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Mike BarryEye on the Island

By Mike Barry

Prejudiced Pundits Saw No Place For Polls

Friday, 22 November 2013 11:12

The Newsday/News 12/Siena College Poll had County Executive Edward Mangano leading by anywhere from 11 to 17 percentage points in the weeks leading up to Election Day 2013.

The Siena College Poll’s analyses were covered accurately by the reporters at Cablevision-owned Newsday and News 12 Long Island prior to Tuesday, Nov. 5. So, when the county executive was re-elected by 18 points (59-41 percent), a decisive result should not have caught many people off-guard, right? Well, it did if you were a Newsday editorial board member, or a News 12 commentator, one of whom said on-air on Election Night that they were not surprised at the county executive race’s outcome, but stunned at Mangano’s margin of victory. Newsday and News 12 commission the Siena College Poll. Is it too much to ask that the pundits who offer political opinions for Newsday and News 12 either read or occasionally acknowledge Siena College Polls? That’s a rhetorical question.


George Washington’s Long Island Spy Ring

Thursday, 14 November 2013 00:00

Manhattan is filled with landmarks chronicling the nation’s origins, whether it is the statue of George Washington on Wall Street, or Fort Tryon Park, named after William Tryon, the last British governor of New York.

Less well known are the names of the previously unsung heroes featured in George Washington’s Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved the American Revolution (Sentinel), the engaging, just-published book co-written by Brian Kilmeade, a Massapequa resident and co-host of Fox News Channel’s Fox & Friends program, and Don Yaeger, an accomplished writer best known for his work at Sports Illustrated.


Casinos Have Fans At Board Of Elections

Thursday, 31 October 2013 00:00

The state Board of Elections’ (BOE) commissioners are not casino industry employees, but they’ve shown an ability to stack a deck.

Exhibit A can be seen when voters read the state BOE-approved language for Proposition 1 on their Tuesday, Nov. 5 ballot. The text is as follows: “The proposed amendment to section 9 of article 1 of the Constitution would allow the Legislature to authorize up to seven casinos in New York State for the legislated purposes of promoting job growth, increasing aid to schools, and permitting local governments to lower property taxes through revenues generated. Should the amendment be approved?”


The MTA’s Amazing Money-Gobbling Machine

Thursday, 24 October 2013 00:00

The late Philadelphia retailer John Wanamaker said half the money he spent on advertising was wasted. The trouble is, Wanamaker added, he didn’t know which half.

Yet Wanamaker would have realized the NY 529 College Savings Plan is wasting its advertising dollars on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) Long Island Rail Road (LIRR). NY 529 purchased billboards on LIRR properties to urge parents to establish a 529 because tuition at public colleges has risen “37 percent over the past 10 years.” That’s it, a regular LIRR rider might ask. No wonder public higher education remains a bargain compared to the cost of mass transit.  


The Con Man Who Almost Took The Islanders

Thursday, 17 October 2013 00:00

When I learned New York City mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio was born Warren Wilhelm, it was as if someone told me the president of the United States used to be Barry Soetoro. Oh, wait.

The vetting of a political candidate — who is this person, and how did they get here — is an important part of the electoral process, but figuring out who’s on the other side of a major business transaction is also pivotal. The latter wasn’t always the case in the National Hockey League (NHL).


Long Island’s Taylor Dayne Sings Her Way Home

Friday, 11 October 2013 00:00

To get a sense of Taylor Dayne’s abundant vocal talent, and her ability to navigate the vagaries of show business, a quick visit to YouTube is in order.

You’ll immediately see the music video from her first breakout hit, “Tell It to My Heart,” and, digging deeper, an interview from Arsenio Hall’s original talk show where Dayne, a Baldwin High School graduate, sat alongside actor Judd Nelson. Dayne would go on over the next quarter-century to produce 17 other Billboard Top 10 hits, earn three Grammy nominations, and remains to this day a compelling performer with a loyal fan base.


‘Kaiman 2017’ Gets Cuomo’s Endorsement

Thursday, 03 October 2013 09:54

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s appointment of Jon Kaiman as the Nassau Interim Finance Authority’s (NIFA) chairman marked the unofficial launch of Kaiman’s 2017 bid for Nassau County executive.

How else to explain the timing of the governor’s announcement (Sept. 19)? It came only nine days after former County Executive Tom Suozzi won a convincing victory over Roslyn school board member Adam Haber in a contested Democratic primary for Nassau County executive. Suozzi made an unsuccessful gubernatorial bid in 2006; so Cuomo, looking down the road, has reason to believe Suozzi might make another run for governor in 2018. Cuomo could be seeking a third term that same year.


Dinkins Tries To Set The Record Straight

Thursday, 26 September 2013 08:46

History repeated itself this month when the editorial boards of The New York Times, New York Post and New York Daily News all backed one of the losing candidates in the city’s Democratic mayoral primary, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

Back in 1989, with four candidates vying to become the Democratic Party’s mayoral nominee, The Times and Post endorsed then-Mayor Ed Koch, and the Daily News threw its support to Richard Ravitch. Neither Koch nor Ravitch had an office in City Hall in January 1990. The winner of that primary, which also included city comptroller Harrison Goldin, was Manhattan borough president David Dinkins, who later won the general election to become the city’s first African-American mayor.


Boomer Esiason Offers Life Lessons

Friday, 20 September 2013 00:00

The late Irene Esiason gave her son a nickname that would last a lifetime, but she died long before “Boomer” Esiason became a national figure in sports, and then broadcasting.

“I was seven when my mother passed away from lymphoma,” the Manhasset resident explained in an email interview. “No one is ever prepared to lose a parent. It really turns your life upside down and changes things forever. My mom was the one who made our house a home.”


September Pro Sports: That’s The Ticket

Friday, 13 September 2013 00:00

The Mets’ playoff hopes are long gone, and the Yankees’ appear bleak, but Nassau’s sports fans have options this month if they are ice hockey, soccer or thoroughbred horse racing fans.

The New York Islanders, coming off their best season in years, will play a pre-season game at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Saturday, Sept. 21, at 7 p.m., against the New Jersey Devils. Less than a week later, on Friday, Sept. 27, also at 7 p.m., the Islanders return to the Nassau Coliseum to host a pre-season contest against the Nashville Predators. The Isles’ 2013-2014 regular season debut will take place on Friday, Oct. 4 at the Prudential Center in Newark, where they’ll again face the Devils. The Islanders’ home opener is Saturday, Oct. 5, at 7 p.m., at the Nassau Coliseum against the Columbus Blue Jackets.


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