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Regime change at the PBA, for now

James McDermott, who retired Sept. 2 as president

James McDermott, who retired Sept. 2 as president of Nassau County Police Benevolent Association, speaks at an event in 2019. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Daily Point

Election's over! Time for an election!

After nearly 35 years of leadership continuity created by orchestrated handoffs of power, the Nassau County Police Benevolent Association has a new president who is not part of the old regime.

And that will be true even if Michael Spadaccini, the former Eighth Precinct trustee just chosen president in a special election after James McDermott retired on Sept. 2, loses the race for a full four-year term. Balloting begins in a few weeks.

McDermott was elected after James Carver retired in time to make McDermott the interim president and give him the inside track on the 2017 election. Carver got the job the same way when Gary DelaRaba retired after 20 years in 2008.

But when McDermott lost a membership vote to ratify a new contract he’d negotiated last year, it was played like a vote of no-confidence. And his resignation, which insiders say was badly mistimed by a few weeks, forced the special election.

In the special election that just concluded, Spadaccini beat Tommy Shevlin by just six votes. Spadaccini was the pick of the anti-McDermott forces led by Dean Losquadro.

Losquadro was McDermott’s close supporter until the two began to fall out over Losquadro’s desire that the union heavily support Republican causes and politicians not directly related to Nassau PBA needs, including some outside the county. That fallout became insurmountable when Losquadro’s politicking against the contract led to it being voted down. The biggest sticking point in the contract was the addition of five days a year of work, two of them training, to the 113 shifts the cops work each year.

Spadaccini will be running against Shevlin again but insiders say the rematch may go very differently now that Thomas O’Reilly, the pick of the old guard, and two other candidates are not running.

And all or most of the executive board that served under McDermott, including longtime 1st vice president Pete Paterson, is expected to retire.

Neither Spadaccini nor Shevlin responded to requests for comment.

Todd Shapiro, who represented the union as a spokesman on and off for much of the past 20 years, told The Point he’s done after next week. And DelaRaba, who consulted for McDermott at times, told The Point he’s finished, too.

What’s not yet clear is how strong a stand the union will take in the Nassau County races for county executive, district attorney, comptroller and clerk, and the legislature. The forces that backed Spadaccini have supported Republican campaigns so relentlessly that it made some members question the focus.

Now, Spadaccini likely is more concerned with his own race than the Nassau County contests, lest his faction’s focus on GOP candidates becomes politically treacherous. But so could going easy on Curran.

— Lane Filler @lanefiller

Talking Point

Postal posturings of the season

Long Island’s elected officials may come and go, but self-promotional public mailings are forever.

County elected officials in Nassau would be banned from distributing mass government mailers within 45 days of an election — except to announce a public event or meeting — under a bill that the county’s GOP-led legislature is set to vote on next week. Rules already bar lawmakers from sending mass mailings at county expense during that campaign rush to the finish.

The legislation is perceived as at least an implied party-line jab at Democratic County Executive Laura Curran, who has sent her share of constituent materials and is seeking reelection in November.

But lawyer Jason Abelove, the underdog Democratic candidate for Hempstead Town supervisor, finds the legislative move just the right time to turn the party tables and blast the frequency of Republican incumbent Don Clavin’s taxpayer-funded mailings.

Abelove supports the GOP’s proposed limit for the county.

On Thursday, Abelove cited 70 mailings that Town of Hempstead residents received from Clavin over two years — and counting. Citing budget documents, Abelove notes that in 2021, Clavin increased the town's postage budget 52%, from $1.35 to $2 million — and overspent last year’s allocation.

Greg Blower, town spokesman, said the town follows its own 45-day mailing blackout rule for incumbents running in any elections, among them GOP Councilman Bruce Blakeman, who’s challenging Curran this fall.

For his part, Abelove cited examples of the promotional nature of Clavin’s recent mailings. One summer recreational mailing even included a cute cartoonist sketch of Clavin. Blower responded that the materials are proper communications, with their volume having increased amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Outsized claims of credit in mailings, and criticism of the practice, have long been a two-way street. Abelove clearly hopes to get strategic traction with this issue to offset Clavin’s touting of his record.

The mailing-and-pushback dynamic seems to work for both parties, whatever the true quality of these "informational" materials.

— Dan Janison @Danjanison

Pencil Point

Putin em' down

For more cartoons, visit www.newsday.com/nationalcartoons

Puzzle Point

In the news

Welcome to this week’s news quiz, based on events that took place this week. As usual, provide the answer for each clue, one letter per blank. The first letter of each answer, taken in order, spells the name of a world leader whose relationship with President Joe Biden was underwater, prompting Biden to take steps this week to repair it. Answers will appear in Monday’s edition of The Point.

▢▢▢▢▢ || ▢▢▢▢▢▢ Roosevelt-raised comedy icon who signed a three-film deal with Amazon Studios (2 words).

▢▢▢▢▢▢▢ Pharmaceutical company that began a vaccine booster trial on Long Island.

▢▢▢▢ || ▢▢▢▢▢ Familial member sued by former President Donald Trump along with the New York Times over an "insidious plot" to obtain and publish his tax records. (2 words)

▢▢▢▢▢▢ The railroad service British Prime Minister Boris Johnson took from New York to Washington to meet President Joe Biden at the White House.

▢▢▢▢▢▢▢▢ || ▢▢▢▢▢▢▢ Iconic Long Island company that finally agreed to a cleanup plan for the groundwater plume it created in Bethpage. (2 words)

▢▢▢▢▢▢ Airline company that says more than 97% of its workers are vaccinated as its deadline approaches to get vaxxed or get fired.

▢▢▢▢▢▢▢▢▢▢ Massive Chinese real estate company whose potential demise could send shock waves through the global economy.

▢▢▢▢ People living on an island off Spain were threatened by this after several small earthquakes and a volcanic eruption.

▢▢▢▢▢▢ || ▢▢▢ || ▢▢▢▢▢▢▢ Filmmaker who died this week, known as the godfather of modern Black cinema after writing, directing and starring in the explosive 1971 film "Sweet Sweetback’s …", well, you know the rest. (3 words)

▢▢▢▢▢▢▢▢▢ Country whose deal with the United States to build nuclear-powered submarines is meant to constrain China’s growing power.

▢▢▢▢▢▢▢▢▢ Town of Riverhead community in which Long Island’s largest solar farm will be built after contract approval this week by LIPA trustees.

▢▢▢▢▢ || ▢▢▢▢ Noted British children’s book author whose entire catalog (including one particularly chocolaty volume) was purchased by Netflix. (2 words)

▢▢▢▢▢▢ || ▢▢▢▢▢ Google plans to purchase $2.1 billion worth of this for its workers on the west side of Manhattan. (2 words)

▢▢▢▢▢ || ▢▢▢▢▢▢ Congressional leader trying to shepherd the two infrastructure bills who said, "I think we’re in a very good place. I’ve always been very calm about this … At the end of the day, we will be unified for the American people." (2 words)

— Michael Dobie @mwdobie

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