Daily Point

Blakeman wants Mack on MTA board

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman plans to keep Metropolitan Transportation Authority board member David Mack as Nassau’s representative, Blakeman confirmed to The Point Wednesday.

"I intend to retain David Mack on the MTA board and have made it clear that our top priorities are improving station maintenance, holding the line on fares, improving access to the UBS Arena and obtaining a new parking garage for downtown Hicksville," Blakeman said in a statement. The final choice, however, will be up to Gov. Kathy Hochul.

The statement came after Mack, 79, who attended Blakeman’s inauguration this week, told The Point that he had spoken to Blakeman since Election Day, and was reassured that the board seat was his to keep. Mack, who first held the board seat more than a decade ago but wasn’t reappointed after he refused to cooperate with then-Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo’s investigation into the State Police, was newly recommended to his board seat by former County Executive Laura Curran in 2018 and has held the spot since.

"I look forward to continuing to help Nassau County — and Suffolk, too," Mack told The Point. "It’s always been my goal to maintain on-time service and keep the millennials here."

Meanwhile, Suffolk County will be losing its board member, Kevin Law, shortly. Law is awaiting his confirmation as chairman of Empire State Development, which could come in a matter of weeks. That timetable would mean that Law might be at the MTA’s January meetings — but could be gone by February. Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone hasn’t said publicly whom he might recommend for the seat, although Mack himself told The Point that Mack is recommending a return for Long Island Builders Institute head and former MTA board member Mitch Pally.

As for Mack, he said he has no plans to leave the board anytime soon.

"I’ll be here for another four or eight more years, God willing," Mack said, nodding to the fact that MTA board members’ terms are in line with the appointing official, in this case, Blakeman.

But that’s not entirely up to Mack or Blakeman, who gets to make three recommendations for the Nassau seat. While Blakeman can unofficially push for the board member he wants, the ultimate decision lies with Hochul.

— Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall

Talking Point

Anti-vaxxer plans to run for Congress

As hundreds of activists protesting vaccine mandates gathered in Albany Wednesday in the lead-up to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s State of the State speech, one made a particular splash.

Cait Corrigan, a 24-year-old registered Republican who lives in Patchogue, announced her plans to run for Congress in the 2nd Congressional District in a statement that didn’t mention the word vaccine once, instead referencing her desire to "defend medical freedom."

Referring to GOP incumbent Rep. Andrew Garbarino as "GarbaRINO," a riff on the pejorative "Republican In Name Only" label, Corrigan called herself a "fearless conservative who fights for freedom."

"A government that restricts the people is no longer a government of the people, for the people and by the people," Corrigan said in her statement. "Such a government is no longer a republic. It is a Communist regime."

It’s been that kind of week for Garbarino, who was elected in 2020. Besides fending off a fight from the right in his own party, Democrats, in their first pass at redistricting New York’s congressional seats, placed his home in another district.

Corrigan, who started a group called Students Against Mandates, has trumpeted her own fight for a religious exemption to allow her not to take the COVID-19 vaccine at Earlham College in Indiana, where she was studying for a master’s degree in "Peace & Social Transformation." She has since produced multiple seminars and workshops on how to get a religious exemption.

— Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall

Pencil Point

Blowing out the candle

Jimmy Margulies

Jimmy Margulies

For more cartoons, visit www.newsday.com/nationalcartoons

Final Point

Hit-run victim's family hires PR firm

When Daniel Campbell was arraigned Wednesday on an indictment charging that he was at the wheel in an August hit-and-run crash in Amagansett that killed 18-year-old Devesh Samtani, the media was well aware the court proceeding was taking place.

Rubenstein Public Relations, representing the Samtani family, had already pitched numerous media members on the story via a very unusual email. Usually it is the district attorney’s office, not the family of the victim, that alerts the media to court proceedings.

"I’m writing to invite you to the arraignment for the felony indictment of Daniel Campbell, who is allegedly responsible for an August 10 hit-and-run in Amagansett, NY, which resulted in the death of Devesh Samtani," the note started.

Samtani is the son of Kishore and Mala Samtani, the entrepreneurs behind "As Seen On TV" gadgets like knives and massagers that have earned them a fortune. Since their son’s death, they have worked to educate people on the life of their son and started a foundation in his name to memorialize their son.

Asked to discuss the media strategy, and whether the family had any reason to believe the case would not get proper treatment in the press or courts, Rubenstein Public Relations replied with this emailed statement: "The family has a right to representation and wanted to bring attention to the case. Our agency has been working directly with Attorney Omar Almanzar Paramio, and the Devesh Samtani Foundation."

— Lane Filler @lanefiller

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