Spamming those inboxes
State lawmakers have received more than 1,000 emails that all say exactly the same thing.
"As a citizen and New York State resident, I call on you to oppose Covid-19 Vaccine mandates including those currently in place for healthcare workers and college students," says the email, which carries the subject line "No Forced Vaccinations!"
"The decision to take a vaccine depends on many factors including medical conditions and religious beliefs," the email continued. "Neither you nor any other politician should be making this decision for them."
Just by reading the email, you can’t tell whether a particular organization or lobbying effort is behind it. That realization only comes when looking closely at the "From" line.
The name is different on every single email. But the email address is the same — firstname.lastname@example.org.
The emails are generated by a link on the Suffolk Police Benevolent Association website.
"We stand against forced vaccination of our membership and will vigorously oppose any attempt to enforce a mandate," says a statement from PBA President Noel DiGerolamo on the site.
DiGerolamo didn’t return calls for comment.
But the PBA email is becoming an annoyance for State Senate and Assembly staff.
"Spamming the inboxes of 63 senators statewide with cut-and-paste messages from people outside of their community is a complete waste of everyone’s time," one Senate staffer told the Point. "It’s a distraction from the very important work taking place in these offices as we seek to help residents recovering from a major storm and a global pandemic."
Suffolk County currently is surveying members of the police department on whether they’ve been vaccinated. So far, 1,241 of the county’s 2,340 sworn officers report receiving the vaccine, although 358 of the 2,340 haven’t yet responded to the county’s survey. Nassau, however, has not surveyed its police officers and does not have data on how many have received the shot, one official told The Point. But the official noted that Nassau continues to make the vaccine readily available to county employees.
A Suffolk County spokeswoman told The Point that county officials "are considering all options … and are reviewing the latest federal guidance" to determine the need for a potential vaccine mandate for county employees. So far, neither Nassau nor Suffolk counties has instituted a requirement for police officers or other county workers.
— Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall
Hoping for Hochul at hoedowns
Maybe it’s just what you’d expect from a new governor running for election next year. Or maybe it shows the incumbent’s momentum as a possible primary looms.
Either way, the leaders of the Nassau and Suffolk county Democratic organizations reportedly hope and even expect to see Gov. Kathy Hochul show up next month for their fall fundraising dinners.
Nobody’s commenting officially yet since Hochul’s appearances haven’t been confirmed. But the dates are approaching. On Oct. 4, Richard Schaffer, the Suffolk chairman, will host his fete at the Villa Lombardi in Holbrook. On Oct. 14, Jay Jacobs, the Nassau and state party chairman, will do his own at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Westbury.
Announcements of whether Hochul will appear, as the main attraction, are expected soon.
Political types will be watching, usefully or not, for the presence of other possible statewide candidates from Long Island, specifically Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, who’s leaving in 2023 due to term limits, at either or both of the dinners.
Last month, before succeeding the departing Andrew M. Cuomo as governor, Hochul was quoted as quipping during a conference in Hauppauge: "If you ask anyone, I’ve been told that Nassau and Suffolk counties are planning on taxing me as a local resident because I’m here so often."
After Hochul took office Jacobs, whose term as state party chairman has a year left, said: "I hope things go well for her. By historic precedent and tradition, the state party usually supports the incumbent governor."
The season for speculating on who does what in the 2022 statewide scrum grinds on.
— Dan Janison @Danjanison
For more cartoons, visit www.newsday.com/nationalcartoons
Drawing lines between plural and singular
The official notice says New York’s first-ever Independent Redistricting Commission is due on Wednesday to "release the public map" proposed for congressional and state legislative offices in the 2022 elections.
The wording of the notice is interesting because the panel may actually unveil separate sets of maps favored by its evenly divided Democratic and Republican commissioners at their official meeting at 250 Broadway in Manhattan at 1 p.m.
The materials will be issued with the intent of drawing feedback in an upcoming round of commission hearings around the state.
Former Nassau State Sen. Jack Martins, the Republican vice chairman, says he opposes separate maps, maintaining that the state constitutional amendment that established the commission in 2014 requires a single proposed plan.
"Releasing two plans would just highlight the partisanship," he told The Point. Martins added that despite Democrats disagreeing, he still looks forward to talks and exchanges meant to "arrive at a plan," sooner rather than later, emphasizing the word "a."
David Imamura, a Westchester Democrat who is commission chairman, told The Point on Monday that this one-or-two-plan question will be answered at Wednesday’s livestreamed meeting.
The commission consists of two members appointed by the Senate majority leader, two by the Assembly speaker, two each by the minority leaders of the Senate and Assembly, and two not enrolled in either of the major parties.
After the hearings in coming weeks, the commission sends maps to the State Legislature by Jan. 1. The legislature can return them to the commission unapproved. If that happens twice, lawmakers can make changes themselves.
So far, few state lawmakers have publicly committed themselves to approving commission maps before seeing them. Complicated clashes over communities of interest, consolidations and border-crossings within districts are expected.
For the public, it's best to adjust all hopes of the ideal reform downward a notch. After all, the pressure is on state Democrats to help their national party try to keep a majority in Congress by minimizing the number of Republican seats in New York’s House delegation. That’s been widely known all along.
The final House, Assembly and State Senate maps to be adopted early next year may or may not come out palpably fairer than before.
But don’t expect the map, or maps, to go unedited by the elected who stand to be affected.
— Dan Janison @Danjanison