For Oyster Bay Dems, the future is female
Despite the historic nature of the all-female set of candidates the Oyster Bay Democratic Party is offering up for the upcoming election, Nassau County Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs says there was never any intent to set it up that way.
"As far as I know, it is the first time on Long Island a party has put forward an all-female slate, and obviously we are always trying to find great female candidates, but this just came together this way," Jacobs told The Point. "These are the best candidates, and we’re excited about the race they’re going to run. I can only say I was surprised and pleased we turned out to have so many great female candidates."
The town’s seven-member board, including Supervisor Joseph Saladino, is all Republican, so the Democrats have their work cut out for them. And with three of the current GOP members being female, the selling points of an all-female Democratic lineup are diluted a bit. But the play does give a bit more spice to races that on the face of it seem likely to be less competitive than Jacobs might hope.
The party’s supervisor candidate to go up against Saladino is Plainview Water District Commissioner Amanda Field, whom Jacobs said is well-known in the community for her advocacy for public health and government reform. The town clerk candidate is Hicksville School Board member Carla Hoene, and the town board candidates are Nicky Kaur, Reema Rasool and Lisa Reinhardt.
Oyster Bay elections are often a fait accompli for Republicans but Jacobs at least sounded optimistic about the Democrats’ chances, saying, "I do see opportunity here. The Oyster Bay Republicans are popular with their base but if that base would understand what the Republicans are actually doing with town government they’d change their minds."
Democrats were considered to have their best shot at grabbing a piece of political power in the town in 2017, when the Oyster Bay, Hempstead Town and Nassau County GOPs were rocked by criminal indictments. But even as the Hempstead supervisor’s race went to Democrat Laura Gillen and the county’s top job was won by Democrat Laura Curran, the Oyster Bay GOP held the line. The party claimed all three board seats that were up for grabs and Saladino defeated Democrat Marc Herman by nearly 10 points.
—Lane Filler @lanefiller
Not quite that small village feel in Wainscott
It’s been a bitter fight between a group of Wainscott residents opposed to the landing of an offshore wind cable in the community and the Town of East Hampton, which supports the landing. But when East Hampton Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc ruled Friday that a petition from the group to incorporate as a village to better contest the cable was not legally sufficient, the warring sides finally found their first point of agreement.
As Van Scoyoc wrote in his decision, "I know the petitioners will be disappointed."
They were, and then some.
The group, Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott, responded with a statement that said Van Scoyoc had "manufactured minor alleged technical issues," employed a "win-at-any-cost approach," and made "incomprehensible arguments."
Gouri Edlich, the group’s chairwoman, said, "The Supervisor’s bad-faith decision is the poster child for why a majority of us want a Village: A representative government that is neither capricious nor political. Peter knew he would be known as the ‘Supervisor who lost Wainscott.’ He has now assured himself of that with this move. We will push on."
In Van Scoyoc’s 17-page decision, he listed seven ways in which the petition failed to meet state law on village incorporation. Among them: the petition and filing fees were not filed with him but with the town clerk; the list of residents of the proposed village was inaccurate and filled with inconsistencies; some petition signatures were invalid or duplicates; and a map of the proposed village’s boundaries had myriad problems and did not comply with village law.
Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott cited a 30-day clock for an official response and said the group and other supporters would "assess their multiple options in light of the Town Supervisor’s politically motivated decision."
The final page of Van Scoyoc’s decision included a sentence that began: "If they are inclined to pursue this further …"
When it comes to the future of offshore wind on Long Island, that might be the safest bet of all.
—Michael Dobie @mwdobie
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A tale of two Levittowns
For those who are anxious to get away to warmer climates but still have their feet and COVID-19 vaccination appointments stuck back on Long Island, The Point suggests "Levittown, Where The Good Life Begins," the second episode of WNYC’s new podcast series "La Brega."
The show is a sprawling look at the Puerto Rican experience, but the second episode focuses on the connections between Nassau County’s Levittown and the one outside San Juan.
Both have prominent water towers and houses with similar features — though in the Puerto Rican version, that translates to flat roofs and built-in planters and carports framed in decorated cinder blocks.
The houses had new appliances and were fitted out like a "sleek modern dream" when they went up, according to the show’s host Alana Casanova-Burgess, a granddaughter of an early Puerto Rican Levittown resident. She notes that the homes were built in the 1960s in the American image, part of a chaotic drive towards suburban home ownership at a time when the government "was trying to transform Puerto Rico’s economy, moving from agriculture to industry, and making a middle class."
There was also a Cold War connection. As Cuba became a Communist power base, the show argues, American officials wanted Puerto Rico to be a "capitalist counterpoint." Developer William Levitt famously said, "No man who owns his own house and lot can be a communist. He has too much to do."
The other Levittown had its differences, including that the Long Island version’s racial restrictions (covered in our own podcast) weren’t replicated, according to the show.
And Puerto Rico’s Levittown has suffered through years of recession and hurricane recovery, leaving many of the historic homes vacant.
Casanova-Burgess finds the Levittown that remains starkly beautiful and home to plenty of dreams, but also something of a warning on an island where people struggled to afford the name-brand homes: "Levittown can feel like a metaphor for the failures of Puerto Rico’s economic experiment."
—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano