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Opinion

Suozzi could have new challenger in 2020

Tom Suozzi speaks during a get out the

Tom Suozzi speaks during a get out the vote rally at the IBEW Local 25 offices in Hauppauge in November. Photo Credit: Jeff Bachner

Daily Point

Fanning the flames

Activist group Young Progressives of Nassau County continued their poking of Rep. Tom Suozzi with a barbed tweet on Monday.

After criticizing the Glen Cove Democrat for voting with President Donald Trump too often, the group said: “We are encouraging longtime progressive activist @ZimmermanRob to primary Suozzi in 2020 so that New York's 3rd congressional district is represented by a real Democrat.”

Zimmerman, a fundraiser, Democratic National Committee member and public relations guru, has not exactly made a career as a Suozzi fan.

Zimmerman’s long familiarity with big-money national and establishment New York politics separates him from the new left-most wing of the Democratic party.

But Nassau County is not Brooklyn or the Bronx. Young Progressives co-founder Nikhil Goyal tells The Point that Zimmerman is appealing to the group because he has “been a progressive activist in this district for decades now," citing LGBTQ issues and standing up against Trump.

“He’d be a reliable Democratic vote,” says Goyal, whose group has been needling Suozzi for his membership in the Problem Solvers Caucus and moderation on immigration.

Zimmerman’s Twitter account has recently been a mix of the old and new party: a shout-out to Bronx Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, plus a happy birthday wish to former Virginia Gov. and Clinton pal Terry McAuliffe.

"I admire their energy and their activism. I know many of them and I think they're great," Zimmerman said to The Point about the Young Progressives. He demurred on whether he was jumping into the race, noting that he supports Medicare for All and a Green New Deal.

It’s still too far from 2020 to see how that will all shake out in a primary, but for now the Young Progressives are certainly happy to keep Suozzi on his toes.

Mark Chiusano

Talking Point

Tacking in the wind

Tensions seem to be easing between Assemb. Fred Thiele (I-Sag Harbor) and the developers behind a planned offshore wind farm 30 miles from Montauk.

Thiele had raised alarms among environmentalists with recent comments that seemed to indicate he was pulling his long support for the project after developer Deepwater Wind was bought last year by Danish giant Orsted, which bumped up the wind farm’s output from 90 megawatts to 130 megawatts. That’s possible because of new technology — the farm would still have the same number but more powerful turbines — but Thiele was upset that neither company communicated with him about the changes.

“I used what I consider to be political capital on a project that in my district in East Hampton is at best a 50-50 project,” Thiele told The Point. “The commercial fishermen are against it, people in Wainscott” — where the cable carrying the power will come ashore, a topic of NIMBY opposition — “are against it.”

But, Thiele added, “I believe in offshore wind, and I was willing to use political capital to facilitate this application...I didn’t say I was against it.”

Thiele, who called the farm’s increased capacity “a good thing,” said his requests for meetings went nowhere.

“This is the biggest project in my district in forever,” Thiele said. “It’s not just what’s on the blueprint, it’s the corporate ethic of the company that’s going to be operating in my district.”

Thiele’s public complaints got a response. On Friday, he received a contrite letter from the new company’s co-chief executives, Thomas Brostrom of Orsted and Jeffrey Grybowski of Deepwater Wind.

The duo promised to re-establish a “trust-based relationship,” writing, “We recognize that our communication with your office has not been up to the standards we expect from our team and for that we apologize.”

When asked for his reaction, Thiele emailed: “a good start.....”

It also might have been good for Orsted’s business going forward. The Orsted US Offshore Wind leaders said in the letter they will be among the companies putting in bids for a new state solicitation for 800 megawatts of offshore wind. The deadline is Thursday. Brostrom and Grybowski touted the proposal in their letter to Thiele, writing, “Earning your support is very important to us. We believe we can accomplish great things together and hope to re-establish a long and productive collaboration.”

Thiele said there should be “four or five” bidders, each of whom he said have made references to Orsted.

“I’ve heard from every other potential bidder saying, ‘We’re not like them, we want to do business in New York,’ ” Thiele said. “Just because I express a legitimate concern, I don’t say no wind power in New York. Just the opposite.”

Michael Dobie

Pencil Point

Not easy being green

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Quick Points

Taking it to the next level

  • President Donald Trump will hold his second summit with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un later this month in Hanoi. Guess his bone spurs won’t keep him from Vietnam this time.
  • A woman used a baseball bat to smash the windows of a Bronx restaurant after workers told her they were out of beef patties. Good thing they weren’t out of bacon, too.
  • Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam says he’s ready to “take Virginia to the next level.” Umm, given where he’s been heading lately, does Virginia really want to go to the next level?
  • Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister blamed the killing of Jamal Khashoggi on government officials who acted “outside the scope of their authority.” Right, because there’s such a robust record of Saudi officials acting outside the scope of their authority.
  • To reverse Hungary’s population decline, the xenophobic government is increasing incentives — a personal income-tax exemption for life for women who bear and raise at least four children, an $8,825 subsidy toward buying a seven-seat vehicle for families with at least three children, and a low-interest $35,300 loan to women under 40 who marry for the first time. It’d be a lot easier and cheaper to let in some immigrants.
  • You think Lady Gaga missed Bradley Cooper while singing “Shallow” at the Grammy Awards? She did enough writhing for both of them.
  • Speaking of the Grammys, Michelle Obama appeared on stage and the audience went nuts. Then she started speaking and barely got out three words before they really went nuts. It was hard to decipher the crowd noise, but it sounded something like: Please come back.

Michael Dobie

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