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Gloves on for Cuomo
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo visited Long Island Thursday morning and brought a couple of bulls-eyes with him.
One was fixed on local officials who’ve been grumbling about his plan in the newly adopted state budget to try to force them to share services as a way of reducing local property taxes.
Local governments are going to say, “I resent you for suggesting that I can reduce my budget,” Cuomo told the audience at the headquarters of Local 66 in Melville. “I’m sorry that you resent me, but I’m getting used to it. I don’t accept the premise that you’re running a perfect organization.”
Later, still imagining the conversational back-and-forth, Cuomo said, “Everybody’s going to be like this,” and he crossed his arms and frowned sternly to pantomime the reaction of local leaders.
Cuomo also had sharp words for opponents of the Long Island Rail Road’s third-track project, and for the elected officials who fear them. “You can’t have a situation where a handful of opponents stop all progress, and that’s happened on Long Island for too long,” Cuomo said. “The politics and the politicians who pander to NIMBY, their day is over, because if you want to pander to the vocal minority, you better hope that there’s no vocalization from the majority, otherwise you’re going to have a problem.”
He was talking to officials from Floral Park, New Hyde Park and Garden City, and anyone else threatening to file suit to stop the project.
Cuomo concluded by throwing a few more darts. “We’re going to get that third track done.”
Night to remember
The LGBT Network of Long Island and Queens annual gala Wednesday night honored power player Robert Zimmerman for being a strong national advocate for equal rights and the LGBT community. The event pulled together star power to raise money for the Gay-Straight Alliance school outreach program that promotes acceptance and fights bullying. “The View” co-star Joy Behar presented the award; close friend Hillary Clinton delivered a message via video.
But Zimmerman, a member of the Democratic National Committee who usually devotes his public speaking to spirited debates about politicians and policy, said it also gave him an opportunity, at age 62, to talk about parts of his journey as a gay man that he says he’d never really addressed publicly before.
His gradual evolution toward living an openly gay life over the past decade was largely inspired by the type of kids and programs the LGBT Network is supporting in schools.
“What gave me such strength and confidence as a gay man was watching these young people live openly and freely, and with so much joy,” Zimmerman said, adding that while he always has strongly advocated for the LGBT community, he did not as a rule publicly discuss his personal life.
Zimmerman said, of sharing the evening with so many people close to him, and the young people who make the gala special every year, “It inspired me, and it led me, last night, to a discussion about why I’m proud to be a gay man and what my journey has been and what the future holds.”
The seven year itch
House Republicans voted to replace Obamacare Thursday afternoon, more than seven years after Obama signed the Affordable Health Care Act in 2010. Above is the Walt Handelsman cartoon Newsday ran the day the ACA was signed and a cartoon from 2017 about Obamacare’s demise.
Thursday night on the town
Since President Donald Trump’s election, plenty of New York City Democrats have been shocked into more involvement in the political game. But sometimes, there are so many possibilities to engage that it’s hard to know where to turn — particularly on Thursday night.
Thursday nights have long been prime time in local politics, especially in the first few months of the year, when the State Legislature is in session. Lawmakers and staffers zip back from Albany to meet with the faithful in their districts. Some more established Democratic organizations, such as the Thomas Jefferson club in Brooklyn or the Taminent club in Queens, monopolize the night.
Since Trump’s election, interest has raised attendance in groups like this, plus the creation of new ones. In early April, Brooklyn district leader Nick Rizzo warned of the glut, asking new groups to pick a different night.
Thursday night this week is particularly jam-packed. There are meetings for the New Kings Democrats organizing committee, the Democratic Socialists of America electoral committee, and a fundraiser for City Councilman Antonio Reynoso, Rizzo says.
Even Trump, the inspiration for much renewed activity, will be in town Thursday night. But probably not in Brooklyn.