Gov. Kathy Hochul talks about her housing plan at the YMCA...

Gov. Kathy Hochul talks about her housing plan at the YMCA in Patchogue Thursday. Credit: Newsday / Steve Pfost

Daily Point

Housing takes center stage — but who’s on board?

Gov. Kathy Hochul came to Patchogue Thursday, hoping to gain support for her housing plan, while applauding the progress Mayor Paul Pontieri has already made there. She took a walking tour of downtown Patchogue, accompanied by Pontieri and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. During an event at the YMCA that followed the tour, Hochul touted her plan, striking a more conciliatory tone than the one she held during her State of the State speech in January, but not promising any changes to the existing proposal.

The targets of adding 3% to the housing stock within three years, she said, “are realistic and achievable.”

“If you don't think so, we'll talk about it and we'll show you how,” Hochul said.

And she promised flexibility — and involvement by local elected officials.

“Local leaders are driving this process,” she said.

Perhaps in an indication of that, Hochul followed the public event with a private meeting with Suffolk town supervisors, to discuss the plan and their concerns. According to a Hochul spokeswoman, all 10 supervisors in Suffolk attended the in-person gathering.

Riverhead Supervisor Yvette Aguiar told The Point she found Hochul’s approach to the supervisors “promising,” as Hochul was willing to listen to their individual concerns.

“One common thread was the understanding that East End towns of Long Island are different than mid-Island towns,” Aguiar said, adding that she hoped the group and Hochul would “find common ground.”

Aguiar said the meeting ended with the pledge of continued conversations.

Meanwhile, Nassau County’s three supervisors — all elected as Republicans — held a news conference Thursday, accompanied by several village mayors, where they denounced Hochul’s housing plan, sporting a large sign that read “Local Control Not Hochul Control.” Huntington Supervisor Ed Smyth and a representative of Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim attended that gathering, too.

Hours after her event, Hochul’s office sent out a lengthy news release, listing a who’s who of Long Island leaders and advocates with quotes supporting the governor. But a more careful look showed that only two of the comments came from elected officials — Bellone, who is term-limited this year, and Pontieri, who focused on what he has done in the village, rather than the details of Hochul’s proposal.

And many of the advocates and other leaders mentioned in the release applauded Hochul’s commitment to the housing issue, without endorsing the specifics of the plan.

Even labor leaders chose their words carefully.

“We are encouraged by Governor Kathy Hochul’s commitment to addressing this multi-generational housing problem,” John Durso, the president of the Long Island Federation of Labor, said in the release. “We look forward to working with her and the other stakeholders on Long Island to address this critical issue facing our region.”

At the public YMCA event, Bellone welcomed other elected officials who were in the room. Besides Pontieri and Democrats in the Suffolk County Legislature, two state Assembly members — Phil Ramos and Chuck Lavine — attended.

As for the more local officials, the ones Hochul said will be “driving this process”? Bellone cited only two town supervisors in attendance, Riverhead’s Aguiar and East Hampton’s Peter Van Scoyoc.

What links the two?

Neither is running for office again this year.

— Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall

Pencil Point

Supremely unnerving

Credit: Monte Wolverton, Battle Ground, Washington

For more cartoons, visit

Reference Point

A sarcastic swipe at diplomatic immunity

Newsday’s editorial board makes its points in various ways — hopefully with convincing prose in an editorial. Sometimes the argument is presented in the form of a memo or letter to a decision-maker, or on rare occasions via a list or song lyric. But seldom is outright sarcasm employed.

One notable exception came on March 2, 1948, in a piece called “Inviting the Undertaker, etc.” The board’s ire had been piqued by a Lake Success police department order involving the United Nations, which was headquartered in Lake Success from 1946 to 1951 while its Manhattan complex was being built.

“An apparent license to commit manslaughter, mayhem or assault with a deadly weapon was given to several thousand Long Island residents over the week end in a unique decision by the Lake Success police department,” the board wrote, in an action “seemingly aimed at promoting international amity.”

Issued by one Capt. Stanley, the order prohibited police from giving traffic summonses to “UN personnel, their servants and families, secretaries, reporters and men attached to UN television and radio.”

“It covers speeding, reckless driving, drunken driving, crashing red lights, leaving the scene of accidents resulting therefrom or any other idiosyncrasies born of Outer Mongolian or Ural Mountain conceptions of how to drive an automobile,” the board huffed.

Modern readers will note this version of diplomatic immunity. But the board went on to rail: “It may be that such forthrightness by our diplomatic corps is a belated admission that the scullery attendant to the second cook of a Molotov or a Gromyko actually is a high governmental functionary disguised by an apron. Until now we had been unaware that such practices extended to all of the nations represented at Lake Success. But then, Americans are notoriously naive.”

But the board was just getting warmed up as it lobbied facetiously for giving those delegates and their families and friends waivers for robbery, larceny “and the carrying of dangerous weapons other than automobiles.”

“The calibre of guns permitted could be extended to include trench mortars or 88 mm field rifles and, if a pert young secretary in the good graces of her boss should wish to trade her 1941 Dodge for an M-4 tank and try it out for speed, who should be so audacious as to say she is not immune,” the board wrote.

“It would make just as much sense.”

You might call this going overboard, but that 75-year-old critique was not the last time a complaint was made about diplomatic immunity and the U.N. — on Long Island or elsewhere.

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

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