1999-12-11 / Columnists

Rockaway Short Takes...by Howard Schwach

Rockaway Short Takes


by Howard Schwach

The editorial board of The Wave has a meeting pending with Jonathan Gaska, the district manager of Community Board 14 and officials from Margert Community Corporation, the non-profit involved in the Wavecrest project. The meeting was to be prior to my deadline this week, but it was postponed at the behest of the Community Corporation. What is clear even without a meeting, however, is that Gaska sent a letter from the community board to the New York State Department of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) supporting the project in the name of the board. It stated, "Community Board 14, at its February 11, 1997 board meeting, affirmed its support for the recent application by Goldfarb Properties to build 122 low and moderate income apartments under the Low Income housing tax credits and Trust Fund programs." What is strange is that a review of the minutes of that meeting and several previous meetings reportedly shows no vote that would show support for the project. In addition, several long-time board members told me that they do not remember any vote being taken on the project. The community board, in fact, had previously defeated such projects, insisting that only "market rate" projects would be approved. In fact, community approval is required on projects such as this one. There is a question of whether the community board comprises the "community" or whether local residents and community groups should have been polled as well. The main question to be answered first is why did Gaska write the letter without board approval? We’ll have to wait to speak to him for the answer to that question. So far, calls to his office have not been returned.

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I had been surfing the net looking for some information on donations to state officials, figuring I would find some contributions from the Goldfarbs or their corporations to local pols. The best site for that kind of thing is at www.timesunion.com/contributions.

That gets you into the Albany Times Union newspaper data base. I did not find any Goldfarb contributions (I am looking elsewhere), but I did find some items of interest. Local institutions such as Green Bus, Call-A-Head, Denis O’Connor Funeral Home, the Breezy Point Coop (they give to Greg Meeks as well) gave contributions to Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer. So did such nursing homes as Lawrence, Seaview and Surfside. Unions are big contributors with the UFT being one of the largest. The amusement company that runs the annual carnival in the Seagirt boulevard parking lot gives a chunk of money to Pauline Cummings. To be fair, I have to report that The Wave gives money to various pols as well. There is nothing illegal in any of this, but it makes for interesting reading nevertheless.

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I was switching around on the television set looking for another James Bond movie when I saw Juanita Watkins speaking at a city council hearing. What she said made me laugh, because she is so obviously wrong. The person who was testifying was talking about the fact that so many people were making money from the anti-poverty movement. We all know that is too true. Not Watkins, however. She turned to the speaker and said "I was not aware that poverty has become an industry." Where has she been for the last 25 years, living on Mars? If the poverty industry and the race industry held IPO’s, the stocks would go through the roof on the first day because they are certainly growth industries.

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If you want your kids to have breakfast with Santa Claus, here is your chance. The 100 Precinct Community Council is hosting a Breakfast With Santa event on Saturday, December 11. There will be two seatings, the first at 9 a.m. and the second at 11:30 a.m. Both will be held at the Beach Club’s Ocean Room. Tickets may be purchased in advance at the Beach Club.

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I want to add my best wishes and a "Get Well Soon" to Margie McGuirk, the wife of Wave columnist Harry McGuirk. She is in all of our prayers.

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It looks as if Al Waldon is finally going to get appointed to the Court of Claims. The Republicans have been holding up his appointment for nearly a year now but it looks as if he will be appointed sometime in the coming week. That means a special election for state senator sometime in February or March. It will be interesting to see the usual candidates line up for the job.

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An incident in Edgemere once again points out how dangerous the job of police officer can be in this city. Two street crime officers were sitting in their car on Beach 40 and Beach Channel drive last weekend when the car was sprayed with an automatic weapon. Three bullets hit the roof of the car. The officers rolled from the car and took cover as a hail of bullets struck the ground around the car. The shots were fired from the roof of 433 Beach 40 street. A suspect was arrested and charged with attempted murder. At press time, there was no indication of a motive although some say they were trying to get on "America’s Most Wanted." The project from which the shots were fired was called "the most dangerous public housing project in the nation" in last week’s program.

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If Rudy Giuliani did one thing for this city, it was to prove that David Dinkins and Ed Koch were wrong, that this city can be governed without kowtowing to special interest groups. Now, Hillary Clinton has hired a former Dinkins aide as her campaign manager. That is not a start in the right direction.

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One Rockaway resident recently got a letter from another nation, promising to put 25 million in her bank account if she would give them the number so that they could use it for whatever purpose they had in mind. She turned the letter over to the police. Seems to me that it is a federal offense to use the mails for that purpose. By the way, beware of e-mails that ask you to forward a letter that will earn money for some worthy cause. One recent e-mail said that a boy who was in medical straits would get better if everybody forwarded his message to all of their friends because some corporation would pay several cents for every person who responded. That is a scam to build a database and you should not respond.

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There is a new computer "worm" that will destroy your hard drive. It comes as an e-mail attachment from somebody who you will know. It has a file name of "zipped-files.exe. The body of the e-mail says "I received your e-mail and I shall send you a reply ASAP. Until then, take a look at the attached zipped docs." Do not open the file. When it is opened, it searches for files in Microsoft Office programs and destroys them.

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The National Park Service is allowing Floyd Bennett Field to fall apart. The latest building to close due to dangerous conditions is the Ryan Visitor’s Center in the old control tower. It will soon begin to look like a dump. If the NPS can’t take care of this historic landmark (I did my Navy boot camp there) then they should give it to somebody who can. Before you know it, it will turn into "affordable housing."

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Many minority advocates are arguing that the conversion of one and two-family homes to SRO’s should be legalized because many minority members will not be able to find housing any other way. That is not what our communities need. Witness a letter from Pat Dolan, executive vice president of the Queens Civic Congress. She writes: "Our neighborhoods are paying an enormous price for these illegal conversions and other unsanctioned construction as overburdened private services including schools, sanitation, infrastructure, libraries, parks and transportation deteriorate." She is right, and the civics have to keep up the good fight. If these illegal conversions ever become politically correct, then entire neighborhoods in Queens will empty out.

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That’s it for this week. Remember to send comments and complaints to Newsie42@aol.com. Have a good week, and safe home.

 

 

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