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LI loses, but still wins $62 million
The suspense was over for Long Island officials before anyone even heard the region’s name called.
At the Regional Economic Development Council’s announcements on Thursday in Albany, everyone knew that five of the state’s 10 regions would receive “top performer” awards. So, as host Maria Bartiromo made her way through the regions, starting with Western New York, everyone was keeping count.
When the Mid-Hudson region received a top performer award, New York City and Long Island were the only two regions that hadn’t been announced — and there was only one top prize left. The drama ended quickly when that last one went to New York City, which had never before been designated a top performer. The city will receive $80.2 million in economic development funds.
Long Island, a top performer in four out of the first five years of the competition, still will get $62 million in state funds.
Perhaps some local officials had an inkling that this might not be Long Island’s year. After all, none of the Island’s political players, from the county executives to members of the State Assembly and Senate, including Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, made the trip.
Randi F. Marshall
Schumer + Trump, a bromance
Donald Trump is bringing people together from the left and right — around criticism of Sen. Chuck Schumer, that is.
This week in the libertarian magazine Reason, conservative writer Ira Stoll claims that Schumer and Trump are caught up in a “bromance.” Stoll cites several pieces of evidence, from Trump’s decision to keep U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara on the beat in NYC, to one-off job rescues such as at Carrier, to complaints about China’s currency manipulation.
Indeed, Schumer said after a Democratic luncheon Tuesday that he would see it as a “positive development” if Trump took a harder stance on China over economic issues.
Stoll believes Trump is listening too closely to the nation’s top Democrat. He writes, “Remember, ‘bipartisanship’ in Washington is when Republicans like Trump do what Democrats like Schumer want.”
Oddly enough, many on the left didn’t want Schumer named minority leader of the U.S. Senate. They said he wasn’t liberal enough. In November, roughly 40 people staged a sit-in outside Schumer’s Washington office. They called for him to step aside for someone more palatable, such as Sens. Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren.
This likely won’t be the last of the strange bedfellows Trump brings together.
Smoke and mirrors
De Blasio in campaign mode
Two toddlers died in the Bronx on Wednesday in a tragic radiator accident. The incident would have been major news under any circumstance, but the site was temporary homeless housing, drawing renewed scrutiny of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s multifaceted problems in serving homeless people.
With shelter populations at record highs, de Blasio’s administration has struggled to find adequate housing for those who need it, a persistent NYC problem. The mayor’s solutions so far, however, have been much maligned. They include increased use of commercial hotels, which are expensive and imperfect for families, in addition to so-called “cluster sites” such as the one the toddlers died in. These are privately owned units, and a 2015 Department of Investigation report found many to be rife with violations.
Cognizant of the political liability of homelessness as he runs for re-election in 2017, de Blasio hastily went before TV cameras Thursday afternoon and took questions. He cautioned against castigating cluster sites because of Wednesday’s fatal incident. He reiterated the difficulty of finding enough rooms. He faces an uphill battle: His push to build shelters around the city has faced opposition and been slowed. And his street homelessness outreach initiative, Home-Stat, faces its first major test as winter approaches.
Wednesday morning, before the toddlers’ deaths, de Blasio told WNYC-FM’s Brian Lehrer, “I own it,” referring to the homeless problem. With his campaign gearing up, he’ll likely be held to that statement.
In response to the deaths, potential primary opponent Scott Stringer, the city comptroller, issued a Thursday news release that called for creation of “a roadmap to tackle homelessness.”