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Housing at the Hub?
If all had gone according to plan, restaurants and retail stores should be under construction now at the Nassau Hub, even as the final touches on Nassau Coliseum are completed.
That’s what’s stipulated in the lease between Nassau County and Nassau Events Center, the entity led by developer Bruce Ratner and Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov that is doing the work at the Coliseum.
Instead, all’s quiet on land surrounding the Coliseum.
Part of that may be because of ongoing litigation between Ratner and Blumenfeld Development Group, which claims that it should have a role in the commercial development. But Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano says the reason for the delay is that he and county officials are rethinking the plans at the Hub and discussing the notion of adding housing to the plan.
Housing, Mangano says, could complement efforts by Memorial Sloan Kettering and the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research to build research and medical facilities at the site. Hempstead Town’s approved zoning for the site allows up to 500 residential units, which would have to include some affordable or workforce housing.
The news comes as Mangano tries to woo the New York Islanders back to the Coliseum. One of the main complaints about Brooklyn from fans and players is the trip to Barclays Center. Housing at the Hub could certainly shorten the commute for some if Mangano’s dream of an Islanders’ return ever becomes a reality!
Randi F. Marshall
Arrest in jogger case not stopping Boyle
Even though a suspect has been arrested in the killing of Karina Vetrano, state Sen. Phil Boyle says he will continue to push for familial DNA matching — a proposed expansion of law enforcement powers that was spurred by a stalled investigation of the August slaying of the Howard Beach jogger.
A bill he sponsored passed the State Senate Tuesday by a vote of 49-10, and Boyle told The Point he hopes that strong bipartisan legislative support will influence the New York State Commission on Forensic Science to support the measure. If the panel, which meets Friday afternoon, adopts familial DNA matching, he said, it could become policy 45 days later.
The 14-member commission appointed by the governor is made up of medical examiners and law enforcement officers from around the state and assists the state Division of Criminal Justice Services in setting policy.
Familial DNA matching is used in 10 states to locate possible family members of an unknown suspect. In the Vetrano case, police had recovered genetic evidence on her body but found no exact match in the state database. Familial DNA matching could turn up relatives whose genetic profiles exist in the database.
Critics, including the New York Civil Liberties Union, say familial DNA matching raises concerns about privacy, and it’s unfair to Latinos and African-Americans because they make up a majority of offenders in the database.
However, Boyle and others will continue to push for it. “I’m very pleased a suspect has been arrested” in the Vetrano killing, Boyle said, “but this [familial DNA search] is something that could be used for years to come. It could be used to solve cold cases.”
Broken windows a DA race issue
In a meeting this week with the new group North Brooklyn Progressive Democrats, Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez reportedly said something surprising. According to an attendee, Gonzalez said that broken-windows policing “does not keep us safe.”
Nick Rizzo, a community district leader in north Brooklyn, tweeted the charged quote Monday with a picture of Gonzalez, who took over when reformer Ken Thompson died last year after nearly three years as prosecutor.
Thompson took steps such as limiting prosecutions of low-level marijuana cases, which some activists saw as another nail in the coffin for policing that focuses on quality-of-life crime. But broken-windows policing — the idea that cracking down on petty crime prevents more serious crime — remains the strategy of the NYPD.
Rizzo says Gonzalez was speaking in the context of warrant reform, noting the many outstanding warrants for low-level issues that often hound New Yorkers. But “it was a blanket statement,” says Rizzo.
When asked to clarify Gonzalez’s remarks and beliefs, spokesman Oren Yaniv said only that Gonzalez “feels very strongly that summons warrants don’t keep us safe.” Gonzalez and other city DAs are exploring warrant reform.
Gonzalez is campaigning for district attorney. Rizzo, an opponent of broken windows, says the question of whether the policy keeps New Yorkers safe is going to be his litmus test for an endorsement in this year’s DA race.
That question may be important for the mayoral election as well. Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is running for re-election, has supported the policing theory, which grates on many criminal justice activists despite his other reforms. Rizzo says he is “not a single-issue voter” and that he hasn’t seen a more promising mayoral candidate yet.
Look for the question to keep coming up as campaign season intensifies.