Shelter Island Reporter editorial

 FILE PHOTO | Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) has taken strong positions  ion recently on two local issues.
FILE PHOTO | Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) has taken strong positions ion recently on two local issues.

Taking a stand
Freshman Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) has had a good week.

We’ll hold our fire — for now — about his joining forces with reactionary U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas spouting conspiracy theories about American foreign policy. But we commend him for supporting local educators fighting the Common Core system by introducing legislation and also for standing with opponents of ear-splitting helicopter traffic over the Island.

Mr. Zeldin has weighed in on Common Core by writing an amendment to an education bill that ensures school districts won’t be penalized by a denial of federal funds if they opt out of using the “teach the test” method.

And it was encouraging to see Congressman Zeldin taking a leadership position on the issue of excessive noise from aircraft buzzing the East End by calling a press conference last Sunday .

With him Sunday in Southold were elected officials on the state, county and local levels, including Town Supervisor Jim Dougherty, who has been a vocal advocate for ending the pattern of constant helicopter rotor wash interrupting soft summer days and nights.

Standing together on the issue is essential, since powerful interests with deep pockets are battle-ready to fight for the status quo. As Assemblyman Fred Thiele (I-Sag Harbor) noted Sunday, the greatest weapon opponents of excessive traffic over the Island have is unity.

Mr. Zeldin could be a strong champion for the rights of residents to live in peace and quiet because he takes his place in the majority Republican caucus of the House of Representatives. He also has been appointed vice chairman of the Subcommittee on Aviation, an extension of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

We hope he uses this perch to keep the heat on the Federal Aviation Administration to find a solution to a problem we have lived with for years.

At his press conference, Mr. Zeldin made all the right moves addressing the issue, calling on the FAA to regulate and enforce altitude levels pilots must fly on incoming and outgoing East End flights. He also said he supports the East Hampton Town Board in its push for local legislation to seriously restrict the number of commuter flights from Manhattan and Westchester County that have spiraled out of sight.

A public hearing on the proposed legislation is scheduled to be held today, Thursday, March 12 at 4:30 p.m. at LTV Studios at 75 Industrial Road in Wainscott.