A gap in satisfaction with distance learning
A March statewide poll of New York parents found that 57% described the distance-learning their children were being provided as “successful.”
By June, a follow-up poll by Global Strategy Group showed that percentage had dropped 14 points, to 43%.
—Lane Filler @lanefiller
Local businessman, ex-wife, running together
The fact that Wantagh businessman Ed Dennehy says he’ll refuse to take any campaign donations to finance his independent run against Rep. Kathleen Rice and Republican challenger Douglas Tuman suggests his campaign might struggle to garner any attention.
The response to a recent mailer he sent out, in which he’s pictured in a seemingly idyllic family shot with his two daughters and their mom, and her shirt announces she’s “Divorced AF,” suggests he might be pretty good at whipping up publicity.
“We are incredibly close,” Dennehy said of him and his ex-wife, Jessica, with whom he owns two businesses and is raising the two girls. “She’s my campaign manager, we live on the same street, we were together for 12 years … but it seems dishonest to do the picture and make it seem like we’re married. So this was a way to communicate the truth that also says that we are real, not stuffy politicians.”
The Dennehys own the two locations of Mad Men Bespoke Tailors and Barbers, one in Wantagh and one in Williston Park. It’s through that business that they had international connections that could get them personal protective equipment at a fair price when the coronavirus pandemic began.
And Ed says it was their inability to get help or attention in importing and dispensing the equipment from some politicians, and most notably Rice, that got them thinking he needed to make the run.
“We called Rice about six times,” Dennehy said, “and could not get any response. But what was amazing was when we reached out to AOC [progressive Democratic Bronx Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez], she was on the phone with us 15 minutes later."
Dennehy, who said he and his wife have distributed hundreds of thousands of surgical masks, ended up doing an event with AOC where they passed out 3,000. He also pointed to State Sen. Todd Kaminsky whose responsiveness helped them do the good work.
A Rice campaign spokesman responded to Dennehy’s account, writing “This is an outright lie and using a deadly pandemic to spin a fictitious political narrative is right out of Trump’s playbook. But if Ed and Jessica actually want to get in touch with Rep. Rice’s office they’re more than welcome to call at 516-739-3008 or email NY04@mail.house.gov, just like the countless other constituents who we've assisted throughout this crisis."
And for Ed and Jessica, it was the difference between responsive and unresponsive that convinced him to run.
“I just saw how much it mattered,” said Ed, 39, who has a degree in political science from Stony Brook University and calls his own position “sort of the typical low-tax fiscal conservative small business take," but socially liberal, sports a lot of tattoos and says he has voted for representatives of both parties.
Now he just has to get on the ballot, a process he had not even been able to start until Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Tuesday that independent candidates could start gathering signatures on Wednesday. The Dennehys will have until the end of July to gather 2,450 signatures for him to make the ballot. He says that won’t be a problem, and if he somehow fails, he’ll turn to a write-in campaign.
Ed says his businesses are back open, but he’s probably losing more money than when he was closed, and such hardship is why he won’t take donations: “How can I go to a community I know is facing unprecedented financial hardship and ask for money,” he said.
He’s ready to start the process, having just received his official Federal Election Commission campaign approvals. And he says Jessica will manage his campaign, oversee the businesses while he runs, and if he wins, be his chief of staff, a level of unity he said was part of what he wanted to communicate in his mailer.
“That’s something about us, that we’re real people, that needed to be communicated,” Ed said. “It’s a trendy abbreviation, tongue-in-cheek, but it definitely gets the point across.”
—Lane Filler @lanefiller
Symbols of oppression
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A night out on the town
The July 4 barbecues start this weekend, but Long Islanders already have started experimenting with summer social lives despite the public health crisis.
For Episode 31 of “Life Under Coronavirus,” Newsday Opinion spent an evening talking to bar-goers and visitors to Freeport’s Nautical Mile, where patrons are navigating the pandemic along with their social lives.
Freeport Mayor Robert Kennedy told us that there have been some issues with social distancing and face masks on the Nautical Mile, and he said he has directed police officers to hand out face masks and remind patrons about social distancing.
There were some relatively crowded sections during our visit, but also lots of distancing and face coverings. Patrons’ excitement to get out of the house and have a beer or ice cream and a night away from the kids was evident. That meant smoothies and alcohol-filled “rainbows,” a wary eye on the more crowded bars, and the hope that things get more normal soon.
—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano
The Point will return on Monday, July 6. We hope you have a safe and happy Independence Day weekend.