1999-11-13 / Columnists

Rockaway Short Takes


by Howard Schwach

National Park Service and the FAA have cut a deal that would allow the Doppler radar to be sited on the old Coast Guard property adjoining Floyd Bennett Field. It’s about time. The deal includes a promise that the radar will be removed promptly as soon as an alternative technology is found. I think that this is a good deal for everybody concerned, but pols and would-be pols such as Tony Weiner and Lew Simon continue to fight the radar. They talk about a lawsuit that would take years to settle. How many people will die in a wind shear related aircraft accident while they fight the one technology that could stop such a crash is debatable. The need for the radar site is not. This is the ultimate case of NIMBY and those who oppose the project should just give it up and allow it to happen.

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Memo to Al Stabile: Everybody who knows you understands your dedication to the kids in Howard Beach and Ozone Park. That is not the issue, and I was surprised that you did not take such a stand. I may have missed something. I read most of the mainland papers each week and I have never seen you make a declarative statement that you oppose using the little league fields as a site for the new school. I understand that you want the school to have as little impact as possible on businesses in the area, but I do not see any statement about the impact the school will now have on the little league program. Your statement that you will "support any changes regarding the proposed school and its site that are favored by the community," is a little disingenuous. Who makes up the "community?" You gave up on the Beacon Program at JHS 180 because a handful of people said that they did not want it for their kids. You gave up on Rockaway because you said that not enough people came to your office for help. You argued against the Doppler radar because a group of know-nothings said that it would "fry" the community. "Community" is a meaningless word when a politician can get any small group to ask for anything (or, be against anything) and grant their wishes by calling them the "community." The little league needs your help. Despite the fact that a school is badly needed in the area, it should not be on the backs of young ball players. I’m looking forward to reading your statement decrying the use of the little league fields for a new school, Al. I may be waiting a long time.

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The Wave gives lots of ink to Lew Simon, Al Stabile, Audrey Pheffer and Tony Weiner. If Rockaway is to have a renaissance, however, it will be due to people such as Barbara Morris, John LePore, Jonathon Miller and Marty Ain, not the politicians who garner lots of ink and constantly get reelected, but who do little for Rockaway. Miller is the builder who is developing Rockaway Park Estates. The houses are selling like the proverbial hotcakes and Morris has just sold him eight additional parcels of land that will be used to build more middle-class housing. "This is just what the doctor ordered for Rockaway," Morris said, and she is right on the money. Ain is involved with the development of the old courthouse property, an anchor for the West End. Simon can rail all he wants over Neponsit and the Doppler radar and everything else, but he cannot do in his lifetime what people such as Morris, LePore and Ain do for us each day.

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Randy Levine is a deputy mayor. He might just have lost the senatorial election for his boss, Rudy Giuliani with a statement in Sunday’s papers. "Speaking of the fact that the city unions might use the mayor’s candidacy as a lever to pry more money out of the city, Levine said, "There is nothing they (the unions) can do that would make life more difficult for him," Levine said. "Many of those unions need to get their own houses in order and start to represent their member’s interests rather than worry about politics." Perhaps Randy should have spoken to Al D’Amato about the power of unions before opening his mouth. If it were not for the unions, Al would be sitting in Washington and Chuck Schumer would be sitting at home right now. I don’t know what city Randy thinks that he and Rudy live in, but in this city every thing is politics.

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Rudy Giuliani and his staff once again showed us how vindictive they can be when somebody crosses the mayor or his minions. NYPD assistant chief Michael Scagnelli was at the Yankee victory parade. He spotted the families of some slain police officers who had been invited to sit in City Hall Park for the festivities. Scagnelli wanted to help them find their seats. A city official told the group that they could not cross into the park because the area they had to pass through was a "restricted area." The group ignored the official and went to their seats. After the parade, the official reported the incident to his bosses and it eventually got to Commissioner Howard Safir. Scagnelli was the second in command of Manhattan South. Now, he is a duty chief in the Chief of the Department’s office, working the 4 p.m. to midnight shift. Why was he reassigned? According to the NYPD, he showed "poor judgment and poor decision making skills." Isn’t it great to work in this city with Giuliani as its mayor?

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Jot down the time and place. The RMAC will hold a Fine Art Exhibit and Sale at St. Rose of Lima (Beach 84 street) on November 20 and 21. The Saturday night opening will be held from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. and includes a private showing and refreshments. The Sunday show will be open to the public and it will run from noon to 5 p.m. Admission is free on Sunday, while a $5 donation is requested for Saturday night. If you want to see what Rockaway artists can do, this is the time to do it.

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Memo to Chris Hynes: I do not know whether Jon Pollard should be released or not, because neither you nor I know what he really did. To say that what he did is much worse than what was done by the Puerto Rican terrorists, however, cannot be passed without comment. You say that those terrorists blew people up, killed and maimed them "to free their people from oppression." The fact is that the majority of Puerto Rican people do not want to be "freed from oppression," nor do they consider themselves oppressed. Secondly, Pollard spied for a friendly nation and did so because he believed that America was keeping secrets from Israel that threatened its existence. You liken the FALN to the colonists who fought for American freedom, but I do not remember the Sons of Liberty dropping bombs on innocent people eating in a restaurant. They fought only British soldiers and tax collectors. You also liken them to the Irgun, the Israeli terrorists who blew up British establishments in Palestine. He is closer to the truth here, because the Irgun were terrorists as is the IRA. It should be remembered, however, that the Irgun targeted British soldiers, not civilians. The FALN blew up targets without discrimination between civilians and soldiers, as does the IRA. It’s funny, but I don’t see any mention of that latter organization in your letter.

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The game was not a contest, but it made the point. Beach Channel’s football team certainly has peninsula bragging rights this year after defeating Far Rockaway 57-0 last Friday. Beach Channel, hopping for a playoff berth, ended the season at 7-1. The Far Rockaway Seahorses ended the season at a dismal 0-8. Frazier Osborne, the team’s star running back, sat out the second half but managed to score two touchdowns and gain 80 yards on five carries. Seldom-used Everton Hamilton who scored four touchdowns and rushed for 212 yards, all in the second half, relieved him

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I have to note that one of my favorite journalists has passed from the scene, not because he passed away, but because he was summarily fired by the New York Times. A.M. Rosenthal, known to one and all as Abe, was the paper’s top editor for 17 years before he semi-retired to write for the op-ed page for the next 13. When he was asked to describe his legacy to the paper, Rosenthal said, "He kept the place straight." Can any man do any more for the institution to which he dedicated his adult life?

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Mike Duvalle has been involved in Republican politics in Rockaway for a number of years. He is a naval officer and the president of a successful Far Rockaway business. That is why it is strange that he was arrested last week on charges that he "helped another man vote illegally" last election day. He was charged with one count of "misdemeanor count of illegal voting." I suspect that Mike wanted to help a person who could not read well (the person was termed as an "immigrant" in published reports) and tried to go into the voting booth to assist him. For that, he was arrested. What is the world coming to? Sure, he was wrong, but people are not arrested for assaulting others in this politically correct time, so the "illegal voting" charge seems to me to be a bit extreme.

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Websites of the Week: If you want to find out where your local politicians get their campaign dough, log into www.elections.state.ny.us. Somebody e-mailed to ask for parenting sites, so here goes. www.parentsoup.com gives you lots of information from the ridiculous to the sublime. Spend some time and you will find what you are looking for. www.parenttime.com will provide you with live chats with baby experts and lots of magazine articles dealing with how to be a parent. At www.babycenter.com, you can register and make your own home page. It has a calendar that details what you child should be going through (take it with a grain of salt, however). Two other sites are worth the trouble as well. Try www.family.go.com or www.mom.com. That’s it for this week. Send comments and complaints to newsie42@aol.com. Have a good week and safe home.

 

 

 

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