One of John Avlon's flyers touting support from other Democrats.

One of John Avlon's flyers touting support from other Democrats.

Daily Point

Top Democrats double down for Avlon

With early voting in New York’s congressional and legislative primaries starting Saturday, state and Nassau County Democratic Party chairman Jay Jacobs is turning up the volume on his support for 1st Congressional District candidate John Avlon.

Jacobs is doing this by going negative on rival Democrat Nancy Goroff for having gone negative on Avlon, who has run up potentially meaningful endorsements from a considerable number of Democratic organizations and labor groups in the eastern Suffolk nomination fight.

“John Avlon has built a campaign that draws on real local support and enthusiasm — in contrast to Nancy Goroff who loaned herself $1.2 million to just run negative attacks against John,” read Friday’s declaration from Jacobs, who endorsed Avlon in early April.

The pitch from Avlon and allies, highlighted in the many mailers he is sending in the district, has all along been that his candidacy is the only one that offers the chance to flip the East End congressional seat from red to blue by defeating first-term GOP Rep. Nick LaLota in a titanic year for partisan rivalry.

Goroff has suggested Avlon, a speech writer in then-”fusion” Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s City Hall nearly three decades ago, is more of a Republican than a Democrat.

Jacobs said: “When Democrats in a primary resort to attacking other Democrats solely in the hope of winning that primary but with no care to the consequences if they do not, they lay bare the selfishness that motivates them — which is unbecoming to public service.”

“I urge ALL Democrats in primary contests to focus on policy differences and remember that when the primary is over our real opponents are the right-wing extreme MAGA Republicans,” Jacobs stated. “The better choice to take on Nick LaLota in November is clear for Democrats.”

Goroff as the nominee in 2020 lost to then-GOP incumbent Lee Zeldin, 55% to 45%. In the primary, she finished just ahead of rival Perry Gershon with 36.1% of the vote to capture the nomination.

In a reply to Jacobs’ statement, Goroff spokesperson Maggie Touchton told The Point: “Nancy Goroff has been in Suffolk County fighting for Long Islanders. She’s the only candidate in this race with a record of fighting for choice, beating MAGA extremists, defending our public schools and kids, and working to build a better economy for everyone. Those are the issues we’re focused on in this race.”

The campaign also cited statements of support from Brookhaven Town Councilman Jonathan Kornreich and last year’s Democratic candidate for county executive, Dave Calone.

Will it matter in the end? Some Democrats said CD1 should not be written off as a “red” domain based on recent elections, since the district could prove as competitive as Nassau County’s CD4, where Republican Rep. Anthony D’Esposito also seeks to win a second term in November.

— Dan Janison dan.janison@newsday.com

Pencil Point

Standard dissent

Credit: PoliticalCartoons.com/Dave Whamond

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Final Point

A reboot on the Sands’ Coliseum lease begins

After months of uncertainty surrounding Las Vegas Sands’ control of Nassau Coliseum and the land known as the Nassau Hub, Nassau County is again moving forward with plans to lease the property to Sands.

The county will start by holding two meetings next week that will kick off a public hearing and public comment period in hopes of reinstituting a legal agreement between the county and Sands, which wants to build a casino resort on the property.

The moves come just weeks after the State Legislature passed a bill that attempts to speed up the state Gaming Commission’s effort to award three downstate casino licenses, making applications due in August. While Gov. Kathy Hochul hasn’t decided whether to sign the bill, it may take on more urgency as a potential source of Metropolitan Transportation Authority funding in light of the pause in congestion pricing.

Nassau's efforts will start with a meeting of the county’s Open Space & Parks Advisory Committee, an entity that exists to provide a more thorough review for developments proposed on county-owned land. The committee, made up of members appointed by the majority and minority of the legislature, and the county executive, makes recommendations to the county Planning Commission. It will meet Tuesday, and its agenda includes an item labeled “Introduction of New Properties” with a single property listed: the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The agenda notes that the committee is scheduled to address plans for a lease between the county and Las Vegas Sands.

According to the committee’s agenda, the meeting will “introduce and discuss a proposed lease” between the county and Sands. A copy of the lease will be made available at least 24 hours before the meeting, the agenda said.

But the lease to be discussed next week will be just the first step, an initial agreement to simply give Sands the ability to continue to control and manage the property and the Coliseum, but it does not yet allow for the development of a casino resort. Later in the process, as environmental reviews and public comment proceed, Sands and the county will have to agree to a new lease that permits the development of a casino on the site.

“While Sands intends to seek to develop a casino at the Coliseum site, the proposed lease does not authorize the Coliseum site to be developed or used for a casino, and any such authorization will occur, if at all, through a separate lease in the future that will be subject to public comment,” the open space committee’s agenda says.

Two days after the open space committee, the Nassau County Planning Commission will hold a meeting and its agenda, too, includes the Coliseum property. Its agenda notes that there will be a public hearing, and the opening of a public comment period, regarding the lease.

The meetings are just the beginning of a lengthy process, which will include an extensive state environmental review. Ultimately, Sands needs a new lease to show it has control and access to the Nassau Hub property, one of the many requirements to secure one of three casino licenses.

The moves come after a Nassau County Supreme Court decision last year that voided Las Vegas Sands’ lease on the property, which the legislature had approved last year.

In March, Sands told The Point the company had decided to restart the lease process and move through a county-driven environmental review process. The agendas themselves, observers noted, are a sign that the county is focused on handling the process properly and publicly this time. The court last year found that the Planning Commission violated Open Meetings Law by not appropriately notifying the public of a meeting during which the commission considered the lease.

Now, with the agendas released and meetings scheduled, it seems the public has been properly notified. But there’s a long way to go.

— Randi F. Marshall randi.marshall@newsday.com

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