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New Nassau wrinkle
There is a general consensus about what will happen when the Nassau Interim Finance Authority meets at 6:30 Tuesday evening. NIFA will reject the proposed Nassau County budget for 2017, probably unanimously. The $2.9 billion budget could be as much as $125 million in the red. NIFA will then demand that the county cut $36 million in spending or produce that much in new revenue.
Chairman Adam Barsky will continue to give County Executive Edward Mangano the benefit of the doubt that the county actually can produce the $36 million in revenue increases or expense cuts, something that generally has not happened during this control period that began in early 2011.
In his newest wrinkle, Mangano says he will chop the needed $36 million to $21 million by increasing the verification fee for tax maps. And he says he will structure the planned cuts, mostly to services like youth programs and bus routes, so that they don’t start until the second quarter of the year.
He’s trying to buy time for Norma Gonsalves, presiding officer of the county legislature, to find the $36 million from an “amnesty” program that will reduce fines for business owners who do not report income and expense data to the county.
But regardless, it’s a win for Mangano to have gotten this far and gotten this much backing from Barsky. Counties aren’t supposed to run deficits for operating expenses, but in Nassau — even with a proposed new map fee the legislature hasn’t approved — NIFA will likely let Mangano get away with coming up with just $36 million of what’s needed.
ZIP code approval wasn’t zippy
Newly re-elected Rep. Lee Zeldin told a crowd in Flanders Tuesday morning that it’s likely to receive a long-awaited benefit: a unique ZIP code for the hamlets of Flanders, Riverside and Northampton.
Zeldin has been advocating on this issue since he entered Congress in 2015 and has been working closely with House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Jason Chaffetz, whose committee has jurisdiction over the Postal Service. Zeldin brought Chaffetz to Flanders in September to meet with community leaders.
The House of Representatives is expected to pass a bill containing this provision on Wednesday. The Senate and the president must also sign off, but this is a major step forward for the often overlooked communities at the stem of the Twin Forks.
Residents have complained for decades that their area shares 18 identical street names and 32 similar street names with next-door neighbor Riverhead, all covered by the 11901 ZIP code. Mail gets lost, and first responders sometimes have trouble locating an address.
Zeldin tucked his ZIP code request into a bill that would rename 10 post offices nationally and create five new ZIP codes. If all goes smoothly, Zeldin said, the East End hamlets could have approval for their new identifier by year’s end. But it might come too late for these communities to get a bigger share of federal money through HUD’s Community Development Block Grants, which look at income in a community to determine funding levels. The former ZIP code was more affluent. But the new power structure in Congress, which Zeldin supports, wants to drastically cut this type of funding.
Watch how Trump tweets
By now we’re all familiar with the president-elect’s Twitter fiascos. Monday night, Donald Trump retweeted a 16-year-old’s denunciation of a CNN reporter to support Trump’s own falsehood about massive voter fraud.
The mechanics of Trump’s Twitter behavior, however, are peculiar:
He shuns the automatic “retweet” or “quote tweet” option. Instead, he retweets by manually copying tweets directed at him and pasting them into his own tweets. This is an unusual practice. Top twitter accounts of Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Kim Kardashian West and President Barack Obama, for example, have not done this in recent online history.
Trump could be using a version of an old Twitter norm, when the typical way to retweet would be to type “RT:” and then include someone else’s tweet.
Whatever Trump’s reasons, his way has several consequences. It obscures the identity of the person being retweeted — his or her image is hidden, and the bio and number of followers are less accessible. So eggheads and trolls look a little less trolly.
Trump can also edit the retweet, as he did with the 16-year-old, who apparently did not call the CNN employee a “bad reporter,” which Trump tacked onto the end.
And it also means the presumptive leader of the free world or whoever operates his account is scanning notifications and then laboriously copy-pasting — rather than, you know, reading intelligence briefings.