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Opinion

Stepping up to the plate

Chancellor Betty A. Rosa at the State Education

Chancellor Betty A. Rosa at the State Education Department Building on Feb. 10, 2020. Credit: Hans Pennink

Daily Point

Was Betty Rosa her own best option?

When the state Board of Regents announced Tuesday that Betty Rosa had been named interim state education commissioner and resigned her post as chancellor, it made publicly clear something state education officials and advocates have known for years.

The job of New York’s commissioner of education is a very tough one to do. And that has made it an increasingly tough post to fill.

Rosa becomes the fourth commissioner in just more than a year: MaryEllen Elia, the most recent permanent commissioner, left a year ago. Executive deputy commissioner Beth Berlin was named acting commissioner, and when she left the department in November, acting special counsel Shannon Tahoe got the interim nod. Last month, Tahoe announced that Thursday would be her last day, and with the commissioner search having netted 38 applicants and a handful of finalists but no hire, Rosa took the job after considerable persuasion by fellow Regents.

Find out what challenges Rosa faces, including who will be the new chancellor.

—Lane Filler @lanefiller

Talking Point

Allies across the aisle

Call it the latest proof that politics does, indeed, make strange bedfellows.

Three of New York’s county executives – Steve Bellone from Suffolk, Jason T. Garnar from Broome, and Marc Molinaro from Dutchess – joined forces Tuesday to demand that Congress and President Donald Trump come through with aid for counties devastated financially by the coronavirus pandemic.

Now it’s not unusual to see local Democrats and Republicans (Bellone and Garnar are Dems, Molinaro is with the GOP) join forces in this big-money ask. But it is worth noting that Bellone is a close ally of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and thought to be eyeing the governor’s mansion in Albany – only if the current occupant decides to vacate, of course – while Molinaro is a vociferous critic of the governor who ran against him in 2018.

Potential rivalry aside, Bellone and Molinaro were simpatico on a conference call Tuesday morning. Molinaro said U.S. Senate Republicans who have not acted on legislation passed by the House are “woefully behind” and “politically craven.” Bellone said that by refusing to act, “what they are saying is we are okay with defunding local government. We're okay with defunding public safety. We're okay with defunding public health, because as my colleagues know, that is what we do.”

Bellone and Molinaro might find themselves facing off sometime down the road. But on Tuesday, at least, they were walking in the same direction.

— Michael Dobie @mwdobie

Pencil Point

Snake Oil

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Final Point

State PSA: Get those masks on

“Mask up, Long Island.” 

That’s the message of a new public service announcement released Monday by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. The PSA features an upbeat music track, and scenes of vineyards, health care workers, and plenty of people wearing masks.

See the PSA here.

In the background, a series of voices relay a simple message: Long Islanders should “wear a mask and wash your hands with soap.” 

“If anyone is New York tough,” says one voice.

“It’s Long Islanders,” says another.

The voices are well-known to those familiar with Long Island’s political, business and cultural leaders. But nowhere in the PSA are any of them identified.

So, can you name them all? 

Hint: There are five participants. 

—Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall

(Answer key: Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, Long Island Federation of Labor President John Durso, NAACP Long Island Regional Director Tracey Edwards and Long Island Association President Kevin Law.)

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