TODAY'S PAPER
77° Good Morning
77° Good Morning
Opinion

Northport plant powering election races

The LIPA Power Plant in Northport as seen

The LIPA Power Plant in Northport as seen in this 2019 aerial picture. Credit: Newsday / John Keating

Daily Point

Who’s got the power?

With the Northport-East Northport School District hosting a public forum Wednesday evening on a proposed deal with LIPA to cut the taxes on the Northport Power Plant, it’s possible the decade-long saga is coming to an end. 

After all, the proposal, to cut what the power authority pays on the plant from $86 million annually to $46 million over seven years, was negotiated and presented by the district’s attorney, John Gross, who assumed a hard-line stance for years but now agrees this is a deal the district needs to take before a judge’s ruling brings economic ruin.

Find out what local politicians think of the potential deal here.

—Lane Filler @lanefiller

Talking Point

Sending out the same signal

President Donald Trump’s Wednesday tweet is a pretty good summary of what he wants the November election to be about: “Joe Biden and the Radical Left want to Abolish Police, Abolish ICE, Abolish Bail, Abolish Suburbs, Abolish the 2nd Amendment – and Abolish the American Way of Life,” the message said. 

It’s a similar message to the one the National Republican Congressional Committee is honing for Long Island races. 

A Tuesday memo about New York primary results from the group describes New York GOP standard-bearers like Rep. Lee Zeldin as supporters of law enforcement. 

It highlights the suburbs as a key battleground  — certainly an area of focus for Trump, who won Suffolk County in November 2016 and has been talkative about the suburbs recently, commenting negatively on fair housing rules for the suburbs and claiming in the Rose Garden Tuesday that former Vice President Joe Biden would “abolish the suburbs.” 

“Contrary to the media’s hysteria, Republicans are winning in the suburbs,” the memo notes, citing as evidence “Republicans flipping the Town of Hempstead to GOP control in last November’s election.” 

And the memo brands various Democratic candidates as radicals in general and on issues like bail reform in particular. 

In CD2, for example, the memo says that “Democrats nominated far-left candidate Jackie Gordon who has openly touted her endorsement from the socialist ‘Squad’ and has stood by dangerous policies like New York’s disastrous bail reform law.”

Asked about Gordon’s position on state bail laws in the past, her campaign has pointed to a February Politico interview in which she said she believed there was room for changes and cited the importance of “public safety.” 

Hardly a socialist, Gordon has been endorsed by the Blue Dog PAC affiliated with the centrist Democratic caucus, Gordon’s campaign said. 

But the “socialism” label has become a rallying cry for Republican campaigns around the country, from Trump on down — as reliable a national note as many Democrats’ focus on health care, a subject hardly mentioned in the GOP New York memo. 

National campaigns, of course, tend to rely on broad strokes more than complicated local realities, and sometimes the shortcuts show — as in the memo when the last name of Gordon’s GOP opponent, Assemb. Andrew Garbarino, is at one point spelled wrong. 

—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Pencil Point

Anything you can do...

For more cartoons, visit www.newsday.com/cartoons

Final Point

As Belmont Arena rises, so does Elmont Station

It’s easy for those driving near Belmont Park, or even looking at the live cam video from home, to see the new arena, and future home of the New York Islanders, rising each day.

But fewer people might realize that another part of the Belmont project also is underway: the Long Island Rail Road’s new Elmont station. 

The station falls under the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s 2015-2019 capital plan, and projects under that previous plan, including the LIRR’s third track and the connection to Grand Central Terminal known as East Side Access, are continuing, even as other projects, those earmarked in the 2020-2024 capital plan, are on hold. 

In the case of the Elmont station, it’s even easier to keep the work going without worry about the financial implications — because there are no financial implications. The MTA isn’t responsible for the station’s $105 million price tag. Instead, the state is contributing much of the money up front, and ultimately the development team, which is known as New York Arena Partners and includes Sterling Project Development and the Islanders, will pay back most of the cost.

“The work has started and is on schedule for the first portion to be done in the fall of 2021 by hockey season,” MTA spokesman Ken Lovett told The Point on Wednesday.

That first portion involves the stop’s southern platform. The second part —the northern platform — will be finished by the end of 2022. Ultimately, both platforms will be extended to fit 12 cars, will include an overpass between them, and will be ADA compliant.

The project also includes upgrades to tracks and switches in the area. 

The MTA is still at the start of the effort, doing prep work and getting materials and equipment into place. But even that gives Islanders fans a chance to imagine a time when they’ll be able to watch their team play in a brand new arena, after taking the train to the game.

—Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall

Columns