NIFA gets some new and old blood
The Nassau Interim Finance Authority is likely going to get new blood, a little of it quite soon and more of it in the near term.
Officials say Keith Lavitt, a Woodbury businessman whose Melville-based Super Enterprises distributes window and door products, will be nominated by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to fill the seat of Paul Annunziato, who has served since 2013.
Until quite recently, all seven NIFA directors were holdovers serving expired terms, and five of the seven still are. The two who were recently reappointed are Howard Weitzman, the former Nassau County comptroller -- a pick of Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie -- and Chris Wright, an auditing and accounting executive, the choice of state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.
NIFA Chairman Adam Barsky also is expected to be reappointed and has signaled he’s willing to stay on. But more directors are likely to leave, with former Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan’s pick, Paul Leventhal, among the most likely to be replaced by new Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.
A supportive NIFA will be increasingly crucial for the political fortunes of County Executive Laura Curran. She will need the fiscal oversight board’s approval as she tries to negotiate the county’s expired union contracts, bonds to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in debt created by property-tax refunds and fixes the broken assessment and property tax system spurring those refunds.
NIFA has been overseeing the county’s control period imposed in 2011.
Movin' on up
Well, that was quick.
The State Senate plans to take up two Metropolitan Transportation Authority board appointments -- including Nassau County’s nominated representative, David Mack -- next Tuesday, Senate Democratic spokesman Mike Murphy told The Point Friday.
MTA board confirmations are usually among the votes the State Senate reserves for the very end of the legislative session in June, so the fast-paced scheduling of the confirmation of Mack, and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s nominated representative, Sarah Feinberg, is unusual. It's unclear whether Senate confirmation Tuesday would mean that the new representatives could participate in Wednesday's MTA board meeting. At that meeting, the board is expected to vote on recommended fare increases for the subway and commuter rails.
The two nominees will have to go through three Senate committees before a floor vote is held Tuesday.
There was a push by some Long Island state senators to get the Mack appointment confirmed quickly, because Nassau has been without a board member since June.
“For too long, Nassau hasn’t had representation,” State Sen. Todd Kaminsky told The Point Friday. “This is a positive development so the county can have a representative who’s going to look out for riders.”
Mack told The Point he was glad the process was moving along, and was hopeful he’d be able to help Nassau County.
“I don’t know how it’s going to go, but I’m optimistic,” Mack said of next week’s hearings and vote. “I want to do this.”
Randi F. Marshall
And the award goes to...
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Bernie's big comeback?
In the first 24 hours of his campaign, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders raised $6 million from more than 225,000 donors, according to his campaign. It is a mark far exceeding previous leader California Sen. Kamala Harris’ $1.5 million in her first day.
But it’s likely just the beginning in big small-donor fundraising hauls for Sanders. A review of Facebook’s political ad archive shows that his 2020 campaign is running scores of fundraising appeals that are logging hundreds of thousands of impressions while costing the campaign tens of thousands of dollars.
Some feature Sanders’ typical rhetoric about the “political establishment” and “billionaire class.” One far-reaching ad the campaign is spending big to promote gestures at the youngish or hip constituency the 77-year-old Sanders is looking to engage. It’s a simple video of a serious-looking Sanders taking an easy bank shot underneath an indoor basketball hoop, blue button-down shirt rolled up at the sleeves, hands high over his head in old-school gym-rat form. “Do we have to make it?” a soft voice asks off-camera. Sanders does.
Text on the ball says “YOUR NAME,” and under the hoop more text says “BERNIESANDERS.COM.”
You can’t get far on that site without being prompted to give a few bucks, to continue the quick start for the Brooklyn native over other presidential contenders.