An aircraft flies past the control tower as it prepares...

An aircraft flies past the control tower as it prepares to land at John F. Kennedy Airport in Queens. Credit: Getty Images / AFP / Trevor Collens

Daily Point

Movement pushes against new PBA contract

A coalition of Long Island police reform advocates is launching a phone call campaign urging select Nassau County legislators to vote against the county’s looming Police Benevolent Association contract.

The coalition includes members and activists from the Long Island NAACP as well as two new groups formed after the death of George Floyd earlier this year: Long Island United to Transform Policing and Community Safety, and Long Island Advocates for Police Accountability.

The groups are asking that collective bargaining agreements not be finalized before the end of New York’s policing review process launched by an executive order from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. Coalition member Nikhil Goyal says the activists want some reforms cemented into the contract itself, such as moving towards removing police from traffic enforcement or adding medical professional and social worker responders to mental health and similar crisis situations.

The Cuomo executive order mandates that reform plans be presented and ratified or adopted by the local legislative body no later than April 1. That is a different time frame from the political one, which is putting some pressure on Nassau Democrats to settle the PBA contract before county elections in 2021.

The reform activists are pushing for the contract to be used as a lever for specific changes, says Goyal, co-founder of the group Young Long Island for Justice. For example, Nassau already has a Mobile Crisis Team consisting of "licensed professional social workers and nurses," a team which can be summoned as "an alternative to calling the police or driving to a psychiatric emergency room when an individual is in crisis," according to the county website.

But activists want the program to be expanded. The website describes limited hours for immediate responses, and 911 calls are not automatically routed to the unit, though 911 can forward such calls, according to Christine Geed, spokeswoman for County Executive Laura Curran.

The groups are planning a Thursday press conference outside the county legislature.

Nassau County's perspective appears to be that reform can be done apart from collective bargaining agreements. On the mental health issue, Geed sent The Point a statement about policy improvements regarding mental health and law enforcement, including the Mobile Crisis Team’s creation 35 years ago and a local law passed this year "to create a task force to look at recommendations on the use of law enforcement in mental health situations."

—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Talking Point

A deal is a deal and now it may be real

Could it finally get quieter in the skies above Nassau County?

Rep. Tom Suozzi and Sen. Chuck Schumer announced Monday that the Federal Aviation Administration had established new rules to require all planes to remain at or above 3,000 feet when they’re flying beyond 15 miles of the region’s airports.

That’s especially important for planes flying into Kennedy Airport, as the noise caused by low-flying traffic has been a long-term complaint of many Nassau County residents, particularly on the North Shore, but also in other communities across the county.

The FAA’s decision comes more than a year after Suozzi first announced similar regulation changes, only to have the FAA say one day later that "additional internal evaluation" was necessary.

One source told The Point Monday that the noise issue took so long to solve in part because the Trump administration had a blanket desire for "no new rules even if they made sense."

But Suozzi and Schumer had continued to press the issue over the last year and a half. Suozzi said his staff and FAA staff have corresponded on a monthly basis and that he has exchanged letters and had multiple conversations with FAA Administrator Steve Dickson about the issue.

"I’m happy that the FAA finally fulfilled its commitment to address this noise problem," Suozzi told The Point Monday. "It’s the exact solution that we thought we agreed to a year and a half ago."

Added Suozzi: "With the slowdown in traffic related to the pandemic, and the FAA has had some breathing room and some time to look at things more carefully, they agreed to the previous proposal we had agreed upon."

Said Schumer spokesman Angelo Roefaro: "It’s a sigh of relief for countless people on Long Island and it will ameliorate a headache-inducing problem."

—Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall

Pencil Point

World War COVID-19

Nikola Listes

Nikola Listes

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Quick Points

  • A new group in East Hampton fighting an effort to close East Hampton Airport because of excessive noise, mostly from planes and helicopters ferrying wealthy Manhattanites back and forth, sought help making its case from a public relations firm in … yup, Manhattan. Talk about bad optics.
  • More than one month after the presidential election, supporters of both President Donald Trump and President-elect Joe Biden finally are voicing a similar message: Stop the steal.
  • Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois said trying to pass a coronavirus relief bill, a government spending bill and the defense budget by end-of-week deadlines "really is a superhuman effort." That’s only because for months members of Congress have refused to talk and negotiate with each other, like regular humans.
  • After tweeting that personal attorney Rudy Giuliani had tested positive for COVID-19, President Donald Trump said the team Giuliani is heading that’s trying to overturn the election "will carry on." Without Rudy, who hasn’t won a single suit, how will they ever?
  • Venezuela held an election Sunday after seven years of despotic leader Nicolas Maduro jailing opponents, using the courts to replace opposition party leaders with loyalists, stifling dissent with extrajudicial killings – and with the main opposition leader urging voters to boycott the vote. Now that is a fraudulent election.
  • President Donald Trump declared Saturday at a Georgia rally that he had won Georgia and Wisconsin. On Sunday, the Jets declared they were 12-0.

— Michael Dobie @mwdobie

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