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Who pays for the Summer of Hell?
The big plans unveiled Monday morning to minimize the pain LIRR riders will feel this “summer of hell” as Amtrak makes major repairs at Penn Station do not include fare reduction.
At least not yet.
Speaking of dollars, there was no mention either of the additional labor costs involved in the massive acceleration of work on major East River crossings, such as the Throgs Neck, RFK and Verrazano bridges or at the Midtown Tunnel. In an announcement Monday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said the construction, mostly to eliminate the toll-collection booths that cause bottlenecks, will be done by July 8, before the LIRR emergency plan becomes operative.
So, how much is it costing to complete that work months ahead of schedule? And who will pay for it? And if it doesn’t cost that much, why the heck wasn’t it full speed ahead from the get-go?
Stirring the ne-POT-tism
Most prominent politicians have plenty of people in the opposition party looking to trip them up. But what happens when you switch parties, and the power structure in your new clubhouse dislikes you just as much as the rulers of the roost you just left?
Just ask Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos, or any of the folks throwing hurdles in his path.
Maragos, elected comptroller twice as a Republican, switched his registration to Democrat last year. Now he’s running in a primary for county executive against the party’s choice, Legis. Laura Curran, and his enemies in both parties are keeping the wires buzzing with stuff about his office.
The latest blast came last week when county Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs lodged a complaint with the county Board of Ethics against Maragos over his employment of his sister-in-law, Anthia Papadopoulos, as a $90,000-a-year inspector. It’s against the rules to hire and supervise a relative in such a position.
Maragos has responded in a letter to the board that her hiring “appears to have been inconsistent with the Nassau Code of Ethics,” and says he will seek a waiver because “her work is integral to the county’s efforts to modernize its financial, payroll and personnel systems.”
But the anti-Maragos grapevine points out that it will be the second waiver Maragos has sought for Papadopoulos, because nepotism is not the only hurdle to her working for the county in such a position. She already has a waiver because she is a Queens resident, while the rules require anyone in that job live in Nassau County for a full year before taking the job.
Maragos’ waiver request on residency, filed in November 2015, says she “has unique qualifications for the position based on her experience, and is the most qualified for the needs of the department.”
Unique, indeed. After all, how many sisters-in-law does he have?
One of those days
- President Donald Trump said he didn’t want to visit Britain if he would be greeted with large-scale protests, so he postponed his planned state visit. Given everything, sounds more like a permanent cancellation.
- A Stony Brook University study found NBA players who tweet between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. scored fewer points and had a lower shooting percentage than usual the next day. You don’t suppose there’s a presidential lesson there, do you?
- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says President Donald Trump’s comments about ex-FBI Director James Comey were “normal New York City conversation.” He must have been thinking about the part when Trump said, “We had that thing you know.”
- President Donald Trump keeps calling Democrats obstructionists. Imagine how effective they’d be if they actually were in the majority.
- Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was detained for organizing illegal protests against corruption. Didn’t realize there were any protests in Russia that were legal.
- So newly elected Assemb. Christine Pellegrino has nearly a half-million dollars in state and federal tax liens with her husband and is fighting foreclosure for nonpayment of a $893,000 mortgage. Guess she won’t be put on the Ways and Means Committee.
- Adam West died. Pow.
Michael DobieThis is The Point, the editorial board’s daily newsletter about New York politics. Click here to subscribe.