Good afternoon. Today’s points:
- Hey, it's JJ for Trump
- Where in the world is Venditto?
- Uber 1, Airbnb 0
Lending a voice to Trump
Suffolk County Republican chairman John Jay LaValle is robocalling registered voters in Suffolk who are unaffiliated with political parties. “There’s only one candidate that’s committed to bringing jobs back to America and to making our families safe again,” LaValle says in the call. “And that candidate is Donald Trump.”
LaValle, who doesn't identify himself by title in the call, could easily be confused with his popular cousin State Sen. Ken LaValle. He tells The Point he is not worried that Trump’s poll numbers are slipping. He says the presidential candidate is “running well” in Suffolk.
LaValle, who has been a surrogate for Trump, mostly on CNN, says the words in the robocall are his own and being sent on the local party’s dime. In the call, he tells voters not to fall for the “liberal media’s biased coverage of this race . . . Everything they said about Reagan, they’re now saying about Trump.”
LaValle said other candidates on the GOP line are being helped, not hurt, with Trump at the top of the ticket. Certainly rolling up big numbers for Trump will help down-ballot candidates and help LaValle, a likely contender to be the next head of the state GOP.
Supervisor supervising or not?
So is John Venditto still working as supervisor of the Town of Oyster Bay after he was charged in a federal indictment with conspiracy to commit bribery, fraud and obstruction of justice?
Venditto, 67, pleaded not guilty last week, but it’s not clear whether he is still actively . . . supervising.
Town spokeswoman Marta Kane said in an email Wednesday that, “The supervisor has remained available to conduct any necessary town business,” which is not quite the same as saying he’s working at his desk in Town Hall.
But Kane’s specific wording and Venditto’s hesitancy to step down and concentrate on fighting the charges may be related to the future of various Oyster Bay Republicans.
The chatter for months has been that Venditto planned to retire shortly after the Nov. 8 election, as soon his son, Michael Venditto, had secured a second term in the State Senate, a big factor in GOP control of the chamber. Stepping down now could lead to another round of negative headlines featuring the family name, as well as the sense that the case against the father is serious enough to merit retirement.
The supervisor’s federal indictment also is a concern in another State Senate race. Republican incumbent Carl Marcellino is trying to hang on against a barrage of negative ads that first attempted to link him to former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, but now are highlighting his roots in Oyster Bay local government.
In 2010, the town board authorized town attorney Leonard Genova to perform the duties of town supervisor if the supervisor is “absent or unavailable.” So Venditto’s availability is a key issue. But is he doing the job? Drawing a paycheck? Should the town name a deputy supervisor — a position Genova has been represented as holding, but does not? Or is the politics of the State Senate races overcoming, for now, the governance of the town?
Uber in, Airbnb out
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed a law on Oct. 21 that levies heavy penalties for advertising short-term rentals in New York City, making it tougher for home-sharing websites like Airbnb to succeed.
This week, Cuomo paved the way for ride-sharing websites like Uber to flourish beyond their existing New York City success, saying he hopes for legislation that’ll make that happen.
Why the contrasting reactions to the two pillars of the sharing economy?
Part of the explanation is that legitimate issues remain on the home-sharing front, from concerns over potential discrimination to questions about noise, turnover and liability.
But powerful lobbying is at play in both instances. The real estate and hotel industries don’t want Airbnb encroaching on their space. It seems that for now, they’re succeeding, while the traditional taxi industry hasn’t been able to match the scorched-earth lobbying of Uber.
Randi F. Marshall