Next mayor and cop residency rules
Democratic NYC mayoral candidate Eric Adams made headlines for calling Curtis Sliwa a "racist" in a WNYC interview Tuesday. Sliwa, whose website identifies him as of Polish and Italian descent, is the GOP’s standard-bearer for mayor and no stranger to controversy — the New York Post noted recently that he has "pretended to be Latino" in NY1 segments. But to deflect the racism charge Sliwa argued that Adams has made that accusation about others before.
One such example resurfaced this week, in a New York Magazine deep-dive about the 1992 police riot in which NYPD officers gathered around City Hall to protest a reform measure. Adams, then a 32-year-old transit police officer, said just after the riot, "We have been saying for years that the police department is comprised of racist Long Islanders who come into the city by day and leave at night with their arrogant attitudes and believing they are above the law."
The riot certainly featured racist behavior, New York Magazine noted, including cartoon depictions of former Mayor David Dinkins with "humongous lips and nose," and a City Council member trying to enter the building overhearing a white officer say, "There’s a [epithet] who says she’s a councilmember."
Some skepticism of Long Island officers was also shared by others at the time: Then-New York Times columnist Anna Quindlen wrote that nearly "a third of New York City’s police officers live on Long Island, and some of them like to congratulate themselves on getting out of the hellhole they are sworn to protect."
About a third of the NYPD’s cops are still Long Islanders, an issue that still animates city politics. Adams, for whom the 1992 riot appears to have been a formative experience, has supported a change in state law to require NYC residency for current and future officers, with a process for current officers "that’s fair and practical," Adams spokesman Evan Thies told The Point earlier in the campaign. Until Albany makes such a change, the likely next mayor supports a change on the city level to incentivize residency through exam points.
— Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano
East End real estate frenzy ebbs
The long-anticipated cooling of the East End’s pandemic-heated real estate market might finally be at hand, if the money taken in recently by the Peconic Bay Community Preservation Fund is an indication.
The fund, fueled by a 2% tax on East End real estate sales, took in $13.5 million in August, the lowest monthly total since September 2020 but still larger than the $11.2 million it garnered in August of last year. Yet, it’s still a high historic mark given that the CPF typically takes in $7-to-8 million a month, according to Assemb. Fred Thiele (I-Sag Harbor), who co-sponsored the legislation that created the CPF.
"The question has yet to be answered: Is this the plateau that everybody predicted, is the market still strong, or will it continue to tail off from here?" Thiele told The Point.
Here’s some perspective: CPF revenues for the first eight months of 2021 were more than double the same period in 2020, $144.74 million this year compared with $72.26 million last year.
More perspective: The CPF, which began in 1999, has generated $211.9 million in the last 12 months and $1.745 billion overall. Which means that those 12 months brought in an eighth of the program’s total revenue in 1/23 of its history.
Thiele said that, anecdotally speaking, real estate activity is still strong on the East End but he noted that the frenzied pandemic peaks were always known to be unsustainable and that "there is no panic" in the real estate community.
"At some point, the market realigns itself to what the new normal is and that’s what’s going on now," said Thiele.
On the East End, where normal is never really normal, the new normal figures to follow suit.
— Michael Dobie @mwdobie
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A Long Island-style trauma echoes in Missouri
This story here sounds disturbingly similar to that of Bethpage’s notorious toxic plume.
In it, defense contractor Northrop Grumman allegedly knows for more than a decade that chemicals from its property are contaminating groundwater below neighboring land and the nearby surface water. Residents raise their voices, saying it all should have been exposed earlier, which would have staved off injuries and damage. Federal and state inaction come under the microscope.
This latest Grumman-related uproar is unspooling 1,200 miles away, in Springfield, Missouri.
Paul Lesko, a St. Louis-based attorney representing area residents in a lawsuit, told The Point on Wednesday: "We aren’t interacting with anyone from Bethpage. We’re aware of it. How Northrop Grumman has been handling that site is comparable to this one."
Lesko and the plaintiffs say Northrop Grumman, based in Virginia, did not disclose to residents its awareness that their groundwater may contain trichloroethylene, or TCE, a carcinogen. Word of the contamination surfaced only in 2018 after the chemical was detected near a Springfield tourist site, Fantastic Caverns, according to the civil case filed last week.
So far, two local families are claiming that it devalued their properties and affected their health. They’re seeking to get their case certified as a class-action suit to include others affected, which they say could run into the hundreds or thousands.
In an in-depth investigative report in 2020 titled "The Grumman Plume, Decades of Deceit," Newsday described how during a critical 15-year period, the company issued public statements that sharply conflicted with the alarming evidence it had in a bid to sidestep culpability and avoid millions of dollars in costs.
The piece described a lack of sufficiently aggressive action by the company as well as by the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Navy, which owned one-sixth of the facility.
Last week in Missouri, a spokesman for Northrop Grumman told The Associated Press that it was just learning of the case and that the company worked with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to address concerns at the site, formerly owned by Litton Industries, which used TCE to manufacture circuit boards.
The toxic brew of chemicals that came from the Bethpage site also included TCE, which was used there to clean aircraft parts.
Nothing that happens on Long Island is unique nationwide. But sometimes the parallels elsewhere have a chilling precision.
— Dan Janison @Danjanison