For months Hempstead Town Receiver of Taxes Donald Clavin has relentlessly criticized Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and Assessor David Moog for errors in the rollout of the county’s new assessment system and preliminary information the county supplied on 2020-2021 taxes.
Now he’s being hammered online for his own error.
Jeff Gold, a Democratic attorney who teaches residents how to grieve taxes, runs a large Facebook group devoted to Nassau’s assessment system. Gold, who ran for county legislature two years ago, posted a flier Clavin had printed for a property tax seminar to be held on “Tuesday, April 3.” Gold assailed Clavin because Tuesday is actually April 2, and Clavin has been so hard on Curran and Moog.
Clavin, now the GOP candidate for Hempstead supervisor, had initiated a flurry of news releases and news conferences to assail what he called a lack of transparency, including wrong dates on tax-impact statements and tax-impact notices on the county website that used preliminary rather than final assessment values. Clavin has often been joined in his lambasting by Republican county legislators. There have been calls for Moog to be fired, for the county to return to electing assessors and for the reassessment to be stopped.
Gold wondered in his posting, “Should we trust him to hold a meeting on assessment, when he can't even get dates correct : ) Does this count as 1 error or 200 errors?”
So Gold catches Clavin in a mistake, roasts him up a bit on Facebook as turnabout and that’s that, right? Nope.
Gold originally claimed in his posting Clavin had made the mistake on 8,000 mailers sent out at town expense. Clavin immediately called Gold a liar, saying in an email that the mistake was made only in a couple hundred fliers left at “one or two libraries,” then posting on Facebook that the mistaken pieces were left at four libraries. Clavin says postcards that were actually mailed were correct, and Gold has edited his post to explain the disagreement, though he said the taxpayer who gave him the flawed piece said he got it in the mail.
Clavin now plans to be at the Bellmore Library at 7 p.m. on both Tuesday and Wednesday, just in case. And seasoned political observers are bracing for what is shaping up to be a very savage silly season of electioneering in Nassau County.
Serrano seat up for grabs
Which Democrat might replace Rep. José E. Serrano, the long-serving Bronx congressman who announced this week he has Parkinson’s disease and won’t seek re-election?
The field is relatively open because some Bronx heavy hitters seem to be taking a pass, such as Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., who’s focusing on a mayoral run.
A surprise potential candidate popped Thursday, when controversial Bronx City Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr. said he is “considering if I should throw my cowboy hat into a run for Congress” in his “WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW” newsletter.
Some of the names that have been floated by Bronx insiders for the past few days include Ritchie Torres, a 31-year-old term-limited member of the City Council from the borough. He has been the subject of much media attention (including a New Yorker magazine treatment) and speculation as a rising Democratic star, bolstered by able turns leading the council’s public housing and investigatory committees.
Then there’s Assemb. Marcos Crespo, the Bronx County party leader who is the chair of the State Assembly’s labor committee, a boon in a district where unions matter.
State legislators would have to give up their posts to run for Serrano’s seat, given concurrent primaries, but some Bronx insiders also have floated State Sen. Gustavo Rivera, who could benefit from progressive traction for sponsoring a state bill to create a single-payer health care system.
State Sen. José M. Serrano, the congressman’s son, has said he won’t run due to family considerations.
Another Assembly member who might be interested is Michael Blake, a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee who won the Bronx in his losing February campaign for NYC public advocate. He might benefit from a split Hispanic vote depending on the field.
But the South Bronx district is heavily Hispanic or Latino -- 520,380 out of 781,143 residents, according to recent Census figures. And Serrano was traditionally a major advocate for Puerto Rico.
The district’s new representative will likely be much younger than the current occupant, and as a newcomer may try to enthusiastically engage residents, in the vein of neighboring Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who represents parts of Queens and the Bronx.
How much the AOC movement will play in this race is an open question. Hers is a demographically different district: whiter and richer, with median income almost double that of Serrano’s. Her primary win came on the strength of the Queens portion (including hip and gentrifying neighborhoods), which she won by almost 17 percent, as opposed to her hometown Bronx portion where she only won by 5 percent.
But Serrano’s district is much younger, with a median age of 31.4 years compared to 38.8, and perhaps some of those young voters will be energized to vote for a left-leaning firebreather, surprising the party faithful.
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