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Making a Point

De Blasio zoning in

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the opening of a career center in East New York on Monday morning, one of a number of planned investments in the area that came part and parcel with the Brooklyn neighborhood’s controversial rezoning six months ago.

That kind of give and take is a presciently political part of de Blasio’s rezoning initiatives, and key to the way those initiatives will be received when he’s up for re-election in 2017.

Of all the mayor’s fights this term, it may be his rezoning initiatives that most irked average voters and supporters. De Blasio fought hard to eke out affordable housing units from developers in exchange for more construction. He met stout resistance from community boards, advocates, and residents citywide who either feared gentrification or just didn’t want tall new buildings down the block.

To placate critics, de Blasio pointed to a community engagement process that purportedly asked residents what they wanted apart from up-zoning. And his administration committed to some community benefits, such as the new East New York career center.

Community engagement is beginning in neighborhoods including Gowanus, Brooklyn; it is ending in others such as East Harlem, where a rezone is imminent. Some residents there don’t feel their input was taken into consideration. Will the promise of funding goodies be enough to overcome voters’ negative perceptions of mayoral interference too close to home?

Mark Chiusano

Driving Point

Uber hits the gas

In a last-ditch effort to justify a pay raise for New York State lawmakers, important policy issues that fell to the wayside earlier this year are being revived. The latest is Uber, the ride-sharing service that is seeking statewide approval so it doesn’t have to deal with hundreds of local governments that are protective of traditional taxi services.

To entice lawmakers, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Friday threw the Uber issue into the stew with possible ethics reforms and the creation of a hate-crimes task force. By Tuesday morning, the hyperactive folks at Uber had launched a holiday-themed “Join the Chorus” and “All I Want is Uber” advertising campaign that tells upstate New Yorkers the region is one of the few places in the nation without the app-based car service.

But the campaign asking people to flood the lines of legislators could be short-lived. Tuesday afternoon is considered the make-or-break deadline to call legislators back to Albany for a Thursday session, likely the last possible day of the year they could meet.

Rita Ciolli

Daily Point

Show us ‘the contract’

There are a dozen issues ingrained in the Nassau PBA’s complaint to a state board that a new requirement that officers file reports when they use physical violence violates the union contract.

As the Public Employment Relations Board looks to evaluate the argument over that contract, a key issue is likely to be that there’s no such thing as the Nassau County Police Benevolent Association contract. And there hasn’t been for more than 20 years.

The last single-document police contract for Nassau is the one for 1992-95, according to soon-to-retire PBA president James Carver. It was amended by an arbitration award in 1997, and another in 2003, and five or six additional revisions and hundreds of memorandums of understanding since then.

It’s all so confusing that the Nassau Interim Finance Authority recently demanded a copy of “the contract” from the county, which county and police officials are now trying to compile. But even that will probably be incomplete, officials say, because some pieces of the deal are missing.

Contract? What contract?

Lane Filler

Pencil Point


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