A rendering of the proposed Middle Island Solar Farm.

A rendering of the proposed Middle Island Solar Farm. Credit: MISF

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Talking Point

Flipping a Suffolk seat

Suffolk County Democrats see the 10th Assembly District race as their best chance of flipping a seat on Long Island in the April 24 special election.

Three seats previously held by Republicans are up, although the overwhelming Democratic majority in the Assembly doesn’t give these races the drama as much as those for the Senate, which could flip control in that chamber.

In the 10th District, Suffolk Democratic Chairman Rich Schaffer said his organization and the Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee plan to spend $120,000 on behalf of Steve Stern. The 5th and 16th district seats in Republican strongholds are unlikely to change.

Stern said Democrats see this as their strongest race in April and an opportunity to make a statement like Democratic voters around the country.

“Because this seat has been held by a Republican politician for 35 years, it’s an important local story but also a national story,” Stern told The Point. The seat had been held by Chad Lupinacci, who won his race for Huntington town supervisor, and before that by the late Jim Conte.

The Stern campaign has sent at least two mailers and is touting his work as a legislator for housing homeless veterans, banning BPA in baby bottles and tracking sex offenders and limiting where they can live.

The Republican candidate is Janet Smitelli, an attorney. She’s campaigning against Stern’s record as a county legislator, when that body raised many government fees, adding to the high cost of living. Smitelli also said that Stern should stay in private life now that he has served his term-limited 12 years in the county legislature. “Term limits are very important,” she told The Point. “Then you go back into the community and bring what you’ve learned in office.”

Told about the Democrats’ $120,000 bankroll for Stern, Smitelli responded, “Well, they will be outspending us.” She has some lawn signs sprouting in the district and said the town, county and state Republican parties have made some promises of funding, too, but she hasn’t seen the money yet.

Anne Michaud

Daily Point

Cuomo buys land on LI

It seems clear that 800 acres of pristine pine barrens in Shoreham are going to be preserved, just not in the way everyone thought.

Word is emerging from Albany that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is going to purchase the Shoreham land from owner National Grid for inclusion in the protected pine barrens watershed area. No word yet on the price.

That critically important property for environmentalists was included in legislation passed by both the State Senate and Assembly last year but vetoed by Cuomo in December. The bill would have preserved the 800 acres Shoreham and 327 acres in Mastic. The publicly owned land in Mastic — about 170 acres, with plots owned by Brookhaven Town and Suffolk County — is still in the governor’s budget for preservation but not the 157 acres of the private land. That includes the 100 acres owned by Gerald Rosengarten, who has vexed the community by clearing 60 of those acres for a solar farm.

One clue to the governor’s thinking about the Shoreham parcel: His veto message, when he wrote of landowners “threatening litigation for an unlawful taking without just compensation.”

This is a fluid situation. Stay tuned.

Michael Dobie

Reference Point

Ode to spring

Sixty years ago, the Newsday editorial board was suffering from the same malady that’s inflicting us today. It’s called the when-is-spring-going-to-come flu.

On March 22, 1958, the board cleverly transposed the names of the seasons in a Percy Bysshe Shelley poem to produce a plaint that perfectly captures our nor-eastered region two days after the official beginning of spring.

O Wind,

If Spring comes, can Winter be far behind?

Michael Dobie

Pencil Point

Sketches of Facebook chaos

Here are two ideas Newsday cartoonist Matt Davies had yesterday. Click here to see the one that ran and his other cartoons.