Congressman-elect Anthony D’Esposito.

Congressman-elect Anthony D’Esposito. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

Daily Point

For Anthony D’Esposito, steps of Congress a long way from Island Park

Anthony D’Esposito, newly elected to the House as part of Long Island’s “red wave,” was gratified and surprised to hear a new nickname when he got to Washington: “Majority Maker.”

But it’s not surprising that Long Island and New York’s unexpected contribution to the Republican House ranks has made D’Esposito et al popular.

The longtime NYPD cop from Island Park said the orientation has been a whirlwind, as he tries to figure out where to live, learns the rules and the ropes, and meets his new colleagues. As far as quarters, he says he won’t be emulating the retiring Lee Zeldin by making his office a permanent bedroom, but acknowledged he could have to do so short-term as he makes tough decisions about finding reasonably priced lodging.

“I’m just looking for people to live with, or something reasonable,” D’Esposito told The Point. “It’s a very expensive city.”

One decision he’s not up in the air about: his support for Speaker hopeful Kevin McCarthy.

“McCarthy was giving much-needed support to Long Island Republicans consistently throughout this race, including coming to town to help me and others raise money in the weeks prior to the election,” D’Esposito said. “So was his leadership team, Steve Scalise [expected to be majority leader] and Tom Emmer [expected to be whip]. They were there for us, whatever we needed, not just for Long Island but for the state’s candidates as a whole.”

D’Esposito said a couple of things have really floored him during his orientation. The first was the way so many meetings and activities have members from both parties together, with no “Rs” or “Ds” on name tags, so they “can make their own decisions about who to surround themselves with.”

Then there was a moment, walking down the Capitol steps, when he turned to look back at the building and thought, “This is a long way from the Town of Hempstead, a long way from Island Park.”

As for how he’ll spend his work days in Washington, D’Esposito says he’s hoping to land on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and Homeland Security as well.

“I think those are good fits for my background as a police officer,” D’Esposito said. “I think those are areas where I can really contribute.”

— Lane Filler @lanefiller

Talking Point

Housing 'pioneer' in Huntington?

The Town of Huntington is considering permitting accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, in basements — a significant expansion to its existing ADU code.

The town board is expected to vote next week on scheduling a public hearing on the ADU plan. If the board approves a hearing, it likely will take place in January, and a vote on the plan itself could come as soon as February.

The move comes after Gov. Kathy Hochul tried to push state legislation earlier this year that would have required towns and villages to permit ADUs within their zoning codes. Hochul’s effort was met with significant pushback from Long Island officials — and she ended up pulling the proposal. She has since suggested that affordable housing will be a significant part of her plans for the coming legislative session.

But Huntington Town board member Salvatore Ferro said he wants the town to do more without Albany’s help. ADUs, he said, have been on his to-do list since he took office in January. Unlike many areas of Long Island, Huntington already permits ADUs — but not in cellars or basements.

“This was a way to provide additional housing for those in need in the safest way possible, while trying to make sure we upgrade what’s already out there,” Ferro said. “We don’t want [Albany] telling us what to do, but it doesn’t mean that some of what they’re saying isn’t right. We do need housing.”

Ferro, a Republican who until last year owned Alure Home Improvements, said he has support from at least two other town board members — Democrat Joan Cergol and Republican Dave Bennardo.

But while Huntington Town Supervisor Ed Smyth told The Point he’d support the scheduling of a public hearing, he said he was undecided on the resolution itself.

“I have a feeling the proponents are not going to like what they hear from the public,” Smyth said.

Smyth previewed some issues likely to emerge at a public hearing, citing safety, traffic, parking and environmental concerns. And he pushed back on the argument by some advocates that basement apartments already exist in Huntington illegally, and that making them legal could improve safety and other standards.

“Just because something is happening already doesn’t mean we need to legalize it and continue the practice,” Smyth said, noting that even without the basement addition to the code, “you could put an accessory apartment in practically any home in Huntington right now.”

Supporters of the resolution said it could lead to changes elsewhere on the Island.

“Huntington has had some of the most permissible ADU codes on Long Island,” Ferro said. “We would be the model for other towns on Long Island, but we were missing one piece — which is basements.”

Pilar Moya, executive director of not-for-profit Housing Help, Inc. said she has been working with the town board on developing the resolution and new code language that would permit basement apartments.

“I want to give them credit. They did this correctly,” Moya said. “People tend to believe we cannot accomplish things. Let Huntington be the pioneer.”

That would be quite a turnaround. After all, developers are hoping to break ground on East Northport affordable housing project Matinecock Court early next year — 45 years after it was first proposed.

— Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall

Pencil Point

Undeniably polarized

Credit: Wright

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Reference Point

The ghosts of war

The Newsday editorial from Dec. 8, 1941.

The Newsday editorial from Dec. 8, 1941.

In combing through the back issues of Newsday published on this day, Dec. 8, there really was only one paper we could consider for this week’s reference point: Dec. 8, 1941. It was the day after Pearl Harbor, and the occasion for the editorial board to consider America’s entry into World War II.

“So this is how war begins,” the board wrote.

It went on to express the “shock” of hearing about the attack on the radio on a peaceful Sunday afternoon, listening to urgent calls for enlisted personnel on leave to report immediately for duty, and observing that “Local Japanese are being rounded up.”

“And those of us who live near Mitchel Field could see, in the dark of last night’s sky, patrols of swift pursuit planes take the air,” the board wrote. “No routine practice flights now. It is war.”

The editorial board understood the consequences of the surprise attack, writing that “we must now fight, even though not ready. We must fight until the deadly end, both Japan and Germany.”

And the board also understood, with uncanny foresight, the nature of the fight:

“Though we shall have help from men all over the world who hate conquest by force as deeply as we do, help that will be priceless, nevertheless it will be the force of American arms that will in the end finally wipe out the threat of aggression.”

There were other things the board got right. The demise, for then, of the isolationist argument. The end of labor strikes and the need to “work, work, work, to produce for the Army and Navy.”

There were things the board could not have foreseen. The blackouts. The supply shortages that required the rationing of tires, sugar, gasoline, coffee, butter, canned goods, and shoes. The societal changes wrought by 6 million women going to work in factories and 200,000 women serving in the military.

But the board understood well the arduous road that lay ahead.

“And so, twenty-three years and twenty-six days after the Armistice that ended the last World War, America is again in it,” the board wrote. “The road ahead is long, and it is hard. No one of us will be the same after it is over. But as Americans, secure in the knowledge that we are right, we will go down the road ahead, however long and hard it may be, to victory.”

The board concluded by hoping that this time we would be wise enough “to make a post-war world in which what happened yesterday cannot happen again.”

In a year that has seen an unprovoked Russia attack Ukraine, and that nation fight back in righteous defiance, it’s clear that the wisdom the editorial board yearned for on Dec. 8, 1941 has eluded us and that humanity still has not discovered an antidote to war.

— Michael Dobie @mwdobie and Amanda Fiscina-Wells @adfiscina 

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