David Calone.

David Calone. Credit: Richard T. Slattery

Daily Point

Back to the polls

Dave Calone is getting his ducks in a row for his Suffolk County executive bid — including Democratic Party chairman Rich Schaffer.

The venture capitalist and former prosecutor is holding a kickoff event Thursday night in Hauppauge, sponsored by Schaffer as well as the county legislature’s Democratic caucus, and the Democratic chairs of Suffolk’s towns, according to a Calone news release.

Calone was unsuccessful in his Democratic primary bid for the 1st Congressional District in 2016, but he appears to be doing everything possible to become the party’s nominee in November this time. That includes a solid campaign war chest — his account had a closing balance of $938,941.09 for the July periodic filing, the most recent available. And now Schaffer is on board, too.

“I am thrilled that Dave Calone is running for County Executive and am proud to support his campaign,” Schaffer said in a statement provided to The Point.

Among the groups boosting Calone’s bid is the Brookhaven Town Democratic Committee Progressive Caucus, which sent out an invitation to the Thursday event.

The potential candidate or candidates on the GOP side remain unclear; county GOP chairman Jesse Garcia says the committee is “talking to a number of candidates.” But the biggest question for November might be which way Suffolk is trending politically. Term-limited Democrat Steve Bellone has held the county executive post since his 2011 win, but the GOP has recently been notching big victories in Suffolk — knocking off an incumbent Democratic district attorney, claiming the majority in the county legislature, and powering Lee Zeldin’s close-call gubernatorial campaign with a nearly 100,000 vote advantage over Kathy Hochul in the county.

Some Democrats see things differently. County Legis. Kara Hahn, who is listed on the event invite forwarded by the Brookhaven progressive caucus, told The Point “there is an absolute path” for Calone.

She compared the current moment with the years after 2009, when Democrats on Long Island struggled the year after Barack Obama’s presidential win. Then 2010 was a bad midterm for Democrats. By 2011, the “pendulum” had swung back, Hahn argued: “We came back and took the supermajority in the legislature.” That was the year both she and Bellone won election to their current posts.

"I think that's the swing we're on,” she said.

— Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Talking Point

With PBA contract, big change is the players

When the membership of the Nassau County Police Benevolent Association voted down the contract negotiated with the county by then-president James McDermott in December 2020, it created a conundrum for the new president, Tommy Shevlin.

How does union leadership go back to the county and tell them they need a fatter deal than the one they happily agreed upon in the first place?

Bringing the same contract back to membership for a revote doesn’t work: There generally has to be a “material change” to the offer. But participants representing the county, the cops and the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, which was at the table, say the big change in the new proposal is the new leadership and the message it’s sending, not adjustments in pay and perks. The PBA membership, which has been without a contract for five years, is voting on the new offer through Jan. 18.

McDermott’s contract went down in a battle with then-second vice president Dean Losquadro. The proposed contract was largely considered fair, but anger at former County Executive Laura Curran’s court battle with the PBA over longevity pay saw it defeated by 143 votes.

McDermott retired, and after a brutal set of elections, Shevlin took over. Then he faced the challenge of trying to get more of what his members wanted, even as County Executive Bruce Blakeman and NIFA claimed they’d lost out on two years of savings that would have been generated mostly by changing the rules for new classes of recruits.

The details of such deals aren’t made public until the membership votes, but the 8½-year contract with raises for most officers of about 15% over that time frame are similar to the first rendition. The contract changes are mostly around the edges, although this version demands a smaller increase in annual shifts worked by members than the last one.

But Shevlin has managed to calm the membership, and there is reportedly no organized effort to defeat the deal.

And if members approve it, officials say, it will almost certainly pass muster with the GOP-controlled county legislature, and NIFA, and go into effect.

— Lane Filler @lanefiller

Pencil Point

Blood in the water

Credit: Caglecartoons.com/Rivers

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

Reference Point

The cost of war

The Newsday editorial from Jan. 5, 1973.

The Newsday editorial from Jan. 5, 1973.

Fifty years ago, Newsday’s editorial board was thinking about war. Peace negotiations were again underway in Paris to end the conflict in Vietnam, but the board was shaken by the recent bombing of North Vietnam’s capital Hanoi and its port city Haiphong.

The board cited World War II to contextualize the attack. The Nazis used 500 tons of high explosives in one day of carpet bombing to devastate the British city of Coventry — an act, the board wrote on Jan. 5, 1973, that “became a symbol of barbarity.”

U.S. carpet bombers, by contrast, dropped as many as 4,000 tons every day for 10 days in late-December 1972 in an effort to keep North Vietnam at the negotiating table.

“All of us hope once more that the talks will end at last in peace,” the board wrote. “Yet we cannot forget what has happened since the last time Americans and North Vietnamese sat down at a table to negotiate. Certain acts cannot be erased — nor should recognition of them be silenced. A nation is held responsible for its acts. The costs should be recognized, even if they cannot be precisely calculated.”

The board made clear that the cost was much greater than the 151 Americans killed, captured, or missing in the last two weeks of 1972, and the nearly $200 million worth of aircraft lost in the campaign.

“By any accounting, the loss of our government’s credibility must be listed as a huge debit, and it can’t be restored as easily as a B-52 can be replaced,” the board wrote. “There’s been official deception all along.”

The board cited Nixon administration arguments that the bombing was intended to ward off a North Vietnamese buildup, though there was no evidence of one. It noted officials’ insistence that targets were strictly military, despite knowing that carpet bombing in densely populated areas would entail large civilian casualties. And authorities only belatedly admitted “limited accidental damage” to Hanoi’s biggest hospital, which the board quoted an American source as saying was “totally destroyed.”

“When will the world believe us again?” the board asked. “At some other time, in some other arena, will any nation listen when we call for moderation? The world will remember the horror of these last few weeks as it remembers the horror of Coventry.”

Three weeks later, a peace treaty was signed that effectively removed the U.S. from the war. The last U.S. forces were evacuated hurriedly from Saigon when that city fell to the Viet Cong on April 30, 1975.

As it turned out, the bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong was not the last stain on America’s international credibility — the Bush administration’s insistence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, the Obama administration’s red-line debacle in Syria, and the recent chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan. Indeed, the title of Newsday’s editorial that day could have been used again and again: “The Price We Paid.”

— Michael Dobie @mwdobie, Amanda Fiscina-Wells @adfiscina 


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