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.

Rep. King to tour post-Boston Marathon bombing shootout site

Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) said he'll get a personal tour on Wednesday, the day after the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing, led by Watertown, Mass., Police Chief Edward Deveau, of the site of the shootout with police and capture of suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

King will then go to speak about terrorism at a Harvard seminar led by Ed Davis, who retired...

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Nassau judge tosses out Cuomo salary cap for nonprofits

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo made a splash in January 2012 when he announced a cap on executive salaries at nonprofit organizations that provide services to the state.

Two years later, a Supreme Court judge in Nassau County threw out Cuomo’s salary-cap regulations. Judge Thomas Feinman agreed with claims by Nassau-based Agencies for Children’s Therapy Services Inc. that the administration overstepped...

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3rd A.D.: GOP leader calls assemblyman 'deadbeat Ed'

Brookhaven GOP chairman Jesse Garcia, left, last year

(Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara)

Brookhaven Republican chairman Jesse Garcia, left in photo, lashed out at Democratic Assemb. Edward Hennessey last week as “deadbeat Ed,” saying the state lawmaker has failed to pay $15,000 in property taxes on his law office building in the last three years.

“It’s disgraceful,” said Garcia, “ Ed Hennessey has spent the past year supporting unfunded mandates that drive up our property taxes...

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NYSUT plans to demonstrate at Suffolk dinner featuring Cuomo

Long Island public school members of New York State United Teachers are planning a protest when Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo headlines the Suffolk Democratic dinner April 28.

Richard Schaffer, Suffolk Democratic chairman, confirmed last week that union officials informed the party they will not be taking a $3,000 table as originally planned for the fundraiser at Villa Lombardi in Holbrook.


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1st C.D.: How Zeldin balked at 'blindly' endorsing Ryan budget

Sen. Zeldin, seeking a House seat, said last

(Credit: Getty Images)

State Sen. Lee Zeldin would not embrace Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan last week when asked about it in a telephone town hall meeting two days before the House vote.

“I’m not prepared to blindly endorse any type of a budget proposal right out of the gate before I have the opportunity to read it,” said the Shirley Republican who is looking to challenge Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton).


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1st C.D.: Randy Altschuler, twice GOP loser, moves to heavily Democratic turf

Randy Altschuler now lives in Columbia County, Md.,

(Credit: James Carbone, 2011)

Republican Randy Altschuler, who twice lost races for Congress, has moved to a county in Maryland where Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly three to one.

Altschuler sold his $1.1 million, six-bedroom, six-bathroom St. James home on Sept. 25 for $70,000 less than he paid for it and moved to a $1.8 million house in the tony community of Potomac, according to Zwillow, a real estate website.


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FEC fines Gillibrand campaign over erroneous filings

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's campaign committee corrected bookkeeping discrepancies.

(Credit: AP/ J. Scott Applewhite, File)

The campaign committee of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) was fined $8,000 last month for sloppy bookkeeping that resulted in under-reporting of nearly $230,000 in disbursements and $12,124 in receipts during her 2010 and 2012 campaigns, the Federal Election Commission said Friday.

The conciliation agreement said Gillibrand's committee brought the problem to...

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4th C.D.: Rivals slam Rice on state probe; DA decries 'mud' sling

Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice displayed a “lack of leadership” as a co-chair of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Moreland Commission, which was tasked with investigating public corruption, her likely Democratic congressional opponent charged Friday. Legislative Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport), who plans to run a Democratic primary against Rice to succeed Rep. Carolyn McCarthy in...

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Dr. Nirav Shah, state health commissioner, resigns

Dr. Nirav Shah, commissioner of the New York

(Credit: AP)

ALBANY -- Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's health commissioner, the focus of criticism after three years of indecision over whether to authorize natural gas drilling, is resigning.

The resignation of Dr. Nirav Shah, health commissioner since 2011, also follows the release of documents showing the Health Department failed to inspect some abortion clinics for years. The documents stemmed from a lawsuit...

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Cuomo appoints panel to examine youth sentencing system

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Wednesday named 16 members to a panel that will examine the state’s juvenile sentencing system and will make recommendations on raising the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18.

In his State of the State address in January,  Cuomo pledged to convene a committee that would review the state’s juvenile justice laws, following years of efforts from advocacy...

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