Good afternoon and welcome to The Point!
New faces vie for Nassau posts
For the first time since 1997, the Democratic candidates for Nassau County executive and comptroller are going to be politicians not named Thomas Suozzi and Howard Weitzman.
Nassau County Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs said the party is going to throw its support behind county Legis. Laura Curran for executive and Long Beach City Manager Jack Schnirman for comptroller. Schnirman had been seeking the executive job, but has shifted goals. Either could face a primary challenge, and it’s almost certain Curran will, from Assemb. Charles Lavine and newly birthed Democrat George Maragos, the current comptroller.
Suozzi, who was elected to Congress in November, won county executive races in 2001 and 2005 and lost in 2009 and 2013. Weitzman, now on the Nassau Interim Finance Authority board (and who says he’s out of elective politics), also ran for comptroller in those years, with the same results.
It’s not just the names that are changing. By getting behind Curran and Schnirman, Jacobs is going with fresh-faced young players without a lot of baggage or a huge constituency aligned against them.
Schnirman, who has angered some by supporting tax increases and changes in firefighting and emergency-services staffing, is generally considered to have been highly competent at getting Long Beach out of serious financial problems. Curran, a second-term legislator from Baldwin, has been a force at community meetings and events throughout the county since being elected and has built a reputation as a listener unafraid to break with her party.
County Republicans seem mostly to be looking at old pros for county executive, with former state Sen. Jack Martins and Hempstead Town Councilman and former county legislature Presiding Officer Bruce Blakeman leading the list. County Clerk Maureen O’Connell and Hempstead Town Receiver of Taxes Donald Clavin are also being discussed for the race.
A book tour not to miss
“Battle of the New York Billionaires: Climate Change” is due out this spring.
Michael Bloomberg, who tore apart Donald Trump at the Democratic convention last summer, has co-authored a new book actually titled “Climate of Hope: How Cities, Businesses, and Citizens Can Save the Planet.”
It’s a primer for how to work around you-know-who while selling books and hope to depressed environmentalists. The media release begins: “The first week of Donald Trump’s presidency saw an executive order to revive the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines and restrictions on how and what the EPA can communicate to the public.” The release ends with a description of the tome written by the former New York City mayor and former Sierra Club honcho Carl Pope as both energizing and “a call to arms.”
How many times during his book tour will Bloomberg be asked whether he regrets not running?
As the world turns
-- Donald Trump’s top adviser Kellyanne Conway says the inconvenience experienced by the 1 percent of international travelers coming to U.S. airports Saturday who were detained “is a small price to pay.” Not to the 1 percent.
-- The French government has banned restaurants from offering free refills on sodas. And you thought Michael Bloomberg’s nanny state was bad? On the other hand, the percentage of obese adults in France is less than half that of the United States.
-- Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos, who switched from Republican to Democrat to run for county executive, greeted news that party leaders would instead back Legis. Laura Curran by complaining about “political bosses” and their “hand-picked candidates.” Not that he would have complained if HE had been the hand-picked candidate.
-- Nassau County police and government officials held their latest gun buyback this weekend and netted nearly 300 weapons at a cost of $51,800. No punch line, just an observation that it’s the best use of forfeiture funds imaginable.
-- A senior Trump administration official said of the refugee and immigrant travel ban: “It really is a massive success story in terms of implementation on every single level.” That’s a relief. We were thinking the protests in the streets and at airports, the bipartisan criticism from elected officials, the judicial stays and the worldwide condemnation were something else.
-- Rep. Lee Zeldin said President Donald Trump’s executive order on refugees and immigration had “challenges,” but added that, “This isn’t a moment in time where we should be wasting energy in assigning blame . . .” Which never stopped him from blaming former President Barack Obama for a bunch of things.