TODAY'S PAPER
Good Morning
Good Morning
Opinion

Trump landing on LI

President Donald Trump speaks Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020,

President Donald Trump speaks Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020, in Washington.  Credit: AP/Alex Brandon

Daily Point

Hanging in the Hamptons with President Trump

Team Trump is making a fundraising swing on the East End later this week, including a Saturday event with President Donald Trump in Southampton plus appearances by Donald Trump Jr. and his girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, at a “Trumpstock Boat Parade” in Montauk and a reception and dinner in “The Hamptons,” according to a Trump campaign email obtained by The Point. 

The email shows that they will be pricey gatherings — one Saturday dinner with Trump goes for $580,600 per couple, or approximately 968 times more than than the $600 weekly unemployment bonus that many Long Islanders have relied on throughout the pandemic. 

But the Trump campaign is going a step further than that to make money off this Hamptons trip: a free-trip contest for his “very exclusive event in Southampton, New York,” according to Facebook ads being run by the campaign.

“I want you to enter for the chance to have dinner with me on August 8th,” the ads say, above a donation link. “If you win, my team will cover your flight, your hotel, your 5-star dinner, AND you'll get VIP ACCESS.” 

There may be a wrinkle. An executive order from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in June led to a travel advisory requiring all travelers coming from states with significant rates of COVID-19 transmission to quarantine for 14 days. 

There are limited exceptions — for essential workers, for example — that don’t seem relevant here.

New York’s list of applicable states, determined by testing metrics, currently covers Puerto Rico plus 34 states, including Texas, California, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, Idaho, and Oklahoma, which were among the many states targeted by those Trump Facebook ads. 

But hey, maybe the Trump campaign is paying for a Hamptons quarantine, too. 

—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Talking Point

Route extended

The Federal Aviation Administration has decided to extend the North Shore helicopter route, by which choppers head to the Hamptons, for another two years.

The route, which touches on some of the North Fork but avoids the rest of Suffolk County, was slated to expire on Thursday.

Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Tom Suozzi were told Tuesday of the FAA’s decision.

“I was happy to hear from the administrator that they’re extending the North Shore route for two years to continue to provide relief to the residents of the North Shore,” Suozzi told The Point. He noted that Schumer has taken the lead in pushing the FAA to act on the issue, and advocating for a longer-term goal of a route that stays over the water. 

“There are still other issues especially in Queens and we’ll continue to pursue legislation to ensure that helicopters always proceed over the water,” Suozzi added.

Schumer spokesman Angelo Roefaro told The Point that the extension of the North Shore route gives Schumer and others the opportunity to focus on that goal. Such a route would require helicopters to fly around Plum Island before heading south to the Hamptons. Schumer and Suozzi have introduced legislation to make that a reality, but the FAA also could pursue such a rule change itself.

“This gives all of us the time to create a true all-water route around the North Fork,” Roefaro said.

—Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall

Pencil Point

Where no company has gone before

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

Final Point

Hempstead schools monitor Bill Johnson asks town to CARES

When former Rockville Centre superintendent Bill Johnson started his new job as the state monitor of the Hempstead school district on July 1, he immediately saw one problem in need of fixing. 

When schools across the state went to distance learning in March, many students in the Hempstead district had no laptops, and no internet access.

The district addressed some of the students’ needs with the resources it did have between devices it owned and money found in the budget to buy more. As a result, all but 1,500 students now have a computer at home.

To make sure the 1,500 students without devices had a way to do their work, Johnson set about looking for the money. He didn’t have to look far, because the Town of Hempstead had received a surprising $133 million from Congress due to of a fluke in the allocations made by the CARES Act. 

Town Supervisor Don Clavin has been looking for good ways to use that money.

So when Johnson went to Clavin with a request for about $850,000 to fund the purchase of 1,500 HP 360 Chromebooks and several hundred internet hot spots, Clavin was intrigued, but worried.

“It was obviously a great use of money and a huge need,” Clavin told The Point Monday. “The question was just whether it’s an allowable use.”

Johnson says it is, and told The Point that the wording in the act specifically allows for expenses to facilitate distance learning, including technology. And now Clavin has the Washington law firm the town hired to vet all funding requests, Seward Kissel, looking at the application, and he admits his worries were dispelled somewhat after reading Johnson’s application. 

Clavin’s choices have a political context as well. Democrats, including Rep. Kathleen Rice and State Sen. Kevin Thomas, have decried the Republican town’s control over the $133 million that, absent the quirk, would have gone to Nassau County.

So far, the town had approved $4 million to food banks, $4 million for local hospitals, $2 million to the Nassau County IDA to provide personal protective equipment kits for businesses, and last week, $2 million to build 15 coronavirus testing and education sites in the town.

At Tuesday’s town board meeting, grants of $2 million for PPE reimbursements and other services were approved for Hofstra and Adelphi universities, Molloy College and Nassau Community College. And a total of about $225,000 in PPE reimbursements was approved for the villages of Cedarhurst, East Rockaway, Freeport, Hempstead, Island Park, Lynbrook, South Floral Park and Valley Stream.

As for the money for the Hempstead school district’s computers, Clavin says the town's law firm is vetting the request now, and he’ll move to get Johnson the money when he gets the thumbs-up. That may be just the beginning of CARES Act money for school computers, though.

“Once the other districts in the town see Hempstead get money for distance-learning technology, I expect they’ll get in line, too,” Clavin said. “And there are 33 school districts in the town.”

—Lane Filler @lanefiller

Columns