Good afternoon. Today’s points:
- Party conversion controversy
- Volunteer firefighters mining for data
- The word around town
A Dems' split
Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos’ switch to the Democratic Party, announced last week at a news conference with Nassau County Democratic Party chairman Jay Jacobs, is creating a split among local Democrats of influence.
When the move was made public, along with Maragos’ intention to seek the party’s nomination as county executive, Democratic National Committee member and Great Neck powerbroker Robert Zimmerman called Maragos’ plan “an affront to the principles and standards of the Democratic Party.”
Maragos says he’s switching parties because, “Over time, I found my values have become more aligned with the Democratic Party.” This was generally not true when the two-term comptroller was seeking a GOP nomination for a U.S. Senate seat, particularly in his opposition to same-sex marriage, a stance he now says he has softened on.
In response to Zimmerman’s assertions about party loyalty, Jacobs went after the PR pro for the 2014 meet-and-greet Zimmerman held for Republican State Sen. Jack Martins, emailing out a Newsday story about the event.
Zimmerman, who now supports Martins’ opponent, Thomas Suozzi, in this year’s hot congressional battle, says the two situations are different because Martins was then a local, moderate senator doing good work for Long Island in Albany.
“I don’t believe in deathbed political conversions,” said Zimmerman, “whether it’s Maragos becoming a Democrat to run for county executive or Martins becoming a tea party conservative to run for Congress.”
Firefighters make doctor appointment
A bill to expand the types of cancers covered for volunteer firefighters failed in Albany last year, but it may get new life with research being conducted at the Northwell Health medical system.
Michael Reid, a candidate for the 14th Assembly District and an officer with the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York, told Newsday’s editorial board that Northwell is looking into links between volunteers’ cancers and their firefighting histories. Under the proposed legislation, a volunteer who passed a physical exam that didn’t reveal any cancer would be presumed to have developed cancer later as a result of firefighting duties.
Coverage includes medical bills and disability payments for volunteers who go into burning buildings and other hazardous situations — that is, interior firefighters. Career firefighters already receive this coverage.
Dr. Jacqueline Moline, a member of the team that developed the World Trace Center Worker and Volunteer Medical Screening Program after 9/11, is working on the volunteer firefighters study, Reid said. It’s expected to take two years.
“We’re going to prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that there is a link,” Reid said. And if there is no connection, “We’ll use it as a recruitment tool” to reassure volunteers the work is safe.
Did you hear?
— State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has ordered the Donald J. Trump Foundation to stop fundraising in New York because it never got the certification needed for a charity to solicit money from the public. Which is a problem because the foundation hasn’t been getting any money from the man himself.
— The Carnegie Deli announced its flagship restaurant would close Dec. 31. Pastrami futures plunged.
— To help deal with the crisis that is Suffolk County’s nearly $3 billion budget, Legis. William Lindsay has proposed freezing legislators’ salaries. That would save $16,441. Anybody got another 6,000 ideas?
— Roy Moore was removed as chief justice in Alabama 13 years ago for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments statue from courthouse grounds. Last week, he was suspended again as chief for telling state judges to stop complying with federal law as it relates to the legality of same-sex marriage. That undermining of our judicial system is called breaking the 11th commandment.
— The 1995 tax return from Donald Trump leaked to The New York Times also bore the name of then-wife Marla Maples. Who would have had a copy. And might have a motive. And probably had an old Trump Tower envelope hanging around. Just sayin’.
— Hillary Clinton is in battleground Ohio today rolling out LeBron James’ endorsement — to help her with tall people, winners, members of the 1 percent and anyone thinking she lacks stamina.