03/21/13 8:00am
03/21/2013 8:00 AM
Governor Andrew Cuomo on Long Island

PAUL SQUIRE FILE PHOTO | Governor Andrew Cuomo must decide when a special election for the recently vacated 2nd Assembly District seat will be held.

More than a week has passed since Dan Losquadro was sworn in as Brookhaven Town highway superintendent and still no date has been set for a special election to replace him in the New York State Assembly.

That responsibility falls squarely on New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who could opt to set the special election date to coincide with local elections in November.

Area Democrats have said the main reason to wait until November would be to save taxpayer dollars. But is that the only reason?

The Dems have a list of potential candidates that’s shorter than a stack of pancakes. With a decent crop of interested parties on the GOP side — including two elected Southold officials — we suspect the governor may be dragging his feet for political reasons.

A November election could put GOP favorite Chris Talbot — who’s up for re-election to the Southold Town Board this year — on the sidelines in the Assembly race, lest he risk giving up his town seat. It would also give the Democratic nominee, who would almost certainly be someone not currently in office, the standard six months to campaign for the seat and raise his or her profile.

If the election were set today and scheduled for May 21, the date of the statewide school budget votes, candidates would still have almost two months to campaign. Hosting the election on that date would assure a higher voter turnout and than on any other non-Election Day — and would minimize election costs.

If the governor’s true concern were saving money, he’d already have set an election date. After all, the former assemblyman’s staff is still getting paid, as it works to field calls from constituents who have no elected representative. The staff now reports to the office of Speaker of the Assembly Sheldon Silver, a New York City Democrat who, we’re quite certain, has very little use for an office full of East End Republicans.

State records list the expenses for Mr. Losquadro’s office at $300,000 last year. Even if you subtract the assemblyman’s salary from the budget, it still costs more than $18,000 per month to keep the district offices staffed and open for business. If the Assembly post is not filled until November, taxpayers will have shelled out close to $150,000 to maintain an office with no elected leader.

Gov. Cuomo needs to set a special election date quickly.

He needs to set it for May 21.

03/13/13 2:45pm
03/13/2013 2:45 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Governor Andrew Cuomo has not yet set a date for the special Assembly election.

It’s looking as if the Republican nomination in the upcoming special election for the 2nd District seat in the New York State Assembly could come out of Southold Town. But party leaders aren’t quite ready to commit to that and the governor has yet to even set a date for the vote.

At least five potential GOP nominees — including four from Southold — have expressed interest in running in the special election to replace former Assemblyman Dan Losquadro, local party leaders said. Mr. Losquadro won a special election to become Brookhaven Town highway superintendent last week.

Southold Town Councilman Chris Talbot and Trustee Bob Ghosio have both asked to screen for the post along with Mattituck attorneys Stephen Kiely and Tony Palumbo, party officials said. Bill Faulk of Manorville, a longtime aide to former county legislator Ed Romaine, also confirmed he’s interested in the job.

Suffolk County Republican leaders are expected to meet Wednesday to select a nominee for the special election.

Democratic leaders said there has been less interest on their side of the aisle.

“There have been some candidates who have come forward, such as Jennifer Maertz,” said Riverhead Democratic chair Marge Acevedo. “However, we don’t know when there is going to be an election. It’s entirely up to the governor.”

Sources said Governor Andrew Cuomo can either call for a special election in conjuction with school elections May 21 or wait to hold it along with the general election in November.

Former assemblyman Marc Alessi’s name came up this week in rumors over who might secure the Democratic nomination, but he said he is not interested.

“I’m not the guy. I do miss it, but it’s not a good time for me to be in Albany,” said the father of three, who now works as the CEO of a biomedical company and still practices law.

Mr. Alessi won the seat in a 2005 special election and served until he lost the 2010 election to Mr. Losquadro by 917 votes.

Ms. Maertz, of Rocky Point, previously lost two bids for state Senate.

GOP sources interviewed this week suggested Mr. Talbot — who would be running as a current elected official — might have the inside track to receive the Republican bid. He said Tuesday that he’s interested and is waiting to see how the nominating process plays out.

“We’ll see what the party wants to do,” said Mr. Talbot, of Cutchogue. “We need to wait for the governor to decide if and when there’s going to be a special election.”

Mr. Ghosio, who lives in Greenport and formerly resided in Lake Panamoka, said he first sought the seat three years ago when Mr. Losquadro was nominated. He said his experience of living in both Brookhaven and Southold towns has given him a vast knowledge of the district.

“I’ve been interested in it for a while,” he said. “I feel I’ve got a good grasp of the issues we’re dealing with.”

Mr. Faulk said his experience working as a legislative aide has helped familiarize him with the needs of North Fork residents.

“Serving in the Assembly would give me an opportunity to continue the work we started in the Legislature,” he said. “I miss working on the North Fork. I learned a lot of things that could help me do a good job.

“Mr. Losquadro worked hard to fight the MTA payroll tax, and for open space preservation,” he added. “I would continue along that road to protect taxpayers and small-business owners.”

Riverhead Town Republican chairman John Galla said that as of noon Tuesday nobody from Riverhead had inquired about the nomination.

“We’re going to send out an email and you never know who will come forward,” he said. “Anybody is welcome to screen with us.”

Both Mr. Galla and Southold Republican chairman Peter McGreevy said the nominee will be decided by themselves, Suffolk County chairman John Jay LaValle and Brookhaven party leader Jesse Garcia.

Mr. McGreevy said that while Southold has more interested parties, that doesn’t mean the town has a lock on the nomination.

“Just because we have four potential candidates doesn’t necessarily mean the candidate will be from Southold,” he said. “We have to wait until we’re done screening.”

gparpan@timesreview.com

With Tim Kelly, Tim Gannon and Beth Young.

03/05/13 10:41pm
03/05/2013 10:41 PM

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON FILE PHOTO | Assemblyman Dan Losquadro at his former office in Calverton in 2011.

Get ready for another election.

If preliminary results from the Suffolk County Board of Elections hold up, North Fork State Assemblyman Dan Losquadro will be the next Brookhaven Town Highway Superintendent. The likely victory means a special election will be held in late spring to serve out the remaining 18 months of his current term in Albany.

BOE results show Mr. Losquadro (R-Shoreham) defeating Kathleen Walsh (D-Centereach) by nearly 800 votes, with more than 51 percent of the nearly 23,500 votes. Just one election district had not reported as of 10:40 p.m.

The post opened up in November after previous Highway Superintendent John Rouse won a county judge’s seat. Mr. Rouse, a Democrat, had held the job since 2004.

Ms. Walsh is a Brookhaven Town Councilwoman, first elected in 2005, who also served as deputy supervisor under Democrat Mark Lesko. Endorsed by Democrats in her two most recent elections, she is a registered Republican. She is the wife of  Brookhaven blue collar union president Bill Walsh.

Mr. Losquadro, 40, had won re-election to his Assembly post in November after first being elected to the job in 2010, when he defeated incumbent Marc Alessi. A County Legislature from 2004 to 2010, Mr. Losquadro has never lost an election.

Tuesday’s special election was already the second of the year on the North Fork. Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue) won a special election for County Legislature over Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter in January.

A race for the 1st District Assembly seat — which spans west from Southold Town, through Riverhead and into part of Northeastern Brookhaven Town — could muddy the picture for the November local elections in which town and county seats are up across the North Fork.

Mr. Losquadro is a native of Wading River and a 1990 graduate of Shoreham-Wading River High School. He lives in Shoreham with his wife, Lynn, a teacher in the SWR district, and their son, Joseph.

12/03/12 7:00am
12/03/2012 7:00 AM

COURTESY PHOTO | Dan Losquadro in January 2011, during his first session in the Assembly.

Last week, we learned that January 15 will be the date of the special election to fill the vacant 1st District seat for Suffolk County Legislature.

Now it appears that might not be the only special election on the North Fork this year.

Newsday reported this week that Assemblyman Dan Losquadro has expressed an interest in running for the vacant Brookhaven Highway Superintendent post and a town political source told the News-Review he’s a “good bet to get the nomination” to replace John Rouse, who was recently elected to a judge post.

County Legislator Tom Muratore has also expressed interest in the GOP highway nod and has even scheduled a fundraiser, according to the Newsday report.

The highway superintendent special election is expected to be held in February, which could set up a spring special election for assembly.

Mr. Losquadro, a former County Legislator from Shoreham, just won his first re-election bid in November. He could be announced as the highway nominee before he ever begins his second term next month.

• In case you missed the announcement last week, we’ll be hosting a public debate between Legislature candidates Sean Walter and Al Krupski Jan. 7 at Martha Clara Vineyards in Riverhead.

We were pleased with how the Congressional debates we sponsored went and are happy to be doing it again.

• Of course it’s pretty early to speculate, but who do you think will emerge to fill seats if Walter or Krupski, or Losquadro, wins a new post? Share a comment on who you’d like to see as the next Riverhead Town Supervisor, Southold Town Councilman or Assemblyman.

gparpan@timesreview.com

08/06/12 11:00am
08/06/2012 11:00 AM

Have you received a text asking you to respond “no” or “stop” or you’ll be charged for a service?

Most people would probably ignore such nonsense, but ignoring the text is a signal to a third party that you want to be charged for its “services.”

State Assemblyman Dan Losquadro (R-Shoreham) fell victim to this rock-or-a-hard-place scam, called “cramming,” and he’s urging his constituents to contact their cell phone carriers to add what’s called a purchase block to their accounts.

A purchase block bars third parties from tagging services fees to phone bills, he said.

“I was recently a victim of wireless phone bill cramming and would have been charged more than ten dollars a month for a service that I did not explicitly authorize had I not caught this,” Mr. Losquadro said.  “I encourage everyone who has a mobile phone to contact their service provider and place a purchase block on their account immediately.”

Once the purchase block is in place, customers are issued a PIN number that must be entered to allow third parties to charge an account.

The Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission are investigating thousands of complaints and are predicting the problem will grow as more people grow accustomed to purchasing services through their phones.

“Although this appears to be entirely a federal issue, I am examining possible solutions with the New York State Department of State Division of Consumer Protection and will work with the FCC and FTC towards making purchase blocks a mandatory default feature for all wireless plans,” Mr. Losquadro said.  “While many families are currently struggling to pay their bills, the last thing they need to worry about is paying additional money for charges they did not permit or even know they are paying for.”

mwhite@timesreview.com

03/15/12 3:57pm
03/15/2012 3:57 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Assemblyman Fred Thiele.

A newly revised set of New York State Assembly district maps was passed by the State Legislature late Wednesday and signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo this morning.

The new maps reconnect Riverhead with Southold, but place Shelter Island in the South Fork’s Assembly district.

An earlier proposal would have placed both Southold and Shelter Island in the South Fork district represented by Assemblyman Fred Thiele (I-Sag Harbor).

Southold and Riverhead political leaders, and eventually Mr. Thiele as well, said the North Fork’s voice should not be divided in the state Legislature.

The new proposal will also swap the East End district numbers. What’s now the 1st Assembly district, represented by Dan Losquadro and currently comprising Southold, Shelter Island, Riverhead and northeastern Brookhaven, will become the 2nd District. Mr. Thiele’s South Fork district would become the 1st.

New Assembly, state Senate and congressional districts must be in place in time for the upcoming fall elections. They must be approved by both houses of the state Legislature and the governor.

“I look forward to representing the new 1st Assembly District. 98 percent of the district includes areas I already represent,” Mr. Thiele said in a press release. “Shelter Island, which will be added to my district, was part of my county legislative district in the late 1980s. I am pleased that the redistricting task force listened to public opinion and kept Southold in the current district with northeast Brookhaven and Riverhead, as I had requested.”

Mr. Losquadro echoed this sentiment.

“This was a critical issue for the future for the North Fork and all the communities represented within my Assembly district,” he said in a release. “I would like to thank my fellow elected officials from the county of Suffolk and the towns of Riverhead and Southold, who joined with me to speak out against this proposed inequity. This effort truly resulted in a victory for the residents, who now will continue to have their interests and concerns best represented before the state.”

Mr. Losquadro said Wednesday that he would vote against the changes as a protest against the Democratic Assembly majority’s shutting out minority input on the proposal. He added he was only voting against the proposal because he believed it would pass.

Mr. Losquadro also said he’s supporting a constitutional amendment that would guarantee equal representation on the committee that draws up the district lines. He said he believes that amendment, which will be ready later this week, will have the support of the State Senate and Governor Andrew Cuomo.

“Despite my no vote objecting to the process, the second set of maps are going to pass,” he said. “I simply cannot support the process.

“I think the revised maps are good for the East End, and for the North Fork they’re very good,” he added. “If it hadn’t been for residents stepping up, this wouldn’t have happened. I am so happy that we prevailed in the most egregious of the shortcomings in the initial plan. But parts of the plan are still very lacking.”

Redistricting occurs every 10 years to reflect changes in population statistics gathered during the U.S. Census.

byoung@timesreview.com

03/12/12 1:06pm
03/12/2012 1:06 PM

COURTESY MAP | This map shows the new First district, which will include the southeastern Brookhaven, the South Fork and Shelter Island. Riverhead, Southold and northeastern Brookhaven would be represented in the Second Assembly District, according to this latest proposal.

A newly revised set of New York State Assembly District maps puts Riverhead back in the same district as Southold and places Shelter Island in the South Fork’s Assembly District.

An earlier proposal released by the state last month would have placed both Southold and Shelter Island in the South Fork district represented by Assemblyman Fred Thiele (I-Sag Harbor).

Southold and Riverhead political leaders, and eventually Mr. Thiele as well, said the North Fork’s voice should not be divided in the state legislature.

The new proposal would rename Assemblyman Dan Losquadro’s (R-Shoreham) district, which currently includes Southold, Shelter Island, Riverhead and northeastern Brookhaven, from the First to the Second Assembly District. Mr. Thiele’s district, currently the Second Assembly District, would be renamed the First Assembly District.

“I look forward to representing the new First Assembly District. 98% of the district includes areas I already represent,” said Mr. Thiele in a release issued Monday. “Shelter Island, which will be added to my district, was part of my county legislative district in the late 1980’s. I have continued to work with Shelter Island on many regional issues and look forward to representing them again. Further, I am pleased that the redistricting task force listened to public opinion and kept Southold in the current district with northeast Brookhaven and Riverhead, as I had requested.”

Mr. Losquadro was not immediately available for comment.

Redistricting occurs every 10 years to reflect population statistics gathered during the U.S. Census.

byoung@timesreview.com

02/10/12 12:00pm
02/10/2012 12:00 PM

GIANNA VOLPE PHOTO | Assemblyman Dan Losquadro (R-Shoreham) speaks against the proposed redistricting maps of the 1st and 2nd districts of Long Island at today's public hearing held in Hauppauge by The New York State Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportion

Shelter Island’s first-term Assemblyman Dan Losquadro (R-Riverhead) on Thursday spoke against a state redistricting proposal that would shift his district to extend from Riverhead to the west and remove both Southold and Shelter Island from his constituency.

Shelter Island, Southold and the South Fork towns of Southampton and East Hampton would become a new First Assembly District, absorbing the current Second District that currently covers the South Fork and is represented by Fred W. Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor).

Speaking at a hearing on the redistricting plan, which was developed by a bi-partisan legislative panel to redistribute districts statewide to address population growth reported in the 2010 U.S. Census, Mr. Losquadro said Riverhead should not be cut off from the North Fork and the South Fork should not be lumped into the same district.

He said he worried that Southold residents would have to take two ferries or drive more than an hour around the forks to see their assemblyman. The redistricting plan “diminishes the voices of the Town of Southold,” he said.

Common Cause, a non-profit, non-partisan citizen-advocacy group, charged that some of the proposed new Assembly districts on Long Island had been gerrymandered in what its spokesperson called “a game of follow the Democratic voters.”

Common Cause presented an alternative redistricting plan. Among its features is a separate assembly district that would keep Riverhead, Shelter Island and the North Fork together and not include the South Fork.