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Why the supervisor is hanging up his hat
Frank Petrone is ending a successful 23-year-plus run as Huntington Town supervisor, announcing Thursday morning that he will not seek re-election this fall.
In his statement, the 72-year-old Democrat alluded to wanting to spend more time with his family, and noted that the demands of the job sometimes came at the expense of family responsibilities. These are not new sentiments from politicians who are moving on, but in Petrone’s case, they are accurate.
He and his wife, Pat, whom he thanked in his statement, have health challenges. Petrone’s knee and back problems are significant. A grueling campaign — likely against Councilman Eugene Cook, the GOP challenger who came close four years ago — isn’t as appealing as spending more time in the new house the Petrones have purchased in Florida.
Back at you, Faso . . .
Even in the middle of the down-to-the-wire state budget negotiations, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo was willing to go another round in the acrimonious battle with Reps. John Faso and Chris Collins.
Cuomo found time Thursday to hold a conference call with four Democrats in the state’s congressional delegation to talk about Medicaid and to advocate for federal legislation that would bring more money from Washington for Medicaid.
Rep. Eliot Engel, who represents parts of the Bronx and Westchester County, said the bill, called the Empire State Equity Act, would increase federal funding to New York by $2.3 billion. Not coincidently, that’s the exact amount that would have been shifted from New York’s counties to Albany if last week’s controversial amendment by Faso and Collins had been passed as part of the American Health Care Act.
Now Engel, along with Reps. Paul Tonko, Sean Patrick Maloney and Long Island’s Thomas Suozzi, are also proposing relieving that county burden. Unlike their GOP counterparts, however, they propose that Washington, not Albany, would pick up the tab.
Even the congressmen admit that it would be tough to pass such a bill, but that wasn’t really the point. Instead, this was a chance for Cuomo and others to again talk about how New York gives more than it gets when it comes to money to Washington. He called the Faso-Collins amendment a “fraud” and argued that the new bill would allow for “fairness,” and ultimately for counties across the state to reduce the property tax burden.
It also would challenge Collins and Faso, along with other GOP members of the state delegation, to side with the home counties or the Washington budget cutters.
The half-hour conference call provided a chance for Cuomo and Suozzi to applaud one another. “If there’s one person who understands property tax issues, it’s Andrew Cuomo,” Suozzi said. “He gets this issue.”
And then, moments later, came words of praise from Cuomo. Suozzi, the governor said, had “lived this issue” as Nassau County executive and as the head of a state commission whose goal was to find ways to reduce property taxes. Said Cuomo: “His help is going to help us all.”
Randi F. Marshall
Environmental Pollution Agency
Be careful what you wish for, City Hall reporters
Just a week ago, Mayor Bill de Blasio walked away from his news conference calling upon Albany to support a “mansion tax” for the city. He refused to answer questions on anything but his choice of the topic of the day, and the NYC press corps was rabidly irate.
On Wednesday, there seemed to be a different mayor at the microphone. De Blasio stayed until there were no more questions, in a marathon news conference in Queens that lasted longer than two hours. It started with the mayor announcing plans to provide temporary jobs to inmates leaving city jails, but then ranged from broken-windows policing and spoiled school lunches to circumcision rituals and his own efforts to raise money for his legal defense expenses.
The message from de Blasio to City Hall reporters seemed to be: Be careful what you wish for.
And, given the relatively upbeat Twitter and news media response both during and after the event, the message to de Blasio could easily be: See, that wasn’t so bad.
Randi F. Marshall