy won't stir voters

ALBANY -- While good-government advocates and political opponents are criticizing Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo over a report that he improperly interfered with his corruption commission, some experts said the issue at this point isn't likely to anger or shock voters.

"It doesn't translate easily into a scandal people are going to be up in arms about," said Lee Miringoff, a political science professor...

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Lawmakers seek delay on teacher certification test

ALBANY -- Graduates from teaching colleges are passing a new certification test aligned to the Common Core at a lower rate than in past years, prompting a new call to delay using the higher standards for another evaluation.

So far 84 percent of the 3,884 graduates this year have passed the certification test, compared with a 98 percent passing rate in past years before the evaluation was aligned...

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