State Senate primary contenders, from left, Kim Keiserman, Brad Schwartz, Siela...

State Senate primary contenders, from left, Kim Keiserman, Brad Schwartz, Siela Bynoe, and Taylor Darling. Credit: James Escher

Daily Point

The primary public funds battle heats up

With early voting beginning this weekend, observers are eyeing the state’s new campaign financing public match program with interest. In the latest release of data this week, State Senate candidate Kim Keiserman, a Port Washington resident running in the Democratic Party primary for SD7, came out on top of all earners, adding $257,862 in public matching funds to her coffers in the June 10 disbursement.

The boost came in part because Keiserman’s challenger, Brad Schwartz, was finally deemed a “competitive” candidate by the state Board of Elections after receiving endorsements from the Equality New York political action committee and Assemb. Chuck Lavine. Prior to Schwartz’s “competitive” classification, Keiserman was previously eligible to receive only 25% of available funds, or a maximum of $93,750.

Now, Keiserman’s total in matching funds has reached $351,612. That puts her just shy of the full $375,000 in maximum matching funds. Sources said she actually has qualified for the full amount, but the rest will come once clerical issues, such as confirming details like names and addresses of contributors, are resolved.

Among Long Island’s other primary contenders, Nassau Legis. Siela Bynoe, a Democrat who is running for the 6th Senate District seat, already had earned $352,218 in matching funds as of last month’s disbursement. Bynoe didn’t add anything to that total in the June 10 report.

Bynoe’s primary opponent, Taylor Darling, earned $33,710 in matching funds according to the latest report, coming on top of the $136,731 she earned last month.

According to records, Keiserman and Bynoe seem to be the only two State Senate primary candidates across the state who are approaching the public match maximum.

Under the new system, candidates in State Senate and Assembly races can receive matching funds on individual contributions up to $250 each from those who live within the district. The program’s tiered system permits those who raise more to receive a higher public match.

On the Assembly side, candidates in two Long Island primaries — in AD4 and AD18 — are participating in the public match. In AD4, when adding together the May and June disbursements, Democrat Rebecca Kassay earned $123,717 of the $175,000 maximum, while her primary opponent, Skyler Johnson, earned $85,660. In AD18 — the seat currently held by Darling — Democrat Lisa Ortiz earned $44,710 between the two disbursements, while opponent Noah Burroughs earned $620.

In the only other Long Island legislative primary, where former seat-holder Judy Griffin is facing Pat Maher for the Democratic nod in AD21, neither candidate appears to have qualified yet for matching funds, according to state records.

— Randi F. Marshall

Pencil Point

Changing climate

Credit: The Boston Globe/Christopher Weyant

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Reference Point

When a Hofstra campus proposal got bounced

The Newsday editorial and cartoon from June 13, 1959.

The Newsday editorial and cartoon from June 13, 1959.

It was 1959, and Hofstra — still a college, not yet a university — had an audacious proposal: It wanted to start a new campus that would test the viability of combining the first two years of study into one year. Newsday’s editorial board called it “the most provocative experiment in education undertaken for many years …”

But its judgment came in an editorial focused less on the merits of Hofstra’s pitch and more on the “selfish and inexplicable” decision by the zoning board of appeals of the Village of North Hills, about 9 miles from Hofstra’s main campus, to reject Hofstra’s proposal and instead move forward on a tennis club with a swimming pool. In the June 13 piece called “Lost — An Opportunity,” the board lambasted the village’s decision as “a pretty sorry comment on American educational values” and one that “we trust represents the opinion of only a misguided, if ruling, fraction of the community.”

The board dismissed complaints about the proposed campus adding traffic that would “disturb the neighborhood,” noting that the site — along Shelter Rock Road between the Long Island Expressway and Northern State Parkway — was already a “natural focus for traffic.”

“No.1, it is impossible to figure out how anyone living near the above-named trafficways could be any more disturbed by a college than by the existing roar, whine, scream and grate of cars passing or turning off existing roads,” the board wrote.

The board extolled a college campus as “the most valuable asset any community can have” — arguing that it acts as an anchor, prevents overbuilding, and raises property values. The board also cited the ongoing educational cold war with Russia.

“The speeding of the American college system, the free experiment to determine how we can make our students more learned more rapidly, the concept that education is probably the most important single problem to be solved today — all these have engaged the attention of our most thoughtful citizens,” the board wrote.

The accompanying editorial cartoon by famed cartoonist Tom Darcy also lampooned the village’s decision. In the drawing, a finely dressed woman labeled “The Village of North Hills” with a cigarette in one hand and a tennis racket labeled “NEW TENNIS CLUB AND SWIMMING POOL” in the other is talking to a young boy in bathing trunks and a graduation cap. Both are standing next to a wastebasket containing Hofstra’s rejected plans. Under the cartoon are the words being spoken by the woman: “You Must Learn to Appreciate the Finer Things in Life.”

Newsday’s board was especially piqued because the village’s “responsible leaders” had raised no objections to Hofstra’s plan when it was first presented. And it expressed confidence that “a dozen” other Nassau County communities would welcome Hofstra’s new campus.

That confidence, of course, was misplaced. No such campus was ever built. And Hofstra’s proposal was only one of many on Long Island to be torpedoed at least partly over concerns about traffic. But the board’s final dig at the village’s decision had nothing to do with cars and trucks.

“We can scarcely believe,” the board wrote, “that North Hills’ idea of the ultimate in culture is the tennis club and the swimming pool.”

Game, set, match.

— Michael Dobie, Amanda Fiscina-Wells

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