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Nassau PBA looking to November
It looks like the Nassau County Police Benevolent Association will be getting back in the political endorsement game for the county executive and legislative races later this year.
James McDermott, chosen by members in a recent special election to succeed the retiring James Carver, said the union will screen candidates and most likely back them in the general election, but will stay quiet for the primaries.
PBA support could be important, positively or negatively, in a changing political environment. The union can deliver some member votes and some money in what is projected to be a wide-open county executive race in which deep-pocketed donors could be hard to come by. But its visible support could also come with a downside if voters believe the union is looking to help politicians who will deliver fat police contracts.
County Executive Edward Mangano, a Republican, is under indictment on federal corruption charges, with a trial date set for two months after the November vote. He is acting as if he will seek a third term, even as county Republican leaders indicate they won’t support him.
The PBA declined to endorse in the race in 2013, facing a choice between Mangano, who had frozen police wages, and Thomas Suozzi. During a previous run as executive, Suozzi threatened layoffs in 2009 if cops didn’t take a 7 percent pay cut. The PBA stayed out of that race, too. In 2001, it endorsed Suozzi, but in 2005 backed his GOP opponent, Gregory Peterson.
The PBA contract expires less than two months after the election, making it a high-stakes race for the union. McDermott said the union also will screen candidates in some or all of the 19 legislative races on the ballot.
Squeaky wheel gets the grease
When Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo went to Lawrence on Sunday to announce a souped-up $130 million project to reconstruct the Nassau Expressway, also known as Route 878, he made clear the role played by State Sen. Todd Kaminsky, a Long Beach Democrat who represents the area.
“I don’t want to say the man is a broken record, but every time I see him — 878, 878, 878. We call him 878,” Cuomo said. “We wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for Senator Todd Kaminsky.”
Kaminsky said his one-topic focus in dealings with Cuomo was intentional. “It’s so hard to break through in this big state,” Kaminsky told The Point. “You can spend money anywhere.”
Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino used the same tactic as a GOP assemblyman representing Massapequa. Saladino’s cause was containing and cleaning up the Navy-Northrop Grumman Corp. plume in Bethpage, and his advocacy helped lead to the energetic involvement of Cuomo and other state officials.
In Albany, being a one-trick pony can be a good thing.
Can you hear me now?
As Congress reconvenes Tuesday after its February recess, members who didn’t hold town hall meetings at home seem to be scrambling to rectify the lapse.
Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice finalized on Tuesday an event for 10 a.m. Saturday, March 4, in the Mineola Middle School auditorium. A spokesman says Rice is “looking forward to it.”
Republican Rep. Peter King is still working out the details for a “telephone town hall” on the evening of March 8, his office said Tuesday.
Many Republicans across the country have been met by raucous crowds over the past two weeks. Voters want them to address some of President Donald Trump’s controversial policies. Democrats Gregory Meeks and Thomas Suozzi faced in-person crowds, and Republican Lee Zeldin held a telephone town hall.
King has said he didn’t want to hold an in-person town hall because he believes angry demonstrators help diminish democracy.