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Know Your Rights
Source: East Hampton Star
Subject: Immigration
Type: Media Coverage

Protesters Decry Trump’s Proposed Tax Reforms at Adviser’s Water Mill House

A brief but lively protest against tax cuts for the rich and the privatization of public infrastructure was held in front of the Water Mill home of one of President Trump’s advisers on Friday afternoon. 

A coalition of Trump opponents erected a cardboard “tollbooth” and acted out a skit at Stephen A. Schwarzman’s house on Mohawk Lane, a quiet dead-end street near Mecox Bay. Mr. Schwarzman, a billionaire private-equity manager, chairs the Strategic and Policy Forum, a group of private-sector advisers to the president. 

New York Communities for Change and Make the Road New York, which organized the hourlong protest, said Mr. Schwarzman’s firm, Blackstone Group, will reap massive profits from Mr. Trump’s economic agenda.

Steps away from a group of workers from Whitmores Landscape Service who were taking a break under a shady tree, demonstrators held up signs: “Roads, bridges, and tunnels must stay public,” one said. “No more giveaways to billionaires,” said another. They chanted, mainly in Spanish, “Schwarzman, escucha estamos en la lucha” (“Schwartzman, listen: We are in the fight”). 

The group set up a “Trump Tollbooth” on Mohawk Lane, and another later across a cobblestone apron leading into the Schwarzman estate, to dramatize, in the form of an E-ZPass, the special treatment they say the wealthiest of Americans will get under the Trump administration.

In a speech, Pete Sikora of New York Communities for Change denounced the Saudi government’s $20 billion investment in Blackstone, announced when the president was in Saudi Arabia. “Trump’s infrastructure plan is a giant giveaway to Blackstone and Wall Street and Stephen Schwarzman, in order to give away public assets and jack up profits on our backs,” Mr. Sikora said. “We do not want our land sold off, our roads, bridges, and tunnels sold to the rich like Schwarzman in order to let them put tolls on these roads, bridges, and tunnels.”  

“We’re here to say no to Lee Zeldin,” he added. Mr. Zeldin, a Republican, represents New York’s First Congressional District, which includes the East End. “He needs to step up and actually represent his district and say no to tax cuts for the rich, no to an infrastructure plan that sells off our roads, bridges, and tunnels and lets them put up these Trump tolls all over the country for the benefit of Blackstone, Steve Schwarzman, and other Wall Street investors.” 

The protest broke up around 1 p.m., and the group got in vans to head back west, though not before a Southampton Town police officer arrived in response to a call from a caretaker who is a volunteer firefighter. He told police the protesters had blocked access to the house during an automatic fire alarm.

Whether Mr. Schwarzman was at the house at the time could not immediately be learned.

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