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Tumultuous times

Superstorm Sandy brought flooding to the beachfront community

Superstorm Sandy brought flooding to the beachfront community of Breezy Point, Queens on Oct. 30, 2012. Credit: Newsday / Patrick E. McCarthy

Daily Point

New data shows stormy times ahead for LI coastal properties 

For years, Long Island homeowners, like their counterparts across the country, have turned to maps produced by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to understand how susceptible their properties are to flooding. But FEMA’s maps have been criticized by climate experts as underestimating risk because they don’t account for the effects of climate change and haven’t been updated for decades because of a lack of funding.

To read the full article, click here.

—Michael Dobie @mwdobie

Talking Point

Occupy Movement’s return to NYC

The Occupy movement has returned to New York City in recent days with the weeklong encampment outside City Hall. 

Just as in the anti-Wall Street Zuccotti Park protests that spread worldwide in 2011, cue the scenes of tarps and umbrellas, signs and chalk, and different stations that make a 24-hour protest possible: food being donated and shared, a “people’s bodega” and library, a garden, an area for sign-makers. 

But the current occupation has the help of seasoned, politically minded NYC activists such as those from nonprofit VOCAL-NY, and appears mainly focused on a specific and immediate policy goal: defunding the police. 

The occupation has highlighted the NYC budget process, which ends this week. During a weekend visit, there was a generic “don’t forget to vote” sign hung on a fence, but also signs with the office phone numbers of key City Council members who will vote on the budget. 

In the canopy-protected library, there were more philosophical tracts about abolitionism — ”building a world without police or prisons” — but also a pamphlet called “BABY BILL’S BUDGET REPORT” that includes information about the city budget calendar, the fact that the municipal spending plan is bigger than that of most states, and suggestions for what the NYPD’s nearly $6 billion allotment could be shifted toward. 

There’s also a sample script for calling local elected officials. And the protest’s Signal channel was sharing sample social media language regarding the budget Tuesday afternoon.

Is the activism working? Cops clashed with protesters on the site early Tuesday morning, and the official budget vote — an unusually fraught one because of funding gaps due to the coronavirus pandemic — is expected Tuesday evening. De Blasio announced the outlines of his budget deal agreement with the council on Tuesday, saying that the NYPD’s funding would be cut and shifted, including cancelling a class of recruits and reducing overtime. Some police operations, such as portions of homeless engagement, would be shifted out of the NYPD. 

Some protesters and their allies didn’t see that as sufficient. As Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said in a statement Tuesday as budget details emerged, “Defunding police means defunding police. It does not mean budget tricks or funny math.”

The statement ended: “The fight to defund policing continues.”

—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Pencil Point

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Data Point

Concluding “Race on LI”: The Black-white gap

While 1 out of 5 white households on Long Island make more than $200,000, only 1 out of 10 Black households make the same amount, according to 2018 Census numbers.

A list of highlights from nextLI’s  “Race on LI” series:

  • Around a quarter of Black households make one third of the median household income on Long Island ($105,000).

  • Black Long Islanders are twice as likely as white Long Islanders to be unemployed and/or live in poverty. 

  • The percentage of Long Islanders without health insurance who are Black (10.13%) is larger than the percentage of Black Long Islanders in the total population (9.8%), while the share of white Long Islanders without health insurance (61.4%) is well below their percentage of the total population (70.4%).

Our findings on Long Island’s racial divide predate COVID-19’s deadly spread, however; higher rates of infections in minorities show the virus has disproportionately devastated LI’s most vulnerable communities of color. For more details on the Black-white disparity, click here

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. 

—Nicole Ki @_nicoleki