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Should Zeldin limit his term?

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) celebrates his re-election victory

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) celebrates his re-election victory over Democratic challenger Perry Gershon, with then-Suffolk County Republican chairman John Jay LaValle, left, at the Suffolk GOP election night headquarters in Patchogue on Nov. 6, 2018. Photo Credit: Barry Sloan

Daily Point

No resolution on term limits

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is trying out a new line of attack against Lee Zeldin: his support for term limits. 

“'Term Limit Tim’ was Lee Zeldin’s battle cry as a candidate, and later as a Congressman, Lee Zeldin pushed legislation to write into law his belief that three terms is plenty for House Members,” DCCC spokeswoman Christine Bennett said in a statement. “This is the Congressman’s third term in office,” Bennett says, saying the group plans to hold Zeldin accountable to what she calls a term-limit “promise.”

The statement came along with the announcement of a geo-targeted Twitter ad campaign alerting people in the district that he has been added to the DCCC’s “Retirement Watch List.”

“It’s tough to be a Republican in Washington right now,” says the ad, which has garnered a modest 6,600-plus impressions as of Wednesday afternoon, according to Twitter’s ad archive. “Will @leezeldin be the next Republican to head for the door?”

Zeldin doesn’t seem to be eyeing his pension particularly closely, given his active jousting with Democrats on social media. But what about the term-limit question? 

Zeldin is on record supporting limits, as a co-sponsor of a proposal for a constitutional amendment that would limit House denizens to three terms and Senators to two. The resolution, which as of Wednesday has 47 mostly Republican co-sponsors, was introduced this year. 

And Zeldin has in the past talked about not wanting to be a career politician. 

He doesn’t appear to have directly promised an end date, however. 

Zeldin campaign spokeswoman Katie Vincentz pointed out that Democratic congressional leadership has served well, well beyond three terms each, and called the selective focus on NY1 “disgustingly absurd.”

The term-limit resolution, which isn’t anywhere near passing, wouldn’t immediately kick Zeldin out: terms that start before its ratification wouldn’t count toward limits. But maybe the DCCC is hoping for a third-term miracle. A self-deportation, of a sort.

- Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Talking Point

A new day for Baldwin

“The town is poised to adopt a blight study focused on the redevelopment of five acres in downtown Baldwin.”

The year was 2006. The speaker was then-Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray.

Murray held a news conference with then-County Executive Thomas Suozzi in February of that year to talk about plans to “spur downtown revitalization projects” in four Hempstead communities. The goal: to spread out $1 million in a county “visioning” fund to help each community develop its own revitalization proposal.

One of those communities was Baldwin.

“Together, we can make positive changes across our town and county,” Murray said that day.

Current County Executive Laura Curran, a Baldwin resident, told The Point on Wednesday that efforts to reimagine and redevelop Baldwin dated even further. She recalled standing on the train platform in Baldwin in the late 1990s, looking at the hamlet and “reorganizing everything in my head.” Thinking about how to make Baldwin better, she said, was what got her started in running for office.

Now, 20 years later, Baldwin finally may get its turn, thanks to the $10 million downtown revitalization grant the hamlet received from the state on Tuesday.

And it’s not just Baldwin that now may get what was discussed all those years ago. In a news release at the time, Suozzi talked of “developing Nassau’s Hub” – a project that is now finally moving forward. Of course, that wasn’t a property that saw the same kind of Suozzi-Murray agreement, since Murray was in part responsible for stopping the previous effort to redevelop the site, known as the Lighthouse Project.

Then there’s one of the other communities on Murray and Suozzi’s list: Elmont.

Just Tuesday, the plans to redevelop Belmont Park received their final approval – and the early preparatory work, which is necessary before starting construction on an arena, hotel and retail village at the site, is already underway.

Could this generation of political bipartisanship in Hempstead — the triumvirate of Curran, Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen, and Hempstead Town Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney — have more success than the Murray-Suozzi attempt 13 years ago?

- Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall

Pencil Point

Stick 'em up...

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Reference Point

Woodstock revisited

It was 50 years ago this week that young people — “half a million strong,” as Joni Mitchell later wrote — descended on Max Yasgur’s dairy farm in upstate Bethel for the four-day concert that became known as Woodstock.

Newsday’s editorial board weighed in on the festival on Aug. 19, 1969, the day after it ended. And the word “Woodstock” never appeared in the editorial. The piece was titled “Happening at White Lake,” that being the community closest to Yasgur’s farm.

The board termed Woodstock a “fiasco” due to, as the board saw it, the weather (lots of rain and mud), traffic (legendary, many cars were abandoned on local roads with concert-goers walking the rest of the way) and drugs (well, yeah.), missing completely the significance of the counter-cultural moment.

But the board did see a silver lining in the whole affair — local police “impressed with the demeanor of the kids,” and those kids “astonished by the response of police, townspeople and troopers who came to the rescue of the sick, the hungry and the stranded.”

On the whole, the board pronounced, “the young people who came and the ‘squares’ who had to cope with them discovered that neither were ogres.”

Newsday’s board saw the event as seminal in one way, writing that it “did more to bridge the generation gap than all of the sermons, editorials and pontifical speeches by politicians could ever do.”

Those of us who lived through the ensuing years of strife and clashes know that the hippies of those days apparently weren’t the only ones looking through rose-colored glasses.

- Michael Dobie @mwdobie

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