Good afternoon and welcome to The Point! This morning we reflected on common-sense gun control and the possibility that the mass shooting in Florida could be a turning point. Readers also shared their thoughts with us, click here to send yours.
Putting a rumor to rest
The rumor is not true. Which one? The one that portrays Chuck Fuschillo as the savior of the pummeled Nassau GOP, returning to county politics as either chair of the Republican county committee or to lay groundwork for a 2021 run for county executive.
Fuschillo resigned from the State Senate in 2013 to head the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. He told us that he’s “not even thinking about” becoming the party chair.
“Joe Mondello has my support,” he said of the Nassau GOP leader, who turned 80 on Tuesday.
Fuschillo said there was some talk of him running for county executive “a couple of years ago,” but that he loves his job with the foundation. “A county executive just got elected. I wish her well,” he told The Point.
Poor Trump-era souls
Maybe you thought actress Louise Linton took the prize earlier this week for the Trump era’s boldest image-rehabilitation job.
The wife of U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin told Elle magazine how much of a regular person she is despite miscalculations such as that November photo of her clutching sheets of money while wearing long black leather gloves.
“I wear SoulCycle stuff every single day of my life,” she tells the all-ears Elle reporter, also saying she only wore the gloves to evoke Jackie Kennedy.
But how were we to know the week would see an even more direct plea for understanding?
Political megadonor Rebekah Mercer landed on The Wall Street Journal’s op-ed page Thursday under the headline “Forget the Media Caricature. Here’s What I Believe.”
Mercer mentions death threats (which are abominable) against her family, but she mostly attempts to further distance herself from Svengali Steve Bannon and buff her public image.
After a push to oust her from the board of the American Museum of Natural History thanks to Mercer family donations to climate change-denying groups, she writes that she is “deeply committed to research and the scientific method” and opposes “politicized science.”
And she portrays herself as a simple values crusader besieged on all sides.
Despite her family putting millions into the 2016 election season and seizing the reins of Donald Trump’s campaign, she notes that she is “first and foremost, a mother,” raising children to be “humble, productive citizens.”
Perhaps they’ll grow up lucky enough never to be misunderstood.
Thoughts, prayers, action
Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester sharing
In the spirit of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s call to reduce local government spending by sharing resources across jurisdictions, Suffolk, Nassau and Westchester counties are working on a joint plan to jail adolescent offenders.
Rather than spend about $15 million apiece for facilities required by 2017’s Raise the Age law, the three counties are talking about how to share one building, Suffolk Deputy County Executive Jon Kaiman told The Point.
The law raises the age of criminal responsibility for non-violent crimes to 18 and requires that 16- and 17-year-olds be housed in a facility separate from the adult jail population beginning this October.
Brainstorming among counties on the adolescent jail began at a recent New York State Association of Counties conference, Kaiman said. “At lunch, we were talking about some cool ideas,” he said, “not just us, but other counties, as well. There’s a desire to work together.”
Asked whether it helps that Suffolk, Nassau and Westchester’s county executives are all Democrats — with Laura Curran in Nassau and George Latimer in Westchester taking office earlier this year — Kaiman laughed.
“I’m sure I could have called over to the [Edward] Mangano administration,” he said, noting his past work as North Hempstead town supervisor and chairman of the Nassau Interim Finance Authority. Mangano was Nassau executive from 2010 to 2017.
An adolescent facility is just one of many projects municipalities might work on together, Kaiman said. Promoting tourism, sharing heavy equipment and group purchasing are other ways he envisions Suffolk villages, towns and the county working together — an effort called SuffolkShare — as well as working across county lines.
“The fact that there’s a new administration looking for a fresh start and eager to engage, shared services becomes interesting to them,” he said of Curran and Latimer. “There are some barriers that are no longer there, but really it’s just two administrations looking for fresh ideas.”