Good afternoon and welcome to The Point!
A challenge for the left
The left is struggling to find its voice as an opposition party to President-elect Donald Trump.
On Thursday night, a group calling itself the People’s Resistance Assembly of Nassau County is forming to “connect, reflect and plan how we fight back in this dangerous moment.” Its gathering in Garden City is being organized by the long-standing Long Island Progressive Coalition.
And Arthur Dobrin, a leader of the Ethical Humanist Society, is moderating a session in Westbury among law-enforcement and religious groups to address “postelection jitters, religious freedom and ethnic targeting.” Representatives of the Nassau County district attorney and the Nassau County Police Department will meet with Hindus, Sikhs, Jews, Muslims and humanists.
Meanwhile, Team Bernie NY announced Wednesday that it’s disbanding. It was an NYC grassroots group that did organizing work for Sen. Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primary, from knocking on doors to operating voter-tracking software. The group’s folding shows the difficulty of maintaining the relevance and energy of grassroots groups. TBNY’s farewell email urged supporters toward other left-wing groups, such as Grassroots Action NY or Democratic Socialists of America.
The right has often proved stronger in maintaining the opposition drumbeat in the past. Two years after Bill Clinton was elected, Newt Gingrich launched a Republican revolution that included a House majority takeover. And two years after Barack Obama won the White House, the tea party managed the same feat. Progressives are certainly united in their opposition right now. The question is whether they can be effective.
Anne Michaud and Mark Chiusano
Not so fast
Democratic candidate John Brooks sent out an email Wednesday night declaring that he is “humbled and honored to be the next State Senator from the 8th District.” But is he being too hasty?
Brooks came away from election night with a 33-vote lead over incumbent Michael Venditto, a Republican. A count of paper ballots in Nassau and Suffolk counties ended Wednesday with Brooks 41 votes ahead. However, lawyers from both sides objected to 1,110 ballots for technical reasons — and those must be sorted through by Board of Elections commissioners and a judge.
In the end, the Brooks-Venditto tally could change. This is a crucial race because it decides which party in the 63-member State Senate will have a numeric majority.
The Nassau Republican machine, and specifically election lawyer John Ciampoli, has been known to pull a win out of a tight spot.
In 2015, the Democratic candidate for Oyster Bay supervisor, John Mangelli, held a 68-vote lead on election night. But when 1,980 absentee and affidavit ballots were tallied, longtime incumbent John Venditto, Michael’s father, pulled ahead and won by 99 votes.
Ciampoli represented the elder Venditto last year and now works for the younger Venditto.
Baskets of to-dos
Beyond the MTA fares
Just before Thanksgiving, the MTA announced that monthly MetroCard costs would be going up, to the groans of many straphangers. But the increase also shed new light on another divide between Mayor Bill de Blasio and the MTA, controlled by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.
A number of advocacy organizations have been pushing de Blasio to fund reduced-fare MetroCards for low-income New Yorkers, given that MTA fares rose 45 percent between 2007 and 2015, six times the rate of average salary increases.
The proposal has the support of a majority of the City Council, and a recent survey found that 62 percent of respondents would vote for a mayor who supported the reduced fare for the needy — good election-year politics. Initial estimates price the proposal at $200 million a year out of a budget of more than $80 billion.
Yet de Blasio has only called it a “noble idea,” and has suggested it would be hard for the city to come up with the money. A spokeswoman pointed to the increased sum of $2.5 billion the city provided to the MTA’s 2015-19 capital plan. In the fight over that plan’s funding last year, the city and state also clashed over control of the system and the amount of funding they should be required to kick in. That dispute continues.
The MTA has not, at the moment, indicated that it plans to open its wallet on this issue.