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Springboards

A screenshot of the Hempstead website with graphics

A screenshot of the Hempstead website with graphics illustrating an event was added back on. Credit: Mike Deery

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Daily Point

The Hempstead stage

First, it was the effort to encourage town residents to pay their property taxes early.

Then, there was the demand for Nassau County to refuse to settle the Long Island Power Authority’s enormous tax assessment challenge on the E.F. Barrett power plant in Island Park.

Then, two months ago, it was shredding and burning documents to decry Nassau County’s proposed changes to the tax assessment system.

Now, it’s flashy poster boards and social media displays to accuse Hempstead Town of censorship and denying freedom of speech.

Welcome to the latest act in the campaign to get some headlines for Tax Receiver Don Clavin, a Republican waiting out the town’s occupation by Supervisor Laura Gillen, a Democrat.

Behind the scenes, always directing the resistance, is Michael Deery, Clavin’s $205,000-a-year confidential assistant, previously the town’s longtime spokesman for then-Supervisors Anthony Santino and Kate Murray.

Thursday’s effort centered around the removal of a Clavin news release from the town’s website because it was considered political and unrelated to Clavin’s job. It was reposted a day after it had disappeared.

However, Clavin or, shall we say, Deery saw the opportunity to make some hay. Clavin has accused town officials of censorship and violating his First Amendment rights. Along with board members Dorothy Goosby and Anthony D’Esposito, Clavin on Thursday proposed legislation that would give elected officials direct access to the town’s website and social media accounts, and would prohibit anyone from overseeing, approving or editing elected officials’ content. Featured was a series of blown-up screen shots complete with slogans like “Free Speech DENIED . . .”

Is all of this just part of an effort to prepare Clavin for a bigger stage?

All confidential assistant Deery would say to The Point regarding Clavin’s future is, “He loves being receiver of taxes . . . He absolutely will continue to speak out on issues that affect our taxpayers.”

Randi F. Marshall

Talking Point

The big scheme of things

As the 90-megawatt wind farm proposed for 30 miles off Montauk awaits various East Hampton Town approvals, New York’s top wind energy honcho is hoping the project moves forward smoothly. It already has a contract from the Long Island Power Authority and would help establish the state as a center for the burgeoning wind industry, according to Alicia Barton, chief executive of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

“These early projects are absolutely important,” Barton told The Point. “Seeing is believing. It’s easy to doubt it will never happen, until you see it.”

Barton was on Long Island Thursday morning for a presentation to the Long Island Association business group in Melville, and also touted news that NYSERDA won an $18.5 million federal grant to establish a public-private offshore wind research and development consortium at Stony Brook University to be headed by Robert Catell. NYSERDA has committed $20.5 million to the center.

“That’s really the prize we’re aiming at, to be the hub for the United States offshore wind industry,” Barton said.

Barton advised the group not to misread offshore wind contracts recently given out by Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maryland as indications that New York is losing that race. Rhode Island, for example, contracted for 400 megawatts of offshore wind but, Barton said, “there’s not a lot of room for growth there.”

New York has committed to 2,400 megawatts by 2030 and plans two solicitations for 800 megawatts total this year and next. New Jersey’s recently adopted 3,500-megawatt goal and the ocean the two states share make New York a more attractive place for businesses in the supply chain, Barton said.

“Look at the big picture,” she said. “In the big scheme of things, we’re only a few months behind. In the end, we’ll be a much bigger target.”

Barton told The Point that Long Island will see significant job creation as offshore wind develops. “Operations and management jobs are a clear fit for Long Island and those are long-term jobs,” she said, noting that wind turbines have a useful life of 20 to 30 years. “Some supply chain components could be manufactured here on Long Island, I don’t want to give up on that.”

Michael Dobie

Reference Point

From the archive: Women in politics

Commentary on a current trend, by Newsday’s editorial board:

“Increased activity by women in politics and an increased acceptance of them by the two major political parties is not only an inescapable sign of the times, but a good sign as well.”

It’s a timely and relevant opinion in a year that has seen unprecedented numbers of women running for elected office and winning, in primaries and special elections. But the judgment above is not exactly new — it was rendered on June 21, 1944.

The occasion for the board’s praise 74 years ago was a State Assembly contest in North Hempstead between two women — Republican Genesta Strong and Democrat Alicia O’Connor.

The board wished both women well (Strong won and served until 1959), noted that women had been increasingly involved in World War II in both service in the armed forces and wartime manufacturing, and concluded hopefully: “It is reasonable to assume that women will springboard swiftly into peacetime participation in both politics and industry.”

Turns out there was nothing swift about that springboard.

Michael Dobie

Columns