Catering to supporters in CD4
Caterer Butch Yamali’s very cordial ties with Nassau County Republicans make it unsurprising, but worth noting, that Hempstead Town Councilman Anthony D’Esposito held his congressional fundraiser this week at Yamali’s Coral House in Baldwin.
With the Yankees-Rays game projected on a big screen (Tampa won that one), guests at the $200-per-person “grand slam fundraiser” on Tuesday got what was advertised as ballpark-style food and drink.
In December 2020, the town council approved a $1.2 million settlement for back rent — and without competition awarded Yamali’s Dover Gourmet Corp. a 15-year contract to continue operating the Malibu Beach Club in Lido Beach. The council approved the deal, 5-0, with D’Esposito abstaining, as did Town Supervisor Don Clavin.
Part of the background here is that Yamali paid more than $1 million to Nassau County GOP party boss Joe Cairo and Cairo’s son for work at Malibu Beach Park, Newsday reported in 2019.
Now the old questions this raised may find a new political context: Laura Gillen is vying for the Democratic nomination for the same CD4 seat sought by D’Esposito, who enjoys unified GOP support.
During her term as Hempstead supervisor, Gillen chipped away at Yamali’s entrenched status as a town concessionaire. Gillen in 2019 attacked Hempstead’s agreements with Yamali as a “sweetheart” contract. She clashed with Yamali over the role of his operation called the Sands in Lido Beach, saying the company operated only on a verbal agreement and said the property could be put to better use.
At the time, Yamali accused Gillen of political grandstanding and pressed litigation against the town.
Gillen prominently cites her town experience on her website. She would have to defeat Legis. Carrié Solages and Malverne Mayor Keith Corbett, as well as Muzib Huq and Kevin Bryan Shakil, in the Aug. 23 primary.
If Gillen prevails, and gets to face D’Esposito in November, the race could take on a certain local flavor that no food vendor can match.
— Dan Janison @Danjanison
Penn seen from all sides
A State Senate hearing Friday on Penn Station’s redevelopment included extensive questioning, mostly pointed, particularly from Manhattan Sens. Liz Krueger and Brad Hoylman, on the financing, development plans and process involved in remaking Penn and the surrounding area.
But in between the more critical comments, Sens. Anna Kaplan and Kevin Thomas argued for the plans, emphasizing the importance of the revitalization of Penn Station itself to Long Island Rail Road commuters.
“Mass transit is the future of New York City, but it’s not just New York City, I think it’s the entire state,” Kaplan said during her questioning. “We need to make these investments.”
Said Thomas: “This project is incredibly important for my residents on Long Island, who take the LIRR every day for work … for Broadway, for dining, for games … Can you tell me how this project will improve the LIRR commuters’ lives?”
Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman and chief executive Janno Lieber and Empire State Development chief executive Hope Knight emphasized the need for a better Penn, along with the window of time they have to get the work done, between when East Side Access opens at Grand Central Terminal and when Metro-North’s connection to Penn begins, likely in 2027.
“That is just a sacred window of opportunity,” Lieber said. “We cannot wait.”
Thomas also emphasized the benefits for those who live and work near Penn.
“It’ll dramatically change their experience around the area,” Thomas said.
Kaplan also tried to get commitments from Lieber that he would work with local elected officials to make sure the LIRR wouldn’t lose capacity or service at Penn after Metro-North begins service there, and that East Side Access-related scheduling concerns would be addressed.
The support from Kaplan and Thomas was echoed by representatives from the outer boroughs. Manhattan elected officials did not share the same optimism.
“Many of my colleagues today have spoken about the advantages that will come to their communities from this project,” Krueger said. “I’ve been the senator for 20 years on the East Side of Manhattan … I just have the giant projects that blow up for 10 to 20 years at a time, making the people above [the tracks] miserable.”
Noting that the Penn project will take decades, Krueger noted that meant there could be as much as “40 years of things that potentially will go wrong along the way.”
— Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall
For more cartoons, visit www.newsday.com/nationalcartoons
In the news
Welcome to this week’s news quiz, based on recent events. As usual, provide the answer for each clue, one letter per blank. The first letter of each answer, taken in order, spells the name of the U. S. senator who helped negotiate the gun violence prevention package and described his constituents’ reaction in this way: “I’m committed to getting a result here. And I understand that some people are unwilling to listen. I was there to explain my position and why I believed it would not jeopardize Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. And some people didn’t want to hear about it.”
A link to the answers appears below.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ New federal holiday celebrated this week, stemming from an event that took place in Texas in 1865.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ SUNY site of the last mass vaccination center on Long Island that closed this week.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ The valedictorian of this Long Island high school received a call of congratulations and encouragement from White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
_ _ _ _ _ This kind of prize won by Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov was auctioned for $103.5 million to benefit Ukrainian children.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ The European Union granted this status to Ukraine, the first step in considering the country for EU membership.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Midwestern university that won a court battle to trademark the word “The” as part of its name and a school rallying cry for many years.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Long Island mover-and-shaper whose 1.7 million pages of records were digitized and opened to the public by Long Island University.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ The Mullica River fire in this Northeast state burned more than 13,500 acres and became the state’s largest fire in 15 years.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ National park that partially reopened after major flooding destroyed roads and bridges, forcing more than 10,000 visitors to evacuate.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Long Island town embroiled in controversy over redistricting maps one party pushed through over the other party’s objections.
Click here for the answers to the clued words and to the identity of the U.S. senator.
— Michael Dobie @mwdobie