Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York It’s the most wonderful time of the year. If politics is your sport, nothing compares to retail politics at the local level. No irrational exuberance surrounding national figures with long coattails or embarrassing blowback; just a good, old-fashioned boots-on-the-ground slugfest where committee members rule the day. This year’s election is one where ideology takes a backseat to patronage in the battle of the bureaucrats. This is small ball, baby.It’s been a while since I pulled my thoughts out of the national and international clouds to take a look at what is happening here at home. So forgive me as I reminisce for a moment before handicapping the county executive race in Nassau County, far and away the most interesting local political story of the season.A little more than a decade ago I ran for mayor in my hometown of Glen Cove. In doing so I found myself on the opposite end (and losing side) of the Suozzi family machine. While this was my adopted hometown, I was a so-called carpetbagger living in the feudal regime run by generations of Suozzis. The race was so parochial, my opponent even sent out a campaign flyer that told the good citizens of Glen Cove that I was untrustworthy because I was born in Canada. Glen Cove is the land of homemade pasta sauce, not maple syrup. I never had a chance.As a Republican candidate (hard to believe, I know), I briefly found myself in the fascinating world of the Nassau County GOP. My first (and last) general meeting at GOP headquarters in Westbury was as if I had set the dashboard clock on my DeLorean to 1950. The nearly all-white and graying crowd milled about greeting one another with hearty slaps on the back while the power brokers huddled quietly in the corner of the room whispering among themselves and occasionally surveying the crowd. Gradually, everyone took a seat in a folding chair facing a large map and a podium where chairman Joseph Mondello presided over the meeting.“This is a business!” he bellowed on more than one occasion. Mr. Mondello’s countenance would move from ashen to crimson within seconds as he addressed the audience alternately with the coolness of a CEO and the vigor of a college football coach. The overarching message was that we were to adhere to the script, send our money directly to headquarters and essentially fall in line.The lessons I learned from this experience will stay with me forever. My 15 minutes of fame in Glen Cove has all but faded away, allowing me near perfect anonymity as I watch the lawn signs sprout up all over town with this year’s crop of candidates. My hope is that the politicians who occupy positions on the ballots, whether it’s Brookhaven, Southampton or Glen Cove, have gone to where the action really is: knocking on doors. There is no more authentic or humbling experience than standing in someone’s living room and listening to what they want from their local officials.Which brings me to the two men atop the Nassau County ticket who are appropriately playing small ball, and in doing so, missing the larger picture altogether.When watching current County Executive Ed Mangano and former county executive Tom Suozzi fight to be the one to circle the bowl next, it’s hard not to get caught up in the partisan bickering. And there is some great “inside baseball” going on here. Suozzi says Mangano is responsible for Nassau’s $2 billion debt. He’s not. Mangano claims to have presented balanced budgets. He didn’t. Suozzi attacks Mangano for being soft on gun control. This is grasping at straws. Mangano asserts that he has made progress on the property tax assessment issue. He hasn’t.The biggest disconnect of this race, however, is ideology. The truth of this contest is that the two parties these men represent are indistinguishable from one another.The assessment situation is fixable. But it must come from Albany—and the nine Long Island senators hold the key. Unfortunately, neither Mangano nor Suozzi will cop to this admission because each is cozy with law firms that extract exorbitant fees from tax grievances.Both men share an antipathy toward labor and favor privatization. Mangano spends an inordinate amount of time cozying up to donors and Suozzi spent his political off-season consulting for an investment bank and commissioning works of art. In everything they have done and represent, they are shills for corporate America and complicit in an overall scheme designed to liquidate taxpayers, privatize public works, and ride the status quo deep into the ground.It’s hardly their fault, mind you. Our troubles in suburbia are so thick that there is an air of inevitability to our decline. Mangano and Suozzi know it, which is why this is the ultimate bureaucratic contest. As voters, this election comes down to which starting lineup you want on the field playing in a game that won’t affect the outcome of your season. Got a buddy sandwiched in a cubicle in North Hempstead waiting to return to a cushy county job? Vote for Suozzi. Have a relative in the county who needs three more years to pad his or her pension before retirement? Vote for Mangano.Want real change and a chance to redefine our future? Sorry. Not on the ballot.Either way, I’ll be glued to my television as usual, watching Jerry Kremer and Larry Levy narrate the inevitable. And loving every minute of it.
NOTTINGHAM, England (CMC) – An upbeat and fully-fit West Indies will face a stern test in pursuit of their World Cup dream when they take on reigning World champions Australia in a hotly anticipated contest at Trent Bridge here today.After entering the tournament as rank outsiders, West Indies have seen their odds increase quickly especially after they amassed a mammoth 421 against New Zealand in their last official warm-up match in Bristol, and then crushed Pakistan by seven wickets in their tournament opener here five days ago.However, Australia are expected to provide their toughest opposition yet, and the fact veteran batsman Chris Gayle and explosive all-rounder Andre Russell have both been passed fit for the encounter after picking up niggles against Pakistan has provided a massive boost for the Caribbean side.Despite the long history of rivalry between the two teams, captain Jason Holder downplayed the meeting, stressing they would treat the encounter just like any other.“It’s always been a great rivalry between West Indies and Australia. I think everybody is expecting a really good contest,” Holder told media here yesterday.“We’re up for the challenge. I think they’re up for the challenge, as well. I wouldn’t really get too deep into rivalries, but we expect a really good contest from the Australians.”He continued: “We’re just taking it game by game. Tomorrow is our country versus Australia. We’ve got a hurdle to overcome. I think when we overcome that hurdle then we’ll move deeper into the tournament.“But I just don’t want to single out teams particularly. I think all teams are evenly matched and well-balanced, so it’s just a matter of playing good cricket on any given day. That’s our rule. We want to execute in all three departments.”Ever since their performance against the Black Caps, pundits have been raving about the West Indies’ powerful batting line-up. And with Gayle and Russell fit, Australia can expect to face all the firepower the Windies have to offer.Classy right-hander Shai Hope, with two hundreds and two half-centuries in his last six One-Day Internationals, will line up alongside the likes of opener Evin Lewis, Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer and Carlos Brathwaite, presenting a formidable batting order against any opposition.Holder said it was important his side executed their batting plans properly regardless of if they batted first or chased.“When we bat we just want to execute our batting plans. We’ve all seen the way the world cricket has gone the last couple months – well, last two years – and there have been some high totals and there have been some aggressive stroke play,” he pointed out.“We just want to be as positive as we possibly can be. I think whether we bat first or if we chase, we’ve got to show intent. Intent is something that we spoke about in the dressing room, and it’s something that we want to go about our goal with when we go into our innings.“I don’t want to get too caught up with the conditions, but at the end of the day I just want the guys to show intent and be fearless.”Trent Bridge has been notorious for large totals in recent times. Pakistan piled up 348 against England there two days ago to beat the hosts by 14 runs and three weeks ago, England chased down 340 to topple the same Pakistan.Most notably last year June, England piled up a mammoth 481 as they crushed Australia by 242 runs.Holder said having played their opening game of the tournament at the venue had given the Windies an excellent gauge of what to expect.“I made a remark to one or two of the guys, I felt like the ground was a little bigger than people think. There’s obviously a massive wind factor, as well, which tends to play on your mind, and obviously you have to account for it into your plans,” he pointed out.“We’ve played on a number of grounds with this short side, and this is something you’ve just got to cope with. I always back the guys to go with their strengths first, no matter the dimensions of the ground.“I think we’ve just got to hone in on our skills. The ground will be one way for both teams; that’s one thing guaranteed. That’s just our plan.”He added: “We’ve got a little bit of knowledge about the ground, how the wicket plays. But having said that, there are quite a few strips on this square. I’m not sure which one we’re on tomorrow.“I just think it’s a situation whether we bat or bowl first, we need to assess the conditions as early as possible and then play to suit.”West Indies have won just three of 14 ODIs against Australia since 2010 and lost their last World Cup encounter against them back in 2007, when the tournament was staged in the Caribbean.Australia won their opening match of the World Cup when they beat Afghanistan by seven wickets in Bristol four days ago.SQUADS:AUSTRALIA – Aaron Finch (captain), Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa.WEST INDIES – Jason Holder (captain), Fabian Allen, Carlos Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Sheldon Cottrell, Shannon Gabriel, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Evin Lewis, Ashley Nurse, Nicholas Pooran, Kemar Roach, Andre Russell, Oshane Thomas.