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Opinion

Belmont, stimulus checks and the DEA

Construction on the new Belmont Arena as seen

Construction on the new Belmont Arena as seen on Thursday. Credit: Newsday/Randi F. Marshall

Daily Point

An update on Belmont Arena

After decades of dashed hopes and dark moments for New York Islanders fans awaiting a new home, the steel, brick and concrete that are melding on the border of Long Island and Queens look to be a bright spot.

Even before Friday’s "topping off" ceremony — where the last steel beam was raised — Oak View Group chief executive Tim Leiweke, a partner in Belmont Park’s redevelopment, has been pushing to make the project a symbol and a sign of Long Island’s comeback.

Leiweke has given tours of the UBS Arena to sponsors, media, and more. On Thursday, he spoke to the Long Island Association’s economic development and infrastructure committee, saying he is "very, very bullish on Long Island."

Find out more about the new arena and see photos from the construction here.

—Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall

Talking Point

Stimulus checks would skip many Long Islanders

The chances of a new pandemic package passing before the Nov. 3 election are uncertain but it is clear that a priority for all parties in discussion is a second round of stimulus checks. These payments would be similar to the $1,200 for individuals earning less than $75,000 and families making under $150,000 that was included in March’s CARES Act.

For months, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hinted that only families earning less than $40,000 should get a second check. Other proposals have embraced only sending the stimulus to entire households earning less than $75,000. But the most likely scenario is something very close to the first-round limits.

No matter where the limits are set, however, a far lower percentage of Long Islanders will receive them than taxpayers nationally because Long Islanders make (and need) a lot more money than their counterparts across the nation. At least they did before the pandemic.

In 2018, 35% of Long Island households earned less than $75,000, compared to 46% nationally. The median household income on Long Island is $104,000 per year, while the national median is $63,000. It’s that income disparity, along with a plentitude of corporate income tax generated here, that makes New York a federal donor state at an astonishing level, while other states are the beneficiaries.

In 2018, New Yorkers paid $22 billion more than they got back from the federal coffers, or $1,125 per person. McConnell’s home state of Kentucky, by comparison, got $45 billion more federal money than it paid in, or an extra $10,110 per person.

That’s notable because McConnell regularly claims "blue states" are financial disasters he doesn’t want to bail out with federal funds from more rural and more Republican states like his own, an easily disproved canard.

—Lane Filler @lanefiller

Pencil Point

Take cover!

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

Final Point

A case of mistaken identity

It seemed, at first, to be quite the endorsement.

When a friend emailed State Senate District 7 Republican candidate Dave Franklin to show him a document that said "DEA Political Endorsements," Franklin got excited. There, among a list of endorsements for president, Congress, and State Senate districts, was his name.

Franklin, a former Port Washington Police District commissioner, told The Point he was initially "honored" and "flabbergasted" as he came to the conclusion that the federal Drug Enforcement Administration arm of the Justice Department had endorsed his candidacy against Democratic incumbent Anna Kaplan.

He sent the non-descript notice, which included an American flag in the corner, on to his social media team, who crafted Facebook and Twitter posts with a picture of Franklin and the federal DEA’s logo, celebrating the endorsement.

There was just one problem.

The Drug Enforcement Administration doesn’t make political endorsements.

After The Point reached out to Franklin to inquire about the endorsement Thursday, Franklin thought the endorsement might be a hoax. After some digging, the first time State Senate candidate realized where he went wrong.

He was endorsed by New York City’s Detectives’ Endowment Association — not the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Franklin had screened with the city DEA — a union representing 19,000 current and former detectives. He was familiar with the organization, and knew it would be making endorsements.

But that’s not what he was thinking when he saw the initial endorsement list.

"I just got so excited," Franklin told The Point. "It never even clicked. I never made the connection. It was my fault if I misled anyone and I apologize."

By Friday morning, the federal DEA logo was scrubbed from Franklin’s social media accounts, replaced by the city DEA one. On his Facebook page, Franklin issued an apology for the mixup in the comments on the post.

Wrote Franklin: "Honesty, integrity and transparency is important to me, and this error falls on me for not being clear."

—Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall

The Point will return on Tuesday. We hope you have a safe and happy Columbus Day.

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