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Pacific Trade Deal Undermines Fracking Bans in NY and Elsewhere

Fracking rally
An opponent of Hydraulic Fracturing speaking to about 200 people protesting the gas drilling technique in Long Beach as part of the "Global Frackdown." (Rashed Mian/Long Island Press)

By Judy Frankel

Campaigning in Binghamton before the New York primary, presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) made news last week with his call for a nationwide ban on fracking as he tried to draw a distinction between his position on the issue and that of his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, the former Secretary of State and ex-U.S. Senator from New York.

“The toxic chemicals used in fracking are known to cause cancer and birth defects,” said Sanders, referring to the industry’s practice of forcing water mixed with anti-friction and anti-corrosion chemicals into gas wells. “There is simply no good way to contain the cocktail of toxic chemicals pumped into the ground; the threat it poses to our families is too great.”

After putting off his decision for several years of his administration, Gov. Andrew Cuomo finally decided to ban fracking in New York in December 2014. Vermont was the first state to ban the procedure.

Even if Sanders were able to enact a nationwide ban, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade deal currently before Congress, may derail his and others’ best intentions.

The omnibus 30-chapter TPP between the US and Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam has less to do with trade and more to do with big corporate giveaways. Only six of the 30 chapters deal with so-called “free trade” while undermining US environmental protections such as bans on fracking.

The 600 special interest advisors involved in crafting the text gave themselves the following: an extension of patents on brand name drugs, a framework for creating internet restrictions, the ability to chill “buy local” movements, easier offshoring of jobs, extension of copyright laws, protections against GMO labeling, rollbacks on environmental policies that stop polluters and relief for the “too big to fail” banks, among other things.

Under the Investment chapter, 18,000 corporations that are a party to the agreement will have the ability to sue federal, state and town governments for loss of expected future profits when a regulation, ordinance or law stands in their way. The outcome is decided by three trade attorneys in special tribunals outside US courts and it cannot be appealed. The three lawyers aren’t accountable to any country’s legal system.

The average cost of mounting a defense against these cases is estimated to be $8 million per occurrence.

The Investor State Dispute Settlement process is already in place under NAFTA, but the TPP would expand corporations’ rights beyond what they already enjoy through older trade agreements. Recently, TransCanada filed a $15 billion suit against the US because President Obama rejected the Keystone pipeline. Taxpayers will be on the hook for the settlement if TransCanada prevails.

New York residents who fight for restrictions on fracking may end up with a tab for their resistance if the tribunal rules in favor of gas companies for similar cases under the TPP.

“Tribunals have already ordered governments to pay over $3.5 billion in investor-state cases” and “more than $14.7 billion remain in pending claims under US agreements,” says Lori Wallach of Public Citizen’s Trade Watch.

The TPP and its sister agreement with the European Union called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) would give 44,000 corporations access to suing our government.

Obama has already signed the TPP, leaving it to the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate for a final one-time-only vote. The majority of Congress has agreed to use a process called “Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority,” whereby they may put it to a vote at any time, without deliberation or comments on the floor of the House.

The size of the agreement begs the question: How many of our elected representatives will actually read the darn thing before they vote “yea” or “nay”?

Sanders has consistently opposed the TPP, while Clinton has said that it’s the “gold standard of trade deals” and on 45 separate occasions has publicly endorsed it. To stay in the race with primary voters who hate the TPP, she has flip-flopped on this issue. But with Clinton’s campaign contributions coming from banks that stand to benefit from the TPP, it’s questionable whether she could make everyone happy with her position.

But at least she’s been held to account. The remaining Republican candidates are divided on it.

“It is a deal that is going to lead to nothing but trouble,” Donald Trump has said about the TPP. “It’s a deal that’s designed for China to come in, as they always do, through the back door and totally take advantage of everyone.”

China is not one of the signatory countries of the TPP, but Trump is right that it and other non-members are able to reap the benefits of the deal without having to abide by its terms.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) says he is against the TPP, but initially he said he thought it would bring millions of customers to American businesses. Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich supports the TPP, calling it “free, fair trade.”

Most Republicans in Congress are pro-TPP, reportedly eager to give the 600 special interest groups what they seek. But they may wait until after Nov. 8 to hold a vote on the unpopular trade deal to avoid angering voters and losing control of Congress in the general election. But with corporations using their resources to fund campaigns thanks to Citizens United, the special interests may get their wishes fulfilled well before Christmas.

What New York and other states will be able to do about fracking, to name one key environmental issue, may rendered moot.

Judy Frankel is a political activist, blogger for The Huffington Post, and author who is leading the movement to fix Washington. Her book In Search of The Next POTUS:  One Woman’s Quest to Fix Washington, A True Story gives voters the tools to combat corruption in Congress while choosing a qualified leader for the White House.

Do This: Long Island Concert & Events April 14–20

Steel Pulse
Roots reggae fans, rejoice! Steel Pulse will bring their special Afro-Caribbean sound to Westbury where fans of this legendary group from Birmingham, England will revel in their soulful rockin’ riddims. Steel Pulse, the first non-Jamaican reggae band to ever win a coveted Grammy award, blends a taste of traditional punk with their Island-spiced music, creating an awesome experience that will get your blood flowing and your heart pounding. With special guests Oogee Wawa. The Space at Westbury, 250 Post Ave., Westbury. thespaceatwestbury.com $30-$45. 8 p.m. April 14.

Frankie Ballard
Country fans: this one’s for you! Frankie Ballard, the 33-year-old country crooner who won 2008’s “Kenny Chesney’s Next Big Star” music competition, will bring his singing chops to Long Island, y’all.  His signature voice is sure to woo the ladies in the audience! (He’s easy on the eyes, too, just sayin’.)  NYCB Theatre at Westbury, 960 Brush Hollow Rd., Westbury. venue.thetheatreatwestbury.com $19- $39.50. 8 p.m. April 14.

Roger McGuinn
Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Roger McGuinn, the former lead singer and lead guitarist of the legendary ’60s band The Byrds, will soar with the iconic tunes he is known and loved for, especially his rendition of Dylan’s classics. Guitar fans will get the chance to watch his finger-flying riffs he pioneered on the West Coast, and has played to perfection ever since. YMCA Boulton Center for the Performing Arts, 37 West Main St., Bay Shore. boultoncenter.org $45-$50. 8 p.m. April 14.

The 24th Annual Long Island Guitar Festival
Talk about a spring string fling, the concerts for the 2016 festival will feature Andrew York, Berta Rojas, David Starobin, lutenist Ronn McFarlane and Hilary Field. Don’t fret about it–just show up! Tilles Center for the Performing Arts, LIU Post, 720 Northern Blvd., Brookville. tillescenter.org Prices and times vary. April 13-17.

Ghost
Fresh off of their Grammy win for Best Metal Performance, Ghost, a band comprised of “nameless ghouls,” is touring to promote their new record, Meliora. The album evokes the theatrics of Kiss, Alice Cooper, The Misfits, David Bowie and Gwar. Spooky! Opening the show will be The Shrine. The Paramount, 370 New York Ave., Huntington. paramountny.com $27.50-$64.50. 8 p.m. April 15.

Robert Randolph and The Family Band
Listed on Rolling Stones’ top 100 greatest guitarists of all time is New Jersey native Robert Randolph. If you didn’t know that before, now you do. For more than 15 years, Randolph and the Family Band have brought their special funky sauce to liven up people’s evenings with unforgettable performances. Known for playing before every Friday night Knicks game, Robert Randolph and the Family Band haven’t lost a beat. Wish we could say the same for the team. Opening the show is Memphis Crawl. The Space at Westbury, 250 Post Ave., Westbury. thespaceatwestbury.com $29.50-$45. 8 p.m. April 15.

James O’Malley and Josh Joffen
O’Malley sings his songs in a subtle, whispering tenor that completely draws the listener into the story he is telling. Joining him is Joffen, another great musician, who will also perform separately. It promises to be an intimate evening full of artistic prowess. Our Times Coffeehouse, 38 Old Country Rd., Garden City. ourtimescoffeehouse.org $10-$15. 8 p.m. April 15.

Wendy Liebman
The 1996 American Comedy Award winner is back after a crazy two years. What took her so long? Well, she did get hit by a drunk driver, but this spirited Long Island native wouldn’t let that stop her from returning to the stage and doing her unique stand-up. We’re happy to see her. Maybe laughter is the best medicine! Governor’s Comedy Club, 90 Division Ave., Levittown. govs.govs.com $25. 8 p.m. April 15, 7 & 9:30 p.m. April 16.

Keep Pluggin Retro Video Game Extravaganza
If you long to play Super Mario Brothers again or Ms. Pac Man, then bring your thumbs and more to the spring edition of “Keep Pluggin Retro Video Game Event: Buy/Trade/Sell/Play!” at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Huntington. There will be at least 25 gaming stations featuring free play, plus arcade machines and tournaments, along with vendors selling thousands of video classics and vintage retro systems (think: Nintendo, Sega, Intellivision, Playstation). Are you game? For more info, contact Ben Farrell, the event founder at 631-335-1505. UUFH, 109 Browns Rd., Huntington. $10 adults, $6 for kids 10 and under. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 16.

David Cassidy
He’ll be playing his hits, including “I Think I Love You,” “I Can Feel Your Heartbeat,” “One Step Short of Our Heaven.” The Suffolk Theater, 118 Main St., Riverhead. suffolktheater.com $59. 8 p.m. April 16.

Beer Here

Cask Ales Fest
This isn’t the typical craft beer festival. Patrons can sample cask ale, aka “real” unfiltered and unpasteurized ale, served without CO2 or nitrogen and brewed by more than 50 breweries nationwide. Also on tap will be interactive brewer sessions, beer pairings, live music and local food trucks. Blue Point Brewery, 161 River Ave., Patchogue. craftbeerfestivals.com/blue-point $55. 2 p.m April 16.

Riley Lynch
This Connecticut teen launched his way into America’s hearts on season 3 of the X Factor—when he made it to finalist!—and he hasn’t looked back since. This singer/songwriter has tremendous talent. His terrific performances supporting his new EP of original tunes are something you won’t want to miss. You’ll want to say: “I saw him when…” Be there or be square. Warming up the crowd will be Allie Martocci, Jenna Rose, Morell Brown, Gianni Paci, Phantoms & Fables and A Place To Hide. Revolution Bar and Music Hall, 140 Merrick Rd., Amityville. revolutionli.com $12-$25. 2 p.m. April 16.

Robin Trower

Robin Trower
English psychedelic blues rock legend Robin Trower’s Hendrix-esque mastery of the Stratocaster feeds the free-loving soul. Come let him transport you to the stratosphere. Supporting acts include Phil Varca and The Slam Jammers. The Paramount, 370 New York Ave., Huntington. paramountny.com $39.50-$79.50. 8 p.m. April 16.

Selena’s 45th Birthday Tribute Concert
With the 45th birthday of the late singer Selena approaching, it is only right she gets the proper tribute she deserves. Long Island native Genessa & The Selena Experience is the best way to honor the life of the “queen of Tejano music.” Fans of Selena will not want to miss this chance to celebrate her legacy. NYCB Theatre at Westbury, 960 Brush Hollow Rd., Westbury. venue.thetheatreatwestbury.com $19.50-$39. 8 p.m. April 16.

John Primer Band
For over 50 years John Primer has been playing the Chicago Blues all across the country.  This Mississippi native is still as sharp and smooth as ever, even at the age of 71. He promises to give a great night of music. Treme Blues and Jazz Club, 553 Main St., Islip. tremeislip.com $20. 8 p.m. April 16.

Desiigner & Fat Joe & Remy Ma
Funk Master Flex spins, Desiigner, Fat Joe & Remy Ma perform live. Go for it! Get your groove on. The Emporium, 1 Railroad Ave., Patchogue. theemporiumny.com $20-$30. 10 p.m. April 16.

Favorite Poem Project
Local poetry fans can submit their favorite published poems with an explanation of its significance and be considered for a chance to bring the words to life at a poetry reading at the Walt Whitman Birthplace, the interpretive site for Long Island’s most famous poet. Walt Whitman Birthplace, 246 Walt Whitman Rd., Huntington Station. waltwhitman.org Free. 2 p.m. April 17.

John Gorka
This folk legend will perform in celebration of his 12th studio album, Bright Side of Down, which features broad themes of winter-to-spring, of unforgiving edges, of savage beauty and being at the mercy of larger forces that we barely understand. Long Island Museum, 1200 Route 25A., Stony Brook. sundaystreet.org $25. 5 p.m. April 17.

Reviving America

Steve Forbes & Elizabeth Ames
Steve Forbes, editor-in-chief of Forbes Magazine, and author Elizabeth Ames will be speaking and signing their new book, “Reviving America.” Book Revue, 313 New York Ave., Huntington. bookrevue.com Price of book. 7 p.m. April 18.

The Family Next Door – Trailer from michael messner on Vimeo.

The Family Next Door
This documentary follows the Lund family’s struggles raising four children, two of whom are on the autism spectrum. Filmmaker Barry Reese and subject Donna Lund will discuss the movie during the reception. Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Ave., Huntington. cinemaartscentre.org $10 members, $15 public. 7:30 p.m. April 20.

Donald Trump Appearance at Suffolk GOP Event in Patchogue Sparks Outrage

Donald Trump
Donald Trump speaks at Grumman Studios in Bethpage on Wednesday, April 6, 2016 (Long Island Press photo)

By Rashed Mian and Timothy Bolger

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump’s scheduled appearance at a Suffolk County Republican Committee fundraiser this week in Patchogue near where an immigrant was killed in a hate crime nearly eight years ago has sparked outrage among advocacy groups and the victim’s family.

small business loan fees

Trump’s appearances frequently attract demonstrations wherever he goes, but members of the Patchogue community say Thursday’s event at The Emporium is particularly unsettling, given his controversial statements on immigration issues during the campaign. The venue is a short distance from where 37-year-old Ecuadorian immigrant Marcelo Lucero was slain by a group of teenagers in 2008, revealing deep fissures within the community after it emerged they beat Hispanic immigrants for sport, dubbing it “beaner hopping.” Jeffrey Conroy, who was 17 at the time, is serving 25 years in prison after being convicted of manslaughter as a hate crime in the attack, and his six co-defendants were convicted of lesser offenses.

“I think it’s really insensitive…because its just three blocks away from where my brother was killed,” Joselo Lucero, Marcelo’s brother, told the Press. “To have somebody—which I believe he’s a bully, he’s reckless, he’s anti-immigrant—I don’t think it’s the right thing.”

Suffolk County Republican Chairman John Jay LaValle has said the $150-per seat event, which will have more than 1,000 in attendance, was scheduled two months in advance, but Trump wasn’t confirmed until a week ago. The Suffolk GOP regularly hold events at the night club and music venue owned by Frank Profeta, a local Conservative Party committeeman who testified last month at ex-Suffolk Conservative chair Ed Walsh’s federal fraud trial. LaValle and his counterpart to the west, Nassau County Republican Chairman Joseph Mondello, have endorsed Trump for the GOP presidential nomination.

“We believe this is an important part of the political process and is protected by the First Amendment,” LaValle said in a statement. “The Committee looks forward to continuing this tradition this Thursday night…And while we offer the greatest empathy possible to the family of Marcelo Lucero, who was brutally murdered by a group of teens in 2008, we can’t help but to be suspicious of the motives of those leading the charge to connect that vicious hate crime with Mr. Trump’s commitment to enforcement of immigration laws that have gone largely ignored by both parties, for 30 years.”

Suffolk County police and Village of Patchogue officials said they are coordinating with the Secret Service and community organizations to prepare for protesters expected to flood the area for anti-Trump demonstrations.

“We will not tolerate any lawlessness,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Timothy Sini told reporters Wednesday during a news conference at police headquarters in Yaphank. “Let’s remember that in this country, we are all entitled to express ourselves peacefully. We’re all entitled to our opinion.”

He said extra police, including undercover officers, will be patrolling the area. The commissioner also urged drivers to avoid the area since roads will be closed surrounding the venue Thursday, including Railroad Avenue, South Street and Second Street. Vehicles parked near the venue will be towed and the Long Island Rail Road’s Patchogue station parking lot will be closed.

“Because of where it’s at, there’s a raised level of awareness on the immigration issue,” said Patchogue Mayor Paul Pontieri, who said he isn’t happy about the event but didn’t ask the Republicans to move it, citing their First Amendment rights.

Also exercising their freedom of speech will be Lucero’s brother and several groups that have planned vigils and protests, including one called “Make America LOVE Again,” which will double as a fundraiser for the Marcelo Lucero Award Fund.

It didn’t take long for Trump’s appearance to draw a withering rebuke from immigrant groups as well as The New York Times editorial board, which called it “a wretched development, a disgraceful provocation by the Suffolk County Republicans and their chairman, John Jay LaValle.”

Lucero’s death still hangs over the community, and it was only two years ago that Suffolk police settled a U.S. Department of Justice probe into whether the department did enough to prevent hate crimes against Hispanics before Lucero was killed.

Opponents say the event is deeply insensitive because of Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric on the issue of immigration. During his campaign rallies, he routinely reads the lyrics to “The Snake”, an Al Wilson song, while comparing Syrian refugees to deadly serpents. He reiterated that part of his speech during a massive rally in Bethpage last week.

Marcelo Lucero was killed in a hate crime in Patchogue in 2008.
Marcelo Lucero was killed in a hate crime in Patchogue in 2008.

“Trump’s campaign is filled with hate speech against immigrants and we don’t feel his hate speech belongs in Patchogue,” reads an anti-Trump rally event posting on Facebook from Long Island Progressive Coalition.

An event posting for the Lucero fundraiser at 89 North Music Venue said they intend to celebrate diversity with the help of local performers.

“We, the people of Patchogue, are joining together to demonstrate our commitment to building bridges, not walls,” the post reads.

The historic Congregational Church of Patchogue announced it’s holding a 15-minute silent rally and vigil dedicated to “Peace, Love & Understanding.”

“I think it’s important for people to have an opportunity to stop talking and to just sit wordlessly, silently, in silence for a period of time,” Rev. Dwight Lee Wolter, the church’s pastor, told the Press. The Congregational Church was the site of Lucero’s funeral.

Wolter believes a few minutes of silent reflection could be just as empowering as opponents trying to “outshout” one another.

“See if there’s any healing in silence,” he said. “Silence is a very potent tool.”

The church’s long-time pastor said he’s a “firm believer in free speech” and believes in those opposed to several of Trump’s positions could learn from what he has to say. However, he said, “Any reasonable person would not only move that venue but would look good for having done so…I think it would make Trump look reasonable.”

Sini and Pontieri noted that since the event isn’t moving, it will give Patchogue a chance to show the world how far they’ve come since 2008, when news of Lucero’s slaying gave the South Shore village and Suffolk a national reputation of being as a hotbed of anti-immigration fervor.

“The Village of Patchogue…has come a long way in recent years and tomorrow’s a good benchmark for that progress,” Sini said. “I’m very confident that we’ll show to the world… that here we respect each other, we treat each other with respect and dignity and we can peacefully express ourselves.”

Pontieri added: “The sense of community is much greater now than it was then.”

Trump has been criss-crossing New York State with the hope that his home turf would help him win more delegates in his effort to clinch the GOP presidential nomination over U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Ohio Governor John Kasich.

One of Trump’s most provocative proposals is to compel Mexico to pay for a wall that would keep undocumented immigrants from crossing the southern border into the United States.

“I love the Mexican people, I love Hispanics,” Trump said during his campaign stop in Bethpage before his fans began chanting “Build the wall!” He then asked the crowd, “Who’s going to build the wall?” The crowd shouted back: “Mexico!”

Joselo Lucero said the event is “reckless.”

“I think he should not even speak in Suffolk County at all, period,” he said.

Adding LIRR Third Track Would Move Long Island Faster Into the Future

LIRR's diesel electric No. 421 passing the site of the former Bayport Station on the Montauk Line on Nov. 27, 2010. (Photo by Lexcie)

By Neal Lewis

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s recent proposal to expand the Long Island Rail Road’s Main Line has rightly sparked a public discussion of the fundamental role that transit can play in building a more sustainable future for Long Island. From my perspective, the proposed LIRR expansion would bring environmental, social equity and economic advances in sustainability.

The major improvement involves adding a Third Track to a 9.8-mile segment of the LIRR Main Line between Floral Park and Hicksville. This additional track would eliminate the existing bottleneck that currently causes delays, prevents efficient reverse commuting and limits train service across the Island particularly in Suffolk County. Substantially increasing the capacity of the LIRR’s Main Line would enhance Long Island in many ways.

First, improved public transit helps the environment because it gets more people out of their cars and into much less polluting trains. The LIRR expansion would have significant, positive, greenhouse-gas reduction benefits because increased train ridership causes a decrease in vehicle miles travelled by car. Even if the addition doesn’t cause people to give up their cars completely, it allows them to use their cars less often, which improves our air quality.

residential moving guide

Investing in this long-overdue transit system expansion is consistent with efforts to increase “transit-oriented developments” (or TODs) across Long Island. More frequent train service encourages residential development in transit-oriented downtown areas that can be especially attractive to young people—but frequent train service is crucial to their appeal.

Second, improved public transit would enhance business opportunities on Long Island. A report by the Long Island Index reveals that 10 years after the project is completed 14,000 new jobs will have been created; 35,000 new residents will have been added, along with $5.6 billion in Gross Regional Product. Businesses want access to the best employees, and that requires convenient and reliable public transit on Long Island—not just to and from New York City.

Similarly, the LIRR expansion would increase social equity because improved rail service makes it easier for people who can’t afford the significant expenses of owning a car here to find a job and get to work conveniently. It also enables people who do have cars to reduce transportation costs by relying on their cars less frequently, saving on wear and tear and mileage.

Long Islanders have a right to demand a higher-quality train service that is not hampered by a 10-mile bottleneck that otherwise stands in the way of improving our community, environment and economy. But a large infrastructure project such as this must involve concerted community input at each stage of the process. Efforts should be made to identify community concerns and minimize community impacts by exploring all design options.

It may be possible, for instance, to improve local services, reduce noise, or decrease the number of at-grade crossings that currently cause traffic to back up when trains arrive. The governor recently committed to working with local communities to remove the seven at-grade crossings within the 9.8-mile stretch where the Third Track would go. It is likely community residents will have many suggestions, so our local leaders must work to ensure that the LIRR lives up to their promise to follow an open planning process.

Long Island faces a nagging challenge to our economy and our quality of life because a public transit bottleneck more than a century old stands in the way of a more sustainable future. Gov. Cuomo should be applauded for supporting this LIRR expansion and committing to fund the process to design and evaluate the proposal. Leaders at the regional and local levels should participate thoughtfully and constructively in the project’s environmental review. All Long Islanders have an interest in seeing that it is planned, designed and implemented as sensitively as possible.

Neal Lewis is executive director of the Sustainability Institute at Molloy College and a resident of Massapequa.

Schneps Communications, Publisher of Queens Courier, Hosts ‘Kings of Long Island’ Event

Schneps Communications, the influential Queens-based publishing company with more than a dozen local news outlets under its umbrella, is bringing its venerable Star Networks awards dinner and networking expo to Long Island.

Dubbed “Kings of Long Island,” the April 12 event at Leonard’s Palazzo in Great Neck will include a slew of high-profile honorees from the public and private sector.

Among those expected to attend are Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and his counterpart in Suffolk, Steve Bellone; Glenn Altarac, president of Floor Décor & Design; Anthony Antonetti, finance director at Westbury Toyota; and Mohinder Singh Taneja, president of American Diversity Forum, among other distinguished guests.

The Kings of Long Island ceremony will honor New York Community Bank President & CEO Joseph Ficalora, who will be receiving the coveted Philanthropist of the Year award, and Molloy College President Dr. Drew Bogner, the recipient of this year’s Dan Murphy Memorial award.

Schneps Communication, publisher of the award-winning weekly newspaper Queens Courier, has hosted similar events in Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island. Past events have honored leaders in business, technology, banking, real estate and medical industries.

Schneps’ most recent Star Network event on Long Island, the first annual Power Women of Long Island, attracted more than 700 business people.

If previous events are any indication, attendees will have the opportunity to network with other successful business professionals on the Island while also sharing ideas and accomplishments from the past year.

The event is sponsored by New York Community Bank, People’s United Bank, Flushing Bank, Investors Bank, Progressive Emergency Physicians, Mangano Plumbing, The Scotto Brothers, Sewer and Drain, Ronald Fatoullah & Associates, Laffie Financial Group, Raich Ende & Malter Co. llp, Mattone Group, Merritt Environmental Consulting Group, Sim Play, Servco Industries, Stop and Share Mobile Media, Sandwire and the New York Daily News.

For tickets, visit www.qns.com/upcoming-star-networking-events or call 718-224-5863 ext 237. Leonard’s Palazzo is located at 555 Northern Blvd., Great Neck, NY. The event runs from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Schneps Communication’s foray into the L.I. market began last year with the acquisition of Morey Publishing’s acclaimed Bethpage Best of L.I. awards competition.

The ‘Walking Dead’ Season 6 Finale Makes Our Head Hurt

The Walking Dead
AMC's 'The Walking Dead' (Photo credit: AMC/Facebook)

By Lissa Harris

Oh, how I wish TV writers would stop clinging to the cliffhanger. Don’t get me wrong—it had its day and then some. The most dramatic of plot devices, a cliffhanger could simultaneously produce extreme amounts of anticipation and frustration for the viewers. And there was absolutely nothing we could do but wait until the next season’s premier to know the truth.

But we don’t need to wait anymore. This is the 21st century; we have access to information that no one could have predicted back when the television serial was born. From now until The Walking Dead Season 7 airs in October, we will be bombarded with contraband photos taken by grips and gophers on the set or stolen snippets of scripts leaked from the writers’ room. We may even learn who was killed in the cliffhanger when we see next season’s promotional poster, much like Game of Thrones’ nod to Jon Snow’s apparent survival. Personally, I would much rather live for the next six months with the sickness of knowing which one of my beloved characters died by Negan’s bloody swing of the bat. Today, a cliffhanger is a cop-out.

In past blogs, I’ve previously discussed the lazy writing that plagues Season 6 of The Walking Dead. Some plot lines simply changed or were completely forgotten about from episode to episode while others seemed to be wrapped up with an afterthought as if they never really mattered in the first place. For me, the only substance left in the show is the philosophical debate illustrated through the interplay of Carol and Morgan.

How much human fear justifies the denial of mercy?

Can survival and compassion co-exist in this world?

Is there truly a new world order?

Carol has always been the one willing to do anything to survive. She has lied and stolen, killed sick people, and even threatened and killed children—all in the interest of her own survival. As viewers, we sometimes felt her actions were justified, other times not. She was sent away after Season 3 only to come back to save the day at the prison. Season 6’s episode 13 was her wake-up call. She saw herself in Paula, the red-headed Savior who held Maggie and her hostage. My husband thinks it’s funny when Carol starts acting like the timid housewife. But I know she’s not acting as much as she’s remembering. And each time she “remembers,” another piece of her gets broken off and replaced with…what?

Morgan’s epiphany came a few episodes back in Season 6 when he encountered a man with a goat who believed unequivocally that we need not lose our compassion in this new world and that “all life is precious.”

This season’s finale is their showdown. Carol tells Morgan that she left Alexandria because she doesn’t want to be in a position to have to kill for those she loves. “If you care about anyone, there’s a price, Morgan, and you’re gonna have to pay it,” Carol says. “I have and I can’t anymore.”

Morgan responds that “everything’s about people.” He tells her that being alone means certain death. It’s no coincidence that through much of this episode Morgan rides a white horse. When Morgan kills to save Carol’s life, we think the debate is over. Then we meet the Knights in football pads, and we’re reminded that the white horse wasn’t Morgan’s. They offer help and hope.

So how does the much-anticipated entrance of Negan and his barb-wired beauty “Lucille” fit into the discussion?

My husband and I have always referred to Jeffrey Dean Morgan as “the poor man’s Javier Bardem.” The music may have been more frightening than his Negan, though the drawn-out finale was suspenseful for sure. But Negan’s monologue didn’t sound compelling. The only high point was the amazing bit of insight when he refers to Carl as “the future serial killer.” I think JDM really tried, but the writing betrayed his menace.

The power of JDM’s performance remains to be seen but his character’s impact has been felt. It’s the idea of Negan and his bat that adds a new layer to the debate. He’s meant to be the evil we never imagined. He is the post-apocalyptic, psychopathic ruler General Bethlehem (Will Patton) we saw in “The Postman” (1997) and more recently the Commandant (Idris Elba) in “Beasts of No Nation” (2015). Clearly Negan doesn’t feel regret, therefore Carol’s philosophical rules don’t apply to him. The new world order didn’t change him—it changed to better suit him.

Those of us who are paying attention to this show don’t care as much about whom Negan chose to kill. We care more about why.

Do This: Long Island Concert & Events April 7–13

Belinda Carlisle playing in Sydney on Feb. 10, 2011 (Photo by Eva Rinaldi).

The True Cost
This groundbreaking documentary about clothes, those who make them and the industry’s worldwide impact asks viewers to consider who really pays the price for our clothing. Screening followed by panel discussion. Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Ave., Huntington. cinemaartscentre.org $10 members, $15 public. 7 p.m. April 7.

John Waite
The British rocker best known for his 1984 hit “Missing You” takes his Wooden Heart Accoustic Tour on the road with an intimate evening of songs, stories and Q&As, featuring The Axemen, Tim Hogan and Mark Ricciardi. YMCA Boulton Center for the Performing Arts, 37 West Main St., Bay Shore. boultoncenter.org $40-$70. 8 p.m. April 7.

Duke Robillard
The legendary blues guitarist, singer, bandleader, songwriter and producer brings his special groove to Long Island in support of his current CD, “The Acoustic Blues & Roots of Duke Robillard,” released last September. Treme Blues and Jazz Club, 553 Main St., Islip. tremeislip.com $10. 8:30 p.m. April 8.

Legends of Old School
A trip down hip hop memory lane with Slick Rick, Big Daddy Kane and Rakim. The Emporium, 1 Railroad Ave., Patchogue. theemporiumny.com $20, $30 DOS. 9 p.m. April 8.

Citizen Cope
An intimate solo acoustic performance featuring the soulful, genre-defying sounds of Citizen Cope, aka Clarence Greenwood. This singer/songwriter/music producer whose songs have been recorded by Carlos Santana, Dido, Pharoahe Monch and the late Richie Havens will be performing his own compositions. Opening the show will be Victoria Reed. The Paramount, 370 New York Ave., Huntington. paramountny.com $25-$66. 9 p.m. April 8.

Taste of Flight Wine and Food Fest
Wine, artisanal food trucks, Long Island’s top chefs and local dessert masters, all under one roof! Can you handle it? Come hungry and thirsty–and you’ll leave fulfilled. Cradle of Aviation Museum, Charles Lindbergh Blvd., Garden City. cradleofaviation.org $25-$50. 6 p.m. April 9.

Mock The Vote
Washington D.C.-based satirists The Capitol Steps lampoon Obama, Hillary Clinton, the GOP presidential hopefuls and more. As people say, after you see The Capitol Steps, you’ll realize that the opposite of progress…is Congress. Imagine the First Amendment set to four-part harmony and you’ll get a sense of their take on the issues of our day. You’ll laugh at their clever parodies and their music is right on the mark, too. Not to be missed.  patchoguetheatre.org $27. 8 p.m. April 9.

Puscifer
When the enigmatic Maynard James Keenan isn’t the frontman for prog-rock bands Tool and A Perfect Circle, fans can find him performing for his solo act, touring to promote the third album, Money Shot, released in October. Opening the show is Luchafer. The Paramount, 370 New York Ave., Huntington. paramountny.com $35-$75. 8 p.m. April 9.

Walshy Fire
Member of the LA-based electronic group Major Lazer, Walshy Fire will get the dance party started. The Emporium, 1 Railroad Ave., Patchogue. theemporiumny.com Free. 10 p.m. April 9.

It’s More Expensive to Do Nothing
This documentary exposes the side of criminal justice left out of popular TV shows such as Cops and Law & Order: revolving door prison institutionalization, the complexities of remediation and programs that have worked to help nonviolent ex-offenders succeed after release. Panel discussion to follow screening. Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Ave., Huntington. cinemaartscentre.org $10 members, $15 public. 10 a.m. April 10.

Journeys
An opening reception will be held for Huntington artist Constance Wain’s solo exhibit, which includes collages and art created in mixed media. b.j. spoke gallery, 299 Main St., Huntington. bjspokegallery.com Free. 2 p.m. April 10.

Internal Bleeding
This local death metal quintet are the self-described pioneers of slam, a heavy, groove-laden style of death-core. Warming up the crowd are Thracian, In Lucid Dreams, Path We Choose and Aegresco. Revolution Bar and Music Hall, 140 Merrick Rd., Amityville. revolutionli.com $12, $15 DOS. 6:30 p.m. April 10.

Esperanza Spalding
This stunningly talented Grammy-winning singer-composer-bassist performs her newest project, “Emily’s D+Evolution,” which she describes as “live musical vignettes.” She’s a true artist and we’re lucky to have her. Tilles Center for the Performing Arts, LIU Post, 720 Northern Blvd., Brookville. tillescenter.org $31-$86. 7 p.m. April 10.

Eric Paslay
At 15, Eric Paslay wrote his first song. The rest, as they say, is history. Whether he’s penning number-one hits for Rascal Flatts and Lady Antebellum, or captivating listeners with his own tunes, Eric Paslay is rocking the country music world with his soul-searching lyrics and on-stage charm. No longer the guy behind the scenes, Paslay has taken center stage with last year’s eponymous record. With so much radio airplay, “Friday Night” is sure to be a singalong and “Song About a Girl” will have everyone on  their feet. Mulcahy’s Pub and Concert Hall, 3232 Railroad Ave., Wantagh. muls.com $20-$25. 7 p.m. April 10.

Take 6 and Manhattan Transfer
These two a-cappella groups will show how varied the genre can be. Alabama-based Take 6 performs gospel while New York City-based Manhattan Transfer sings jazz fusion and pop. NYCB Theatre at Westbury, 960 Brush Hollow Rd., Westbury. venue.thetheatreatwestbury.com 7 p.m. April 10.

Brenda Janowitz
This highly regarded local author will be speaking and signing copies of her fifth novel, The Dinner Party, a delicious new work of scintillating fiction. Janowitz, a graduate of Cornell and Hofstra Law School, has been published in The New York Times, the Washington Post and Salon, to name a few venues. If you’re nice, maybe she’ll tell you what’s cooking in her popular book, “Recipes for a Happy Life.” Book Revue, 313 New York Ave., Huntington. bookrevue.com Price of book. 7 p.m. April 12.

Belinda Carlisle
This LA-based darling diva, best known as the former frontwoman of The Go-Go’s, is touring in advance of the release of her first new solo album in nearly a decade. She’ll surely sing some Go-Go’s hits, such as “Mad About You”, “I Get Weak” and “Heaven Is a Place on Earth.” Hey, one thing’s for sure, Belinda’s Go-Go never got up and went. She’s still got it going on, if you can keep up with her, that is. The Paramount, 370 New York Ave., Huntington. paramountny.com $25-$75. 8 p.m. April 12.

Just Eat It
This documentary follows food lovers Jen and Grant, who expose the billions of dollars of food wasted on the trip from farm to fork. A meaty issue, indeed, and timely too, considering the hundreds of thousands of people going hungry every day on Long Island. A panel discussion follows the screening. Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Ave., Huntington. cinemaartscentre.org $10 members, $15 public. 7:30 p.m. April 13.

Ace Frehley
Here’s an interesting tidbit for fans of Ace Frehley, the Kiss guitarist: on his newest album, Space Invaders, his fiance, Rachael Gordon, wrote the lyrics to two songs, “Change” and “Immortal Pleasures.” When this Rock and Roll Hall of Famer storms into town to promote the album, he’s sure to bust out both songs. Prepare to “rock and roll all night” as one of the most influential rock guitarists of all time brings his brand of far-out music to our little corner of the planet. The Paramount, 370 New York Ave., Huntington. paramountny.com $27.50-$69.50. 8 p.m. April 13.

Donald Trump Rally Forces Closure Of Long Island Rape Crisis Center

Donald Trump
An April 6, 2016 stop on Long Island by billionaire real estate mogul and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump forced a rape crisis center to unexpectedly close its doors. (Photo: Donald Trump 'Make America Great Again' campaign website)

By Spencer Rumsey and Christopher Twarowski

A campaign rally on Long Island for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump abruptly shut down a refuge center for victims of domestic and sexual abuse Wednesday, sparking outrage among victim advocates and adding to concerns about his problematic image with women voters.

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Trump, the billionaire real estate mogul-turned reality TV star and GOP presidential hopeful, made a campaign stop at Grumman Studios in Bethpage, NY, to drum up support in advance of the state’s primary on April 19, attracting thousands of supporters and protestors and prompting road closures in the vicinity.

The Safe Center LI, located on Grumman Road, was one of those locations shut down to make way for Trump’s rally. It offers cost-free, confidential services to victims of rape, sexual assault, human trafficking, domestic and dating violence, as well as child abuse. Among these: a 24-hour hotline, child advocacy, crisis intervention, emergency counseling, transitional housing, and “safe home” services.

With a stated mission “To protect, assist and empower victims of family violence and sexual assault while challenging and changing social systems that tolerate and perpetuate abuse,” The Safe Center LI services more than 1,000 victims annually.

“Due to the Donald Trump rally being held at Grumman Studios today, our center will unfortunately be closed to the public after 1 p.m.,” it announced on its Facebook page Wednesday at around noon. “Walk-in emergency appointments, regular appointments, and deliveries will not be able to access The Safe Center due to the road closure. We will resume full services at 9 a.m. Thursday morning. Thanks for your cooperation. If you have an emergency, please call our 24-Hour Hotline at 516-542-0404, or 911.”

Maurice Moe Mitchell, state director at New York Civic Engagement Table responded below the posting: “This is outrageous.”

“Donald Trump, making Long Island a less safe place for everyone,” added another poster.

Donald Trump
A Donald Trump rally on Long Island Wednesday, April 6, 2016, forced the temporary closure of a center for rape and domestic abuse victims.

Trump has been no stranger to criticism regarding his rhetoric and his attitude toward women.

For years he’s had a very public feud with actress Rosie O’Donnell, which became a subject of now-infamous inquiries about his misogyny made by Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly during the first Republican presidential debate, televised live in August last year.

“You’ve called women you don’t like fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals,” said Kelly.

“Only Rosie O’Donnell,” Trump replied, to laughter and applause from the audience, and he followed up that night with a series of tweets and subsequent remarks that furthered their own feud.

“You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever,” he told CNN about her questioning—his campaign later insisting that he stated “whatever.”

Trump, who’s in a tight race with U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) for the GOP’s nomination, recently attacked Cruz’s wife, Heidi, threatening “to spill the beans” on her, after a SuperPAC supporting the Texas Republican had run a provocative nude photo of Trump’s third wife, Melania, taken in 2000 for a British GQ photo shoot with the headline: “Meet Melania Trump. Your Next First Lady.”

Trump followed that up with a retweet of an unflattering photo of Heidi Cruz next to a flattering photo of his supermodel wife, with the words: “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

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Recently, the real estate billionaire made waves again when he told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews at a town hall event that “there has to be some form of punishment” for a woman who got an abortion if it were made illegal. Later, he tried to retract that televised response by releasing a statement saying that doctors who perform abortions, not women, should be “held legally responsible.” For good measure, Trump added, “The woman is a victim in this case as is the life in her womb.”

Nationwide, Trump’s appeal among women voters is weak, at barely 42 percent, and declining. According to Wisconsin exit polls of primary voters, Trump only got 34 percent of female voters, despite having Melania try to shore up his support by giving her first campaign stump speech in Milwaukee.

“I’m very proud of him,” she said.

Requests for comment from the Trump “Make America Great Again” presidential campaign about the rape crisis center closure were not returned as of press time. Nor were attempts to reach The Safe Center LI.

A Nassau County Police spokesperson told a Press reporter that the office had no knowledge of The Safe Center LI, or any other local businesses, being adversely impacted by the road closures until notified by the Press, nor knew of any protocol in place to accommodate sexual abuse victims looking for help.

The spokesperson suggested any victims seek medical attention at an ER, instead.

Trump’s Therapist Unlocks the Mystery Behind The Donald: A Fairy Tale?

Donald Trump Muslim Ban

By Arnie Dodge

Recently I sat down in New York with Donald Trump’s therapist, Dr. Rufus T. Quackenbush, the renowned Yale-trained psychiatrist. It should be noted that Dr. Quackenbush, a Freudian, is the second major analyst to work with Mr. Trump. Dr. Carl Gustav Jung, who died 55 years ago, worked with him during the ’90s, Trump preferring to be alone during the sessions. Trump claims this was a great experience despite Jung’s absence because Trump has “the best” unconscious and the “most interesting” dreams. Fortunately for me, Trump sanctioned my interview with Quackenbush, giving us both license to discuss any matter that arose.

AD: Thank you for sharing some of your observations about Mr. Trump.  Let’s get right down to it. Why do you think he agreed to let us talk?

RQ:  It comes as no surprise to me that he agreed. Donald is suffering from extreme narcissism, the worst case I’ve seen in my 40 years in the mental health field.  In such extreme cases the patient believes that any and all things about him will be adored by others.  I am sure that no matter what we talk about he will consider our discussion another testimony to his greatness.  One time, Donald used the bathroom in my office.  When he was done, he asked me to look at his bowel movement.  He quipped, “I’ve had thousands and thousands of terrific bowel movements.”

AD: I bet that was a bit unnerving.

RQ: It was, but I showered him with praise because he is my patient, after all. He is quite proud of his achievements but there’s always an underlying element of intense insecurity.

AD: What is your assessment on his candidacy for president? Do you think he can serve the American people with integrity?

RQ: Donald is clearly a sociopath managing to fool others that he has their best interests in mind. He has risen to the top of the business world through a global sleight-of-hand that is breathtaking, convincing the wealthy and the powerful to partner with him, even in dubious endeavors.  Trump “University,” promising a world-class education with Trump’s name on the diploma, bilked students out of thousands of dollars in tuition costs. His career is rife with similar examples. If integrity is a prerequisite for the presidency, then he surely is not suited for the position. He has a genius for dissembling and manipulation, characteristics that are informally known in the psychiatric community as Dissociative Sadistic and Psychotic Malevolent.

AD: If he does become the President, do you foresee his condition affecting him in his new role?

RQ: Yes, I am worried about the relationship between his illness and his ascension to the presidency. For example, he has shared with me that his role as Commander-in-Chief will be exhilarating. He has likened his position to a childhood game in which he set up toy soldiers as “good guys” and “bad guys.” He would douse the “bad guys” with gasoline and gleefully set them ablaze with the toss of a lit match. The display was submitted as his science project while attending military school. This pyromania is certainly cause for alarm in someone who will have his finger on the “trigger.” As an aside, I might mention that when he discusses his new title, he salivates uncontrollably. I have to have our custodial staff sanitize the area before my next patient arrives.

AD: That must cut into your hours.

RQ: Well, I try to schedule Donald at the end of the day but then he wanted to just call in when it was convenient to him and I couldn’t have that. It was totally unacceptable.

AD: Mr. Trump has often said that he will confront those in Washington who do not agree with him and they will succumb to his will.  Recently he suggested that if the Speaker of the House disagrees with him, the Speaker will “do as I say.” How would you characterize this behavior in psychological terms? 

RQ:  Our protected rights against domestic tyranny notwithstanding, Donald has shared with me that the Constitution was poorly negotiated, and written by low energy people.

AD: That’s an important distinction to him, isn’t it?

RQ: No doubt. As a deal maker—and a billionaire—he told me that he will “make the Bill of Rights great again.”  In addition, my notes include the following statement from Donald: “I am already making an ‘enemies list’ for those who will not follow orders, especially those creeps in the media, some of the worst people I have ever met. Would I shoot them?  Maybe yes, maybe no.” A temperament that includes violent fantasies typically requires involuntary hospitalization.

AD: That may not be possible in his case.

RQ: It’s worrisome, indeed. He could prove very resistant.

AD:  What about his obsession with the “wall” he wants to build?

RQ:  There is no mistaking the indicators of a borderline personality. Of course, in his mind it’s all about keeping out “the other.”

AD:  It is common knowledge that mental health professionals probe their patients’ sub-conscious mind through an analysis of their dreams. Have you applied this technique to your work with Mr. Trump?

RQ: Most definitely. Here is where we examine the layers of the troubled psyche. Donald recounts a recurring dream from childhood—a dream that appears occasionally even today—of being castrated by gangs who pass around his severed member, laughing at its uncommonly small size. I am fairly certain that building very tall structures that bear his name is his way of compensating for his shame.

AD: What other characteristics have you observed, Doctor?

RQ: Screaming epithets at his opponents, “making faces” that an adolescent might present in a grammar school lunchroom, referencing bodily functions to insult women. These are gestures that reflect a serious conduct disorder and a dangerous lack of impulse control. Quite frankly, I worry about these aberrations if he were to facilitate a meeting in the Oval Office or address  the United Nations General Assembly.

AD: What is your long-term prognosis for Mr. Trump?

RQ:  Donald has survived so well this far that I believe he will continue to present his disruptive behaviors because they have worked for him. Unchecked psychosis emboldens a distorted mind. However, I am more concerned about the pathology we see in his followers. The public displays are quite unsettling. The most recent example—the most disturbing one of all—is the spectacle of his acolytes pushing, shoving and punching those who disagree with Donald’s message at his rallies. People who cannot discern right from wrong—they’re countenancing violence, adhering to deformed logic and cheering at the prospect of dismantling democracy as we know it—they are easy targets for impostors promising to fulfill their desires. Donald should engender outrage from any sane individual. But here he engages people on a primitive level, stroking their id. Mobs of people under the spell of a lunatic can only lead to catastrophic outcomes.

AD: Thank you very much for sharing your professional perspective with us.  Would you like to make any final comments?

RQ: Yes. God help us.

(Editor’s Note: Of course, this is fiction. But yes, God help us.)

Donald Trump Hosting Presidential Campaign Rally Wednesday in Bethpage

Donald Trump
Donald Trump speaks to supporters. (Photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

By Rashed Mian and Timothy Bolger

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is rallying Wednesday on Long Island less than two weeks before an uncharacteristically pivotal New York State primary—and authorities are bracing for a crowd of up to 13,000 people.

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The GOP frontrunner, reality TV star and real estate magnate will hold the rally 7 p.m. Wednesday at Grumman Studios in Bethpage. Nassau County police said the venue can hold more than 12,000 people and up to 1,000 protesters—for and against Trump—are expected to rally outside in a “free speech zone” on South Oyster Bay Road.

“Violence will not be tolerated,” Acting Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter told reporters when asked how authorities are preparing for the bad behavior that has made headlines at some of Trump’s other rallies nationwide. Krumpter would not say if specific threats have been received, but warned drivers to expect major traffic delays in the HIcksville area. He said police are expecting even more protesters than the hundreds they saw at the 2008 and 2012 presidential debates at Hofstra University.

Those who get tickets to attend the rally will be required to go through metal detectors and be screened by Secret Service agents before entering the facility, the police commissioner said. No firearms will be allowed inside the venue, he noted. Grumman Road, the route to the venue, will be closed at 2 p.m. Wednesday along with South Oyster Bay Road between South Broadway and Grumman Road.

Grumman Studios and the adjoining Gold Coast Studios boast a combined 605,000 square feet of space. Grumman Studios itself is equipped with seven stages, and has played been the set of major movie productions such as The Avengers, Amazing Spider-Man and several live TV broadcasts such as “Peter Pan Live” starring Allison Williams and Christopher Walken. Iranian immigrant Parviz Farahzad, a real estate mogul, owns Grumman Studios.

A coalition of protesters, including African Americans, Latino groups and the political-arm of Planned Parenthood in Nassau County, have already announced plans to hold a peaceful anti-Trump rally outside the studio in response to his controversial comments seen as anti-immigrant, Islamophobic and misogynistic. In a press release, protesters said they plan to “embrace and empower the groups that Donald Trump aims to tear down, like women, Muslims and immigrants.”

But he also has his supporters. Nassau GOP boss Joe Mondello has endorsed Trump. Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, who lives in Bethpage, reportedly plans to attend the rally but has not endorsed the candidate.

The rally comes as Trump has 737 delegates as of Tuesday, about half of the 1,237 needed to secure the Republican nomination. Presidential primary candidates historically need not rally in The Empire State since they usually clinch their party’s line well before the primaries here, which this year fall on April 19. Trump is leading the polls in his home state of New York, which has the second-most remaining available delegates after California.

Trump is coming off perhaps the roughest patch of his campaign. On March 30, Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, was charged with simple battery in Florida for allegedly grabbing Michelle Fields, then a Breitbart reporter, who was attempting to ask Trump a question. Trump, no stranger to incendiary comments, received widespread condemnation days later when, in responding to a hypothetical posed to him by MSNBC, he suggested that women who undergo illegal abortions should be punished. Trump later backtracked, saying that abortion providers who perform the procedure should be punished instead if abortion is made illegal.

“The woman is a victim in this case as is the life in her womb,” Trump said in a statement clarifying his position.

Trump previously stirred controversy when he called for a ban of all Muslims from entering the United States and said he would compel Mexico to build a wall to keep immigrants from crossing the southern border. He’s also toyed with the idea of placing Muslim American citizens in a database and told one interviewer: “I think Islam hates us.”

Trump’s interpretation of how Muslim Americans perceive this country comes in stark contrast to statements made by the Muslim community on Long Island who have repeatedly condemned violence and proclaimed that the so-called Islamic State is a false caliphate that doesn’t represent the religion of some 3 billion people. Muslim Americans throughout the US have reported unprecedented levels of backlash—ranging from verbal broadsides and physical attacks—against members of the community and their mosques amid the election season.

Trump isn’t the only White House candidate making a campaign stop on the Island. Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who is languishing behind Trump and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), made stops at Hofstra, Sagamore Hill and The Paramount in Huntington on Monday. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton will reportedly hold events with party faithful in both Nassau and Suffolk counties. Her husband, former President Bill Clinton, was in Elmont on Tuesday. Her opponent, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), has yet to announce plans to come to LI.