Bellone makes a strategic NYC endorsement
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone is making his first endorsement of the year and it’s for a candidate some 50 miles to the west: Manhattan District Attorney contender Alvin Bragg.
Bragg is among the contenders in the crowded race for this high-profile office, which is currently in the midst of an investigation into former President Donald Trump. Bragg’s resume includes time as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, where he worked under Preet Bharara. Should he win, he’d join Tim Sini and Miriam Rocah as a mini-cohort of Bharara alums who are now serving as DAs in New York.
But Bragg would also be making history as Manhattan’s first Black DA, and it’s likely not lost on Bellone that early support for such a candidate would be a boon for a potential gubernatorial campaign down the road, particularly a race in which Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo isn’t running. The West Babylon Democrat is the first county executive to endorse Bragg. He’s also donating $20,000 in campaign funds to Bragg’s campaign, pledging to help raise more money for the contender as well, according to campaign spokesman Jason Elan.
Those infusions could be helpful to Bragg, and even though Hauppauge is far from Houston Street perhaps some Manhattanites who spent the pandemic on the East End will recognize the Bellone name on an endorsement list.
As for Bellone, this is not his first hop into a city race — he supported Andrew Gounardes in the Brooklyn state senator’s 2018 run against incumbent Republican Marty Golden, but Gounardes’ moderate district is much more politically similar to suburban Suffolk County than denser parts of NYC. Bragg is a native of Harlem, the kind of neighborhood that isn’t exactly flying Bellone for New York banners right now. The DA contender is also a high-ranking veteran of the state attorney general’s office, whose current occupant, Tish James, has her own fighting chance at higher office should she want it.
— Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano
Too late for early voting
Long Islanders go to the polls Tuesday for school district elections, but those who enjoyed New York’s early voting policy in the November presidential contest found themselves out of luck this time.
That’s because these school elections are largely governed by state education law, not election law, so the reform that created more opportunities to vote doesn’t apply.
"We have very little to do with school district elections," state Board of Elections spokesman John Conklin told The Point. The county boards "are only required under the Election Law to provide the voter registration lists," and some boards provide voting machines, but that’s about it.
Early voting for school elections "hasn’t been brought up as an option," said Lorraine Deller, executive director for the Nassau-Suffolk School Boards Association. She said the association doesn’t have a position on the subject.
School elections may utilize absentee ballots, an option that was widely embraced in elections over the last year due to the pandemic. Voters this year can still cite COVID-19 as a reason to get an absentee ballot, but that option was not as widely publicized this year in some districts.
Early voting could be tricky to pull off for school elections. The elections are handled individually by school districts, says Deller, and pretty much run by school district clerks.
Other election experts suggest that early voting for school elections could be expensive and complex.
Could it increase turnout, with all the complexities that would bring? Absentee ballots being sent widely to registered voters during the pandemic resulted in a flood of school district voting last year.
— Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano
The new old normal
For more cartoons, visit www.newsday.com/nationalcartoons
- After Suffolk County OTB made a record $7.25 million quarterly payment to the county, OTB President Jim LaCarruba called it "a testament to the hard work of the talented women and men of this organization." Actually, it sounds more like a testament to Suffolk County’s gamblers.
- New York City welcomed back 24/7 subway service Monday. With that comes more opportunity — for subway crime and for finger-pointing about who is responsible.
- Organizers of New York City’s Pride parade announced they have banned the Gay Officers Action League, an organization of LGBTQ police, from marching. Organizers did not explain how that promotes inclusivity.
- Former President Donald Trump said faulty pre-Election Day polling led some supporters to believe he had no chance to be reelected and they therefore did not vote in 2020. It would be an interesting claim, except that turnout was a U.S. record and increased at every age level and racial demographic.
- Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia said passing a new hack-reporting law in the wake of the Colonial Pipeline attack is "one of the few areas left where there’s broad bipartisan support." Perhaps we should wait to talk about bipartisanship until after the law is passed.
- Social media network Parler, banned from Apple’s App Store after it was used to encourage and glorify the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, is back on the App Store — but posts labeled "hate" won’t be visible on iPhones or iPads. "Hate" posts will be visible, however, on non-Apple devices, offering rival companies a marketing opportunity. Will anyone take it?
- In 1965, folk singer Bob Dylan was considered the voice of his generation — and created huge controversy by going electric at Newport. In 2021, Ford Motor Co. saw its F-150 pickup truck continue its 39-year string as America’s bestselling vehicle — and will create huge controversy this week when it unveils an electric F-150. That’s how you get one degree of separation between Bob Dylan and Ford.
— Michael Dobie @mwdobie
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An earlier version of this newsletter incorrectly described the direction from Hauppauge to New York City.