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Mike BarryEye on the Island

By Mike Barry

Political Grease

Friday, 12 April 2013 18:07

The federal government’s complaint against six politically connected New Yorkers last week could only have been derived from real life. No Hollywood screenwriter is imaginative enough to conjure up a plausible scenario whereby State Senator Malcolm Smith (D-Queens) is elected mayor of New York City.


Yet Senator Smith’s delusional 2013 mayoral ambitions are at the heart of the federal government’s 28-page complaint, and it boggles the mind to see how many people allegedly risked their reputations and careers to advance Smith’s City Hall dreams.



MTA: Money, Money And More Money

Friday, 22 March 2013 00:00

Days after spending $242 for a monthly LIRR ticket into Penn Station, $107 more than I paid for the same trip in 2003, I saw an MTA public service announcement (PSA) on television. The message: don’t stand too close to the platform, a train might come and hit you.

What’s next; a PSA telling people to come in from the rain? I expressed my opinion of the PSA that same day to the MTA’s press office, and they explained in response to my queries that TV stations were not charging the MTA for airing the PSA, and the PSAs had been produced in-house. Still, it pained me to see money wasted on a reiteration of the obvious.


Our Post-Sandy Future

Friday, 05 April 2013 00:00

With memories still fresh from Superstorm Sandy, Sustainable Long Island’s seventh annual Sustainability Conference will be unlike any of its predecessors.

“I’ve lived on Long Island my entire life and, until Sandy hit, I never felt as though I lived on an Island,” said Amy Engel, Sustainable Long Island’s executive director.Flooding and power outages, coupled with transportation and supply chain disruptions, wreaked havoc in Nassau and Suffolk.

Flooding and power outages, coupled with transportation and supply chain disruptions, wreaked havoc in Nassau and Suffolk.

The Challengers’ Rough Road

Thursday, 04 April 2013 09:17

When Nassau’s Democrats convene in May to nominate their official county executive and county comptroller candidates, neither Adam Haber nor Howard Weitzman are likely to hear their names called.

This will come as no surprise to either Haber, a Roslyn school board member who wants to be the Democrats’ county executive nominee, or Weitzman, a Great Neck resident who was the county comptroller between 2002 and 2009, and is again pursuing that elective office. Nassau’s Democrats appear poised to nominate Thomas Suozzi for county executive and county legislator Wayne Wink (D-Roslyn) for county comptroller, filling two of the top spots on their 2013 countywide ticket, which will also include district attorney Kathleen Rice as well as a county clerk nominee.

One of the most labor-intensive parts of any insurgent Nassau County campaign, such as those Haber and Weitzman are about to embark on separately, is gathering enough signatures to get the candidate’s name on the ballot. Their supporters will need to walk the county’s streets, going door-to-door in search of registered Democrats willing to sign a designating petition saying they believe Nassau County’s registered Democrats should have the opportunity to choose Haber and Weitzman as their party’s 2013 county executive and county comptroller nominees.  


Tabloid Titans

Thursday, 14 March 2013 00:00
There was a time not long ago when millions of New Yorkers learned something for the first time when they opened their morning newspaper.

And a few of the people who wrote for the city’s tabloids in the late 20th century were themselves larger than life, such as the late New York Post reporter Nora Ephron (1941-2012), who would go on to fame and fortune in Hollywood, and the late New York Daily News columnist Mike McAlary, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the infamous Abner Louima case. McAlary died of cancer in 1998. He was 41 years old.


Where Islanders Fans Gather

Tuesday, 12 March 2013 12:56

The New York Islanders have 24 regular season games remaining in their lockout-shortened season, with 14 of those contests being played on the road.

To get the faithful off their couches as spring approaches, the Islanders are teaming up in March and April with TGI Friday’s restaurant and Bud Light for Viewing Parties, where fans can gather for seven of those 14 away games. There are added bonuses to being at these locales on game night, which I’ll get into in a moment.


Hidden Agendas, Quiet Paydays

Tuesday, 05 March 2013 12:51

Do you ever sense a supposedly objective journalist is hoping for a certain outcome to a story he or she is covering?

Chuck Todd, NBC News’ political director and chief White House correspondent, was openly rooting for President Obama’s re-election last year. Every time I heard Todd, it was always Good Friday for Governor Romney, and Easter Sunday for the president.


Dorothy Parker’s Encore

Friday, 22 February 2013 00:00
Violet Epps, the 37-year-old protagonist in Ellen Meister’s just-published novel, Farewell, Dorothy Parker, needs to channel her inner b____, and the late Dorothy Parker’s often-inebriated ghost takes Epps under her wing to help Epps do just that.

Meister, a married mother of three who resides in Jericho, will be promoting her fourth novel with appearances on Sunday, Feb. 24, at 4 p.m., at Huntington’s Book Revue, 313 New York Ave., and on Friday, March 1, at 7 p.m., at Barnes & Noble, 91 Old Country Road, Carle Place.  


Koch’s Place In History

Wednesday, 20 February 2013 00:00

The late New York City Mayor Ed Koch (1924-2013) once said that if all of the taxpayer money intended for the poor got to the poor, “the poor would be rich.”

That observation about the high cost of government-funded service- providers has resonance to this day and, thanks to Koch, a documentary directed by first-time filmmaker and former Merrick resident Neil Barsky, a new generation of New Yorkers will get to see Mayor Koch in his prime.


Return Of The Commuter Tax?

Friday, 08 February 2013 00:00

Joseph Lhota, who is running for mayor of New York City, has correctly learned one lesson from the 2012 presidential election: 51 percent of voters will support a candidate who backs new or higher taxes so long as these same voters are convinced someone else will pay them.

In his call last month for the restoration of New York City’s commuter tax, which the state Legislature rescinded in 1999, Lhota, a deputy mayor in the Giuliani administration, has found an ideal source for additional New York City tax revenue—people who work in the city but reside elsewhere.


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Mike Barry, a corporate communications consultant, has worked in government and journalism. Email: