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Daily Point

GOP circles are buzzing

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone’s addition of Jon Kaiman, an experienced manager and bureaucracy maven, to his inner circle is generally being praised as a smart move. But GOP circles are buzzing over the fuzzy details of whether Kaiman, a former North Hempstead Town supervisor, will moonlight as a consultant. They have decided to hold their fire until getting more information.

Tuesday afternoon, Suffolk officials said Kaiman, who will be a deputy county executive, will submit all required disclosure filings, and that they will be subject to Freedom of Information Law requests.

While Kaiman would have no legal restrictions limiting or barring the earning of outside income, he is “not expected” to seek any, according to Jason Elan, Bellone’s spokesman. Will those assurances be enough for Republican legislators?

Rita Ciolli

Talking Point

Amper going for the bonus kick

The Long Island Pine Barrens Society hosted a tour Tuesday afternoon of the 700-plus-acre Shoreham-Wading River forest proposed as the site of a 350-acre solar farm. Amid strong local protest, including opposition from the Pine Barrens Society, that project is on the ropes.

Now the society is leading the charge to forever preserve what it calls “one of the top four unprotected natural areas remaining on all of Long Island.” The options: Make it a state park or amend the existing Pine Barrens Protection Act to cover this acreage.

Tuesday’s tour included state Assemb. Steve Englebright, Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine and Councilwoman Jane Bonner, Suffolk County officials, and contingents led by Regional State Parks Director Wayne Horsley and Department of Environmental Conservation Regional Director Carrie Meek Gallagher. And everyone seemed to be on board with the society’s mission.

“It was terrific to see all these people from the state, town and county saying we have to do this,” society executive director Richard Amper said. “They were not even hedging. It wasn’t a matter of whether we want to do this, but how.”

Michael Dobie

Make Your Point

Trump’s report card is due. What grade would you give him?

We’re giving Point readers the first chance to grade President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office. On Wednesday, we will unveil to the public an interactive report card on major issues facing the Trump administration, but we would like our keen observers of the political scene to get us started.

Go to newsday.com/100daysofTrump to submit your report card, and remember to check back soon to submit a video message with your advice for Trump.

Pointing Out

A word from the Staten Island mayoral candidate

Among this year’s Democratic candidates for New York City mayor, incumbent Bill de Blasio holds a commanding fundraising lead with nearly $4 million. In second place is Sal Albanese, a former member of the City Council.

Albanese has raised $57,000, according to recent Campaign Finance Board figures. He told the New York Post in November he planned to raise $1 million, including city matching funds, by May and would reconsider his run otherwise. But now he tells The Point he is extending his deadline to June because of some increased momentum — and because of de Blasio’s vulnerabilities on some issues. The Staten Island Democrat says those vulnerabilities include overdevelopment in some neighborhoods combined with insufficient action on affordable housing.

Affordable housing is a marquee issue for de Blasio. His campaign spokesman notes a record of rent freezes and developers required to build affordable units — a requirement that comes with zoning concessions. Albanese calls this “giving away the store to developers.” He favors direct city investment in construction of affordable housing funded by proceeds from a “pied-à-terre tax” on owners of non-primary luxury residences in NYC.

It’s an idea that didn’t get traction in Albany when proposed in 2015. But Albanese said he’d fight for the change in the state capital to fund his big initiative — a scenario not unfamiliar to de Blasio.

Mark Chiusano


This is The Point, the editorial board’s daily newsletter about New York politics. Click here to subscribe.

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