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Molinaro muses on governorship
Fresh off his televised donnybrook of a debate with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo Tuesday night and looking none the worse for having suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous incumbents, Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro visited Newsday’s editorial board on Wednesday.
In public service pretty much continuously since he first ran for the Tivoli Village Board of Trustees in 1994 at 18, Molinaro is anything but new to the political scene. The problem for his campaign, though, may be the new political scene, which hasn’t been kind to anyone outside of the national political spotlight trying to highlight a message.
Molinaro’s campaign has been heavy on detailed policy ideas, like reforming the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and cutting local property taxes 30 percent. But his attempts to get those ideas out to the public have been flummoxed by a news cycle focused on President Donald Trump’s daily antics, Supreme Court soap operas and even hurricanes. Wednesday was no different, as talk of Tuesday’s debate, in which he handled himself quite well, was overtaken by coverage of potential bombs targeting his opponent, as well as the Clintons, Obamas, George Soros and CNN.
Still, any gripes Molinaro might have about garnering attention would likely pale in comparison to those of the board’s afternoon appointment: Libertarian Party gubernatorial candidate Larry Sharpe.
Candidates provide Belmont updates
Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Empire State Development officials are discussing four ideas to address the need for increased Long Island Rail Road service at Belmont Park, according to two state legislators briefed on the process.
In separate endorsement interviews with the Newsday editorial board, State Sens. Todd Kaminsky and Elaine Phillips, who represent communities that border Belmont Park, both confirmed that four plans are being considered. While the details of each proposal have not yet been released, they range widely in scope and cost. Kaminsky told the editorial board that the cost of the plans ranges from $100 million to more than $400 million, and that some degree of “private investment” — likely from the development team known as New York Arena Partners — would be necessary. He favors expanded service to Belmont.
Other sources with knowledge of the discussions told The Point that Empire State Development and MTA officials are trying to answer questions and make revisions. The options include additional but limited transit service for arena events, as well as scenarios that would provide far more regular LIRR service, the sources said.
Plans to improve mass transit at Belmont are complicated by the fact that the station is served by a spur off the Main Line. So some plans might involve laying track or building a new station.
“If you think third track is hard, this will be harder,” Kaminsky said of the more extensive possibilities.
Nonetheless, LIRR chief Phillip Eng told The Point in May that his goal would be to create “a full station that supports the development but also fits the community.”
“Let’s not limit ourselves in terms of our imagination,” Eng said then.
But even imagination has a price tag.
Randi F. Marshall
Finally, 1st Congressional District debates
In case Tuesday’s WCBS experience between Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Republican challenger Marc Molinaro wasn’t enough for you, there’s a congressional debate in Riverhead on Wednesday that could be just as fiery.
Rep. Lee Zeldin and challenger Perry Gershon, finally, will square off for their first true debate in front of an audience.
It would be their second encounter of the day. The pair taped another debate with News 12 Wednesday afternoon, which will air at a later time. And that appears to have already been explosive: See Newsday reporter David Schwartz’s story, including Zeldin saying, “My opponent is as much of a Long Islander as Elizabeth Warren is a Cherokee Indian.”
The face-to-face has been a long time coming, and the Shirley Republican and East Hampton Democrat have squabbled for weeks about dates and forum appearances, plus attacks about sleeping schedules, mistaken mailers and lying. The coming debates are sure to be interesting, as this tight-seeming race heads into the final stretch.
The Mattituck Chamber of Commerce is hosting on Wednesday, with the cooperation of the North Fork Chamber, the Long Island Farm Bureau, the North Fork Promotion Council, and other civics. Some 170 people are expected, said Mattituck chamber member Terry McShane.
“Our goal is to have a civil meeting,” McShane said.