Dan Janison has been a reporter at Newsday since 1997.
Fresh speculation over the future of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) takes shape as lawmakers in Albany push this week to adjourn for summer. State politicos will be watching to see what deals are cut on legislation and how well the speaker of nearly 20 years delivers for his conference -- a gauge of effectiveness, perhaps, in the wake of the latest sexual harassment scandal to roil the lower house.
Polls showing most voters disapproving of Silver's job performance or favoring his departure fall short of being lethal by themselves. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Speaker John Boehner, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell don't poll well outside their home turf either. Their caucuses, not the wider voting population, elect them as leaders.
Bad polls and daggered editorials might add up to a thousand cuts for Silver. But the question persists of who replaces him whenever he departs -- as it has for years.
MACHINE POLITICS: The State Senate and Assembly have yet to agree on a bill that would authorize the use of old lever machines in this year's elections. The Assembly version covers only New York City, while the Senate's measure also authorizes counties, villages and towns in Nassau, Suffolk and elsewhere to save money by deploying the old devices instead of electronic scanners required for federal elections.
The city-only version won full Assembly approval, 105-37, last week, with three Long Islanders casting "no" votes -- Michael Fitzpatrick (R-St. James), Harvey Weisenberg (D-Long Beach) and Andrew Raia (R-East Northport). Sen. Martin Golden (R-Brooklyn) has said he's confident a bill will be agreed on in time, which election officials deem crucial to the city's ability to conduct primary runoffs in September. Both versions right now would also push back the runoff date a week, to Oct. 1.
FUNKY NASSAU: While the Democratic primary candidate for Nassau executive Adam Haber draws fire from rival Thomas Suozzi's supporters for previously enrolling as a Republican, perhaps the strongest chance of any candidate on the county Democrats' ticket this year belongs to District Attorney Kathleen Rice -- who was a Republican 30 years ago. . . . The ersatz Liberal Party's endorsing Haber on the November ballot could be the mirror image of Conservatives in 2009 opposing Republican Edward Mangano -- unless of course Haber wins the Democratic primary.