Environment-krill relations in the South Georgia marine ecosystem

first_imgInterannual variability in the Southern Ocean ecosystem has long been noted and physical factors appear to dominate the dynamics. There are, however, few ecological time series available to assess this variability and it is only recently that physical datasets have been generated for the Southern Ocean. In this study, time series of krill abundance (CPUE) indices were derived from Soviet fishing operations in the northeastern Scotia Sea around South Georgia for the period from 1974 to 1992. These indices were examined in relation to the variation in the physical environment. There are links between the ice, ocean and atmospheric components of the system, and there are also correlations with CPUE data. The CPUE index generally agrees with other data which give direct or indirect indications of krill availability, suggesting it can be a useful index for some regions. Associations with ice-edge position and atmospheric components were only expressed strongly in years of extreme conditions. The correlation with water temperature was more consistent, supporting suggestions that the variability in krill abundance around South Georgia is strongly influenced by the oceanographic regime of the Scotia Sea.last_img read more

Marco Beverage Systems brings out Filtro range

first_imgBeverage-making equipment supplier Marco Beverage Systems (London) is launching a range of small-batch filter coffee brewers called Filtro.Two models are included in the range: the pour-over jug model and a thermal airpot version. Each comes in manual fill or plumbed versions.Filtro has a visual and audible indicator of when the brew is finished, together with descale and ‘spoil’ lights. The jug model has two hot plates and the price includes two decanters. It also includes a screw-off spray head, which can be removed easily for descaling. The whole unit is digitally controlled.The flask model operates in similar fashion to the pour-over version, except that the brew is dispensed directly into a 2.2ltr thermal flask, which can be supplied at an additional cost. Also available is a 1.8ltr thermal flask version. List price for the Filtro manual jug model is £199.last_img read more

The gathering storm

first_imgThis year has been a shocking, “catastrophic” one for the country, filled with pandemic suffering, racial division, and death. But it has also produced moments of hope, inspired protests for racial justice powered by crowds of unprecedented diversity and size, and forced many Americans to face their prejudice head-on, experts said Wednesday during an online talk hosted by Harvard’s Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, and PBS.The discussion was opened by Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher Jr. University Professor and director of the Hutchins Center, who invoked the memory of Civil Rights icon John Lewis and read from a letter by him published in The New York Times after his death last month. “We do not want to be driven back to the place that we were, a place that John Lewis, the conscience not only of Congress, but the conscience of our country, described so aptly as a place where, and I quote, ‘Fear constrained us like an imaginary prison and troubling thoughts of potential brutality committed for no understandable reason were the bars.’”Gates then posed this question: “Must inequality and brutality be our national legacy?” He turned for answers to journalist and author Charlayne Hunter-Gault, who was the moderator, and to the panel, which included Lawrence Bobo, W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of the Social Sciences and dean of the Division of Social Sciences; Neera Tanden, president and CEO of the progressive think tank Center for American Progress; Donna Brazile, Democratic strategist and Fox News contributor; Shermichael Singleton, conservative political analyst; David Brooks and Charles Blow, New York Times columnists; and Vernon Jones, a Democratic member of the Georgia House of Representatives who has endorsed President Trump’s re-election bid.,Hunter-Gault began by asking the panel a question of her own about how the pandemic and America’s racial reckoning were affecting their perceptions of equity and justice. All agreed that both have turned a bright light on the health, social, and economic disparities that plague the country and forced many to reconsider their stance on racial issues. Several of the speakers also called for a strong national response and leadership, as well as the need for collective action moving forward.Tanden, who recently recovered from COVID-19, said the pandemic and her personal experience made her rethink “equity writ large.”“I hope [the virus] creates a sense of shared fate,” she said, “and gives us a sense that we actually have to act collectively to solve these problems.” Failure to act, she added, affects the most vulnerable, specifically “people of color who do not have access to the health care system, who do not have the health care resources, day in and day out, that whites do.”Long-term solutions are going to be key to significant change and to making progress toward racial justice, said Singleton. Among them are better funding for community-based hospitals, access to healthy food and information about healthy eating habits in communities of color, and correcting the national shortage of African American doctors. We need “individuals who are from our community who understand our behaviors and trends … [and can] better provide care for us,” he said.Brooks described 2020 as a “shocking year” and an inflection point similar in magnitude to “the late 1960s or the progressive era of the late 1890s.”George Floyd’s death at the hands of a white policeman and the nation’s failed response to the pandemic “emerged as an existential indictment of American culture and institutions for a lot of people, and it destroyed our trust in each other,” said Brooks. “It came as an emotional shock. The number of people who are depressed is three times [what it was] a year ago; 80 percent of Americans think America is spinning out of control.”Jones, the Georgia legislator, had tweeted earlier in the day that if people wanted to know why he wasn’t “voting for @JoeBiden or supporting @DNC socialist & marxist Democrats agenda,” they should tune into the discussion. He kept his promise when the mic was his.Jones blamed the Democratic Party for its inaction and inability to help African Americans truly advance. “We have given them our votes year in and year out,” Jones said. “We have been thrown beside the highway year in and year out.”Veteran political strategist Donna Brazile expressed her concerns regarding the upcoming election, including missed deadlines and long lines at the polls.Both parties bore responsibility, the panelists agreed.“I think most African Americans assess both political parties, and out of the two I think many would argue they are choosing the lesser of two evils,” said Singleton, a Republican since the age of 14. “Now would I like to see that change? Absolutely. But in order for that to change the Republican Party has to take some serious steps to make the party itself worthy of the African American vote. I don’t think the party has done that.”Brazile, who managed former Vice President Al Gore’s presidential campaign, acknowledged both parties’ past failings to address structural racism and inequality. But the former Democratic National Committee leader also defended her party and its many contributions, telling Jones, “As a Black woman who rose to become a chair of a party, a party that Fannie Lou Hamer integrated, a party that she sat down for, I just wanted you to know that we are changing that party, and we are not sitting down playing marbles.”Blow called white supremacy and its many liberal and conservative expressions the main problem facing America. “How do I get the entire system to stop killing me, to stop trying to give me pittances, to stop ignoring me until I scream, to stop trying to take my life?” he wondered. “How do I get the entire system to respond to me as a human being fully equal to any other human being, just as creative, just as intellectual?”Jones refrained from blaming Trump for a lack of strong leadership during the pandemic, saying instead that the responsibility lay with state and local leaders and that the federal government’s role was not to impose a national strategy but instead to “provide and augment states with resources.”He was alone in his assessment.“There is no effective national policy and that is allowing people to die,” said Blow. “That is just a fact.”Brazile said the problem is the lack of national testing and tracing, and providing adequate resources to states and local governments to allow them to respond to the emergency.Brooks called the federal government’s pandemic response “more shambolic than any other nation on earth,” and its response to the country’s racial divide “even worse.”In the past, Brooks said he’d felt sympathetic toward voters who felt disenfranchised and supported Trump in the hopes that they would be heard and their situation improved. Today, he said it would “take a lot of racism to elect [Trump] again, so my view of people who are supporting him again, it darkens your whole view of the country.”Trump, Brooks said, has been “a catastrophe, and I say that as someone who’s been mostly on the conservative side of things all these years. But this is not what I signed up for.”,In addressing the upcoming election, the panelists agreed that there has been a shift away from Trump and the Republican Party. While presumptive Democratic nominee Biden’s leading poll numbers have slipped in recent weeks, other polls suggest there are fewer undecided voters and that people’s party affiliations have changed, said Brooks.“If you look at party identification, in January 2020, 49 percent of Americans polled said they leaned toward the Republican Party and 47 percent to the Democratic Party. On July 1, 2020, 51 percent said they lean to the Democrats, 39 to the Republicans. That’s a 13-point shift. That’s astounding. … That’s a reaction against Donald Trump,” he said.In keeping with the trend of recent decades, the upcoming election will likely hinge on a few swing states, said Brazile, who said she worries the pandemic could disrupt the process and affect the results. “I am concerned that too many Americans will miss the deadline to turn in their ballots. I am concerned that they don’t understand that they have to have a signature check to verify. And yes, I am concerned about long lines at the polls.”Blow echoed those concerns, noting that Trump has been weakening the U.S. Postal Service while attacking mail-in voting, and expressed his fears about voters getting equal access to the ballot. “I always worry about that,” said Blow.In his response to the panelists, Bobo touched on a number of the topics raised during the hourlong discussion. He agreed with Brooks’ assessment that the U.S. has entered into a kind of “catastrophic moment” and said that the fate of major policy and structural changes called for by many of the panelists hinged on the outcome of the election.Democratic institutions are under threat, said Blow, because government officials have long failed to heal the racial divide in the country and respond to the rising inequality in the nation. “I see it as the core of why people are willing to buy into cynical conspiratorial, sometimes even nonsensical positions uttered by figures in national leadership, because they don’t know who to trust when their expectations and demands have been unfulfilled for such a long stretch of time by such a wide swath of mainstream politics,” he said.Strong national leadership will be key moving forward, said Bobo. Like most panelists, he argued that a strong response from Washington to the pandemic could have saved thousands of lives, and he called the failure to issue a national directive to wear masks “borderline criminal.”But like many of the panelists, Bobo said he too saw hope in the swell of protests led by demonstrators young and old and from a range of racial, ethnic, and economic backgrounds.Hunter-Gault ended the discussion the way that Gates introduced it, recalling Lewis’ memory and words, and his tireless fight for equality.“Though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe,” read Hunter-Gault from Lewis’ letter. “In my life I have done all I can to demonstrate that the way of peace, the way of love and nonviolence is the more excellent way. Now it is your turn to let freedom ring.”last_img read more

Deaf Kids Code & Show How Digital is Great Equalizer

first_imgShireen Hafeez is the founder of Deaf Kids Code, a nonprofit working to bridge the economic and social gaps among deaf children and adults.She has been an advocate and lobbyist for deaf kids because her own son is deaf – and she believes that computer science, technology, and design thinking skills can break down the barriers that have prevented deaf people in the past from getting jobs and fully participating in society.In her workshops, Hafeez will often ask her deaf students to make something useful in a few hours from the big can of recyclable garbage she dumps onto the classroom floor. The kids will take items – like berry cartons and cereal boxes – and after a quick hardware tutorial, are able to assemble and wire their trash into programmable creations.By using Blockly programming languages, Hafeez then teaches her students how to create complex command sequences. In no time, they are coding – and their creations are moving in response.“Computer programing is global and visual. It’s a visual voice to the world,” Hafeez says. “These kids may not know the word ‘algorithm,’ but they can produce one. This is project-based learning – and it’s accessible to them. They walk away inspired, more confident.”You can see these great projects in Hafeez’s TedxPurdueU Talk, in which Hafeez shares her powerful story.Deaf Kids Code is a Dell Youth Learning partner. Dell provides grant funding and our technology.Less than one percent of the students Hafeez works with have prior experience with computers. This doesn’t hinder a kid’s ability to learn code, she says, and neither does being deaf. In fact, deaf and hard-of-hearing children can excel at coding by leveraging the skills they use to tackle daily challenges. “Our children are natural innovators, problem solvers, and visionaries because they are navigating in a world that does not bend towards inclusion or accessibility. Because of their ability to function on those levels, they are natural creative thinkers,” Hafeez says. “It’s extraordinary what they can do with these talents.”Students with the mini nano-propellers they each designed at the Deaf Kids Code workshop at Mississippi School for the Deaf.Also extraordinary, Hafeez’s work with deaf and hard-of-hearing children is tapping into a big source of diverse talent for tech jobs.One in eight people in the U.S. aged 12 or older has hearing loss in both ears, based on standard hearing examinations, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. As Hafeez points out, deafness spans all races and genders, all faiths, national origins, and sexual orientations.“When 70 percent of people who are deaf or hard of hearing are unemployed, it’s imperative to enable greater social and economic participation by this population.Share“When 70 percent of people who are deaf or hard of hearing are unemployed, it’s imperative to enable greater social and economic participation by this population,” Hafeez says, adding that if more companies allocate internships and shadowing opportunities for students with disabilities, the pipeline for diverse talent becomes more substantial.Hafeez has hosted over 23 workshops in the past 12 months and has worked with over 650 students. There is a strong demand for Deaf Kids Code, she says, and strong results.Following her workshops, over 95 percent of her workshop attendees report they can see themselves in a STEM-based career and that they want to continue learning more about coding.Hafeez says, “Why not put our efforts towards empowering kids, like my son, with the skills the world needs? By building deaf and hard of hearing students’ skills and know-how, the employment gap can be impacted regardless of their auditory or communication challenges.” This story shares one example of how Dell is committed to driving human progress by putting our technology and expertise to work where it can do the most good for people and the planet.We invite you to explore our FY17 Annual update on our 2020 Legacy of Good Plan at legacyofgood.dell.comlast_img read more

If/Then, Starring Idina Menzel, Announces Cast Album Release

first_img Related Shows Idina Menzel Show Closed This production ended its run on March 22, 2015 View Comments Star Files Tony award winner Idina Menzel has two paths to take in If/Then, but we’re taking just one: directly to iTunes (or wherever CDs are sold). The cast album for the new musical by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey will be recorded by Masterworks Broadway on April 7 prior to a June 3 release. LaChanze If/Then tells the story of Elizabeth, a woman who wants to make a brand new start as she returns to New York City. In addition to Menzel, the cast includes Tony winner LaChanze, Anthony Rapp, Jenn Colella, Jerry Dixon, James Snyder, Jason Tam and Tamika Lawrence. Directed by Michael Greif, If/Then began preview performances on March 5 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre and will officially open on March 30. If/Then Menzel is on the heels of her chart-topping Frozen hit “Let It Go,” and this is one more album with her powerhouse voice that we can’t miss! Anthony Rapplast_img read more

Brooklynite, Starring Matt Doyle, Begins Off-Broadway

first_img Related Shows In Brooklynite, Trey Swieskowski is an idealistic hardware store clerk who dreams of becoming a superhero. Astrolass, Brooklyn’s most celebrated superhero, is determined to throw in the cape and live like a normal Brooklynite. When they meet they hatch a plan that will change their lives forever. But can they save Brooklyn when it suddenly teeters on the brink of disaster? In addition to Doyle and Cordero, the cast features Andrew Call, Gerard Canonico, Max Chernin, Nick Choksi, Carla Duren, Ann Harada, John-Michael Lyles, Grace McLean, Tom Alan Robbins, Nicolette Robinson and Remy Zaken. Show Closed This production ended its run on March 29, 2015 Calling all superheroes and superhero wannabes! The world premiere of Brooklynite, starring Matt Doyle and Nick Cordero, begins performances on January 30. The off-Broadway tuner features music and lyrics by Peter Lerman and a book by Lerman and Michael Mayer. Mayer also directs. Opening night is set for February 25 at the Vineyard Theatre. Brooklynite View Commentslast_img read more

Tix Now Available to See Danny DeVito’s Broadway Debut

first_img Danny DeVito Tickets are now on sale to see Golden Globe and Emmy winner Danny DeVito in his Broadway debut in Arthur Miller’s The Price. Directed by Terry Kinney and co-starring John Turturro, Tony Shalhoub and Jessica Hecht, the production is scheduled to begin previews on February 16, 2017. Opening night is set for March 16 at Roundabout’s American Airlines Theatre.When the Great Depression cost his family their fortune, Victor Franz (Turturro) gave up his dream of an education to support his father. Three decades later, Victor has returned to his childhood home to sell the remainder of his parents’ estate. His wife (Hecht), his estranged brother (Shalhoub), and the wily furniture dealer (DeVito) hired to appraise their possessions all arrive with their own agendas, forcing Victor to confront a question, long-stifled, about the value of his sacrifice.The limited engagement is scheduled to run through May 7. View Comments Show Closed This production ended its run on May 14, 2017 Arthur Miller’s The Pricecenter_img Related Shows Danny DeVito(Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images) Star Fileslast_img read more

U.K. firm projects offshore wind capacity will top 165GW by 2030

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享ReNews.biz:Global offshore wind installations will hit 165GW by the end of the decade and are on track to reach 418GW by 2040, according to new research by UK analysts Rethink Energy.The global expansion of offshore wind will see the technology provide 5% of global electricity in two decades, as installed capacity balloons from the 25GW installed worldwide today. The report predicts this growth will require some $1.3 trillion in investment and create 8 million jobs.Rethink said the Asia Pacific region is on track to overtake Europe as the largest market for new installations within the 2020s and China is set to take over from the UK as the country with the most installed capacity by 2026.US installations are however likely to continue to lag behind those in Europe and Asia over the next decade.Transmission was singled out as a key challenge that needs to be met to ensure the progress of the sector in global markets.The emergence of floating wind is set to play a big role in boosting the rate of new capacity added beyond 2030. Its authors predict the LCOE of floating wind will reach “a competitive level” between 2028 and 2030, but said the growth of floating installations in the near-term will likely be dogged by consenting problems.More: Offshore wind to ‘top 400GW by 2040’ U.K. firm projects offshore wind capacity will top 165GW by 2030last_img read more

Seasonal Affected Disorder

first_imgI don’t feel so great. It’s possible that I have the beginnings of a cold or the flu, but I suspect that I’m just suffering through the intense stage of ennui that hits just before a midlife crisis. I’m not really sure what a guy like me does for a midlife crisis. I still like my wife and kids, so I don’t think I’ll go out and get a girlfriend. Getting a motorcycle seems so cliche. Maybe a career change? Maybe I’ll quit the fast paced, stressful life of adventure/beer freelance writing and become a potter. Blow my kids’ college fund on a really expensive kiln.You see, that’s funny because my kids don’t have a college fund. See previous comment about my career as a freelance adventure/beer writer. I don’t know. There’s a good chance that my general malaise has nothing to do with an impending mid-life crisis and everything to do with this weird weather that’s putting a damper on my ski season. Call it a new form of Seasonal Affected Disorder (or just SAD for short). Typically, that’s when you get a little bummed out during the winter because the days are so short and you’re not getting enough sunshine. But I’m getting bummed out because any decent snow storm is quickly followed by rain and 60-degree weather. It’s as if we’re getting all four seasons in a single week. Every damn week. We start off with a couple of days of intense cold, then there’s some spring like rain and we finish off with some high 60s and sunshine. It’s completely schizophrenic, and it’s wreaking havoc on poor little Breckenwolf. Also, I can’t settle in to a mood or rhythm. Sigh. Do I pull out the mountain bike or the skis? Do I wear flip flops or winter boots? Do I drink a summer saison or a winter stout! Really, this weather has made the concept of seasonal beers totally irrelevant. It’s gonna be in the high 60s this weekend—I’m supposed to drink a barrel aged stout that’s spiced with cinnamon in that kind of weather? So I’ve decided to skip the seasonals and go after hoppy beers that work no matter what the weatherman has in store for me. Enter Boojum Brewing Company, out of Waynesville, N.C., which has two killer hop-forward beers, the Reward Pale Ale and Hop Fiend IPA.Reward is a solid pale that manages to walk that tightrope between malty and hoppy that all great pales walk, but Hop Fiend is my favorite of the two beers, at least in the current, fragile state that I’m in. It’s an appropriately named beer that’s all about the hops. Boojum, which is a Native American word that means “Chacos foot tan,” throws heaps of Mosaic, Simcoe and Citra hops into the kettle and then, seemingly just wafts the malt near the beer during the brewing process. Forget balance, this beer is weighted heavily on the side of hops, giving you a palate-scorching raid of fruit and pine that’s swept away by a bitterness almost as strong as my feelings toward our current ski season. Sigh. It’s the right beer for me right now. Who knows what I’ll be drinking next week, when there might be a blizzard. Or the neighborhood pool might open. It’s hard to tell.last_img read more

Nassau Residents Protest Tax Cuts For Ultra-Wealthy at Sen. Dean Skelos’ Rockville Centre Office

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York More than a dozen protestors rallied outside New York State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos’ district office in Rockville Centre Wednesday demanding the end to a controversial tax abatement program intended to foster affordable housing that instead also benefits some of the ultra-wealthy.Carrying signs and shouting chants including “Help Homeowners, Not Millionaires!” demonstrators held a press conference on the sidewalk, voicing grievances ranging from multi-million-dollar savings for billionaire tenants of an uber-posh penthouse tower in Manhattan to the exorbitant property taxes paid by low- and middle-income families across Nassau and the state.“He’s got his priorities screwed up,” slammed Hempstead resident and Long Island Chapter President of nonprofit New York Communities for Change Diane Goins, of the 16-term lawmaker. “We’re here to change his mind.”Known as the 421-A program, the scheme grants property tax exemptions for developers if construction of multi-family residential buildings affects their property values, with varying benefits based on location, property use and affordable housing requirements. It’s designed to incentivize more affordable housing development in New York City, yet has come under fire in recent months and weeks, with critics citing massive tax breaks for wealthy developers, luxury condominium owners and deep-pocketed political campaign donors, financed on the backs of the very taxpayers the program was originally intended to assist.Case in point: One57, a 75-story luxury skyscraper on West 57th Street—one of several comprising a stretch known as “Billionaires’ Row.” Units at the monolithic glass-walled spire with breathtaking penthouse views of Central Park sell for tens of millions of dollars; the prime minister of Qatar dropped a reported $100 million for a single penthouse last month and set a New York City record. Yet the building’s developer, Extell Development Company, was granted equally monolithic tax breaks under the 421-A abatement program—at least $35 million worth, according to reports—and prompting an investigation into the arrangement by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, according to the New York Post.“Right now 421-A is servicing billionaires and millionaires,” lamented Dennis Jones, of Hempstead, toting a homemade poster reading “Long Island Property Taxes” featuring a large frowny face emoticon. “We are now on Long Island considered the most expensive place to live in the country,” he explained, adding that he pays $16,000 in property taxes.“Help homeowners, not millionaires!” he shouted.Aida Rowe, another Hempstead resident protesting outside Skelos’ office, told news crews she forks over $14,000 in annual property taxes and said demonstrators were there to persuade the Republican lawmaker “not support 421-A when it comes up for reevaluation” in June.“We must speak out,” she contended. “Our taxes on Long Island, in Nassau Country, are exorbitant.”Protestors rallied outside NYS Majority Leader Dean Skelos’ district office in Rockville Centre Feb. 25, 2015 against 421-A tax incentives doled out to wealthy hedge fund tycoons and CEOs. (Long Island Press/Christopher Twarowski)Goins, Jones, Rowe and their dozen or so fellow demonstrators aren’t alone in decrying abuses of the program. In November 2014 state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced settlement agreements with a New York City landlord and three developers as part of an ongoing investigation by his office targeting such improprieties. Perversion of 421-A by elected officials is also predominant allegation in the U.S. government’s criminal complaint against disgraced former State Assembly Leader Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan)—who was arrested on federal corruption charges on Jan. 22.An investigative report released Tuesday by The Hedge Clippers—a project supported by the Strong Economy for All Coalition, an alliance of community groups and labor unions working to fight income inequality—discovered, among other revelations, that while low- and middle-income residents are forced to dole out hefty property tax bills in counties across the state, the wealthy tenants of One57 enjoy a 95-percent tax slash.“How much of a subsidy are One57 residents getting?” asks the group on its website HedgeClippers.org.“So far, more than one billion dollars of condos have sold at One57, with the average sale price of $26.1 million. Yet the average owner will pay a mere $5,230 in property taxes this year. In total, the forty-four identified sales [as of 2/18/15] will pay a combined $230,138 in property taxes, saving a collective $4,774,029 from the 421a abatement, for this year alone.”“And all that is before taking into account how massively under-assessed these condos are,” the Hedge Clipper report continues. “The average One57 condo has an estimated market value of just 8.73% of its sale price. That means that the 4,483 square foot condo purchased by a shadowy Hong Kong front company for $30mn has an estimated property value of only $2,177,857. Over the life of the 421a exemption, New York tax payers will lose out on an estimated $35 million.”For comparison, if the very same tax credits enjoyed by One57’s tenants were extended to a family living in a $400,000 home on the South Shore of Long Island, the group calculates its new 421-A tax rate would be $430. The estimated $35 million subsidy for these billionaires, suggests HedgeClippers.org, could instead pay 458 public school teachers’ salaries, fund a year of universal pre-K for 3,418 New York City children, or even house 930 homeless families in New York City for one year.The group identifies some of One57’s “super wealthy” tenants as billionaire hedge fund barons, CEOs and healthcare specialists. It also discovered that 421-A developers who received incentives were big campaign donors to politicians with sway as to which projects and developers get the abatements—contributing $2.98 million to state races since 2008, according to HedgeClippers.org—“including $295,000 directly to Andrew Cuomo. Extell Development, who built One57, contributed $100,000 directly to Cuomo on the very day that the tax breaks were announced,” the group states.It’s revelations such as these that get protestors Phyllis Pruitt and Paul Merkelson’s blood boiling.“Stop taking advantage of me!” blasted Pruitt, also of Hempstead, outside Skelos’ office. She said she pays $17,900 in property taxes.“We should be able to use tax money to build affordable housing, not luxury housing,” slammed Port Washington resident and father of two Merkelson. “The housing situation here is in crisis.”With media cameras in tow, they and others marched into the majority leader’s office to sufficiently express and relay their demands, flooding its narrow adjacent hallway and attracting the presence of several Rockville Centre police officers.Skelos was not on the premises, a visibly shaken aide told them, declining a formal comment.“I will pass along your messages to the senator,” he repeated to each appeal.“We’ll be back,” Goins promised on the way out.last_img read more