Good afternoon and welcome to The Point!
With the success of the Women’s March last weekend, some on the left are looking for ways to channel anti-Donald Trump fervor into electoral success. A recently unveiled website, swingleft.org, aims to do that for the House of Representatives in 2018 — inserting itself into Long Island politics.
If interested volunteers enter a ZIP code, the website will identify their nearest “swing district,” which it identifies as “places where the last election was won by 15% of the vote or less.” Supporters can then sign up to support a supposedly vulnerable Democrat or to attack a vulnerable Republican.
The site directs residents of Long Island, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx to Rep. Thomas Suozzi’s 3rd District. Any extra support probably wouldn’t hurt Suozzi’s bid to secure the seat for Democrats after his freshman tour, but it hardly seems a place to bring in reinforcements. Suozzi’s district has a comfortable 40,000-plus lead in registered Democrats along with a history of Democratic representation.
The website might be more useful sending progressive city and Long Island residents across the border to the 2nd CD, which has a much tighter registration balance — 169,098 Democrats, 162,530 Republicans, 9,568 Conservatives and 1,970 Working Families members.
Without the benefit of President Donald Trump at the top of the ticket in an off-year election — and when household name and longtime Republican incumbent Rep. Peter King retires (if he ever does) — that’s a district far more fertile for flipping despite the fact that King’s win margin in 2016 was above the website’s 15 percent threshold.
Off to a flying start
-- When the Mexican government decided to extradite notorious drug dealer El Chapo to the United States, he was flown to Long Island MacArthur Airport. No new customs facility there yet, and already it’s getting international traffic.
-- So now President Donald Trump’s chief adviser, Kellyanne Conway, is touting “alternative facts.” Which immediately joined “It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is” in the Obfuscatory Hall of Fame.
-- During the Davos economic forum’s discussion of the fight against climate change last week in Switzerland, it was China that took the lead on moving forward and the United States that stepped back. And so the world order begins to change.
-- A lawsuit Monday morning challenging President Donald Trump’s acceptance of foreign money on constitutional grounds could spend years in the legal system and even then might not force Trump to release his tax returns. How long will the public be willing to wait? In an ABC-Washington Post poll last week, 74 percent of Americans said he should release them. In addition, there are more than 265,000 signatures on a petition on the White House’s website making the same demand.
Trump says he can’t release the returns while they’re under audit by the IRS. If that’s still the reason, his returns for the 2016 calendar year can be made public the day he files them. Surely, the IRS won’t be that trigger-happy to audit the new boss right off the bat.
Layover at Aqueduct?
In all of the talk of a $10-billion effort to redevelop Kennedy Airport and the roads and public transit around it, there was plenty of discussion of public-private partnerships and of ways to find money from private sources. That conversation often mentioned airlines or airport terminal owners as potential private partners. But one corporate name — surprisingly, perhaps — never came up.
Genting New York LLC operates Resorts World Casino at Aqueduct Racetrack. The company advertises the casino as being “just minutes from JFK Airport.” Major changes in the roads leading to and from Kennedy will be consequential to the casino. Genting hopes to expand the casino to include full table games and reduce the amount of racing at the track. So any improvement to Kennedy’s on-airport facilities, and any addition of amenities like hotels, improved transportation and more, could help Genting, too.
Genting didn’t come up on Jan. 4 when Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and others unveiled the state’s plan to redevelop Kennedy. But Genting officials certainly are thinking about it. “We want to be viewed as an extension of the airport amenities there,” Genting spokesman Michael Levoff told The Point.
Could Genting play a role in a public-private partnership to redevelop the terminals or other areas at Kennedy? Could the airport redevelopment tie in, perhaps, with Cuomo’s ideas about remaking Aqueduct, moving its horse racing to a winterized Belmont Park, privatizing the New York Racing Association or even redeveloping the area around Belmont? And could Genting be part of all of it?
Wanna make a bet?
Randi F. Marshall