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Just saying ...
- Former North Hempstead Town tourism agency director Kim Kaiman accrued annual pension benefits for a job she held simultaneously but didn’t actually do — town deputy finance commissioner. Yes, Kim is former town Supervisor Jon Kaiman’s wife — and a member of the First Wives Club of Long Island, one of the many political spouses successfully padding the family pocketbook.
- With proposals drawn up by both Nassau and Suffolk counties and some of their towns and villages for shared services to reduce expenses, do you find yourself wondering whether that means no potholes will get filled?
- The president called for elections to create a new supercongress loyal to him, and it promptly removed the independent chief prosecutor and promised to take action against the president’s political opponents. A fantasy for one president, but reality for Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro.
- China and Russia joined the rest of their UN Security Council brethren in unanimously condemning North Korea and voting for new sanctions over its missile tests. Quick, please, a show of hands: Anyone think this will make a difference? Thought so.
- News reports suggested that new White House chief of staff John Kelly has been successful in taming President Donald Trump’s tweeting. That was before Monday morning’s tweet storm against the media and Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal, leaving Kelly already looking a little like the manager of a baseball team that surprises everyone by leading the league in April and May only to fade by June.
- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said President Donald Trump is welcome at Christie’s gubernatorial beach house anytime he wants to come. Especially when there’s extra room, like when the beach is closed.
- Usain Bolt, history’s greatest sprinter, lost his last race to U.S. runner Justin Gatlin. Bolt, of Jamaica, retires trailing Gatlin 2-0 in another measure — the number of bans served for using performance-enhancing drugs.
De Blasio’s summer snowball
It was déjà vu all over again on Monday as Mayor Bill de Blasio asked for a tax that would need approval from Albany.
This time it was increasing the income tax rate for NYC’s highest earners by 0.534 percent on taxable incomes above $500,000, and above $1 million for couples. Does the proposal have a snowball’s chance even in “summer of hell” Albany?
It might be worth looking at the fate of a previous “millionaire’s tax” that de Blasio pushed during his first campaign to pay for universal pre-K. Or the “mansion tax” de Blasio plugged during this year’s budget process to fund affordable housing. The mansion tax went nowhere, and neither did the earlier millionaires levy, though de Blasio got “the next best thing,” as he called it in his news conference: funding in the state budget even without a tax.
De Blasio claims the tax past is not prologue and that the mood has changed in Albany because of the subway crisis. Senate Republicans are already begging to differ and quickly put out a statement knocking down his tax proposal. But what about congestion pricing, another alternate transportation funding scheme that has also been dredged up repeatedly and repeatedly blocked?
During an appearance on a WNYC radio show Friday, de Blasio deflected a question about putting his support behind congestion pricing because it was a “non-starter” in Albany. (The same kind of non-starter that his latest millionaire’s tax appears to be.)
Then Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo somewhat cheekily signaled interest in the plan over the weekend. But de Blasio seemed intent on avoiding even the words “congestion pricing” on Monday.
Based on that concept’s past failures, at least, the mayor seems to think history will repeat itself.
Game of thrones, Suffolk
Democrats raging against Suffolk County party leader Rich Schaffer because he isn’t loyal enough to their party’s cause of taking over the State Senate might find all his scheming a benefit this fall.
Sen. Phil Boyle, a Republican, is expected to resign his seat if he wins the GOP primary on Sept. 12 for Suffolk County sheriff. He would then be in a very comfortable spot, running on the GOP, Independence and Conservative lines against a weak Democratic nominee.
Such a move would then set up an off-year contest for a Senate seat that could determine the balance of power in the chamber. If so, the GOP plan is to turn to county Legis. Tom Cilmi. He would decline his nomination for another term in Hauppauge and shoot for Albany instead. And Democrats want Schaffer to get behind a strong candidate and make it a race.
However, what would happen if Boyle loses the GOP primary?
He is being challenged by Lawrence Zacarese, assistant chief of the Stony Brook University police, who has law enforcement support as well as support in the local GOP.
Zacarese is presenting just enough of a scare to Boyle that the senator did not resign, as expected, after he got the party nomination for sheriff. And there are some Republicans who might vote against Boyle just so he remains a senator.
If there is an upset and Zacarese wins the primary, Boyle is unlikely to give up a Senate seat just to run for sheriff on two minor party lines. The chatter is that Boyle has in his back pocket a deal to get the Democratic line from Schaffer. On the face of it, this should enrage Democrats and progressives.
If Boyle does not resign until after he wins the sheriff’s seat, however, it’s then up to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to decide when to call a special election in 2018.
So critics of Schaffer’s machinations might want to support giving the sheriff’s nomination to Boyle to encourage his early resignation and opening up the Senate seat. That is especially so if Cuomo gives Schaffer the green light to put up a strong candidate against Cilmi in a seat that seems increasingly winnable to them.