Setting a standard for getting back to work
The parking lot at RXR Plaza in Uniondale was mostly empty early Friday morning. The lobby lacked the usual stream of employees heading into their offices, chatting about the upcoming weekend or preparing for a day of work, shaking hands or giving hugs.
The main sound was the whirr of the escalator.
During a tour, The Point found that much had changed. But even as RXR Plaza remains only 5% to 15% occupied, the building serves as a microcosm of what the return to work might look like in the weeks and months ahead.
—Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall
Policing issues front and center for candidates
The Democratic primary is far from over in New York’s 1st Congressional District but general-election battle lines are already emerging, with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee hitting Rep. Lee Zeldin on policing issues.
A digital video ad released Thursday criticizes the Shirley Republican for his vote against the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020, which passed the House with just three GOP votes on Thursday.
“We have to change the culture of silence and complicity where officers protect their own rather than the public they serve,” text from the ad says. The ad highlights footage of peaceful protesters and what the act aims to do, like getting rid of police use of chokeholds and no-knock warrants.
In response to the ad, Zeldin’s campaign sent a statement calling the legislation a “dead-on-arrival one-House messaging bill.”
“Congressman Zeldin proudly supports our police, our need for law and order, and our desire for safety and security. He opposes sanctuary cities, the illegal toppling of statues of our founding fathers, and the looting, rioting, arson, assaults and homicides that have come with this movement in recent weeks around our country,” the statement says in part.
Will policing be a hinge issue in Long Island races this fall, with law and order as the GOP calling card?
In next-door CD2, Assemb. Mike LiPetri built a name for himself with pro-police rhetoric, and Assemb. Andrew Garbarino, who has declared victory in that primary, sent out a Friday fundraising email claiming that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio “abandoned” the NYPD.
“[L]eftist mobs LOOTED and BURNED small businesses all over New York City,” the Garbarino email says.
Meanwhile, Rep. Pete King, who is retiring from his CD2 perch, still wants to make clear that he’s firmly behind police officers. On Thursday, he sent The Point video of his House speech opposing the police reform legislation.
“The brutal murder of George Floyd and the protests and demonstrations since then highlight the racial issues which still afflict our nation, and which deserve thoughtful discussion and debate,” King says in the video. “I want to use my time today, though, to reject the premise of systemic police racism, which is the genesis of today's legislation.”
He, too, latches onto the scenes of looting and business destruction that occurred sporadically in New York City after Floyd’s death, but aren’t what “we are seeing right now in New York” as King suggests.
And beyond the nod to Floyd he repeats rhetoric from campaigns past about his father’s NYPD service and the benefits that communities of color have received from police.
“No one has done more to protect all lives than the police.”
—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano
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Time to get counting
There are a lot of absentee ballots to count on Long Island.
The competitive three-way Democratic contest in CD1 took the cake with about 36,000 absentee ballots, according to figures from the Suffolk Board of Elections as of close of business Thursday.
CD2’s Democratic primary featured more than 25,000 absentee ballots across both counties, and the district’s Republican primary logged more than 12,000.
The absentees are particularly meaningful in a district like CD1, where the early vote and primary day turnout left Perry Gershon and Nancy Goroff fewer than 200 votes apart, and Bridget Fleming a little over 1,000 behind the leader.
Even in State Senate District 1, where the top three Democrats are separated by fewer than 600 votes, some 18,000 absentee ballots have come in.
And the absentee numbers could still climb. The primary was held on Tuesday but the deadline for absentees to make their way to the elections boards is days away, June 30.
Overall, it was a huge bump in absentee ballot voting for a pandemic primary day in which absentee ballot applications were mailed to eligible voters.
But there were disparities in who embraced absentee voting so far (with many ballots still outstanding, of course). Democratic voters in CD1, CD2 and the Long Island parts of CD3 overwhelmingly opted for absentees over early or primary day voting. But as of latest numbers there were nearly as many machine votes in the Republican CD4 primary as absentee. And more Republican primary voters in CD2 chose to cast their votes in person as opposed to using the absentee option — a decision party leader President Donald Trump might approve, given his repeated criticisms of absentee voting.
—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano