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.

4th C.D.: Abrahams picks up his first labor endorsement

Nassau County Legislative Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams has secured the first union endorsement of his congressional campaign.

Abrahams (D-Freeport) announced Thursday that he’s being backed by the Plumbers Union Local 200, which represents about 1,000 members on Long Island.

“In order for Nassau County to become an ideal suburb again, we must continue to build our infrastructure and...

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Report: NY state budget spends $377M per day

ALBANY -- New York’s state budget adopted Monday is spending public money at a rate of more than $15 million every hour, according to the Empire Center for New York State Policy.

The fiscally conservative think tank has set up a spinning “spend-o-meter" based on the new state budget. The device shows the $137.9 billion budget adopted Monday spends $4,373 per second adding up to $377.8...

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Obama's upbeat pre-K missive gets a big 'D' for spelling

President Barack Obama in a statement Wednesday applauded Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio for their “major victory” on expanding prekindergarten, but the news release misspelled de Blasio’s name.

A statement attributed to the White House press secretary gave the mayor’s name as “DeBlasio.” It was corrected quickly in an online version, and a revised email was sent about...

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3rd S.D.: Spokesman lets slip candidate 'will be running' as Democrat

Adrienne Esposito, left, hasn't announced that she's running

(Credit: Amanda Voisard, 2012)

Environmentalist Adrienne Esposito won’t officially declare her candidacy to run for state Senate until Sunday, but her campaign spokesman inadvertently let word slip after the press advisory for the event went out.

Word leaked when Jake Dilemani, the contract person on the advisory,  was asked about the logo on the advisory which described Esposito as “Democrat for State Senate,” even...

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NY is No. 1, but no one is cheering

ALBANY -- New York is No. 1, unfortunately.

The fiscally conservative, nonpartisan Tax Foundation on Wednesday ranked New York tops in total state and local tax burden as a percentage of state income.

The organization’s formula used 2011 taxes and statistics. It determined New York’s  “state-local tax burden as share of state income” was 12.6 percent, based on a typical income of...

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In a twist, LI treatment group opposes medical marijuana expansion (UPDATED)

   A Long Island group is leading a news conference Thursday at the State Capitol to oppose a proposal to legalize medical marijuana.

   Jeffrey Reynolds, executive director of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, will join with a national group, Smart Approaches to Marijuana, to urge state legislators to wait for the results for a limited medical-marijuana...

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Deal struck to keep Sagamore open; admissions intake to be monitored

Dr. Dennis Dubey, former director of the Sagamore

(Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas)

ALBANY -- As part of state budget negotiations, legislators said Tuesday that they struck a tentative deal to keep open the Sagamore Children's Psychiatric Center in Dix Hills, though its capacity could change.

Instead of closing this year as proposed by the Cuomo administration, the center would remain open for the foreseeable future. The administration, however, will monitor Sagamore for...

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Cuomo, Astorino offer budget views as gov campaign heats up

ALBANY _ Democratic Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the Republican who wants his job, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, clashed over the state budget Wednesday, hours after the fourth straight budget was adopted on time.

Astorino insists that under four years of Cuomo, “New York is losing.” Astorino said unemployment, taxes, debt and factors that make the state unfriendly for employers have...

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Governor stalls speed cameras

Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre), left,

(Credit: AP / Mike Groll)

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo refused to grant state legislators permission Monday night to rush through a bill to install 125 school-zone speed cameras on Long Island -- potentially creating a big hole in Nassau County's finances.

State Senate co-leader Jeff Klein (D-Bronx) and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) had struck a deal for the legislature to pass a school-zone speed camera bill...

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After resisting, Cuomo opens door to slowing down teacher evaluations

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo speaks after signing the

(Credit: Philip Kamrass )

ALBANY – Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo opened the door Tuesday to delaying the use of Common Core test results when evaluating teachers -- after months of opposing the idea.

The Democrat governor signed off on a $138 billion state budget Tuesday morning that includes a provision to put off the use of tests using Common Core academic standards when evaluating students.

The governor asserted the...

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