2000-02-26 / Columnists

Rockaway Short Takes


by Howard Schwach

Governor Pataki has finally set the date for the special election to fill the State Senate seat vacated by Al Waldon when he became a judge. Don’t mark the date, however, because the election is already over. The Democrats have already chosen Malcolm Smith to fill the job. Smith is a "developer" of affordable homes in South Queens and a stalwart of the Democratic Party. He was Floyd Flake’s nupschleper and that ends his qualifications for the job. He will win because the Democrats outnumber the Republicans by about 10-1 in the district and the party will get out the vote for Smith. He will also win because the Republicans are expected to run a man named Jerome Borrieallo. Have you ever heard his name mentioned in Rockaway? Neither has anybody else. Smith will do about as much for Rockaway as his former boss and that is nothing. Rockaway loses again.

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If you are interested in the local schools or in local school politics (perhaps one in the same) you should show up at the district office (82-01 Rockaway Boulevard, Ozone Park) Monday night at 8:15. At that time, the local board will vote on its choice for school superintendent. I’m betting that Matt Bromme, the current acting superintendent will be the choice of the board and that his is the only name that it will submit to the chancellor for his approval. It’s hard to argue with the board’s decision to submit only one name. The only decision left to the local board in the wake of the new governance bill is to choose a district superintendent and the board might as well do that job and not give the choice to the chancellor. It is also hard to fault the board’s choice of Bromme (if that is, indeed, the choice that it makes). He has been in the district for a long time. He knows the district and its players and it will take him no time at all to get up to speed. He also has the temperament and skills necessary to the job. If the chancellor does not like Bromme for the job, and who knows what the new chancellor likes, then my second choice would be Debra Brathwaite. She impressed me and I understand that she impressed several of the board members at the closed interviews. She did not impress them enough, however that Bromme did not have the votes from the beginning. There is no indication when the chancellor will make a decision on the local board’s nomination.

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The Rockaway St. Patrick’s Day Parade will take place on Saturday, March 4. Last year’s parade was a washout, so let’s hope that this year’s parade fares better.

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Thanks to the Feds, there will soon be lots of money pouring into the East End of the peninsula for economic development and improvement of the area’s standard of living. That should provide a shot in the arm to an area that has been underserved for years. Let’s hope that this is just another indication of the revitalization that has been at work on the peninsula for the last year or so. One step in the right direction would be the redevelopment of the large Far Rockaway Shopping Center on Mott Avenue just off Beach Channel drive. That center was once a thriving business area until its owners got to fighting among themselves and let it go to pot (literally and figuratively). Even Greg Meeks, whose office was right across the street from the eyesore, could do nothing to make a change. A revitalization of that center and some anchor stores in the area would go a long way towards bringing the area back to life. I hate to be jaded about this, but this may be the first manifestation of HUD’s director, Andrew Cuomo, and his desire to be the next governor of this state. If he thinks that he can win votes by pumping money into areas of Rockaway, more power to him.

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I have to wonder what is going on in Utah. The state legislature is considering a law that would permit concealed handguns inside of schools. The only stricture the law allows is that the principal of the school knows who is packing and who isn’t. What are those people thinking of? The PTA and the NRA are both against the law, but for different reasons. The PTA thinks the law is "outrageous," and the NRA wants unrestricted access of guns to schools in the state. There will be a state referendum in November that would bar all guns from Utah schools. That seems to me to be the more reasonable way to go.

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For the first time in its history, the Daniel M. O"Connell Post of the American Legion will bestow an honorary membership on an outstanding community leader -- Msgr. William Burke. The membership will be conferred at a special dinner in Burke’s honor at the post on Sunday, April 9. I want to add my congratulations to the monsignor and to the legion for doing the right thing.

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The Daily News recently sent a reporter to take the NYFD performance test in hopes of showing that the test is somehow discriminatory. Of the 120 women who took the test, only nine passed. It should be noted, however, that many men fail the test as well. There is no doubt in my mind that the test is job-related. Candidates have to do such things as drag a water-filled hose, put up ladders, pull a 135-pound dummy to safety and climb 20 flights of stairs wearing 50 pounds of equipment in less than five and a half minutes. In all, there are eight tests and the reporter, who admittedly was in pretty good shape, failed all but one. She found that the test takes incredible upper-body strength, something that few women possess. I think that women can perform almost any job that men can. They are even flying high performance jet fighters. With some strength training and practice, more women might pass the test. I only hope that the city, in its political correctness, will not tone down the requirements. I do not care whether it is a man or a woman who comes to drag me out of the inferno. I only care that whoever it is can do the job.

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The Hurricane, the movie about Reuben Carter and his fight for vindication has won lots of awards. It might be great movie-making, but it is lousy history. There have been comments about the irregularities in the movie for some time and the producers have once again claimed "poetic license." I do not believe that poetic license allows for rewriting history. ESPN2 showed how much of the movie is really revisionism. The network showed the final minutes of a fight between Carter and another fighter named Joey Giardello in 1964. The clip of the actual fight showed the bout ending in the middle of the ring, with the judges holding up Giardello’s hand, declaring him the winner. All of the judges voted for the winner and interviews after the fight showed that most of those present agreed with the verdict. The movie, however, showed the fight ending with Carter pummeling Giardello along the ropes and then losing the fight, obviously on a racist decision. If a movie is a phony, then the advertising should say so. Too many kids take this kind of "history" as real and the kind they learn in school as "racist" because of movies such as Hurricane.

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That’s it for this week. Remember to send comments and complaints to me at the-wave@ix.netcom.com. Have a good week and safe home.

 

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