Good afternoon and welcome to The Point!
This will be our last edition until the Monday after Thanksgiving. Have a bountiful holiday (and make sure to tell your relatives who would like this newsletter to subscribe!).
On Cuomo’s desk
Three bills now on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s desk and requiring action by Nov. 29 could be infected by election-year politics — the 2018 election, that is, when Cuomo would be running for a third term.
Long Island environmentalists are watching closely two pieces of legislation that could test Cuomo’s environmental bona fides. One would establish tougher regulations on large mulch and composting operations than were included in new guidelines adopted this year by the state Department of Environmental Conservation. The bill is important because it would better protect Long Island’s aquifer from runoff and leaching contamination. The DEC is testing existing facilities and various mulching options in its own pilot project and has wiggle room to tighten its guidelines so it might end up at the same point as the legislation, but further down the road. Environmentalists want the protection sooner, not later.
The other bill would require the DEC to “cooperate” with a local municipality that wants to more tightly regulate the harvesting of horseshoe crabs than the DEC does, an ongoing issue in Brookhaven Town. It is very much at risk for a veto from Cuomo because it would undermine the DEC’s authority, unless a deal can be reached to soften the “cooperate” part to something more like coordinate, consult or converse.
New York City officials are tracking a bill that would allow the city to build a universal pre-K center on part of the parking lot next to the Hall of Science in Corona. The site is part of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, and the legislation would alienate the parkland to allow construction of the center, slated to include 310 students and focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The pre-K center is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s universal pre-K initiative, which alone could give the governor reason to veto the bill. But the election-year calculation could come down to whom Cuomo wants to woo more: park advocates who push to preserve every inch of parkland, even if covered by asphalt, or hundreds of families seeking schools for their future 4-year-olds.
Michael Dobie and Randi F. Marshall
Glen Cove’s count
That’s the difference, as of now, in the race between Glen Cove Mayor Reginald Spinello, an Independence Party member, and his Democratic election opponent, Timothy Tenke.
And with 64 ballots under challenge, control of City Hall can swing either way.
The recount is being closely watched by those doing business with the city, especially developers.
One of those is Scott Rechler’s RXR Realty, which is building Garvies Point — 1,100 housing units and additional development on the waterfront. Spinello and Tenke both have supported the idea of Garvies Point, but Tenke has objected to the project’s financing, tax breaks and the bonds that eventually were approved.
When Spinello beat then-Mayor Ralph Suozzi in 2013 — that time by 74 votes — Rechler showed up to Spinello’s office with a giant pencil and eraser, offering the opportunity to work with the new mayor on designing a project he could support. Now Spinello, who is ahead in the count, is one of Garvies Point’s biggest champions.
Rechler, who didn’t contribute to either candidate’s campaign, said this time, if the challenger wins, there’s no undoing what’s already done. The site is under construction, and 25 percent of the units are committed for sale.
“We’re past the point of being able to erase,” Rechler told The Point. “The preference is to have continuity . . . If [Tenke] wins, we’re going to offer our team to do whatever it takes to bring him up to speed.”
Randi F. Marshall
Choose your own cartoon
Uber’s invited to Thanksgiving this year. Well, at least to the party the night before.
The ride-hailing company was still vying for a seat at the table last year as it sought state-wide approval. So it brownnosed over the course of the year by joining with Mothers Against Drunk Driving and investing $100,000 in the Safer Streets for Long Island Advisory Committee in hopes L.I. wouldn’t opt out of the legislation to allow ride-hailing services.
It worked. The service has been operating legally here since June and is living up to its commitment by offering free rides on Thanksgiving eve, a popular night of inebriation for college students returning home and others who aren’t preparing the family feast.
Uber is partnering with MADD to provide two free rides per app user up to $30 total from 9 p.m. Wednesday through 3 a.m. Thursday.
Last Thanksgiving weekend, New York State police on Long Island made 18 DWI arrests and issued a total of 972 tickets for speeding, distracted driving, seatbelt violations and more.
Over the summer, Uber said its most popular nightlife destinations were Surf Lodge in Montauk, Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett and Minnesota’s in Long Beach.
Out of peak summer season, we’ll see where Uber’s drivers will be invited Wednesday night.
Sen. John Flanagan credited the New York State Senate’s Republican majority with lowering tax rates for the middle class. An item in Monday’s edition of The Point specified the incorrect legislative body.