1999-12-25 / Columnists

Rockaway Short Takes


by Howard Schwach

There is a good chance that I got taken in by the representatives of Wavecrest Gardens and Margert Corporation when we met last week. There are just too many inconsistencies in what they told me at the meeting and what insiders reported elsewhere. The main issue, as I said last week, is whether this is a "low-income" or "moderate-income" project. The men I met with last week told me that it would take a salary of around $30 thousand a year to get in and that there would be no subsidies whatsoever. At the same time, Jonathan Gaska, the district manager of CB 14, which started the controversy with its letter of support, told the board last week that it would be a mix of people making as low as $10 thousand a year (with the other $20 thousand being subsidized in various ways) up to those making about $20 thousand a year. In addition, Gaska told the board that he could not remember whether the organization came before the board in 1994 or 1995 or maybe never. Somebody is most certainly lying, and my bet would be on Gaska and the politicians he needs to keep his job. You can tell that the fix is in. When the board was given the opportunity to listen to a presentation by the Goldfarb family (the developers), they voted not even to hear what the developers have to say. I would say that the members of the board have been warned by their political mentors to lay off and let the games begin. The public, however, deserves to know the truth, because a new low-income project could destroy any hope for the peninsula’s revitalization.

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One of the most compelling scenes in recent television was on "West Wing" last week. The president’s communications director gave a coat to Goodwill, leaving a business card in the pocket. The DC police discover that a homeless man wearing his overcoat has frozen to death. He checks the man’s background and finds that he is a Korean War veteran, the holder of the Purple Heart. Using the president’s name, he arranges a funeral with full honors at Arlington National Cemetery. The final scene of the show juxtaposes the funeral of this homeless war hero with a children's chorus singing Christmas carols in the Oval Office. It was one of the most honest and compelling few minutes of television in recent memory.

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Speaking of "West Wing," the show recently got zinged by Catholics for a script that called for a character to say, "the killer made the victim say three hail Mary’s before they killed him." A Jewish group has zinged SNL for a script that has the characters in a skit saying, "we have to take time at Christmas to think about forgiving our Jewish friends for killing Christ." The Catholic League has also zinged "Becker" because the main character talked about "getting drunk on communal wine." I think they all should lighten up and get a life. Who cares what some stupid characters say in a television show. Let them enjoy their five minutes of fame and their free speech and move on.

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The Christ The King girl’s basketball team stars two Rockaway natives. It lost its first game of the year this week to the top rated team in the nation–Harbor City, California. Claire Droesch, one of the Rockaway residents and the team’s top scorer, got hurt late in the fourth quarter with her team behind only four points. A player on the California team stepped on her ankle from behind, putting her on crutches. CK was picked up by another Rockaway resident, Tricia Tubridy, who scored 18 points and grabbed 17 rebounds in the 55-40 loss. CK is ranked 13 nationally.

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Rudi Giuliani continues to say that the other unions cannot expect to get the same thing as the transit workers got and that the other unions would better look to the supervisor's contract, which had huge buybacks. Experience, however, shows otherwise. When Al D’Amato was trashing the unions, and the teacher’s union in particular, he was warned that the unions in this city can still turn out lots of votes for or against a candidate. He chose to ignore that advice and is now citizen D’Amato rather than Senator D’Amato. If Giuliani truly wants to win the election to congress next year, he had better start to think about getting along with the unions. I am not saying that he should give the keys to the vault to city workers, but he has to do the right thing this time around after screwing the workers in the last round of contracts. If not, he might wind up living next door to D’Amato in Island Park rather than in Washington, D.C.

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The Census is taken every 10 years. The year 2000 is the year. Many part time jobs, up to 40 hours a week, are available for local people to work in the local area. The jobs pay $18 an hour and there is a short test that must be passed in order to get the job. To make an appointment for a test in Queens, call the Census 2000 organization at 441-2249 or 441-7535.

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A recent political cartoon in the New York Times by cartoonist Tom Toles of the Buffalo News says it all. The headline trumpets "Y2K Disaster." What were the disasters? "5 ATM Machines Fail to Work Properly," "Power Out to Over Three Homes in Northeast," "Automatic Toilet won’t Stop Flushing," and "Not All Library Cards Recognized." Sounds like recent stories about scandal in the public schools.

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Remember not to honor the Worm Virus this millennium. Do not open any e-mail that has the name "Pics4you.exe." The worm will eat your hard drive on the first day of 2000. You can get some help at http://vil.mcafee.com/vil/wm10456.

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I know what’s going to happen in Seattle. The Algerian man who was stopped and who was found to have timers and explosives will get a good lawyer. That lawyer will argue in court that the customs agents had no probable cause to stop and search him, that he was a victim of racial profiling. Some liberal judge will agree and they will give him back his explosives and tell him to go blow up whatever he wants. I believe that what is called racial profiling is not only legal, but it is necessary if police agencies are to stop terrorism. If I were told that the Jewish Defense League was going to blow up an Arab embassy, I would want the right to stop anybody with a yalmuka nearing the embassy. If that is racial profiling, I am all for it. Likewise, I would urge stopping all Arabs entering New York between now and New Year’s Eve. If that is racism, it is too bad. It is also necessary for out society to keep nuts (or, Freedom Fighters, if you prefer) from blowing us up.

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By the way, heroin seizures at U.S. points of entry have fell 35 percent over the year because customs agents can no longer use profiling to stop likely smugglers. Seizures are down 34 percent at JFK, 42 percent in Miami, 44 percent in Newark and 75 percent in Houston. Think about that the next time you hear a politician decrying racial profiling by police.

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I’m not sure who I like for president, but it seems to come down to a race between John McCain and Bill Bradley. McCain recently made points by urging that "the nation’s best teachers" be given a huge tax break. Sounds like my kind of guy.

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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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