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Told you so at Belmont
More than six years ago, Hofstra University president Stuart Rabinowitz expressed an idea for how to handle two significant plots of land in Nassau County:
Use the Nassau Hub for a research and development park, he said, and build an arena for the New York Islanders at Belmont Park.
At the time, the notion had an additional component: a casino once proposed by the Shinnecock Indian Nation. In Rabinowitz’s scenario, it would have been located at Belmont, too. Rabinowitz didn’t want a casino at the Hub, as it was too close for comfort to Hofstra.
The Belmont-Hub plan drew support from some local lawmakers, but one person always stood in the way: then-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. The Manhattan Democrat fought any proposal to build a casino at Belmont, and so, the idea never moved beyond talk.
But now that Silver is no longer one of the proverbial three men in the room in Albany, no one is standing in the way of development at Belmont. So, the Islanders are heading home — to Belmont.
And it’s Rabinowitz who can say he told you so.
Randi F. Marshall
New York-to-Iowa express
Mayor Bill de Blasio is heading to Iowa Tuesday because he is totally not running for president.
It’s not his first trip to the Hawkeye State, home of the presidential campaign cycle’s opening festivities. Last year, he stumped in the cold for Hillary Clinton.
One way to weigh how much de Blasio must think he gains from these trips is how much he inevitably loses. His jaunts tend to be easy and high-profile targets for critics. For example, the mayor will be protested in Iowa by representatives of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, the union that represents the NYPD rank and file, who are working without a contract.
Not to be outdone, the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association also shot out a news release Tuesday, saying de Blasio has been “missing in action” for its members.
And, if de Blasio happens to pick up an Iowa newspaper between appearances at the Des Moines Marriott Downtown or the Temple for Performing Arts, he might see ads paid for by the Transport Workers Union calling him a phony and “no Bernie Sanders.” The union’s ads call out issues such as de Blasio’s attempts to “decimate” the horse-carriage industry.
Not the best send-off for the proud progressive politician. But the uniformed unions have never been big fans of the mayor, and transit workers have been on his case for a while. So the calculus might be: business as usual.
Political and environmental pundits had plenty to say after Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo vetoed legislation to preserve more than 1,200 acres of pine barrens in Shoreham and Mastic because such a move might block two solar projects.
Negotiations involving a potential swap of property at the Brookhaven Town landfill for the owner of a parcel in Mastic who is nearing final approval for a 60-acre array failed Monday night. And the speculation included: questioning the sincerity of some players in the deal, the significance of a meeting Wednesday at the landfill between Brookhaven officials and the Mastic landowner's engineer, and the reluctance of one of the legislation’s sponsors, Sen. Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson), to support an amended bill. The theory goes that he sees solar power in his district as a threat to his goal of keeping the outdated Port Jefferson power plant open.
While Cuomo’s veto message discussed his environmental and renewable energy bona fides and his concerns about taking privately owned land, pragmatists zeroed in on the final paragraph of the governor’s veto message.
That’s the one in which Cuomo expressed his optimism that a solution can be reached, and that he is instructing his staff to work with all parties to make such a plan part of the 2018 budget.
For all the sturm und drang, there are two clear lessons here:
Cuomo now owns this problem, and he’s giving himself about 100 days to solve it.