1999-12-18 / Columnists

Rockaway Short Takes

by Howard Schwach

Like anything else in life, whether you are for or against the new housing planned at Wavecrest Gardens depends on how you define your terms. I finally got to meet with representatives of both Wavecrest Gardens and Margert Corporation (the non-profit that will manage the project), and what they had to say made sense. According to the duo, residents will have to earn a minimum of nearly $30 thousand a year to get in the door for a one bedroom apartment and nearly $33 thousand a year for a two bedroom. They assured me that nobody would be government subsidized in any way. That is a far cry from the charges that this is a low-income project. I think of low income as around $20 thousand or less, and most people that I spoke to seem to agree. I asked why Goldfarb (the builder) said that the apartments would be low income and I was told that the U.S. government says that they consider $30 thousand to be low income. I know lots of people who earn that and it includes teachers and cops and administrative assistants with college degrees. In addition, once in, residents can earn much more simply by paying more on a sliding scale. I still have some reservations, even though it is a done deal according to those involved. First of all, the project requires community input and the folks who live in the area were never asked to give their input. Perhaps the community board was and perhaps it wasn't. There seems to be some difference about that, but I don’t consider the community board to be the "community" in any case. They are a bunch of political hacks doing the bidding of those who appoint them, but that is another story for another time. Those opposed to the plan say that the people I spoke to lied to me. If that is so, then it will all come out in the wash and Margert will be discredited forever. We will have to wait and see the definition that wins out in the end.

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I would have to say that reading The Wave editorial last week was depressing. For those of you who don’t remember (I know you all read the editorial), it made some political predictions for the coming year. Jo Ann Shapiro and Malcolm Smith were named as the front runners for Al Waldon’s state senate seat. Jo Ann has never held office on her own, but has been the nupshlepper for Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer all of these years. If she has learned from Audrey how to address community concerns, we certainly can do better. Malcolm Smith did the same thing for Floyd Flake that Jo Ann did for Audrey. Since Flake left office he has been pushing what many consider to be substandard "affordable" homes in minority areas. Even with Flake, he was a one-dimensional politician. We can do better than him as well. Smith will probably win because he has Greg Meeks and Flake (who will probably be our next Republican mayor) on his side. Remember what Flake did for Rockaway? I’d bet that you can’t think of a thing because there is nothing that he did for the peninsula. Smith will be even worse. Pheffer’s job is up as well next year. Rumors are that Al Stabile would rather be an assembly-person than a borough president. There are no term limits on the state job and Tony Seminerio will get the Republican nod for BP if he wants it. Pheffer has done little for Rockaway outside of senior citizen issues (where her record is outstanding) and Stabile has done less. At least Pheffer keeps a Rockaway office, which is more than you can say for Stabile. See what I mean about depressing? There is not one name in here that I could vote for and I think that lots of people feel the same way. But wait, it gets worse. The BP job that Stabile will supposedly disdain has a host of candidates that would depress a terminally happy person. Lew Simon (who lied about a teaching license and lots of other things), Geraldine Chapey (who sold her vote to Greg Meeks so that her mom would be appointed to the Board of Regents), George Russo (the mainland developer who left the local

school board just before the entire board was suspended and who was a prime part of the cabal that caused all the problems), the aforementioned nupshlepper Jo Ann Shapiro, and Joanne Ariola (who is an attractive candidate but who miscalculated in her race against Pheffer by characterizing her as an unwilling accomplice to a murder in Bayswater). I guess that I could vote for Ariola and I sure could vote for the one candidate who does not depress me. That candidate is Joe Addabbo, jr. I think that he would do a good job, but he has to stay away from Simon and other political hacks if he wants to get elected this time around. People are getting tired of a lack of choice, being forced to decide between a Democratic political hack and a Republican political hack. Isn’t there anybody out there who can play the game?

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By the way, is Wave editor John McLoughlin somehow related to Lew Simon? I can’t think of any other reason why Simon gets the ink and picture coverage that he gets each week. Enough is enough! Simon mentioned as a viable candidate even though he has never told the truth about anything in his life (that might be a little much, but it might even be true). Simon with Mark Green (another guaranteed loser for life), Simon with Tipper Gore (who probably did not know any better than to pose with him), Simon with Claire Shulman, Simon "contributing to education," Simon’s weekly column (which he does not even write), letters to the editor about Simon. Is The Wave endorsing him? If so, John, please let me know. I want to show you some things about Lew that I have collected over the years.

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Got a letter from David Zukerman, the owner of Dayton. He says that the city is taking the owners to court to collect millions of dollars in back taxes based on what he terms is "property tax manipulation" that "flies in the face of a valid redevelopment contract and is also contrary to the provisions of Article 5 of the Private Housing Finance Law." Zukerman points out that the statute calls for a tax exemption and a six percent profit for projects such as Dayton. I believe that he is right and that the tenants are right as well. Only the politicians are on the wrong side of the line in this one. Zukerman deserves to get the tax abatement he deserves (and that was taken away from him originally for political reasons) and the tenants deserve to get their building repaired. The politicians from the mayor on down should do the right thing and make the excess taxes go away. That will allow Zukerman to use the money to repair the buildings and it will all have a happy ending. If they do not, the building will go into receivership and will revert to the city. The tenants will all have to go and it will become a city welfare building. The tenants should be working with Zukerman, not against him, to get the job done. Their real enemy is the political infrastructure, not the owners.

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The Christ The King girl’s basketball team is at it again, winning and winning. Once again, two of the team’s stars are from Rockaway. Junior Claire Droesch is the team’s top scorer (she hit for 48 points in one game last year), while Tricia Tubridy averaged 16 rebounds and 10 points per game last year as a Junior. Droesch is considered to be the top female player in the city while Tubridy ranks somewhere around five or six. I wish them all the luck and a very successful season.

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Speaking of sports, Beach Channel gridders Fraser Osborne and Frankie Saunders both made the All-Queens Team. Dolphin coach Marty Senall was named Queens Coach of the Year. Osborne ran for 1,050 yards, scored 14 touchdowns, kicked two field goals and assisted in 11 two-point conversions. Saunders caught 25 passes, converting five of them into touchdowns. Osborne was also named to the All-City team. Congratulations to all concerned.

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Got an interesting message from Sydocent. He tells me that the first full moon of the year will occur on December 22 (the Winter Solstice) and that, for the first time in 133 years, it will also be a lunar perigee (the point where the moon’s orbit will be closest to the earth. Those events join to make the moon that night the brightest it has been during that 133 year period. It will appear to be much larger and brighter than usual. Experts say that, should there be a snow cover, even headlights will not be necessary because the moon will be so bright. This won’t happen again for more than 100 years.

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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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