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Mondello: Remember 1999
Nassau GOP chairman Joseph Mondello told The Point that he is going to lay down the law to warring Republicans at a special meeting of the party he has called for Tuesday night at Westbury headquarters.
“I have to remind everyone who is in control of the nominations,” he said Wednesday. He said the infighting among Republicans on the Hempstead and Oyster Bay town boards jeopardizes candidates in town and county races this fall, and in turn, hurts the party.
“These elected officials have forgotten who gets them on the ballot, who carries their petitions, who buys the ads, the palm cards, the bumper stickers,” said Mondello, who recently returned from vacation.
This “come to Jesus” session is a result of feuds in Oyster Bay and the battle over new ethics rules in Hempstead among Town Board members Bruce Blakeman and Erin King Sweeney and Supervisor Anthony Santino.
The rules could effectively bar both Blakeman and King Sweeney from eventually seeking re-election. As a result, messy town board meetings like the one Tuesday have turned into screaming matches.
Both Blakeman and Sweeney were on the losing end of two votes Tuesday at Hempstead Town Hall. She was barred from speaking on one of her motions, which prompted her to borrow the latest fashionable phrasing in Washington about secret manipulation of government. She said there was a “deep state” in the town trying to undo the rights of elected officials. (This is an especially delicious turn of phrase from the daughter of Rep. Peter King, who both benefited and lost out from the deep state manipulations of the Nassau Republican machine that made party and government indivisible for decades.)
And later Tuesday night, Blakeman went nuclear, attacking Santino on his Facebook page:
“Sad day today. I must part ways with Anthony Santino. Santino has been nothing short of a tyrant since he’s been elected Supervisor. He operates in secret and rules by intimidation and bullying. This will no doubt fracture the Republican Party but it was oh so avoidable. Lack of leadership all around!”
Said Mondello: “I have to remind them of what happened in ’99, when our voters didn’t come out because of difficulties in the party.” That’s when Democrats pulled off an incredible upset, taking control of the legislative body in Nassau for the first time on 100 years.
It was the rare Albany exit that didn’t include handcuffs, old age or an alternate office when Daniel Squadron announced his departure from the State Senate on Wednesday in a Daily News op-ed.
The Democrat, whose district includes parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn, said he was fed up with the status quo at the Capitol. He leaves to “launch a national effort” toward better state-level politics in the coming months.
But before then, there’s the juicy business of filling the seat.
In his op-ed, Squadron wrote that by resigning now, his seat will be on the ballot in November. But since the period for petition filing is closed, according to the state Board of Elections, political leaders within the district will nominate candidates.
That is relatively complicated in Squadron’s case because he represents (until Friday) a district covered by two county committees, in Manhattan and Brooklyn. According to Squadron’s office, the committee votes would be weighted by election turnout in the last gubernatorial election, which amounted to roughly 66 percent for Manhattan and 34 percent for Brooklyn.
Squadron told reporters the process is flawed and is one he tried to change. Meanwhile, a few candidates are already being floated, including Assemb. Brian Kavanagh, who announced his interest in the seat. The party committees are hashing out the process to see how much of a role the junior county would get, but it seems clear that Manhattan’s county committee will play a large role, which could include holdovers from the days when former Speaker Sheldon Silver held a tight grip over the committee.
Status quo indeed.
It’s not always sunny in Long Beach
Turns out that being way ahead of schedule is not always welcome.
After decades of negotiations with the city, this summer the Army Corps of Engineers began its sand replenishment project in Long Beach with the goal of finishing six of 15 groins by the end of the season.
Now it’s August, and the Army Corps is ahead of schedule. Eight are finished, with three weeks of prime beach time left.
So the city requested that work be delayed on the next groin until after Labor Day. City Manager Jack Schnirman and Commissioner of Public Works John Mirando explained that next up is Tennessee Street, which consists of 2,000 feet of narrower beach where heavy machines hauling rocks would inconvenience far more beachgoers than the prior construction did, since that work was at less-busy beach entrances.
But some residents in a Facebook group called Project11561 are not happy with the delay, citing a possible monetary penalty from the state Department of Environmental Conservation for the pause and the risk of greater exposure to approaching hurricanes.
And it appears that the Army Corps agrees. “The work contract does not call for any unscheduled work stoppages,” the Army Corps said in a statement, asserting that it plans to finish the project “as soon as possible.”
Mirando conceded that the Army Corps has the right to deny the request.
“Obviously, we’ve done everything to help this along,” he said. “The accommodations we’ve made helped them get this ahead of the original schedule, so there’s nothing we can do to pause it now.”