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Opinion

Will the Belmont Park project meeting happen?

The Elmont Station, as seen in this rendering,

The Elmont Station, as seen in this rendering, will serve the proposed 19,000-seat arena for the New York Islanders at Belmont Park. Photo Credit: Empire State Development Board

Daily Point

Not a good time to meet

Sources told The Point Wednesday that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s budget director Robert Mujica won’t be meeting with Floral Park Mayor Dominick Longobardi on Monday, as had been planned.

And the developers of the high-stakes Belmont Park project, which includes a new arena for the New York Islanders, are likely to reconsider their participation in meetings as well, our sources said. It’s unclear whether a meeting will occur with officials other than Mujica.

The change came after Longobardi’s village sued Monday to try to stop development at Belmont Park.

Mujica wouldn’t confirm his plans about Monday’s meeting, saying only that he would talk with attorneys to “figure out what the best course of action is” about future meetings with Longobardi or other village representatives. 

Mujica told The Point that Longobardi reneged on his word, having promised he wouldn’t take any legal action before the planned meeting. 

“He said something, and now he did the exact opposite, without a discussion or a head’s-up or a phone call,” Mujica said.

Longobardi, for his part, told The Point Wednesday that he was “away on business” but had not heard of changes to the meeting plans. 

“I look forward to meeting with everyone on Monday,” he said.

The litigation changed the dynamic with the state and the developers, Mujica said, adding that he still wanted to resolve the community’s needs and all “real” concerns. Mujica and Longobardi had tangled before on the village’s concerns over the Long Island Rail Road’s third track project but that project did not involve a lawsuit.

The Floral Park litigation, Mujica said, “makes it hard to close the deal.” 

He added: “It’s also more complicated because they broke their word. As we move forward, can you really trust anything that they’re saying?”

- Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall

Talking Point

What are the odds?

As the 10 Democratic presidential candidates who qualified for the party’s third debate head to Houston for Thursday’s showdown, one of them might have a little extra swing in her metaphorical step.

That would be Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who is now seen as the top contender, at least by oddsmakers. Warren is leading her peers with 9/2 odds on winning in 2020, according to online sportsbook BetOnline. That’s ahead of former Vice President Joe Biden (7/1), Sen. Bernie Sanders (8/1) and — surprise, surprise — entrepreneur Andrew Yang (16/1).

The floundering status of Mayor Bill de Blasio, who did not qualify for Houston, was further confirmed with his 250/1 odds trailing Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (150/1), who has dropped out of the race, as well as two 100/1 Republicans — Vice President Mike Pence, who obviously is not running for president, and former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, who just announced a quixotic attempt to primary President Donald Trump.

Trump, still seen as the betting frontrunner, dropped a tad to even odds, 1/1.

Among a variety of debate-related propositions — who will get the most speaking time, how many non-facts will be uttered by Biden, will “Trump” be said in a closing statement — the surest bet seems to be the one about how many times a moderator will say, “Time is up.”

The over-under is 3½ , and even with expanded time limits in Houston — 75 seconds for direct responses to questions, 45 seconds for rebuttals — the over seems to be a safe play.

After all, this is a group that has proven repeatedly that there isn’t a time limit they can’t exceed.

- Michael Dobie @mwdobie

Interaction Point

Rate the candidates with the editorial board

Once again, Newsday’s editorial board will rate the candidates’ performances during Thursday night’s Democratic debate. 

After flying solo for the first round in June, we asked readers to join us in rating the second round in July. We judged the two rounds like this:

1st debate – We picked Elizabeth Warren on night 1 and Pete Buttigieg on night 2.

 2nd debate – We picked Elizabeth Warren on night 1 and Joe Biden on night 2. Readers made the same choices.

 Let’s do it again, together, on Thursday. Sign up here.

- Rita Ciolli @RitaCiolli

Pencil Point

Never forget

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

Reference Point

Remembering the fallen

“Sept. 11, 2001 — A day which will live in infamy.”

That’s how Newsday’s editorial board began its initial editorial on the 9/11 attacks, in a special edition published that afternoon.

It wasn’t an original phrase, but clearly the editorial wanted to invoke Pearl Harbor. Still, unlike on Dec. 7, 1941, the perpetrators of Sept. 11 weren’t immediately known. 

“What we do know is that some twisted conspirator decided it would be a good idea to fly planes full of innocent Americans into buildings full of innocent Americans,” the board wrote, imagining that “the architects of the terror” were “somewhere cheering with glee.”

The board wrote that America would fight back, as it did after Pearl Harbor, but that first the nation must grieve — for the passengers on the planes that crashed into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania; for the workers in the Twin Towers; for the firefighters and first responders who died in the rescue effort, and for a nation that “has truly lost its innocence.”

The following day, the board wrote about a “scene straight out of hell” whose component parts included flames, acrid black smoke and the disbelief that gripped the city. But it also noted that the terrorists did not rip apart the city’s civic fabric, which “should make every American proud.”

In subsequent days, the editorial board made pleas to President George W. Bush to form a global consensus to fight against terrorism, to make that campaign a top priority, to tighten airport security, and to come to New York City to provide leadership and reassurance for a jittery city worried that its future would be irrevocably altered.

But it also never lost sight of the human tragedy of the day, and the effort it would take for the region to recover.“There is work to be done,” the board wrote two days later. “If the region, indeed the nation, is to pull up and move forward, it will take many hands to make the hard lift. Find a spot and grab hold.”

- Michael Dobie @mwdobie

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