The Long Island money train
Lots of political observers and SoulCycle-Equinox users will be eyeing President Donald Trump’s Hamptons visit on Friday, but he’s not the only one diving for dollars in the area, a time-honored tradition.
The Point had a look at some invitations to fundraisers for Democratic presidential candidates in the coming weeks.
Bonnie Lautenberg, widow of New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg, will hold an Aug. 24 event for Joe Biden, according to one of the invites. Lautenberg and Biden served together in the Senate; $2,800 gets you a photo.
Reached by The Point, Lautenberg confirmed that she would be hosting the former vice president, whom she called a “dear friend” of her late husband. “There are a lot of talented people” running for president, she said, but Biden is smart, experienced and “will bring dignity” back to the White House.
The invitations say that Kamala Harris is also set for a jaunt through the East End on Aug. 18, including stops at the homes of Kelly Sawyer Patricof and Hollywood producer Jamie Patricof; Jackie Kempner and public relations executive Michael Kempner; and Frank Baker and Laura Day, also hosted by Star Jones, of "The View" fame.
And Pete Buttigieg is scheduled to close out the summer with Labor Day weekend events from Bridgehampton to Sagaponack, including the home of Joshua Lehrer and “Hamilton” producer Jeffrey Seller, plus former Obama appointee Deven Parekh and Monika Parekh. The mayor’s husband, Chasten Buttigieg, gets equal billing.
No word on Bernie Sanders’ billionaire buddying, or Elizabeth Warren’s plans for a golden Suffolk County swing.
If you want to see how much Long Islanders are giving to 2020 Democratic contenders, check out our interactive donations maps.
- Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano
Looking to the future
Hillary Clinton made a Manhattan appearance Thursday night at a sort of pep rally for the next generation of Democrats.
It was part of what new political action group Arena calls its “three-day boot camp” to train new candidates and staff.
In brief remarks in a swanky downtown meeting space overlooking the East River, Clinton applauded Arena’s focus on downballot races (the group supported successful State Senate challenges in 2018) and said the assembled were putting themselves on the “front lines” of the “defense of democracy.”
Then it was time for the future.
First was a panel discussion including former Queens district attorney candidate Tiffany Cabán, and former Amityville congressional challenger Liuba Grechen Shirley.
Cabán, the insurgent public defender who became the media darling of the moment after almost pulling off a surprise victory, snapped her fingers when Grechen Shirley said she had done her fundraising without relying on corporate PAC money. The two commiserated about their lack of establishment party support.
Neither mentioned plans for future runs, but both urged attendees to run themselves. Grechen Shirley, whose challenge of Rep. Peter King required her to first win a primary mostly in Suffolk County, emphasized that people should become members of their county party committees.
Then came back-to-back appearances from NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, politicians likely to run against each other for mayor in 2021 who clearly are already honing their pitches.
Stringer, introduced as someone who supported progressive female State Senate candidates, said, “I’m here as a man to say women do politics.” The veteran politician highlighted the need for climate urgency and “no more NYCHA debacles” and closed by again talking about being an “ally.”
Johnson, wearing a polo shirt to Stringer’s suit, went through his stump speech about all the reasons to love New York and got the biggest applause for his municipal subway-control idea. In addition, he is taking no more than $250 per person in campaign donations.
Drinks were free — for now. Future campaigns are coming.
- Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano
Stop the madness
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The fight for development funds
As Empire State Development approved plans to redevelop Belmont Park on Thursday — plans that include a new arena for the New York Islanders, other developers are just beginning their own effort to get the agency's approval for a project on the land surrounding the Islanders’ former home at the Nassau Coliseum.
RXR Realty and BSE Global, the developers of the Nasasu Hub in Uniondale, plan to submit an application to Empire State Development next month to officially request $85 million in state funds they need for parking garages at the site, according to the latest quarterly report about progress at the Hub. The funds were already allocated to the Hub, as of the 2016-17 state budget, but the developers have to formally apply for the grant and show that the project they’re proposing meets the state’s criteria. Nonetheless, it’s likely that this process will be far simpler than the one nearing completion at Belmont.
But ESD’s involvement is critical at the Hub, since nothing else can happen there, in terms of construction of housing, office space, and retail, or even in terms of the other approvals from the county and town that the developers need, without those parking garages, because the planned development will take up the existing surface parking. Once that state money is secured, then RXR and BSE can move forward.
Right now the developers are working on community outreach and listening to the need for local hiring and business opportunities for minorities and women. And they’re strategizing with Northwell Health, which has its own dedicated Hub steering committee, on plans for an innovation center.
Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall