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All’s quiet on the third-track front
The countdown clock is ticking for the Long Island Rail Road’s $2 billion third-track proposal.
Members of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s review board have until midnight Friday night to issue a veto of the project. And there really is only one member who might do so, Sen. Martin Golden of Brooklyn, the State Senate’s representative on the board.
Golden awaits guidance from Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, who’s been busy in Albany finishing up the so-called “extraordinary” session of the State Legislature.
So that might be one reason why there is signal trouble on whether the plan is a go. There still might be one or two local officials yet to get on board with the third-track proposal.
There is less than 36 hours to go.
Randi F. Marshall
Armory transfer fails again
Once again, Assemb. Earlene Hooper tried to get the state armory building in Freeport transferred to one of her political backers for $1, a move that would deprive the village of a needed resource. She’s tried this stunt for years and loses ground every time.
In 2013, she got close by slipping in a bill during one of those familiar all-nighters at the end of the legislative session. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo vetoed it. He did the same in 2014. Since then, her efforts have gone further downhill. In 2015, she withdrew the armory transfer bill when it was clear during voting that it would fail.
Then in 2016, she got blocked by the State Senate, which voted early in the session to return the armory on Babylon Turnpike to the village. Hooper tried again on the final day of the session last week, but halted Assembly voting on the bill when she saw it didn’t have the votes.
Freeport wants to use the site for its Department of Public Works. Allowing DPW to move from its current location on the waterfront, Mayor Robert Kennedy says, would free up desirable land for private development, increasing the tax revenue in a village where one-third of the property is off the rolls.
Kennedy says he is patient, acknowledging the transfer won’t happen until Hooper resigns or is replaced. “She can’t stay forever,” he said.
Behind Kaiman’s kind words
As Gerard Terry returns to court in Mineola to fight state tax fraud charges, a former close political ally is putting in a kind word.
Jon Kaiman, the former North Hempstead town supervisor, told The Island Now — the website of the North Shore’s Blank Slate Media — that Terry had “a great depth of knowledge and skill.” The lengthy interview was published June 21.
Terry had served as an attorney advising the town since 2004, during much of Kaiman’s tenure, and was the powerful chairman of the North Hempstead Democratic Committee.
Terry resigned his political post when Newsday published a report in January 2016 saying he owed $1.4 million in state and federal taxes. State and federal tax fraud charges followed.
Kaiman, the town supervisor from 2003 to 2014, hasn’t said much before now about Terry’s legal problems. So the political class in the town is chattering about why Kaiman is speaking up.
He’s got a new job working for Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.
Travel ban is in for a bumpy ride
President Donald Trump’s revised and restricted travel ban is set to go into effect Thursday, and as with the very first one, confusion continues.
Trump’s January and March executive orders, which attempted to restrict travel from seven and then six Muslim-majority countries, were quickly put on hold by the courts. On Monday, the Supreme Court allowed certain portions to take effect ahead of hearing arguments on the constitutional challenges to the ban in the October.
Trump had said the ban would go forward 72 hours after courts gave a green light — meaning today.
But as the administration’s guidance for how to interpret the Supreme Court’s opinion trickles out, it’s clear that this third rollout of the ban won’t be free from controversy. Immigration experts contacted by The Point questioned the limited guidance given in a leaked cable to U.S. diplomatic posts, which could lead to further legal challenges.
The Supreme Court, for example, said individuals with a “bona fide” relationship to a person or entity in the United States should be allowed in. The cable decrees sibling and spousal relationships as close enough, but bars grandparents, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, among others.
Other requirements for entry, such as the exact nature of travelers’ relationship to U.S. “entities,” such as employers or nonprofit organizations, remained partially up in the air.
Which is all to say, it once again will be bumpy ride for visa applicants and a busy summer for immigration advocates.
Be back Wednesday
Enjoy the July 4 weekend! We’ll be back in your inboxes July 5.