1999-06-05 / Columnists

Rockaway Short Takes

by Howard Schwach


The annual Memorial Day parade in Rockaway this year was a little better attended than in past years. In addition to the usual marching units, there were 75 people or so who billed themselves as "Beach 131, 133, 134 Patriots." Many of them were carrying American flags. It gave me a lift to see these younger citizens paying tribute to those who died to keep them free.

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Just about sunset on Monday I took a walk on the boardwalk to Beach 116 street. It looked like the allies had just landed on Rockaway Beach. I have never seen so much garbage in one place in my life. A lot of it was left in piles just a foot or so away from an empty trash can. I am glad that the DFD’s come to Rockaway and buy at Rockaway businesses, but I wish they would leave the beach more like theu found it. C’mon, guys. You had a good time, police the area and leave it ready for the next guy.

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I would like to see Mayor Giuliani, Audrey Pheffer, Ada Smith and Pauline Cummings take the eighth grade English Language Arts Test. I would also like to see the results from the area’s parochial schools on the fourth grade math and ELA tests and the eighth grade math and ELA tests. I’ll never get my wish on either one.

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Shelly Silver pushed the bill to repeal the commuter tax for a few reasons. First of all, he wanted to put Mayor Giuliani in a position of fighting the upstate interests in the hope that it would weaken the mayor in any run for the Senate. Secondly, he hoped that the move would show upstate voters involved in a special election that the Dems are on their side. It did not work. The Republican candidate won anyway. Was Giuliani hurt by his support of the tax? That remains to be seen. What it does for the Dems is that it will allow the party to campaign as tax cutters who have the upstate voters in mind. What bothers me is not that Silver wanted to play those political games, but that our legislators, Assembly women Audrey Pheffer, Pauline Rodd-Cummings and Ada Smith, joined his game even though it harmed their constituents. Then, they had the bad sense to try and explain away their votes in a ridiculous manner. A short history lesson for the three amigos. When Congress enacted a pay increase for themselves in 1816 (sound familiar so far) they refused to defer the increase until after the next election. An outraged electorate responded by voting incumbents out of office in record numbers. I can only hope that an outraged electorate still exists in Rockaway.

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Speaking of the repeal, it seems as if everyone is suing Governor Pataki for signing it into law. The first on were lawyers from both New Jersey and Connecticut who said that it was unconstitutional to cut the tax for New York State residents and leave them holding the bag. Christie Whitman, the Governor of New Jersey, soon joined them. Both John Rowland, the Governor of Connecticut and Mayor Giuliani plan to join the shortly. Giuliani says that it was unconstitutional to cut a tax that effects just one area of the state without a home rule message from the people who live there. He is right. Tony Seminario, the Democrat from South Ozone Park voted against repeal. He says that, now that the Dems lost the election upstate anyway, lots of those who voted for repeal would like to change their votes. "I guarantee you, one on one, they would say that they shouldn’t have done it," Semenerio says.

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This Sunday, 2,000 members of the eight Catholic parishes in Rockaway and Broad Channel will join together in an Eucharistic Congress at St. Rose of Lima Church in Rockaway. The Reverend Alfred LoPinto of St. Camillus and the Reverend Peter Gillen of St. Rose of Lima have called the Congress. It is hoped that it will "heal the racial divisions" that were evident in last year’s Broad Channel parade. According to the sponsors, the theme of the congress will be "unity." Rev. Gillen says "we felt in looking at the incident that the important thing was to do something positive. We felt that we really had to respond." The event will begin at 1:30 p.m. with a march from Beach 94 street to beach 73 street. The group will converge on Beach 84 street where the flags of 53 countries will be flown outside the church. All are invited.

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A Brooklyn man who could not swim fell from his boat in Rockaway inlet off Jamaica Bay last Monday. According to his son, who tried to rescue him, a wake hit the boat, causing his father to fall off. The propeller of the boat hit the son when he went into the water after his father. One has to wonder if the lack of Coast Guard response elements in the area added to the fatality in what seems on the surface a common boating accident. The two men were pulled out of the water by units of the U.S. Park Police, who have a small board at Fort Tilden.

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There has been a recent crackdown on restaurants that fail health checks in our city. It should be important to all of us that the eateries we utilize are clean and disease free. The Daily News recently did a special report on the issue. Some local findings: Pier 92 passed both inspections over the past two years. Palmer’s Steakhouse on Cross Bay did the same. Ariannas, a favorite on Cross Bay, passed both inspections, although four "critical violations" were found in each inspection. London Lennies had no failures, but nine "critical violations." The Waterview Diner on Cross Bay failed four of eight inspections over the past two years. In the 1998 inspection, health inspectors found eight critical violations and five "Public Health Hazards." No other Rockaway restaurants were rated.

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I pulled some information about the WWII Memorial off the web at www.wwIImemorial.com. It seems like a worthwhile project and it would seem that all of the local organizations should join the Republicans in raising funds. It really is an impressive memorial and it is important that it be built while some of the people it memorializes are still alive. It will be located at the East end of the reflecting pool, across from the Washington Monument.

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Somebody in a Shakespeare play once said something about protesting too much. Those involved in the recent Stabile-Ariola breakup used the mainland throwaways to protest that there was nothing to the breakup, that Ariola was just positioning herself from a run for the City Council when Stabile is ushered out. Those weeklies printed page after page of material about the benign breakup. You’ll notice that none of the protestations ever made it across the bridge. As usual, Rockaway doesn’t count. In any case, Ariola is quoted as saying that the rumor that they had an acrimonious breakup "has no basis." She says "I left my position as the Councilman’s Chief of Staff in order to pursue other avenues of employment." Hmm! Where have I heard that before? At the same time, Stabile was using his column to decry the fact that Lew Simon was passing rumors that "Ariola had left him because he was going to endorse somebody else for his City Council seat." We understand how rumors happen, Al, but could that other candidate be George Russo? First Stabile and Ariola and then Giuliani and Chrissie Lategano. What is the world coming to?

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Our beaches and its amenities are getting accolades once more. The Daily News, which rated our beaches number one last week, had a short paragraph on the beaches with one error. The story says that you get to the beach by taking the A Train to Beach 119 street. Now, that would be a trick. The paper also did a piece on surfing that tells aficionados to go to "the oceanfront strip between Beach 88 and 90 streets." You’ll find good waves there," says Tom Senna. "As good as any on the East Coast. A lot of people don’t even know it’s there." Now they do! Even Newsday did a positive story on the Rockaway beaches.

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Websites of the Week: I’ve been having trouble accessing my E-mail on AOL lately, so I’ve switched to Hotmail as my primary server. Hotmail, by the way, is free. You can sign up at www.hotmail.,com. You’ll find me at hschwach@hotmail.com. That’s it for this week. See you next week and safe home.

 

 

 

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