Good afternoon and welcome to The Point!
Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos seems to be a man without a party, though not one without a party primary.
The longtime Republican switched to the Democratic Party last year, counting on support in his run for county executive from county Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs. But Jacobs has endorsed County Legis. Laura Curran of Baldwin.
Now Maragos has to try to find a constituency in the Democratic primary, which also includes candidate Charles Lavine, the popular and influential member of the State Assembly who also got shoved off the party bus when Jacobs backed Curran. Maragos will position himself as an outsider taking on an entrenched political apparatus.
Hank Sheinkopf, a Democratic consultant running Maragos’ campaign, declined to lay out the candidate’s strategy for The Point, but said, “Clearly, Curran is the choice of party bosses, while we hope to be the choice of the people.”
Curran and Maragos have traded barbs lately. She called him a “yes-man for corruption.” He sent out a tweet belittling her background as the recipient of a bachelor of arts degree, and as a former reporter and yoga instructor. He quickly took down the post after a reporter called his campaign to ask about it.
Maragos is used to being a party outsider, so that could give him an advantage. As a comptroller candidate in 2009 and 2013, he was distinctly not the favorite of county Republican leaders, even though he had a starring role on their ticket.
‘Sanctuary state’ in name only
State legislators are moving to designate New York as a “sanctuary state,” even though arrests of hundreds of people over the weekend demonstrate that the label “sanctuary” in cities including New York and Chicago might have only symbolic meaning.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers reportedly arrested more than 600 people in 11 states; that included people in Staten Island and the Hudson Valley.
State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan already has dismissed as “unconstitutional” Assembly bills aimed at designating New York a sanctuary state. Even so, State Sen. José Serrano, a Bronx Democrat, has submitted companion legislation in his chamber.
Called the Liberty Act, Serrano's bills would, among other things, prohibit questioning people about their immigration status and forbid government spending to create a registry based on race, religion or national origin.
Serrano’s legislation is in the Senate Finance Committee, and he told The Point that he hopes to “transcend political ideology” to create universal support for the goals. “Every person on every side of the aisle has been touched by this issue,” Serrano said. “As people gain a better understanding, I hope and expect there will be support from all conferences.”
And by that he means all three. The set of bills designed to push back against President Donald Trump’s aggressive immigration policies is sure to test the Senate’s Independent Democratic Conference, eight Democrats who are conferencing with Flanagan’s Republicans, presumably to advance their version of a progressive agenda.
And the winner is . . .
-- Adele stopped her Grammy Awards tribute to George Michael because it wasn’t coming out right and started over, then said her album of the year award should have gone to Beyonce because she was more deserving. How out of touch is Adele with the political zeitgeist?
-- Remember how Donald Trump twice purged top staff at controversial moments during his presidential campaign? With all the current discontent, malfunctions, enmity and botched rollouts in the White House, you don’t suppose . . . that’s the reason he invited Chris Christie for lunch on Tuesday?
-- Critics said Michael Flynn was a loose cannon before President Donald Trump made the retired general his national security adviser. With Flynn reportedly having lied about discussing sanctions against Russia in a phone call with a Russian official, leading Vice President Mike Pence to erroneously say that sanctions were not discussed, now the White House knows, too.
-- To all those who think that Democrats and Republicans can’t work together, did you catch Lady Gaga and Metallica at the Grammys?
-- White House policy adviser Stephen Miller said it’s well-known in New Hampshire that voters are bused in from Massachusetts to sway elections. So well-known that no losing candidate in New Hampshire has ever made that claim.
-- President Donald Trump vows to reduce the estimated $21.6 billion cost of the Southern border wall. Perhaps he could hire immigrants who are here illegally and refuse to pay some contractors. He’s done that before.
-- Nassau police are adding hundreds of license-plate readers and ShotSpotters and are growing their ranks of paid informants. What would they be doing if crime weren’t, you know, dropping?
-- North Korea’s ballistic missile test last week was widely viewed as a ploy to test President Donald Trump. They could have just tweeted something.
-- Women older than 70 are more than twice as likely to be working full time as they were 30 years ago. Now about that 2020 election . . .
-- Here’s one indicator that perhaps Huntington Town Supervisor Frank Petrone is not going to run one more time: He’s saying flat out that he wants to build a downtown parking garage.
-- When asked by an Israeli newspaper about moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, President Donald Trump declined to take a stand and said he is “learning the issue.” Which sort of implies that when he said previously he would move the embassy he didn’t understand the issue.
-- Controversial pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli, who raised the price of an AIDS and cancer drug from $17 per pill to $750, is speaking at Harvard University on Wednesday. Perhaps Harvard will get some inspiration for improving its endowment return.