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And the award for best supporting actor in third-track drama goes to . . .
Now, it’s time for a victory lap.
With the Long Island Rail Road’s third-track project finally getting the go-ahead, politicians, business leaders and advocates are taking a moment to celebrate — and the win certainly breeds company.
Tweets and news releases have been rolling out since Tuesday night, when State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan announced he would let the project move forward. The Right Track for Long Island Coalition, a group of organizations and businesses formed to push for the project, highlighted the approval on its website.
Some, like the Long Island Federation of Labor, the local Building Trades Council, the Long Island Association, and others, have been fighting for the third track for decades, and noted the exhaustive history in their victory releases. Long Island Federation president John Durso recalled that he and other union and business leaders “made a pact” 12 years ago to advocate for the third track. The fight, he noted, has even been passed down to new generations of leaders, as some of the original players, like the LIA’s Matt Crosson and Building Trades’ Jack Kennedy, died before the third track won approval.
Then there are more recent proponents of the project, like Nassau County Legis. Laura Curran, who is running for county executive. In a tweet Thursday, she called the third- track funding a “home run.”
Randi F. Marshall
Dancing the con-con
Public unions are leading the opposition to November’s referendum on whether to have a New York State constitutional convention because, they say, it would lead to a reduction in their pension benefits.
Convention supporters say that’s not on their agenda; they’re more interested in ethics and voting reforms, independent redistricting and the like.
Polling reflects the tension. A new Quinnipiac University Poll finds that New York voters support a constitutional amendment to prevent reductions in public employee pension benefits, 49 to 41 percent. National polls find solid majorities of Americans favor pension reform, like shifting public employees from guaranteed pensions to 401(k)-type accounts, which are less costly to taxpayers.
Assemb. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-Smithtown), who long has favored moving public employees into defined-contribution programs, told The Point Thursday that he has overcome his initial skepticism about a constitutional convention and now views it as a way to do what he hasn’t been able to accomplish legislatively. “I hope it does get brought up and I hope it makes the cut,” he said.
The debate is not likely to dissipate, given one other Quinnipiac finding: New Yorkers support a constitutional convention by a healthy 55 to 30 percent.
A #TBT 68 years in the making
In 1949, the Nassau Transit Commission identified seven Long Island Rail Road sore spots that demanded “immediate relief.”
Among them was the need for “triple tracks” — a third set of tracks on the same line. Decades later, a third track on the LIRR’s Main Line just got the go-ahead. Click here to see what other frustrations commuters back then were experiencing.
From Paris with love
President Donald Trump landed Thursday in Paris, a city with a rich variety of historic, cultural and artistic attractions. So why did French President Emmanuel Macron take Trump first to the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte?
Was Macron playing the role of sly jester by showing Trump the extravagant resting place of a leader with small hands and strongman tendencies?
Was it a subtle moral about an ambitious man whose dreams were dashed by Russia and who ended up in exile on an island?
Was it meta-commentary on the recent revelation that Trump’s chief strategist and nationalist provocateur, Steve Bannon, had hung a painting of himself dressed as Napoleon in his office before the 2016 election?
Or did Macron, aware of Trump’s fondness for generals and authoritarian figures, simply see it as helpful to his attempt for a reset with Trump after their rocky start?