Happy Friday from The Point!
Builder to Builder
Seven months ago, Long Island developer Scott Rechler met with then-President-elect Donald Trump in Trump Tower, just days before his inauguration, mostly to discuss voting rights. Rechler had advised Trump on infrastructure issues, and had known him and his son-in-law Jared Kushner through their New York City real estate ties.
But the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, were game-changing for Rechler. Friday morning, he tweeted: “There is no middle ground when it comes to hate; @POTUS is losing its moral authority by the day; @realDonaldTrump lead or step aside.”
Then he added: “As citizens, and as an industry, we cannot be silent.”
Rechler told The Point Friday that he was particularly bothered by Trump’s rhetoric in a head-scratching news conference on Tuesday billed as a discussion about federal infrastructure plans.
“It’s an example of how there was an opportunity to move us forward and invest in our future, and instead we’re moving backward and he’s taking us back to an ugly past,” Rechler said.
Rechler’s remarks come after Trump’s apparent coddling of neo-Nazis was denounced by several fellow Republicans including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, as well as chief executives of Fortune 500 companies.
Still, Rechler remains one of the first players in the real estate industry, where Trump made his name and reputation, to publicly criticize Trump.
“Either act presidential or you should step aside,” he said.
Randi F. Marshall
Trump’s odds this week
The news surrounding the White House and President Donald Trump might be explosive but the effect on the most substantive betting markets surrounding his presidency are quite stable.
PredictIt.org offers investors an opportunity to buy shares in certain propositions, for a varying amount. If the prediction the investor has bought comes true, the shares are redeemed for $1. Some of them move up and down like mad, because they are based on highly variable, extremely precise measures. One, for instance, asks what range the Real Clear Politics average of polls Trump’s approval rating will be one minute before midnight. That market went bonkers Friday, with the approval range of 38.8 percent to 39.1 percent climbing 63 cents, to 93 cents; and the range of 38.4 percent to 38.7 percent plummeting 58 cents to a value of one penny.
The cause was the Friday release of two polls that slightly moved up the average, a Gallup survey that put Trump’s approval at 38 percent and a Rasmussen one that had it at 42.
But on the question of whether Trump will still be president at the end of 2018, “yes” was priced at 66 cents the day before Charlottesville, Virginia, erupted into violence. At 1:30 p.m. Friday, “yes” was priced at 64 cents.
And what about the market for Steve Bannon losing his job? PredictIt didn’t have a Bannon bet, because he was not a cabinet member.
Fill in the blank
New York’s time to eclipse shine
If you’re feeling that you’re about to miss out on Monday’s total solar eclipse — you thought about it but decided not to join the hordes heading south and west to position themselves in the 70-mile-wide path where the moon will completely cover the sun — despair not.
Another total solar eclipse is coming soon to a precinct much closer to you.
On April 8, 2024, an eclipse will march across the United States from Texas to Maine, a path that will bring it right through upstate New York.
Long Island and New York City will see about 90 percent coverage of the sun but the real action will be up north, where Buffalo, Syracuse and Rochester will experience the total blackout.
Given the financial bonanza this year’s eclipse has brought to all sorts of businesses (hotels, restaurants, campgrounds, etc.) in the path of totality, the eclipse of 2024 should deliver an economic jolt to a region badly in need of one.
Imagine that: a new Buffalo Billion (give or take) with no politician able to take credit.