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Teacher diversity on Long Island

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Data Point

What's the impact of LI teacher diversity on its students?

An education conference organized at Hofstra University Friday highlighted the lack of teacher diversity on Long Island and detailed its negative effects on students of all races and ethnicities. How bad a picture is it? Read on to see the impact on our children.

nextLI is a platform for participating in civic life on Long Island. It features data analysis and independent research. It is a project of the Newsday Opinion department funded by a charitable grant from The Rauch Foundation.

- Kai Teoh @jkteoh

Daily Point

'This bill is very much alive'

Intense negotiations in Albany over climate change legislation are sucking the air out of most every other environmental measure. A bill sponsored by Sen. James Gaughran that passed earlier in the Senate was approved Tuesday by the Assembly that makes it easier for water suppliers to sue polluters to recover cleanup costs. Now on the runway is a bill to ban from consumer products the probable carcinogen 1,4-dioxane, which is emerging as one of the biggest headaches for Long Island water suppliers.

And environmentalists are turning up the heat on that second bill to get it approved.

Citizens Campaign for the Environment delivered some 14,300 signatures on petitions Tuesday morning to Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie supporting the legislation. The signatures came from Long Island, the Syracuse area and Stewart-Cousins’ legislative district. CCE members also sent at least 1,950 letters.

“This bill is very much alive,” CCE executive director Adrienne Esposito told The Point. “We are very hopeful it’s going to make it over the finish line because of the outpouring of public support and the need to protect our water.”

The bill is being sponsored by the two Long Island environmental conservation chairs, Assemb. Steve Englebright and Sen. Todd Kaminsky. It has progressed further in the Assembly but Kaminsky is negotiating with Stewart-Cousins in that chamber.

An emerging contaminant that has been showing up in water supplies on Long Island, in particular, 1,4-dioxane was found in more than 80 percent of common household products like shampoos, laundry soaps, dish soaps and baby products, according to a CCE study. The chemical has been linked to various cancers and liver and kidney damage.

Esposito met Friday with several chemical industry and consumer product company representatives, and said, “It was apparent that the industries did not understand their role in contaminating Long Island’s groundwater.”

They do now.

“The bill has legs,” Esposito said as the talks continue..

We’ll find out soon if it’s quick enough to beat the June 19 scheduled end of session.

- Michael Dobie @mwdobie

Talking Point

Establishment vs. challenger

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s scheduled appearance at a fundraiser for Melinda Katz is just another example of the establishment Democratic support Katz has received in her quest to be the Democratic nominee for  Queens district attorney.

Katz’s website also says she has the endorsement of unions like the New York Hotel Trades Council, the county Democratic party and its new leader, Rep. Greg Meeks. She is well-funded by the real estate groups that often power local politics.

On the other side of the equation is public defender Tiffany Cabán, whose DA candidacy is being floated by groups like the city Democratic Socialists of America and the Working Families Party.

A Queens DSA representative says the group has mobilized hundreds of canvassing volunteers, and a Cabán field director was hired from DSA, according to a Cabán campaign spokeswoman. Meanwhile, the WFP provides funding for the campaign manager and other functions, says the spokeswoman.

Left-leaning icon Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who also received field support from DSA in her upset primary win over Joe Crowley, has endorsed Cabán, too.

Which side has more muscle in Queens these days? If Queens boy Cuomo, who praised Katz as “gutsy” on Tuesday on WNYC, is a stand-in for the establishment and Ocasio-Cortez for the DSA left, we can look for clues in the performance of both in the 2018 primary election results in the Queens section of the 14th Congressional District. The district also encompases part of the Bronx, which wouldn’t be voting in the Queens DA contest.

The district includes some of the more left-leaning parts of the borough that Cabán would likely need to carry to win.

Both Cuomo and AOC won their primaries (on different days) and of course weren’t running against each other.

Ocasio-Cortez won 58 percent of total applicable ballots in the Queens section of her district. Cuomo beat that number with around 66 percent, counting all the Assembly districts that touch on that Queens section -- which includes an overcount in two Assembly districts that also bleed out of CD14.

One read on this is that Ocasio-Cortez’s vote share was decent compared to Cuomo’s, given that he had both the benefits of incumbency and fair warning about progressive challengers. His September state primary against Cynthia Nixon occurred months after Ocasio-Cortez lit the political world on fire and upset Crowley.

But clearly the district includes a substantial percentage of gubernatorial voters who went with the establishment over the challenger -- even in AOC territory.


- Mark Chiusano  @mjchiusano

Pencil Point

Tied up

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