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Knocking on King's door

Daily Point

Pete King and his walking-around money

With Republicans searching for a Nassau County District Attorney candidate after Madeline Singas’ elevation to New York’s highest court, The Point wondered whether anyone had come knocking on Pete King’s door asking the former congressman to make a run.

"It’s been suggested but I’m enjoying doing what I’m doing," King said. This raised the question of how much remained in King’s federal campaign account and what he’s been doing with those funds.

As of April quarterly filings, he has some $700,000 on hand, and has been cutting checks for a few hundred or a few thousand dollars to local political causes.

That includes $6,500 to the Nassau County Republican Committee in January, and smaller sums in 2020 to other local Long Island GOP clubs, plus town supervisors Don Clavin, Angie Carpenter, and Joe Saladino of Hempstead, Islip, and Oyster Bay, respectively.

King said that he’s still a vice chairman of the Nassau County Republican Committee, and plans to use the money for the events and races that arise.

"So I just want to keep the money there and use it as events come along, as different causes come along, different candidates come along looking for contributions," he said Tuesday. "So there’s no magic formula there."

There’s a lot that can be done with excess campaign funds, according to the Federal Election Commission. Other than the costs of winding down an office, the former public servant can donate to charitable organizations (barring personal benefit), transfer to national, state, or local political party committees, or contribute to state and local candidates, pursuant to state law.

"I can’t go out and buy myself a new suit," King said. But political contributions are OK. The Seaford Republican says he recently gave to Rep. Nicole Malliotakis’ campaign for her Staten Island-Brooklyn seat, though that contribution hasn’t showed up in filings yet.

As for the work that is keeping King busy these days, beyond doling out contributors’ cash, that includes being a consultant to Northwell Health, appearing on Newsmax and WABC radio, and writing for The Hill.

— Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano and Lane Filler @lanefiller

Talking Point

Holdup in Hicksville

It’s been four years since Hicksville won $10 million from the state’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative competition.

But the effort to transform the hamlet has been slow to move forward.

Why? There’s been plenty of finger-pointing to go around. But now, Oyster Bay Town has asked Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to intercede.

In a letter sent to Cuomo earlier this month, Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joe Saladino blamed the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and sought the governor’s help to break the logjam. Saladino said the town needed MTA approvals to proceed with the Department of State, which has jurisdiction over the revitalization plans.

And he combined the request with plenty of praise.

"You have always been a strong partner in government and a logical, effective problem solver," Saladino wrote to Cuomo.

Cuomo, of course, runs the MTA, controls the majority of voting board seats, and nominates the chairperson and chief executive.

Town officials told The Point they’ve had to revise their revitalization plans in the wake of a continued disagreement over whether the MTA would build two parking garages to replace the surface parking around the Hicksville train station. The town had hoped to use the current surface parking lots for plazas, open space and a potential music and event venue. The MTA, however, had sought an exchange, where the authority would build parking garages only if there was an opportunity to construct significant transit-oriented development on other property near the Hicksville station. But the town pushed back on the MTA’s plans, in part because of the town’s desire to keep height and density relatively low.

Now, Saladino’s letter pointed to a deadline — May 31, 2024 — by which the downtown revitalization projects must be completed.

"We both cannot allow this initiative to fail," Saladino wrote.

In Saladino’s letter, the supervisor asked the governor for "assistance in holding the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) accountable," saying that the town’s revised plans for the revitalization initiative "have sat idle" because of the MTA’s "lack of response."

But, like everything with the effort to redevelop Hicksville, it’s not that simple.

MTA sources told The Point that the Long Island Rail Road last heard from Oyster Bay earlier this year, when town officials had said they were making changes to their plans. MTA sources said the LIRR asked the town to send those revisions along, adding that they’d be glad to meet to discuss the changes.

The railroad never heard back, MTA sources said.

Town officials, meanwhile, said they sent the revised plans to the Department of State, which in turn reached out to various officials at the MTA, but did not hear back from everyone involved.

And so, it seems, the plans stalled, as the back and forth became a giant game of telephone — with the future of Hicksville hanging in the balance.

But at the end of last week, as The Point tried to reach out to everyone involved multiple times, a bit of progress was made. The MTA and Department of State met, and then Cuomo’s office reached out to Oyster Bay officials to arrange a meeting for later this month between all involved.

Perhaps, then, the game of telephone might finally end. The question is whether they will all hear the same message.

— Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall

Pencil Point


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Quick Points

From hurricanes to hypocrites

  • Tropical Storm Elsa — which briefly was Hurricane Elsa, the first hurricane of the Atlantic season, and might re-earn that designation later on Tuesday — killed three people in the Caribbean, tore roofs off houses, uprooted trees, and caused landslides and flooding before heading toward Florida. Here we go again.
  • Outside auditors found that the public benefit corporation that operates Nassau University Medical Center ran a $102.3 million deficit last year, a jump of 60% from 2019, and warned that the hospital might not survive. All of which is true, though not exactly a surprise.
  • Las Vegas is humming again with tons of tourists, crowded casinos, open buffets, packed concerts — and the highest rate of new COVID-19 cases in the country. In case you’re wondering, that’s called cause-and-effect.
  • Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary Wednesday, the longest marriage in presidential history. More perspective: With U.S. life expectancy now at 77 years, the Carters have been married nearly as long as the average American can expect to live.
  • International swimming federation FINA has banned the Soul Cap swimming cap, designed for natural Afro-hair, for this month’s Olympic Games, saying the cap doesn’t "fit the natural form of the head." With FINA’s current marketing campaign titled "Swimming for All, Swimming for Life," how exactly does FINA define "all"?
  • Oregon Gov. Kate Brown called the state’s nearly 100 deaths due to the recent heat wave "absolutely unacceptable." But if the nation continues to fail to mount a concerted fight against climate change, we will absolutely have to continue to accept such horrors.
  • J.D. Vance, author of "Hillbilly Elegy," said recently he regrets posting since-deleted tweets in 2016 that harshly criticized then-presidential candidate Donald Trump. No surprise. Vance is now running as a Republican for a Senate seat in Ohio and is looking for an endorsement — an about-face worth its own elegy.

— Michael Dobie @mwdobie

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