Suffolk Republican chairman Jesse Garcia.

Suffolk Republican chairman Jesse Garcia. Credit: James Escher

Daily Point

Race for GOP chair

Now that the chair of the Republican National Committee has been decided, New York’s top GOP spot is next on the agenda. An Albany convening will likely take place in the coming weeks to hammer out the post-Nick Langworthy selection. Could that be Suffolk County leader Jesse Garcia? In November, he said he was “very flattered that my name is being floated amongst some possible successors.”

That was fresh off a big election night featuring wins across the board from Congress to state Assembly and a particularly strong showing for Lee Zeldin’s gubernatorial run. But one indication that Garcia’s own bid might not be the first thing on his mind now is that he has been interviewing other potential candidates for state leader.

Garcia told The Point that he and Nassau chairman Joe Cairo met in person “with all the potential and interested candidates.” The interviews were held at Nassau County GOP headquarters, Garcia said: “closer to New York City.”

He said everyone that went through the process was either an existing chair or a candidate who had already been vetted: “Everyone we interviewed we know.”

He declined to identify the hopefuls, but some names that have been bandied about are former state attorney general candidate Michael Henry; Rockland County chair Lawrence Garvey; Colin Schmitt, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress last year; and Susan McNeil, Fulton County leader.

As for Garcia making a run himself, he said he had not decided but was focused on his Suffolk responsibilities. He estimated the process would move forward at least through mid-February.

“We’ll see where we are and then progress to see who will succeed Nick Langworthy.”

— Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Talking Point

Investors bet on Sands

Long Islanders seeking a window into Las Vegas Sands’ proposal to build a casino resort at the Nassau Hub might want to take a look at Sands’ earnings call with analysts, held Wednesday.

While nothing on the call diverged from what Sands executives have said publicly so far, their perspective shed light on why the company is focused on New York’s casino license competition — and just how committed Sands is to the process.

During the call, according to a transcript obtained by The Point, Sands Chief Executive Officer Robert G. Goldstein was asked to “elaborate” on the company’s plans in New York.

Goldstein called the New York bid “an extraordinary and unique opportunity,” noting that it offered a “huge market with limited capacity,” since there will only be “a handful of casinos total.”

“The lucky winner is going to do very, very well,” Goldstein said. “We’re not looking to build … a regional casino, but rather a true large hotel with spa, convention space, dozens of restaurants, a new theater, huge entertainment feature, a transformational product, which will positively impact the community and grow tourism. A powerful statement.”

And Goldstein promised that Sands will “be all the way in” on its effort.

“We think if we do it, it will be transformational for the county we’re working in, very good for people in the county, and something they’re very proud of,” Goldstein said. “And it will drive tourism … into Nassau.”

Goldstein told investors he expected the resort to include “numerous non-gaming assets,” including about 400,000 square feet of meeting space.

“It’s an exceptional opportunity,” Goldstein said. “It won’t come along again … So we’re trying very hard. And we’ve been trying to do New York for a number of years, but it looks like this is filling someone’s opportunity. Hopefully it’s ours.”

In response to a separate question, Goldstein said he expected the company would invest $4 billion to $5 billion.

“It’s not meant to be a small-time investment,” he added.

To one analyst who asked about the kinds of returns shareholders might expect, Sands President and Chief Operating Officer Patrick Dumont noted that executives were focused on jobs, tourism and the “investment in the local community.” But, he added, the company is “very focused on return on invested capital.”

“We think the returns are there,” Dumont said. “Otherwise, we wouldn’t be interested.”

— Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall

Pencil Point


Credit: Koterba

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Final Point

The latest fight: Hempstead vs. Hochul

The local campaign against Gov. Kathy Hochul’s housing proposals, which would encourage more housing by requiring denser zoning around train stations and mandating a minimum amount of new housing units over a three-year period, isn’t only coming from individual elected officials holding news conferences.

The towns themselves are putting their muscle behind it, too.

The Town of Hempstead has issued a petition, complete with the town seal, a “Save Our Suburbs” logo, and 3,666 signatures as of Friday afternoon, saying Hochul’s “urbanization plan is back and worse than ever.”

“Town of Hempstead Supervisor Don Clavin and the Town Board need YOUR help in saving our suburbs,” the petition says. “Let Governor Kathy Hochul know we will NOT give up our right to a suburban quality-of-life.”

The petition also provides phone numbers for Hochul’s office, along with State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.

A Hempstead Town Facebook post about the petition and Clavin’s efforts to oppose Hochul’s plans also has been posted as an advertisement, as the town decided to pay to “boost” its post, a spokesman said. So far, the town has spent $47 on that effort, he said.

Clavin, meanwhile, has suggested to Hochul’s office that the governor hold a regional meeting that would include all supervisors and mayors to discuss the proposals.

Hempstead isn’t alone in its efforts. The Town of Oyster Bay has its own petition on its website. With its own “Save Our Suburbs” logo, Oyster Bay asks residents to submit a form with their names, email addresses and home addresses.

“Governor Kathy Hochul’s latest plan will destroy our quality of life,” the Oyster Bay petition says.

While North Hempstead hasn’t started a petition of its own, Supervisor Jennifer DeSena sent a letter to Hochul last week, criticizing Hochul’s plan and saying it would “turn suburban neighborhoods into urban centers.”

“Any attempt to remove the rights our residents have over the future of their own communities is a threat to democracy, especially when Albany silences the voices of our residents and replaces their say over development with unaccountable, bureaucratic boards located hundreds of miles away in the State Capital,” DeSena wrote.

— Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall

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