Since 2012, the residents of Nassau County have been enduring the torment of excessive plane noise over their homes. In 2014, Governor Cuomo directed the Port Authority to establish one roundtable to represent the communities who are affected by the noise due to a newly-designed system called NextGen, which maximizes the number of flights coming in and out of our airports at any given time.
Cuomo’s roundtable was besieged with problems at its onset, particularly for the residents of Long Island. The major players – airline-related businesses, politicians, and citizen groups in Queens were vying for positions that would hold the most power. This process went on for the next 3 years, with very little voice from Long Islanders, who were also impacted yet barely considered.
The roundtable’s bylaws were finally passed in 2017, resulting in 2 separate committees: 1 for JFK & 1 for LGA. The 2 committees would meet separately and then meet formally as a joint roundtable. The bylaws were voted on and approved establishing the rules and regulations as binding.
Plane Sense 4 LI as well as Queens Quiet Skies had a vote on the roundtable but mysteriously disappeared without an explanation. We had numerous conference calls with the Port Authority to ask for their help to get our vote back. We were told that the bylaws were binding and the only way to join the roundtable was to become a Citizen member. The bylaws states: Citizen Members will be admitted after being nominated and seconded by members of their respective Airport Committees and approved by a majority of the Airport Committee members at a scheduled meeting of the Airport Committee.
We contacted Congressman Suozzi’s office and they agreed to nominate both Elaine & I to each of the committees. At the LGA meeting, Elaine Miller was nominated and seconded and by a majority of member votes as per the bylaws and joined the LGA roundtable being the voice for Long Islanders. Unfortunately that was not the case for the JFK committee.
The overriding opinion of the JFK chair, Barbara Brown of Eastern Queens Alliance, became the dominant voice in all decisions. Thus the membership consisted of a majority of Queens Representatives, and Nassau County was hardly considered.
Currently, there are 86 members of the joint roundtables, yet only 11 voices from Nassau County. Our attempts to equal representation for Nassau County residents were shut out at every turn.
The most recent decision was to unilaterally change the binding agreement of the bylaws by Barbara Brown, which then allows her more control and authority as to who will represent the impacted communities at the roundtable. Ms. Brown stated in a recent email:
“Also, we will be selecting two Citizen Members at the September meeting to serve two-year terms on the JFKAC and the Roundtable. The vision for this class of membership was to provide for the inclusion of those who have expertise that will be valuable to the work of the Airport Committee and Roundtable. Those wishing to be considered for membership are asked to send letters of interest and resumes/CVs to JFKAirportCommittee@gmail.com by September 21st. Organizations seeking Roundtable membership may also request membership applications. “
The JFK committee is not abiding to the bylaws in a fair and equal way. As of now, the only way to become a citizen member on the JFK committee is to conform and allow the chair to change the bylaws without an amendment. Our residents of Nassau County are being underrepresented and so far no elected official has stepped up to support our request to have a fair and equitable distribution of representatives. Our organization Plane Sense 4 LI represents thousands of residents and has been fighting this injustice for years. We need to be heard by our elected representatives and show them Long Islanders will not be ignored any longer!!!!!