Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, center, with his wife Segal,...

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, center, with his wife Segal, third from left, and others at his swearing-in on Jan. 3, 2022, in Garden City. Credit: Corey Sipkin

Daily Point

Segal Blakeman gets Family Court nomination

Segal Blakeman, an attorney who is married to Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, is on her way to getting cross-endorsed on November’s ballot for a Family Court judgeship.

The Nassau County Bar Association found her qualified and Segal Blakeman also got a thumbs-up for a special screening panel of Nassau’s Democrats. “She has our endorsement,” said county chairman Jay Jacobs. Jacobs asked for the highly unusual one-party review, a first in this modern era of endorsement deals that essentially make the election a done deal, to blunt criticism from his own party. Bruce Blakeman married Segal in 2015.

Mike Deery, a spokesman for the county Republicans, confirmed on Wednesday afternoon: “Segal Blakeman was found well qualified by the bar association’s screening committee. She will be on petitions for the Democratic and Republican parties beginning in the next day or so.”

In return for the Blakeman seat on Family Court, the Republicans have given their blessing to Eric Milgrim, a Democratic stalwart who has been principal law clerk to Nassau Supreme Court Justice David Gugerty. Family Court judges are often designated as acting state Supreme Court justices.

Getting on the state Supreme Court bench is a little tougher and a different process. Nominations for this are usually made in August by delegates to nominating conventions in each judicial district. A 2006 reform was designed to make this process more transparent but the major political parties still heavily control the process.

Richard Nicolello, currently the presiding officer of the Nassau County Legislature who announced earlier this week that he will not seek reelection to that chamber, still could turn up on the November ballot. Nicolello is one of the names in the mix for an opening on the state Supreme Court bench.

As of now, though, Nicolello told The Point: “I have had no conversations about that.”

— Rita Ciolli @ritaciolli and Dan Janison @Danjanison

Pencil Point


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Reference Point

Death, taxes and assessment gripes

One common theme of these weekly lookbacks is the way that issues on Long Island keep recurring — a polite way of saying they never die. Sometimes, they go back to the earliest days of Newsday.

Such was the case with a letter to the editor on March 9, 1942, from a group identified as Taxpayers Association Garden City, which opened with a plaintive question:

“For the past several weeks we have asked, ‘Why doesn’t our County government do something to reduce taxes?’ ”

The letter noted that Nassau County Executive J. Russell Sprague had asked the Board of Supervisors to pass a resolution urging state lawmakers to pass 12 Nassau County bills pending in the State Legislature. The letter asked “if any of them does anything to help the taxpayer.”

None seemed to meet that goal, including such measures as one that would require “that a duplicate county seal be provided for use in the old courthouse” and another that stipulated “that Comptroller Theodore Bedell be permitted to designate some of his detail work to assistants and clerks.”

Modern-day Ben Franklins would add to his brief list of certainties in life (death and taxes) another item with which the Taxpayers Association closed its letter: complaints about assessments.

“Wish our County Executive had included a resolution requesting the Bewley Committee to wake up and introduce a bill that would help the average taxpayer to get his assessment reduced to true value,” the letter read. “Those ‘scientific’ assessments are going out the window.”

The Bewley Committee was created by the State Legislature in 1940 to investigate methods of assessing real estate with an eye on the possible creation of a state review board to handle assessment protests. The committee was created in response to charges of over-assessments, particularly in New York City but with testimony from all over the state.

Included in the committee’s report was a comment from Long Island Real Estate Board representative Walter S. Drayton, who remarked about the lack of interest among local governments “in the ability of the real estate owners to bear the tax burden.”

— Michael Dobie @mwdobie, Amanda Fiscina-Wells @adfiscina 

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