How would you describe your feelings about our political climate?

Can America bridge the partisan divide?

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The terrifying attack on members of a Republican congressional baseball team has drawn calls for unity and an end to our harsh rhetoric.

Despite the warm words, an end to the ever-expanding partisan divide seems out of reach.

In the past, trust in American institutions and government helped us navigate troubled times for our nation. But are those institutions too broken to guide us today?

Tell us your view on how to get out of this dangerous tailspin, how we can get back to respect for different political views and the ability to seek common ground.

Tell us what you think

So far, 910 Newsday readers have weighed in. Click a box to read some of the specific comments.

Where Long Island’s state senators stand on a critical LIRR expansion project

Long Island needs a third track.

The future of our region depends on making critical infrastructure investments. This project would support Long Island’s economic growth, its housing markets, and its ability to sustain and create jobs.

Although the construction will affect only 9.8 miles between Floral Park and Hicksville, it will improve the quality of life for all Long Islanders. Read our editorial about the state senators threatening to block the project.

Here’s where each of Long Island’s state senators stands on this critical project.

Senators who oppose the third track

  • Kemp Hannon (R-Garden City) — Opposes
    “I have yet to get one letter or email that says we want the third track. What I have is an absolute flood saying how bad the transportation is . . . Ultimately East Side Access and the third track take a backseat to [what needs] the immediate attention.”
    Contact Sen. Hannon: 516-739-1700
  • Elaine Phillips (R-Flower Hill) — Opposes
    “It is apparent to me based on my conversations with constituents at all levels that there is more to address.”
    Phillips wouldn’t specify what has to be addressed, and said local concerns outweigh the regional benefit.
    Contact Sen. Phillips: 516-746-5924

Senators who support the third track

  • Phil Boyle (R-Bay Shore) — Supports
    “There might be some short-term pain for some very big long-term gain . . . At the end of the day, the majority of the majority [the Republicans who support the project] need to put their position forward. I’m hopeful we can do that.”
    Contact Sen. Boyle: 631-665-2311
  • John Brooks (D-Seaford) — Supports
    “It has to be coupled with addressing all the other problems, but the merit of the additional track outweighs some of the inconvenience associated with it.”
    Contact Sen. Brooks: 516-882-0630
  • Tom Croci (R-Sayville) — Supports
    “This is by definition transformative . . . I’d be very interested to know how we are going to improve our rail service out into Suffolk County without a smart investment in this kind of infrastructure.”
    Contact Senator Croci: 631-360-3356
  • Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) — Supports
    “We have to be bold here.”
    Contact Sen. Kaminsky: 516-766-8383

Senators who take no position

  • Kenneth LaValle (R-Port Jefferson)
    “I believe that generically, we need to deal first and foremost with the Penn Station mess . . . And I’m not going to get involved in something that is in [Hannon’s and Phillip’s] Senate districts. Those two individual districts are impacted more and I would let them take the lead.”
    Contact Sen. LaValle: 631-473-1461
  • Carl Marcellino (R-Syosset) — No position
    “I have not had a chance to really review everything about the third track . . . They should take a realistic look at what they could do with what they have instead of constantly coming up with some new and fancy thing . . . The short lines are being ignored, like the one on the North Shore. If they’d work on those lines . . . you’d take pressure off the Main Line.”

    Contact Sen. Marcellino: 516-922-1811

Senators who did not respond to requests for comment

  • John Flanagan (R-East Northport)
    Flanagan has not taken a public position on the project. On June 30th, Flanagan was prepared to direct his representative to veto the amended capital plan – a move that would have killed the third track funding. The MTA withdrew and resubmitted the plan before that could happen. Flanagan continues to negotiate with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, telling people he’s optimistic the project will move forward.
    Contact Sen. Flanagan: 631-361-2154

Ranking Democrat on House Intelligence Committee talks Russia

On Wednesday, June 7, The Washington Post will host Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, for an interview with Post columnist David Ignatius about the status of that committee’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and potential ties to the Trump campaign and White House.

Schiff has said that the committee will subpoena former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and, most recently, has called for a review of White House senior advisor Jared Kushner’s security clearance in light of reports about meetings with Russian officials before President Trump took office.

This event is the latest in The Post’s “Securing Tomorrow” series featuring Ignatius in conversation with leaders in national security, intelligence and defense about what’s at stake for the world. Tweet about the event using the hashtag #SecuringTomorrow.

Newsday is presenting this stream in partnership with The Washington Post.

Breaking down data about lead in NYC schools

The Department of Education recently released the results of water quality tests in all of New York City’s schools. The data show 83 percent of school buildings have at least one water fixture with elevated lead levels.

The DOE tested 132,276 fixtures — everything from water fountains and bathroom faucets to ice makers and slop sinks. Eight percent showed unsafe levels of lead.

Lead was found around the city, although the most contaminated fixtures were found in parts of Brooklyn.

Percentage of water fixtures showing elevated lead levels, by NYC geographic district

A single school in Brooklyn — the William E. Grady Career and Technical Education High School in Brighton Beach — had 101 elevated results, the most of any school in the city. Three of the samples at Grady High School showed lead levels above 10,000 parts per billion, more than 600 times the maximum safe level for drinking water of 15 parts per billion. When water contains more than 5,000 parts per billion of lead, the EPA considers it to be hazardous waste.

Lead can be toxic, and health officials say even at low levels, it can cause problems, especially in children. It can damage young brains and nerves. It can result in learning problems, behavioral issues, hearing loss, seizures, hyperactivity and more.

Contamination was primarily found in hand washing sinks and water fountains.

Twenty-two fixtures tested worse than the most serious lead contamination found in Flint, Michigan. In Flint, the worst contamination found was approximately 13,200 parts per billion. The worst fixture in a New York City school had lead levels of 87,300 parts per billion. The table below shows the 10 worst test results across the city:

 

School

Lead level (ppb)

Room type

Borough

P.S. 723 – BRONX

87,300

Classroom

Bronx

WILLIAM E. GRADY VOC HS – K

62,200

Classroom

Brooklyn      

WILLIAM E. GRADY VOC HS – K

41,500

Classroom

Brooklyn      

HS FOR ARTS AND BUS. (OL NUTN X)-Q

39,000

Bathroom

Queens        

WILLIAM E. GRADY VOC HS – K

35,300

Classroom

Brooklyn       

P.S. 224 ANNEX – QUEENS

33,440

Classroom

Queens        

I.S. 27 – STATEN ISLAND

32,500

Classroom

Staten Island 

P.S. 139 – BROOKLYN

31,000

Bathroom

Brooklyn      

P.S. 111 – MANHATTAN

27,400

Kitchen

Manhattan     

P.S. 151 – BROOKLYN

23,200

Bathroom

Brooklyn      

The largest percentage of contaminated faucets were found in classrooms.

Read our editorial about lead levels in New York City schools.

You can search for test results at individual schools (and download the DOE’s complete database) by clicking here.

Tell us your worst commuting experience

Tell us how you really feel

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Signal problems, equipment failure, track repairs, even lightning strikes — commuting on the LIRR isn’t easy. It’ll only get worse as the “summer of hell” begins. Tell us, face to face, about your worst commuting experience. Be sure to say what line you travel on most frequently.

Record your story

How is Donald Trump doing in his first 100 days?

More than 800 Newsday readers have graded Donald Trump as the president reached his 100th day in the Oval Office. Overall, the evaluations were typical of the recent national polling and what you know from talking with your colleagues and neighbors — the country remains highly polarized. The majority gave Trump either straight As or Fs.

There was some variation, however. So far, Trump has received the most As for his foreign policy and the most Fs for his role in the failed attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The graphs below show the full distribution of grades and where there are some nuanced views on his performance.

You can also click here to submit your progress report.

Send a video message to Trump

Send a video message to Trump

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Donald Trump’s 100th day in the Oval Office arrives on April 29. At this traditional evaluation point of a presidency, please tell us what advice you would give the president as he tries to move his agenda forward. Use your smartphone or webcam to record a 20-second video.

Record your advice

Donald Trump’s progress report

Evaluate Trump’s first 100 days in office

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How is the 45th president of the United States doing? Submit a progress report for Donald Trump below and click here to create a video message with your advice for Trump.

Submit your evaluation

So far, 1095 Newsday readers have given Donald Trump a grade. Overall, the president is averaging a . Click a box to read some of the specific comments.

How are you feeling about Donald Trump’s inauguration?

Donald Trump will become the nation’s 45th president on Friday. We want to know what you are feeling as the inauguration approaches.

Share your emotions by placing yourself on the grid below: Are you hopeful or fearful? Engaged by politics or turned away?

When you submit your response, tell us how you identify politically. We’ll use that information to help analyze the results.

The graph below is shaded according to the number of responses received. The deeper the shade of blue, the more readers who placed themselves in that location.

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