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Opinion

New beginnings for Kevin Law

Kevin Law, president and CEO, during a meeting

Kevin Law, president and CEO, during a meeting of the Long Island Association in Melville on Feb. 14, 2018. Photo Credit: Barry Sloan

Daily Point

Law’s first ride

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s monthly committee meetings took place as usual on Monday – but they looked different.

Long Island Association chief executive Kevin Law now co-chairs the Metro-North & Long Island Rail Road Committee, along with MTA board member Susan Metzger, who ran the panel’s Monday morning meeting.

While Law was quiet at the start of the meeting, and didn’t make any opening remarks, he did chime in after Janno Lieber, the MTA’s chief development officer, presented updates on the LIRR’s third track and East Side Access projects, saying the fact that the projects were on time was “music to all of our new board members’ ears.”

But Law’s most significant moment of the morning came when a new LIRR procurement request came up for a vote. The committee was scheduled to vote on a $3.1 million contract with Siemens Mobility Inc. for signals, crossing gates and other equipment. But Law had just sat through a presentation regarding continued and significant problems with the installation of positive train control -- and Siemens is one of two vendors handling that project. Taking a page from the playbook of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who has made going after bad contractors and threatening them with debarment a priority, Law went after Siemens.

“I for one am not satisfied with the answers,” Law said. “I want to pull this item from the agenda until I have a chance to talk to staff and get a better handle on the issue. We need to do things differently. We need to be looking at things differently and we need to be vocal about things that are unacceptable.”

And so, the item was pulled for further discussion and no vote was taken.

Later in the day, the New York City Transit committee made a similar decision, pulling off its agenda  another procurement request for work Siemens was going to do for the subways. New Transit Committee Chairwoman Sarah Feinberg, who raised the issue, noted that concerns raised during the LIRR meeting led to her suggestion. During that conversation, the possibility of whether Cuomo’s new debarment strategy would apply came up, too.

Score one -- or two? --  for the newest Long Islander on the MTA board.

- Randi F. Marshall @randimarshall

Talking Point

Ripple effect

The fallout from former state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman’s 2018 resignation over assault allegations continues to reverberate.

His exit, of course, led to Tish James vacating her NYC public advocate post, which is now being eyed by Staten Island City Councilman Joe Borelli, a Republican. He would likely face Democrat Jumaane Williams, who won the special election in February but would have to win again in November to remain the public advocate.

Borelli, a state co-chairman for President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and frequent surrogate, has long been rumored to be in the market for a different role: NY’s 11th Congressional District, the city’s most conservative.

The unexpectedly open public advocate race would be a free bid for him, garnering valuable publicity in an expensive media market.

Borelli has a young son and can continue pondering whether he wants to challenge freshman Democrat Rep. Max Rose and make the move to DC, all the while building a city-wide profile.

For now, Assemb. Nicole Malliotakis is the only Republican to have filed paperwork to challenge Rose. She has been  fundraising and looking to gain GOP leadership support in an effort to discourage primary challengers. Malliotakis herself made a losing but profile-raising bid for mayor in 2017, setting an example for Borelli.

There’s always something else down the road…

- Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Pencil Point

Opposite views

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Quick Points

Retaking the throne

  • While “Game of Thrones” fans waited Sunday for the final season to begin and wondered who would end up sitting on the Iron Throne, the Tiger of the Woods was on the march and after years in the wilderness reclaimed the Irons Throne.
  • It’s always nice to be wanted — unless you’re wanted in the way Julian Assange is wanted by Sweden and the United States.
  • Sen. Cory Booker officially kicked off his campaign for president Saturday in Newark. That’s OK, you’re not the only one who didn’t notice.
  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand raised $3 million in the first quarter, putting her eighth of the nine candidates who have reported. Sometimes it’s the lack of money that talks.
  • White House counselor Kellyanne Conway says moderate Democrats are frustrated with “radical freshmen” in Congress. Sorry, was that supposed to be news?
  • CitiBike operator Motivate grounded its pedal-assist fleet, saying its response to problems with the bikes’ front brakes was made out of an “abundance of caution.” When it comes to brakes, you can’t have less than an abundance of caution.
  • President Donald Trump’s revival of a proposal to send migrants to sanctuary cities in order to distract from the impending release of the Mueller report takes its place alongside “Casablanca” with all of us shocked, shocked, to find diversion going on.

- Michael Dobie @mwdobie

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