Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Republican James D. Kennedy handily beat Democrat Joseph Stufano in a special election Tuesday to fill the vacant 12th Nassau County legislative district seat representing the county’s southeast corner, unofficial results show.Kennedy, the son-in-law of the late Presiding Officer Peter Schmitt (R-Massapequa), who represented the same district before he died in 2012, won 85 percent of the vote against Stufano’s nearly 15 percent, out of 2,281 votes cast, according to initial tallies from the Nassau County Board of Elections.Kennedy, 42, whose campaign manager was his mother-in-law—Schmitt’s widow—Lois, will replace one-term Nassau County Legis. Michael Venditto (R-Massapequa), who was elected in November to fill the 8th New York State Senate seat, which former Sen. Charles Fuschillo (R-Merrick) vacated a year prior.The result was expected in a district where registered Republican voters far outnumber Democrats.Kennedy, who also had the Conservative and Independence Party lines, is a Nassau elections board worker. His 53-year-old challenger is a biomedical engineer. Both are from Massapequa.The race was the first of three special elections to fill vacant county legislative seats on Long Island.In March 10, voters will decide who will fill the 19th Legislative District seat left vacant by former Legis. David Denenberg (D-Merrick), who resigned after pleading guilty to defrauding a client of his private law practice out of $2 million. At the time the case came to light, Denenberg was running against Venditto, son of Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto, for state Senate.The second Nassau special election pits Rita Kestenbaum, 56, who’s running on the Democratic and Working Families party lines, against Steven Rhoads, 46, who has the Republican, Conservative and Independence party lines and the Tax Revolt party designation.Kestenbaum is a former Hempstead Town Board member who became a gun control activist in 2007 after her 20-year-old daughter was shot to death on the night of her birthday outside her off-campus apartment in Tempe, Arizona, by a disturbed young man who then killed himself. Afterwards, Kestenbaum set up a foundation and has worked closely with the Long Island Crisis Center.Rhoads is a personal injury attorney who twice tried to unseat Denenberg. Both candidates are from Bellmore. Republicans also outnumber Democrats in that district.If the Republicans can win both Nassau special elections, then they would need to gain just another seat in the Nassau Legislature to control a super majority of 13 votes—they now have 10 of the 19 legislative seats—and that margin would enable the GOP to approve borrowing measures without needing Democratic support.The third special election, in Suffolk’s 12th Legislative District, will be held on March 31 to fill the seat held by former Legis. John M. Kennedy Jr. (R-Nesconset), who won his bid to become Suffolk County comptroller in November. Kennedy’s 58-year-old wife, Leslie, a longtime aide who ran her husband’s office, will be running for the seat herself.Kennedy’s Democratic challenger, Deborah Monaco, 55, is reportedly not going to run “an active campaign,” according to Suffolk County Democratic Chairman Rich Schaffer, due to time constraints and other factors. She has been the secretary of the Suffolk Democratic Committee and has a job at the Suffolk Board of Elections. Republicans outnumber Democrats in this district, too.—With Spencer Rumsey
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Last month, University of California system President Janet Napolitano proposed a tuition hike for undergraduates. If approved, the cost of attendance could rise by as much as 5 percent in each of the next five years if the state does not increase funding for the system’s budget.Currently, average costs for a full-time undergraduate California resident living on campus is $33,100 per year, with the number jumping to $55,978 for non-residents in the same situation. The proposed hikes could raise those figures by an estimated $3,000 by 2019, according to the Los Angeles Times.Napolitano defended what would be the first rise in tuition in four years for the statewide system to help cover mounting pension costs and keep the schools competitive in terms of hiring new faculty and admitting more students. A portion of the funds would also be used to increase financial aid for students.University administrators said that financial aid at USC has stable funding.“Costs will always be a primary factor, financial aid also does play a large part, and especially here at USC since our aid packages are very generous. Our need-based aid averages $43,000 currently. It also helps that we have stable funding so there is no uncertainty about if our financial aid will or won’t continue,” said Thomas McWhorter, dean of financial aid at USC.Nearly two-thirds of UC system students receive some sort of aid while attending school, with an average award of over $16,000 according to the University of California system website.USC, a private institution that doesn’t charge students based on geography, estimates its yearly costs are $64,761 for a full-time undergraduate student living on campus at present time.Tuitions and fees at USC are set by the Board of Trustees and have increased an average of 4.28 percent annually over the past five years.“Any time an institution significantly increases its costs, that is going to have some sort of an impact. However, we aren’t going to be changing any of our recruitment practices or our messages based on that,” said Timothy Brunold, dean of admissions. “The increase will also contribute to the continued discussion that many people are having about the affordability of college.”Newly re-elected Gov. Jerry Brown, who also serves as the official president of the Board of Regents for the UC system, voted against the tuition hike at the meeting. Brown is in the process of forming a committee to analyze current UC spending and reforming the current curriculum to help students graduate faster in a way to stem the proposed tuition increase. According to the Campaign for College Opportunity, 84 percent of students graduate from the UC system after six years.On Tuesday, a group of Democratic lawmakers proposed an alternative to Napolitano’s measure. The proposition would cut funding for a newly established scholarship program focused on middle-class students and simultaneously raise tuition for out-of-state students only.Napolitano added insight on the recent measure.“The bill introduced today is a promising first step toward making sure that public higher education benefits Californians today and for generations to come, and we look forward to working with Senate Democrats and other elected officials to secure the state funding essential to this end,” she said in a statement.
Officials in St. Lucie County are holding a news conference related to the coronavirus.
After watching the debacle, oops I meant game between the Steelers and Patriots Sunday evening, I am thoroughly convinced that New England is on a serious run toward the Lombardi Trophy. Why do I say that, you ask? Well, if they could thump the Steelers like they stole a pork chop before Sunday dinner, what makes you think that they can’t duplicate that feat against the rest of their NFL colleagues? But Watson wait; before we exit Scotland Yard, please, please as Judge Judy might say, “put on your listening ears” because I am about to offer up a few “incredible” if not “credible” theories.Hey, hey, are you sure the Patriots don’t have some sort of outer space “Hubble” satellite cam taping Steelers practices and shoplifting their defensive and offensive signals from outer space. Okay, I know that may seem a bit farfetched but it certainly appeared at least until just a little over 12 minutes were left in the fourth quarter as if Steelers offense was playing like space cadets.I truly believe, (you don’t have to sanction me because I just ran out of my meds) that Robert Kraft, the deep pockets owner of the “Pats” purchased a few military “drones” at the last garage sale held by the former vice-president Dick Cheney, immediately after he was forced to give up the second chair of our purple mountains majesty.The Patriots no longer need “Haterade” drinking snitches to do their dirty work. They now can use “unmanned” aircraft to fly over the Steelers practice facilities to extract all sorts of illicit information. When the Patriots were questioned as to why a “human-less” aircraft was flying over the Steelers south side site with the New England logo plastered all over it, an anonymous source informed me that the Patriots were scanning the south side as a precautionary measure against the local yuppie wine drinkers breaking into the Steelers trophy room at “high midnight” and making off with one or two of the prominently displayed “six pack.”Was it just my imagination, and no I am not talking about the old school ballad sung by the “Temptin” Temptations? Did it appear as if Bill Belichick was calling the defensive signals for the Black and Gold? If this was the case then those signals could only favor the “Brady Bunch? The Pats might not be cheating but they have gotten deep inside the Steelers heads. Ben Roethlisberger and Bruce Arians usually appear perplexed and dazed at the sight of a Patriots uniform and they always appear to leave the offensive game plan on the blackboard.The Steelers appear to be totally afraid of the dark mystique created and maintained by the very devious Belichick and his “Krafty” organization. I am totally perplexed as to why this modern day “thug” is still roaming the sidelines?According to www.salary-money.com, Ben Roethlisberger allegedly lost $473,529.00 per game as a result of his four game suspension. That amounts to $1,894,116.00 for pre-meditated stupidity. On the other hand check out the penance for pre-meditated skullduggery by New England. Belichick was fined the NFL maximum of $500,000 for cheating and the Pats were ordered to pay $250,000 as a result of those violations. Roethlisberger was fined more than a million dollars more than the Patriots as a result of conduct unbecoming off the field. Meanwhile, Belichick and his “Boston” cheating bootleggers were given the economic penalty equivalent to a mint julep and given the gr…..eeeeen light for conduct unbecoming to the nature of the game. Commissioner Roger Gooddell’s comments were as usual weak as heck. “This episode represents a calculated and deliberate attempt to avoid long-standing rules designed to encourage fair play and promote honest competition on the playing field,” Goodell said in a letter to the Patriots.” The commissioner seems too worried about important things such as dog lovers and bathroom stalls. Hey something like the integrity of the game, that can wait.The Steelers defense was not all bad, at least not according to the post game victory speech by Tom “Terrific” Brady who said, “Troy (Polamalu) is one of the best in the game. Ike Taylor is a great player. We knew we had to come out and counter it. Everybody was up for the challenge.” Let’s get real. As long as the NFL has double or triple standards don’t be surprised by the “preferential” treatment that specific individuals or organizations receive. Athletes are fined and raked over hot coals just for trying to perform their duties on the field, while others in “power” openly violate the rules and they are rewarded by being raked over the hot sands of Honolulu.The NFL says players will not decide fines. Who decided the Patriots fines? Was it minimal because some of the tapes vanished? Aloha.(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-583-6741.)