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Opinion

Speaking up, speaking out

Daily Point

Isaias outage outrage, by the numbers

This week, the Long Island Power Authority released its 30-day study of what went wrong with PSEG Long Island’s ability to communicate with customers after Tropical Storm Isaias, accurately predict restoration times, and then live up to those predictions. The report is nearly 50 pages, and will likely be dwarfed by the summaries of the 90-day and 180-day reports LIPA is promising, but a few things do stick out.

That includes more than a million calls dropped or unanswered, an estimated cost of $10 billion to bury all lines, and 67,000 Facebook followers who aren’t calling PSEG a friend.

To read more about what the report found, click here.

—Lane Filler @lanefiller

Talking Point

Speaking out against LI’s Democratic senators

It had been relatively quiet on the campaign front for the Long Island 6 — the six Democrat state senators.

Not anymore.

First, there’s State Sen. Todd Kaminsky. On Monday, about two dozen members of New York Communities for Change showed up at Kaminsky’s home, loudly protesting and seeking his support for rent relief, an eviction moratorium, and a tax on the wealthy.

"We are beyond sitting down and having a conversation with him," said NYCC Deputy Director Lucas Sanchez. "We needed to let him know directly how unacceptable it is that he is not standing up for low-income Black and brown people on Long Island and in the state of New York."

Kaminsky, however, called the gathering a "stunt," noting that the conference has done lots of work on issues affecting low-income Long Islanders. Kaminsky said he expected to have to get his neighbors something nice to make up for the loud disruption on the block.

"There’s no need, especially when someone could have young kids home and the neighbors have young kids, too, to create a scary environment," Kaminsky told The Point. "If people want to act civilly with me, I’ll act civilly back. To show up screaming at someone’s house is no way to get policy points across, but the First Amendment entitles them to do it and they did it."

NYCC isn’t planning to endorse in any of the LI 6’s races, and Sanchez doesn’t expect "political ramifications" from the protests. But the group expects to return to Kaminsky’s house again, and it’s not stopping there.

The rest of the LI 6 should expect visits to their homes from NYCC soon, Sanchez said.

But that’s not all. For some of the other state senators, the fight isn’t only coming from the left.

A new independent PAC, Safe Together New York, has launched a website and ad campaign targeting several state senators, including Monica Martinez, Kevin Thomas and Jim Gaughran.

Behind the group is a big name and big money: Ronald Lauder, the chair emeritus of Estee Lauder, who gave $1.7 million, according to the New York Board of Elections, as first reported by New York State of Politics. Safe Together New York’s focus, according to its website: "Crime in New York is out of control and New Yorkers aren’t safe."

The group is targeting Martinez, Thomas, Gaughran and others, primarily for supporting controversial changes in the state’s criminal code that advantages defendants. State Sens. Anna Kaplan, Kaminsky and John Brooks (who is running unopposed) weren’t included.

Safe Together doesn’t get everything right. It says, for instance, that Martinez chairs the Senate’s "Public Safety Committee," when the only committee Martinez heads is the Domestic Animal Welfare Committee.

But its campaign clearly could have an impact.

"New York’s crime wave is no accident," says one ad on Facebook. "State Senator Jim Gaughran voted for it."

—Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall

Pencil Point

One pretty bald wish

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Final Point

Bellone and the case of the missing endorsement

"HUGE news," said the campaign email from the CD1 Democratic congressional candidate. A big endorsement had arrived. "Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone? He's on Team Gershon."

That was, of course, the last political cycle, and the endorsement came in on July 30, 2018.

Here in 2020, it’s almost two months after that point, and Bellone has not endorsed his fellow Democrat Nancy Goroff, who is taking on Republican incumbent Lee Zeldin.

Asked about the missing endorsement for a closely watched race entirely in the executive’s county, Bellone spokesman Jason Elan seemed to gesture at fallout from the pandemic.

"This is a critical election year and there is still plenty of time for politics," Elan wrote to The Point. "Right now though the County Executive is solely focused on securing federal disaster assistance to stave off devastating cuts to our police, public health and essential employees."

It’s a complicated coronavirus dance. Zeldin, a close ally of President Donald Trump, won public thanks from Bellone this spring for being a conduit to Trump-world during the pandemics. Yet Goroff, former chair of the Stony Brook University chemistry department, has based much of her campaign on Trump’s failure to listen to scientists while mishandling the response to the virus, and on Zeldin’s ties to Trump.

Bellone was active on the presidential endorsement circuit this cycle, endorsing Mike Bloomberg but then hopping over to Joe Biden and helping this summer to launch "New York State Veterans and Military Families for Biden."

Despite lacking Bellone, Goroff has already been endorsed by the likes of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.

Goroff spokeswoman Hannah Jeffrey sent a careful statement about the matter evoking a sense of patience: "County Executive Bellone has been extremely helpful towards Nancy’s campaign connecting us with potential supporters and giving advice which Nancy appreciates, especially since we understand just how busy he is in the midst of this pandemic."

—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

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