State Sen. Todd Kaminsky's campaign for Nassau district attorney launched its...

State Sen. Todd Kaminsky's campaign for Nassau district attorney launched its first TV ads Tuesday. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Daily Point

Kaminsky goes cable

Todd Kaminsky’s Nassau County district attorney campaign launched its first TV ads Tuesday on 12 cable networks, including CNN, MSNBC and News12, a campaign spokeswoman tells The Point.

The 30-second spot focuses on his work as a prosecutor, highlights some of his law enforcement endorsements, includes tough-on-crime-style shots of handcuffs and a barred door being slammed, and ends with the tagline, "The best prosecutor to keep Nassau safe."

That slogan — and the law-and-order ad blitz in general — appears to be an effort to use Kaminsky’s sizable war chest to combat the GOP’s one big tactical weapon so far in the race to succeed Madeline Singas: an attempt to tie Kaminsky to the state bail reforms of 2019.

Mailers hitting Nassau households from the state GOP read "TODD KAMINSKY’S CASHLESS BAIL LAW," deemed responsible for the release of potentially violent or dangerous people. This "TURN 'EM LOOSE TODD" characterization is all over social media as well: "Senator Todd Kaminsky wrote the cashless bail law to let these monsters go free," says one recent Facebook ad from GOP DA candidate Anne Donnelly, which is one of multiple ads to include a 2019 clip of deputy majority leader Michael Gianaris thanking Kaminsky for helping to "put the words on the paper to make this happen." Gianaris also lists other state senators.

But it’s not so simple. The reform of the state’s bail system in 2019 — which meant judges could use bail in many fewer cases to keep people in custody — was done through the state’s budget process, the tried and true strategy of stuffing the most controversial issues into a place with few fingerprints.

"It was derivative of my bill and [Assemb.] Latrice Walker’s bill," Gianaris told The Point Tuesday, arguing that Kaminsky didn’t write it; he also didn’t co-sponsor that Gianaris bail bill.

Instead, Kaminsky was a member of a working group on criminal justice issues in that budget. "Todd was there from the prosecutorial perspective," Gianaris said. "His role was to advocate the more restrained view."

"He pushed back against the bail reform," said Bronx State Sen. Jamaal Bailey, a fellow member of that working group. Bailey, also a lawyer, said Kaminsky brought "the law enforcement perspective" into the room and that though he loves and respects his Long Island colleague, "we had quite a disagreement" on pretrial reforms. Kaminsky was heavily lobbied at the time by Suffolk District Attorney Tim Sini and Nassau’s Singas as well as the state’s association of district attorneys to push back against the more progressive voices.

Kaminsky ultimately voted for the budget and thus the bail reforms. A year later as the changes were coming under criticism, he was involved with efforts to roll back some of the provisions.

Asked for comment about the Kaminsky ads, Donnelly returned to the bail law authorship question in a statement to The Point. "Nothing that Senator Todd Kaminsky says can change the fact that he authored and voted for the 'cashless bail' law," the statement said.

— Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Talking Point

SALT’s the spice of Suozzi’s political life

For anyone who gets new releases from Rep. Thomas Suozzi’s office, Tuesday morning’s breakfast inbox was a high-sodium affair, with two SALT-centric statements released within an hour.

The emphasis reflects the reality that if Suozzi is going to cook up a 2022 gubernatorial campaign with the flavor voters crave, success in raising or eliminating the $10,000 cap instituted in 2017 on the deductibility of state and local taxes from federal income taxes must be the main ingredient.

If his quest is going to move forward, it must happen now, in the Ways and Means Committee markup on the tax portion of the budget reconciliation package Thursday and Friday.

The first SALT release from Suozzi’s office Tuesday was a head-scratcher: The wording of the subject line, "Suozzi: ‘No SALT, No Deal’-Will still oppose any changes to tax code unless cap on SALT deduction is repealed" was unusual because … all it really says is that he hasn’t changed his mind. And a main purpose of the email seemed to be linking to 13 other news articles that show Suozzi has pursued this since 2017.

That email made more sense when, an hour later, Suozzi’s office sent out another release highlighting Tuesday’s AM edition of "Punchbowl News," an inside-the-Beltway newsletter that interviewed Suozzi, called him "The SALT-y Democrat" and focused on his leadership of the SALT fight and attempts to corral other Democrats into demanding the change.

Suozzi is pulling out all the stops to connect his name to the fight, a high-stakes gamble that suggests he believes he can win this battle.

"This has been going on since 2017 and it will come to a head this week," Suozzi told The Point Tuesday. "It is crunchtime for this issue."

For New Yorkers, that crunchtime may determine the size of their tax bills. For Suozzi, it could determine the scope of his political career.

— Lane Filler @lanefiller

Pencil Point

Kicking back

Credit: Heller

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Quick Points

Alternate realities

  • Taliban fighters using tear gas, metal clubs and rifle butts violently broke up a peaceful weekend protest by women in Kabul. Which raises the question: Was it a mere slip from the group’s promise to refrain from past practices or a harbinger of a return to form?
  • A Smithtown parent participating in a protest against the state’s mask mandate for schools said her kids "deserve to breathe freely." Yes, and other people deserve to breathe.
  • State records show that the Department of Health found only 16% of Long Island’s private nursing homes had violations in the early days of the pandemic, proving either that most nursing homes are doing a good job or the state isn’t doing thorough inspections. You know nursing home history, you decide.
  • The Human Rights Campaign fired its president, Alphonso David, after reports revealed he had advised his former boss, former Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, on how to handle the sex harassment allegations against him. And the ripple from this episode of scandal spreads.
  • Nearly 1 in 3 Americans experienced a weather disaster this summer. Given the increasing severity and frequency of fires, hurricanes, heat waves, floods and the like, that’s a record that won’t last.
  • If you’re thinking hurricanes are primarily a problem for the Southeastern United States, consider this: Hurricane Ida killed more people in the Northeast than along the Gulf Coast.
  • He personified panache, had a certain je ne sais quoi, and occasionally left us breathless. RIP, Jean-Paul Belmondo.

— Michael Dobie @mwdobie

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