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The struggle continues

Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder is seen on

Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder is seen on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018 in Mineola. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Daily Point

Rough on Ryder

The prevalence of crime in Nassau County hit historic lows in 2018, with major crime (which includes homicide, rape, burglary and robbery) down 28 percent in five years and 4 percent since 2017. For all of 2018, there were 5,551 major crimes reported in the county, or about one per police officer every 170 days.

But to hear Police Benevolent Association President James McDermott tell it in a recent letter to patrol officers and detectives, “police officers and county residents as a whole face unprecedented dangers and crises” and “the Commissioner is falling down on the job.”

McDermott took an unusually hard line against Commissioner Patrick Ryder in the letter, writing that he “continues to fail all of us,” “has abandoned his duty and responsibility to provide resources,” and “tries to perpetuate a fraud on all of us as he attempts to explain away this fiasco.”

Every county union has been out of contract since the end of 2017, and county officials say all but the PBA are in active negotiations with the county.

And while crime in the county keeps hitting lows, the rhetoric hearkens back to the much more dangerous times of the 1980s and 1990s. That may not be such a surprise when you consider that the PBA has a leader from that era doing some consulting for it.

Gary DelaRaba, the 20-year PBA head who retired in 2008 after negotiating salaries that made his members among the highest-paid police officers in the nation, was hired by McDermott a year ago this week.

- Lane Filler @lanefiller

Talking Point

Prevailing wage bill isn’t prevailing anymore

Just a couple of months ago, it seemed all of the focus in Albany was on a bill that would require any project that received public money to pay union level wages to all workers. That left little room to think about the package of rent laws that was also on the table.

Now, the tide has turned -- and it seems that prevailing wage legislation has taken a back burner to rent regulations, evictions and “good cause.”

But behind the scenes, there have been negotiations among Long Island builders and development advocates and state labor union representatives. Sources tell The Point that Long Island union leaders haven’t been involved in the talks.

Yet, those conversations haven’t yielded much progress.

The original prevailing wage bill troubled developers and affordable housing advocates. That bill would require any project that receives public funds or tax breaks to pay all workers -- union or non-union -- an hourly rate now paid to local union workers that’s usually established in collective bargaining agreements. Development advocates worry that would increase construction expenses and make it nearly impossible to build affordable housing and other projects on Long Island.

So, negotiations to find a middle ground between labor leaders and developers began nearly two months ago.

According to a letter from Long Island Builders Institute chief executive officer Mitch Pally, Long Island Association chief executive Kevin Law, and Association for a Better Long Island executive director Kyle Strober this week, those talks haven’t produced a compromise.

In their letter sent this week to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and state legislative leaders, Pally, Law and Strober noted efforts to forge a compromise have been rejected. Most important, perhaps, the builders groups argue that workers should be paid prevailing wage in proportion to the amount of public subsidy on a given project. The way the legislation stands now, any project receiving any subsidy would have to pay prevailing wage to every worker.

Their latest proposal recommends that if a proportional threshold is used, the prevailing wage requirements could apply to developments where at least 30 percent of a project’s costs are paid via public subsidies. They also recommend a variety of exemptions to what’s included in that 30 percent, such as any subsidy connected to sewer work, renewable energy programs, or historic preservation. Any construction on multifamily residential projects that include at least 10 percent of units that fit certain “affordable” guidelines also could be exempt, under the builders’ proposal.

So far, sources told The Point, no counter-proposals have been made. And it’s unclear whether prevailing wage will make it to Albany’s finish line.

But for the builders and other advocates, that’d be OK, too.

“No bill is preferable to a bad bill for Long Island,” Pally told The Point.

- Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall

Pencil Point

D-Day

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

Reference Point

WWII, illustrated

In 1944, news traveled more slowly than it does now. It took even longer to make sense of that news. When it came to assessing D-Day, both of those problems were magnified by the fog and chaos of war.

Newsday’s editorial board first weighed in substantively on the invasion on June 14, 1944, in a piece written a week after the landing in Normandy.

“Crammed into that week is the story of the world’s best-equipped army, backed by the world’s biggest air force, ‘going in’ under the cover of the world’s biggest naval bombardment to begin carving the first chunk in the armor of a looted empire,” the board wrote.

What followed in the piece was largely a play-by-play of progress, tinged with an awareness that the fight would be difficult and that the Allied forces would be “fiercely contested and by major opposition.”

The board concluded with some advice for readers: “All we can do to help it, is buy as many war bonds as we can afford and turn out the machinery of war to keep our fighting men supplied with everything they need.”

Also during that first week, the editorial pages published some strong cartoons supporting the effort to defeat Hilter’s forces. Three of them are below.

- Michael Dobie @mwdobie

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