1999-07-03 / Columnists

Rockaway Short Takes

by Howard Schwach

 The official results are in, and only 4,419 people voted in this year’s school board election. That means it took 442 first place votes to be elected. Only three people got the requisite number of first place votes. Shalom Becker had 656, Art Beroff had 512 and Donna Marie Caltabiano had 461. The others won on rollovers and on second place votes. Steve Greenberg had 410, Jim Adams had 402, James Sanders, jr. had 402, Delores Bevilacqua had 328, Ernest Brown had 288 and Ronnie Schwab had 226. Jim Egan was right behind Schwab, but the Board of Elections only reported winning totals. I know that Virginia Carson Smith, who ran with Schwab, had 144 votes.
* * * * *
Summer is the time for community activities on the peninsula. There will be a fund-raiser for the St. Camillus Special Olympics Team at Kelly’s Waterfront (formerly Pier 92) on Sunday, July 11. The money will be used to send a Special Olympics team to Dublin, Ireland in 2001. Three days earlier, on July 8, the 100 Precinct Community Council will hold its annual (and very enjoyable) boat ride. The ship will board at 6:15 p.m. from Beach 108 street. A full night of dinner and dancing is promised and the money goes to the fireworks display at the annual Night Out Against Crime. Tickets are going fast, so get on board. Tickets can be purchased from organization president Palmer Doyle and at the Beach Club.
* * * * *
You would have thought that the exit of Principal Phyllis Mellone from PS 114 would have brought peace. Judging by the letter to the editor in The Wave last week, however, the battle between Mellone’s detractors and her supporters is like Northern Ireland. It seems that it will go on forever. Those who opposed Mellone (including Susan Rosen, Lisa Losberg, Susan Ehresman and others) were not conciliatory. "you…put forth lies that protected the principal while attacking and defaming our honesty," they wrote. "Well, guess what? She’s gone now, and there is nobody left to protect you. Maybe you should consider going with her…" If this is not a threat, I have never heard one. Whatever happened to being gracious in victory?
* * * * *
It was interesting to see the picture in last week’s paper with Lew Simon speaking with Board of Education member Terry Thompson. I wonder if he showed her his teaching license?
* * * * *
I knock Al Stabile so often that I have to give him credit where credit is due. First of all, he heeded the Editorial in The Wave and came out with a definitive statement in support of the Broad Channel Athletic Club’s purchase of the land where its athletic field now stands. Let’s hope that he backs it up with some behind the scenes politicking. In addition, he announced his "member item" spending plan and it includes nice chunks of money for the BCHS crew and for kids and volunteer fire departments across the peninsula and in Broad Channel. In addition, lots of senior activities got some cash for important programs. JHS 180 got a distance learning (computer) lab costing $175,000. That’s money well spent.
* * * * *
A letter to the editor made the point that Audrey Pheffer, who recently held a fund-raiser in Albany, voted for a bill in the Assembly that would have outlawed fund-raiser while the legislator is in session. I want to make the point that it is easy to support a bill when one knows that the other half of the legislator will kill it. That’s what happened. The bill never got out of committee in the Senate. If Pheffer were really earnest about doing away with fund-raisers for lobbyists, she would not have held her own and she would have publicly repudiated the process. Another bill that fits the pattern is the one that would have mandated that cops live in the city. I don’t know how Pheffer voted on that bill, but the Democratic Assembly passed it after the Diallo tragedy with the sure knowledge that it would never pass in the Senate.
* * * * *
The first of the RMAC summer Sunset Picnic Concerts was held last Sunday. About 250 people showed up to see a Gilbert and Sullivan ensemble and they were rewarded with a great show. It is a shame that the fog began to roll in and it got a bit windy and cold for the second half, but HMS Pinafore was generally considered a hit by all hands. The next free concert will be held on Sunday, July 11 when the Manhattan Brass Quartet will perform.
* * * * *
Rockaway finally made it to the Supreme Court. The court recently refused to hear an appeal from the Full Gospel Tabernacle Church in Far Rockaway. Seems the church wanted to rent a public school to hold worship on Sundays. The school official refused and the suit that resulted went all the way up the line. A District Court had ruled that the school district had no obligation to rent the schools for religious purposes.
* * * * *
Mayor Giuliani set up a Charter Revision Commission in order to stop the Public Advocate from taking over should the mayor decide to run for the Senate and win. The problem is that the mayor wants that commission to look at term limits as well. Doesn’t he understand that the people voted for term limits because they want their city representatives to serve no more than eight years? We have had term limits for the president for years. Why fight the people’s will on limits for local officials?
* * * * *
I have stopped watching Channel One News because it has become the Al Sharpton network. I do not want to be the one to say who the black community chooses as a leader, but I wonder why television turns to a convicted perjurer every time an event concerning race pops up. Surely there is somebody else who has not lied about Tawana Brawley, the Rockaway Five and many other cases.
* * * * *
Now that Pheffer and Cummings opened the door by approving the repeal of the commuter tax, a judge has ruled that nobody has to pay it anymore. That leaves New York City about $360 million in the hole each year. What they should do is take it out of the salaries of the people who voted for it. Perhaps they would learn to represent their constituents and not their party. That is a lesson they will remember when the next election comes along.
* * * * *
Governor Pataki has chosen his five favorite designs for the New York State Commemorative Quarter that will be issued in 2001. They depict the Erie Canal, Federal Hall in New York City, The Statue of Liberty, the surrender of the British at Saratoga and Henry Hudson’s ship, the Half Moon. Why not a beach in Rockaway with the boardwalk in the background? Oh, well, we lost again.
* * * * *
The New York Times ran a long piece on Rockaway in the Sunday Real Estate section last weekend. It was a well-done piece and generally truthful with tidbits about all of the sections of the peninsula. The one negative is the one you always hear when real estate values are discussed – the schools. Steve Good, who moved out because of the foolishness at PS 114 this year, was quoted as saying that there is no place to send your kids for middle school. "The main drawback of the Rockaways is the decision of where to put your kids after fifth grade," Steve said. "Everything else is wonderful." That is not true. People judge JHS 180 without ever seeing the building because they listen to people such as Chris Jorge and Joan Mettler. Rumors abound, but reality is something else. In reality, the school is a city school. It does a great job for kids who have parents who care, and less well with kids who have parents who do not care. Remember folks, you can run, but you can’t hide. Drugs are rampant in Five Towns schools in both the middle schools and the high school. Steve is a great person and he works tirelessly for the community through his Beach Club. Let’s hope he didn’t make a big mistake.
* * * * *
Websites of the Week: It’s time for taking care of the garden again, and there are a couple of sites that can help. Try Claude Monet’s Garden at

www.giverny.org/gardens/fcm/visitgb.htm and some weekend projects at www.vg.com/vg/features/landscaping.html. For those of you who do not know where you are, try a little GPS action at www.garmin.com and www.joe.mehaffey.com. If you’d rather spend you time cycling on the boardwalk (is that still illegal?) try www.byciclingmagazine.com and www.gearhead.com. That’s it for this week. Send comments and complaints to hschwach-@hotmail.com. Have a good week, and safe home.

 

Return to top


Email Us
Contact Us

Copyright 1999 - 2014 Wave Publishing Co. All Rights Reserved

Neighborhoods | History

 

 

Check Out News Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Riding the Wave with Mark Healey on BlogTalkRadio