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Coronavirus brings surging rental prices, energy use on East End

A luxury 11.5-acre estate in Bridgehampton known as

A luxury 11.5-acre estate in Bridgehampton known as Sandcastle. Credit: Handout

Daily Point

Rental prices, electric use surge on the East End

It was on March 25, just as the sheer terror of the coronavirus engulfed our region, that Dr. Deborah Birx took to a White House podium to sound the alarm.

“We remain deeply concerned about New York City and the New York metro area,” said Birx, coordinator of the national White House coronavirus task force. “We are starting to see new cases across Long Island that suggest people have left the city.”  

A few days later, 10 East End town supervisors and mayors wrote to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and asked him to bar diseased New York City residents from escaping to the farther reaches of Suffolk County. The officials feared that the limited health care system could not cope with the increased population, and that grocery stores and other services would be overwhelmed. “Our population doubles in the summer but not in March or April,” Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said. “It’s very challenging for us.”

The officials were already too late to set up barricades. The city folks had pretty much come early and were staying in their summer homes and seasonal rentals.

See how rental prices and electrical use on the East End were affected by the coronavirus here.

—Rita Ciolli @RitaCiolli

Talking Point

Pat Maher still raring for a race

Westbury resident Pat Maher hasn’t run for office since she took on Rep. Peter King in 2014, but she says she’s been plenty busy. She graduated from Touro Law School in 2019, was studying for the bar until the coronavirus derailed her scheduled test date, works for a branding company, and is pursuing an additional master’s degree in health care and policy at Hofstra University.

And now she’s back on the ballot, looking for the Democratic nomination over party favorite Jackie Gordon in CD2 to run against one of the two GOP state assemblymen on that side of the race, Andrew Garbarino or Michael LiPetri.

While Maher’s highest-profile race was the run against King in which she was beaten 95,177 to 41,814, she is probably best known for her repeated attempts to unseat former Nassau County Legis. Norma Gonsalves. But with six years out of the game and a quiet campaign so far, Maher’s email blast touting her for the June 23 primary and a robocall last week to 10,000 phones raised some eyebrows. 

“I know a lot of people don’t know I’m running because I haven’t really been out there pushing my campaign yet,” Maher said. “I felt like with 700 people dying every day of a pandemic, it wasn’t the time to be so political.”

And why is she coming back into the game now? 

“I really feel like with my legal training and the education I’ve gotten in health care and policy, I bring needed skills to the table,” Maher said.

“I’m not a career elected official, yet I feel I’m as qualified as anybody running,” Maher said. “It’s something I really realized after the 2018 elections, and I was thinking very seriously about running before I even realized King was retiring." 

Maher’s candidacy also might have flown under the radar because she has not yet filed a federal fundraising report, because she has not raised enough for one to be required. But she’s hoping to change that.

“I’m campaigning now and I am looking to raise money, and I’m excited about the race,” Maher said. "I’ve really always loved meeting the people, it’s the best part of running, and I hate that this epidemic has made that hard, but I’m ready to get out there now.”

—Lane Filler @lanefiller

Pencil Point

A full Jared

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Quick Points

  • A UN Security Council vote calling for stopping all armed conflicts because of the coronavirus pandemic was blocked by the United States, apparently because the resolution included support for the World Health Organization. In other words, America vetoed both peace and health.
  • South Korea showed the way in limiting the spread of COVID-19, and now it’s showing the way in reopening. When one 29-year-old man tested positive and revealed he had visited three nightclubs in Seoul, epidemiologists tracked down 7,200 fellow nightclub-goers for testing and ended up closing more than 2,100 nightclubs, bars and discos after finding dozens of new cases. That’s the math of contact tracing.
  • While House Democrats prepare a multi-trillion-dollar aid package for state and local governments, hospitals, testing and contact tracing, direct payments for Americans, small business loans and more, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said negotiations on a package are “paused” to see whether aid given so far is working. Hey, Larry, we already know it’s not enough. SEND MORE CASH, NOW.
  • White House officials said Vice President Mike Pence would put “a little distance” for a day or two between himself and others but not quarantine after a close staffer tested positive for COVID-19, and he was back in his office on Monday. That’s what passes for leadership in the White House these days.
  • Infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci, CDC director Robert Redfield and FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn are scheduled to testify remotely on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. Some call it a congressional hearing. Others call it Showtime.
  • As his poll numbers slip, President Donald Trump’s campaign is unleashing a series of swing-state ads attacking Democratic rival Joe Biden on Cuba, fracking and trade. Yeah, Cuba will sure distract people from the coronavirus and the economy.
  • In January, as COVID-19 took root in the United States, the owner of a medical-supply company in Fort Worth, Texas, wrote to Department of Health and Human Services officials to offer to ramp up production to make an additional 1.7 million N95 surgical masks per week. He still hasn’t gotten a “yes.” 
  • With the passing of Richard Penniman, we’re short on Tutti Frutti, Lucille really is gone, and Miss Molly is no longer rockin’ and a rollin’. A-wop-bop-a-loo-bop-a-wop-bam-boom! RIP, Little Richard.

—Michael Dobie @mwdobie

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