Good afternoon! Today’s points:
- Pidot and Martins are at it again
- Water brings people together
- Will a driverless car make a right on red?
Election day in December?
Just when you thought it was safe to plan an election season, state Sen. Jack Martins has filed a motion in federal court asking that either the November general election for the 3rd CD seat be moved to Dec. 6, or that the new Republican primary ordered this week between he and Philip Pidot, to be held on Oct. 6, be canceled.
Martins’ camp argues that holding a primary and a general election just a month apart gives an advantage to candidates whose party lines are settled, like Democrat Thomas Suozzi.
They also say voter confusion is likely to ensue due to the current plan, with military and overseas voters getting two or three ballots via mail to respond to. And, the motion asks that the court respond “as soon as possible,” even by telephone if necessary, because such quickness will allow the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit a chance to review the decision.
No doubt that court is waiting with bated breath, as is the Supreme Court, and likely the International Court in The Hague, for their shot at the Pidot / Martins contretemps.
Water quality takes center stage
Joint hearings by the State Senate and Assembly are rare. But there will be two next month, in Hauppauge and Albany, focusing on water quality.
Long Island has a list of issues likely to be addressed during the Sept. 12 session at the Suffolk County legislative building, from nitrogen to pesticides to the Bethpage plume to lead. But the spark for the hearings, to be conducted by the environmental conservation and health committees in each chamber, was the contamination of water supplies upstate.
The controversy involves a slow state response by the Democratic administration to the presence of the toxic chemical PFOA in the water in Hoosick Falls and Petersburgh, and the reluctance of the senator who represents the area to hold hearings while the region’s assemblyman called for action (both are Republicans).
Assembly agitation eventually led to the joint hearings — the one in Albany will be held Sept. 7 — and even Congress is getting in on the act by investigating the state and federal response to the crisis.
One thing sure to come up at both hearings: PFOS, a toxic cousin of PFOA. The chemical is found in firefighting foam used at the Air National Guard bases in Westhampton Beach and in Newburgh and has shown up in water supplies in both places.
A new Olympic event
Driverless cars are coming to a city near you
Uber’s announcement that it will introduce a fleet of driverless cars in Pittsburgh in the next few weeks has us wondering. No, not about the fate of its drivers, or whose face and name will appear on the app when you summon a car.
We’re wondering how they’re going to deal with the Pittsburgh left. That’s a custom in town where drivers stopped at a red light will make a left turn just as the light turns green, and drivers in the other direction willingly let them go, knowing they’ll benefit from the courtesy later.
Which, of course, leads to more wonders about how driverless Ubers would handle New York’s many customs — the Big Apple double-park (will the Uber car simply wait, thinking this is stopped traffic that’s about to start up), the rolling right on red (a Long Island special, where you’re rear-ended if you actually come to a full stop at a red light), and the LIE crossover (which includes sudden jumps in and out of the HOV lane as well as those nifty four-lane dives from the extreme left passing lane to the exit ramp in the space of about 50 feet).
One thing we feel good about: The Uber robots are going to be smart enough to have E-ZPass, so it won’t add to the ridiculous clogging at the Throgs Neck Bridge.