Be like Mike
January is turning out be an active month for prominent Nassau County communications professionals named Michael.
Michael Deery is now working for the Nassau County Republican Party.
Deery was the longtime spokesman for the Town of Hempstead under Republican supervisors Kate Murray and Anthony Santino, but when Democrat Laura Gillen won that post in 2017, Deery was on the move. He landed in the office of Republican Hempstead Collector of Taxes Donald Clavin, earning $205,000 a year in what was basically a newly created position. But Clavin reportedly felt he couldn’t justify that post at that salary as he seems to be positioning himself for a run at higher office at either the town or county level.
Michael Martino is expected to be hired by the Nassau University Medical Center at its board meeting Thursday.
Martino was already outbound as the spokesman for Democratic County Executive Laura Curran thanks to some savage party infighting inflamed by his employment history with and relationships to Republicans and others who felt he wasn’t delivering the messaging she needed.
But his pending move got a lot more attention last month after he issued a robocall about tax breaks for senior citizens, intended for 4,000 households, to 400,000 households, and a horde of confused taxpayers stormed the county compex looking for answers.
So what’s the key to a successful political communications career in Nassau? At least one thing is to be named Michael.
Tightening the purse strings
President Donald Trump, set to address the nation Tuesday night, is no stranger to belt-tightening when the money runs low. He implied as much to a reporter Sunday while talking about the current partial shutdown of the federal government stemming from an argument over funding the construction of a wall on the Southern border.
“I can relate, and I’m sure that the people that are on the receiving end will make adjustments — they always do — and they’ll make adjustments,” he told NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell after she asked, “Can you relate to the pain of federal workers who can’t pay their bills?”
Trump has made adjustments in the past, too. In 1990, bankers trying to arrange a loan for the then-struggling financier to keep his personal and corporate empires out of bankruptcy in the face of a pending payment on a junk bond he’d issued made him agree to rein in his personal spending … to $450,000 per month.
According to a New York Times article from June 26, 1990, the $450,000 per month did not include interest on his personal debt ($2.1 million per month), the cost of running his 282-foot yacht ($841,000 per month), or his 727 jet ($246,000 per month).
Will Trump share these anecdotes of hard times Tuesday night when he addresses the plight of about 800,000 federal workers not being paid during the shutdown, about half of whom are required to work anyway? Perhaps. But he may not feel he has to bother, since, he said: “Many of those people that won't be receiving a paycheck, many of those people agree 100 percent with what I'm doing.”
Yes, another president who feels your pain.
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Hear ye, hear ye
Elmont Memorial Library’s auditorium usually plays host to theatrical productions -- right now, it’s “Sweet Charity” that’s in the middle of a run there.
But for the next three days, the only people singing about a Big Spender will be those commenting about the $1 billion plan to redevelop nearby Belmont Park.
Empire State Development is holding three days of public hearings beginning Tuesday evening, regarding the effort to build a new arena for the New York Islanders, a hotel and retail village on the state-owned land at Belmont. Hearings on Tuesday and Thursday begin at 6 p.m. On Wednesday, a two-part hearing will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., and from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
And state officials can expect some theatrics. At least one group objecting to the development, the Belmont Park Community Coalition, is organizing several individuals to talk about their concerns, ranging from traffic to noise to pollution to whether the project will have a positive economic impact on the local communities. On the flip side, residents of local neighborhoods who support the project are galvanizing, too, even recently producing a video advocating for Belmont’s redevelopment, and attempting to counter some of the concerns.
Meanwhile, elected officials, including State Sen. Todd Kaminsky and State Assemb. Michaelle Solages, are planning to speak and submit comments regarding the project - although both noted that they have to head up to Albany Wednesday for the start of the new legislative session. State Sen. Anna Kaplan, meanwhile, left for Albany Tuesday, but told The Point she planned to go to Thursday’s hearing on the project, which she called a “critical regional priority.”
Solages said she hopes to be at both Tuesday and Thursday’s hearings, “looking to see if we can problem solve and come to a resolution.”
But both she and Kaminsky noted that significant questions remain. And that means this hockey game’s final score is still unknown. As Kaminsky told The Point on Tuesday, “We’re not between second and third periods of an inevitable winner.”
Randi F. Marshall