Good afternoon. Today’s points:
- Nassau comptroller has little choice but to switch parties
- Jury’s out on LIRR Jury Duty Special
- Bernie lives on through November
The talk among George Maragos’ staff that the Nassau County comptroller is plotting to switch his registration to the Democratic Party to get its nomination in 2017 for county executive is not only true, but it’s also not a surprise. He doesn’t really have another path to higher office.
Maragos, who won the comptroller’s seat in 2009 in an upset, certainly has ambition. A year later, he flirted with running for the U.S. Senate in the special election to fill the remainder of Hillary Clinton’s term. Two years later, he entered the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate, but was crushed by Wendy Long.
Maragos has never been embraced by his local party. He is not loyal like Kate Murray, who would be considered for the GOP nomination for county executive. Nor does he have the political chops, executive experience and organization of State Sen. Jack Martins — if Martins fails to win a seat in Congress this fall.
And Maragos knows Democrats don’t have a stellar candidate. Judi Bosworth, the Democrats’ best-known name, is quite content as North Hempstead Town supervisor. Her predecessor, Jon Kaiman, who most recently headed the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, didn’t impress in his feeble attempt to win the nomination in the 3rd Congressional District, where many of the county’s Democrats reside.
Assemb. Charles Lavine is not well known outside his district, though his criminal-law background would be an asset if the main issue is mopping up the county after federal indictments. None of them have any proven fundraising power.
Maragos who has been wooing Nassau Democratic chair Jay Jacobs for months, can point to support and donations from the Greek-American community that carried Madeline Singas over the finish line last year to become Nassau County district attorney.
Deliberating the juror train
East End elected officials are looking for more Long Island Rail Road service to the increasingly busy North Fork. Officials have their eye on rerouting the Jury Duty Special — a service from Deer Park to the courthouse area in Riverhead that began in 2010 and just hasn’t gotten the ridership the LIRR hoped.
Anthony Palumbo, a state assemblyman who met with the editorial board last week, said he and other officials spoke with LIRR president Patrick Nowakowski in July, and year-round weekend service to Greenport was restored. But Palumbo said those twice-daily trains aren’t adequate for the area, which attracts visitors from New York City for winery tours and weekend stays.
The jury train starts in Deer Park at 7:54 a.m. and reaches Riverhead at 8:55. Palumbo says this schedule should be revamped and the train put to better use, by extending it to Greenport. Palumbo also wants to add another Greenport train to the Ronkonkoma line.
If the jury train schedule is derailed, don’t expect courthouse employees to be happy about it. Suffolk County’s commissioner of jurors lobbied for nearly two decades to have the train added.
LI group backs Democratic candidates
Some Long Islanders who supported Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential bid have organized around state issues. Calling themselves Long Island Activists, the roughly 200 members are planning to knock on doors and make phone calls on behalf of six Democratic candidates for State Senate: Todd Kaminsky, James Gaughran, Peter Magistrale, Adam Haber, Ryan Cronin and John DeVito.
Long Island Activists co-founder Ron Widelec said members are coordinating statewide with the Working Families Party, Citizen Action and the Long Island Progressive Coalition. They want to pass a “Demand Democracy” agenda that includes public financing of elections, expanded voting rights and anti-corruption legislation.
About half the group is older than 50, Widelec said, adding, “They’ve been waiting for a resurgence of left-wing politics.”
Because of a split among members, Long Island Activists isn’t endorsing Hillary Clinton. But Widelec says the group opposes Donald Trump.