Good afternoon. Today’s points:
- No vote left behind
- To cross or not to cross?
- A new solar system
A primary education
As voters go to the polls Tuesday to choose between various party primary candidates, here’s a crucial lens through which to view the results: education reformers versus teachers unions.
In several state legislative races, including one on Long Island, these forces are tugging Democrats in opposite directions.
Traditionally, pro-charter-school campaign donors have backed Republicans. But two PACs, New Yorkers for Independent Action and Democrats for Education Reform, are hedging their bets. They’re spending for Democrats who support charter schools and education tax credits in the Bronx’s 33rd Senate District, Brooklyn’s 55th Assembly District and Long Island’s 6th Assembly District.
In the 33rd SD, the Fund for Great Public Schools, a union PAC, is defending incumbent Gustavo Rivera. In the 55th AD, tax-credit supporters are spending for challenger Darlene Mealy. And in the 6th AD, challenger Giovanni Mata, a health insurance salesman, is benefiting from pro-charter cash.
Nicole Brisbane, New York director for the national charter school group Democrats for Education Reform, told the Albany Times-Union that charter supporters need to “cultivate change in the hearts and minds” of Democrats.
Given the paper-thin GOP control of the State Senate — held together with Independent Democratic Conference paper clips — Tuesday’s primary could hold repercussions for November and beyond.
Will Dems get both?
There are two vacant state Supreme Court judgeships in Nassau County, and Kate Murray will not be nominated for either of them.
The name of the former Hempstead Town supervisor — who lost the race for district attorney last year because of her lack of qualifications — was floated last month. But the blowback politically and from the bar sank any possibility of her candidacy.
So who will get the nod for the bench — or shall we say, the prearranged cross-endorsement? It depends on whether Nassau County GOP chair Joseph Mondello and Democratic chair Jay Jacobs agree to give the Democrats both seats this year. In return, Jacobs would promise to cross-endorse two GOP incumbents who are planning to run for re-election in 2017.
Prior to their judicial convention on Sept. 21, the Democrats are screening about eight candidates this week to determine who will be nominated — or shall we say, elected?
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A day in the sun
Under Supervisor Edward Romaine, Brookhaven Town has been in the forefront of environmental code-writing.
The town adopted standards for geothermal installations that later were modified by Suffolk’s planning commission for the county’s code. And Brookhaven was developing a code for siting large-scale solar arrays last year, but put it on hold to let Suffolk develop a model plan for the region.
Now Romaine is pushing forward again. On Tuesday, he announced a stricter solar-siting code that includes economic incentives for solar companies to put arrays on rooftops, in parking lots and on previously cleared land. It bans taking down trees for solar farms. Romaine plans to send the code to other towns after it’s approved by the town board.
Let’s see who follows.