Good afternoon. Today’s points:
- Abuse of ballot line rule crosses the line
- East End affordability — ‘a zoning issue, not a people issue’
- Coffee With a Cop coming to LI
Draw the line
Thanks to a hard-fought campaign, Laurence Hirsh will appear on the ballot as the Green Party candidate for the 9th State Senate District, having defeated Democratic state Sen. Todd Kaminsky in a resounding 23-9 victory.
Kaminsky was trying to use the state’s “opportunity to ballot” law to add the Green Party to the list of parties he will represent in the Nov. 8 election. In addition to his own party line, Kaminsky also will appear as the choice on the Working Families and Women’s Equality ballot lines.
Perhaps he was spurred by Kaminsky’s main opponent, Christopher McGrath, who has five ballot lines: Republican, Conservative, Independence, Reform and Tax Revolt.
“Opportunity to ballot” is a generally noxious way a member of another party can claim the ballot line of a party that is not running a candidate. But Kaminsky’s tactic really stood out in the case of the Green Party, whose bylaws outlaw the awarding of its ballot line to any candidate also appearing on the line of the Democrats, Republicans or any party that cooperates with either of those two in sharing candidates.
The state Board of Elections shamefully ignores that Green Party rule and often awards that line to candidates who can get enough party members to support them for the spot. This time, though, the Green Party of Nassau County and Hirsh were able to muster enough support to stop Kaminsky from claiming a fourth line.
Not on my East End
There is hardly any affordable-housing proposal on Long Island that doesn’t face a fight of one kind or another.
Such is the case with a project in Speonk being pitched by Georgica Green Ventures and Southampton Town’s housing authority. The proposal is for 51 units on a blighted 4.3-acre site next to the train station, and applicants would have to earn 60 percent of the area median income or below. Local residents are fighting the zoning change that would be required. Concerns expressed publicly include the usual litany of taxes, traffic and density, as well as what the Remsenburg Association civic group termed “ambience.”
The Southampton Town Board is making it easier for residents to speak by bringing Thursday’s work session to the Remsenburg-Speonk elementary school. But the association is advising anyone interested in speaking during the public comments segment to stick to the zoning issue to avoid criticism that race is part of the reason for their objections, as it has been in so many other affordable-housing proposals all over Long Island.
“This is a zoning issue, not a people issue,” the association wrote in a recent newsletter. “The Housing Authority has already accused us of NIMBYism, and suggests our resistance is based on race. For these reasons we never mention people, and stick to the heart of this matter, and that is zoning and density. The message is resonating with some of the town board members and the press.”
And so Long Island’s affordable-housing war rages on.
Hot cup of community policing
Coffee With a Cop is coming to a cup near us, particularly for students at Stony Brook University.
The small but growing national movement, which began in California, promotes meet-and-greets between officers and community members, always a good idea — but an even better one where tensions are high. Police departments are encouraged to hold events all year long, but this year’s push is for events this Friday. Stony Brook campus police will hold Coffee With a Cop on Thursday and Friday.
Suffolk County Police Commissioner Tim Sini says community outreach is ongoing. While his force is not holding meet-and-greets on Friday, one is planned for Jones Beach on Oct. 16.
“We’ve been doing this in different communities for a while,” he said. “And while it helps the relationships, we also hope it can increase our recruitment efforts by letting people get to know officers and planting the idea that they could do this job, and might want to.”