Knowledge is power
A Sunday story in Newsday detailed a problem Nassau County officials will have a tough time fixing but say they are addressing: more than 1,300 complaints about unsafe roads and intersections have piled up, varying from minor to massive in seriousness.
But on a brighter note, the county will formally announce two website links Wednesday that they say will help residents get some interesting information.
The county gets complaints about all kinds of roads in Nassau, but it can only do anything about the ones it controls. Many of the roads people complain about are actually maintained by villages, towns or the state. So the county will offer one site where people can look up any road in Nassau and see who is responsible for it.
And another site will, starting with 2018, tell people when a county road was last paved and whether and when it is scheduled to be repaved next.
That should please people whose roads are on the top of the to-do list. For those who live on streets where the timetable stretches out a bit more, the information might be disappointing.
But it will at least let them know whether they need to complain, which is key.
- Lane Filler @lanefiller
Remembering Richard Brown
Richard Brown, whose funeral took place Tuesday, was appointed Queens District Attorney in 1991. New York was a very different city: murders hovered around 2,000 a year, and the high-homicide era launched more aggressive policing strategies. Brown embodied the times as a tough-on-crime figure.
Now, the city is much safer, with under 300 homicides last year. And there has been a counter-reaction to the more aggressive policing strategies that often fell hardest on black and Hispanic residents.
The borough has changed, too, with its non-Hispanic white population falling by more than 20 percent since 1990.
In the new environment, Democrats who have sought to succeed Brown since he announced his retirement earlier this year have campaigned to a new tune.
Established politicians like City Councilman Rory Lancman and borough president Melinda Katz are underscoring their progressive credentials. Lancman is running Facebook ads highlighting his endorsement from former chief judge Jonathan Lippman, a reformer who called for the closure of Rikers Island.
Katz’s ads say she will “end cash bail, create a Conviction Integrity Unit, and never prosecute low-level marijuana arrests.”
Tiffany Cabán might have the most natural reformer credit due to her work as a public defender. Her newcomer campaign appears to have had some bumps in the road, with a campaign office only opening in March. But support from the Working Families Party and NYC Democratic Socialists of America are boosting her candidacy. Others on the left like Cynthia Nixon have jumped on for her, too, showing the popularity of reform even for a first-time candidate.
But the crosswinds surrounding law enforcement might be most apparent in the campaign of Greg Lasak, a longtime prosecutor who has the endorsement of some law enforcement unions and could be the candidate for more moderate Democrats. Still, he, too, is highlighting past work in exoneration and diversion programs: “Greg Lasak was reforming the criminal justice system before any of his opponents were even talking about it,” says a Facebook ad.
- Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano
Coming this summer...
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Round and round we go
As the controversial bill to end religious exemptions for vaccination continues to be debated in the State Assembly, the spotlight turned to a key local member.
A Twitter report Monday afternoon said that Michaelle Solages is one of two Assembly members who “helped prevent the bill” from moving out of the health committee and on to a vote of the full chamber.
A NY1 story posted Monday night followed up, calling Solages a “skeptic.”
This seemed to contradict what Solages had told The Point last week -- that she’d vote for the bill if it came up for a vote.
So, The Point again reached out to Solages Tuesday. She confirmed that she’s “still in the same position” and was not looking to stall the bill from moving out of committee. But she also is not taking the lead on moving it forward.
“If the bill comes before me, I’m going to support the bill,” Solages told The Point Tuesday, adding, when asked: “I want it to come up for a vote.”
Solages said she is not opposed to vaccination, and has vaccinated her children, now ages 3 years and 8 months, though her younger daughter is not old enough to receive the measles vaccine.
The religious exemption bill needs 14 votes to get out of the committee, and Assemb. Jeffrey Dinowitz has said he’s just a few short. So, Solages’ vote is key.
Solages speculated that reports of her objections came because she previously had said she was not “thrilled” about the bill, and was not pushing it forward. She said she had some concerns about the legal questions involved and wanted, in addition to any legislation, a more holistic approach that includes more education and additional steps by the state Department of Health to “mitigate the resurgence of the disease.”
But Solages also said she understood that the religious exemption bill is the centerpiece of the legislative conversation, and emphasized that she’d be among the bill’s supporters -- if it moves forward.
“If we all agree collectively that this should get done, we’re going to get it done,” Solages said.
As for Twitter commentary to the contrary?
“I don’t legislate over Twitter,” Solages said.
- Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall