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Opinion

Mayor Pete's LI connection

Daily Point

Carolyn McCarthy was his first choice

Pete Buttigieg has a Long Island connection beyond the fact that his spokeswoman is Lis Smith, an old New York politics hand.

If you’ve heard anything about the millennial mayor from South Bend, Indiana, making waves in a run for the Democratic presidential nomination, you might have heard the anecdote about how Buttigieg won a national high school essay contest by writing about Bernie Sanders.

“Sanders’ courage is evident in the first word he uses to describe himself: ‘Socialist’,” wrote Buttigieg in his prize-winning John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage essay from 2000.

Ironies include: the fact that Sanders and Buttigieg are now opponents, and that Buttigieg, who went on to work for uber-capitalist McKinsey & Company, has some socialist talking points.

But apparently, Buttigieg had originally wanted to praise a different politician in his essay: Long Island Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, the gun-control advocate who served nine terms and won her seat after her husband was shot and killed on the LIRR in 1993.

Buttigieg “worked for days” on the McCarthy essay, he remembers in his new book “Shortest Way Home.” But just after he finished and was researching a final detail online, he learned that the contest winner the year before had already written about McCarthy.

So he shifted gears nimbly, good training perhaps for a future in politics.

Mark Chiusano

Talking Point

A difficult ask

One option being considered by environmental groups for creating a recurring revenue stream to fund Suffolk County’s fight against nitrogen via expanded sewers and high-tech septic systems is to place a referendum on the ballot asking voters to approve a property tax line.

And that recently got a little harder.

Getting such a referendum on the ballot requires collecting signatures equal to 2.5 percent of the turnout in each of Suffolk's 10 towns in the previous gubernatorial election. And turnout was sky-high in 2018.

The contest between Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and three opponents drew 533,605 voters in Suffolk. That was a 65 percent increase over the 2014 total of 323,318.

So the number of valid signatures required to place a referendum on the ballot went from 8,083 to 13,340. And more than that are needed to ensure enough signatures survive inevitable challenges.

It’s certainly not impossible, but it does make for a signature campaign that will require more time and money.

Michael Dobie

Pencil Point

R.I.P.

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Final Point

All in good pun

Perhaps you missed Monday’s fun and games what with all the news out of DC and Albany. So here’s a primer: The four kinds of April Fools’ Day joke by New York politicians:

-The half-hearted jab: Merely #mentioning the sanctified holiday en route to slamming a political opponent.

See Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer retweeting President Donald Trump regarding health care: “Is this tweet for #AprilFools, @realDonaldTrump? When you say good things are going to happen, do you mean striking pre-existing condition protections and kicking millions off coverage?”

And Shirley Rep. Lee Zeldin sharing an article about House Democrats not proposing a budget resolution: “Unfortunately not an #AprilFools jk,” he added.

-The joke that’s really the truth: Newly minted New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams nailed this one by faux-announcing that he’s exploring a run for mayor. The last three people with his job quickly set their sights on higher office, and Williams himself already took a chance at lieutenant governor last year.

-The endearing farce: The obviously unbelievable announcement that lets you showcase some fun quality. Baychester Sen. Jamaal Bailey ably pulled this one off by declaring for the 2019 NBA draft, calling himself a former Bronx High School of Science reserve guard who has played with luminaries such as Queens Assembs. Brian Barnwell and Clyde Vanel on Tuesday nights in Albany.

-The Comey: The groaner that crosses state lines and prompts a flurry of people to fall back in fear and anguish and shout, “No! Please no! Good god, never!”

This moment of sheer terror occurred when former FBI director James Comey suggested that he was running for president via a tweet with a picture of him staring off longingly into the sky while standing in the middle of a highway.  

"I’m in. We need someone in the middle. #2020," he captioned. God save the Republic.

Mark Chiusano

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