2000-04-01 / Columnists

Rockaway Short Takes


by Howard Schwach

I have been writing the past few months of the bill to make an assault on a teacher a "D" Felony. The bill passed in the state senate a few weeks ago with little opposition (on four votes in opposition). A similar bill actually passed in the assembly, but it is so different than the senate bill that a deal has to be worked out before it can go to the governor for signature. The problem is that the assembly bill includes a gun control measure that is unacceptable to the senate Republicans. The same thing happened last year, and the bills died. It is therefore clear that the assembly leaders know that adding the gun control measure once again would kill the much-needed bill once again. Yet, the assembly leaders once again added the gun control measure. That serves to give assembly members like Audrey Pheffer and Pauline Cummings the right to say that they voted for the new "D" Felony bill and that it was the Republican’s fault that it died. What the assembly simply has to do, however, is divorce the teacher assault bill from the gun control bill. The assembly leadership will not do that, however, because then they would be accountable for the bill’s passage and that would not sit well in some minority communities.

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Matt Bromme has been given the chancellor’s approval to take over the reins of Community School District 27 without the "interim acting" after his name. Bromme got the nod from the local school board a month ago, but everyone was waiting for Chancellor Levy to give his approval. Bromme is a good fit for the district. He has the background and the experience within the district to hit the ground running. I want to wish Bromme and his team my best wishes for a successful tenure.

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Those who rile against public servants and who see them as the "enemy of the public" should attend the Chamber of Commerce’s affair honoring "the bravest and the finest." The award luncheon will take place at the Knights of Columbus Hall (Beach 90 Street) on April 11 at 12:30 p.m. Reservations are necessary. For further information or tickets, contact Liz Sulik at the Chamber of Commerce.

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It seems as if the muni meters on Beach 116 street, which were slated to begin operations last Monday, are different than the meters in the municipal parking lot near the subway station. The lot has numbered stalls and a motorist has to input that number into the machine. The machine then records parking time left in each stall. It looks as if the stalls on the street will not be numbered. Motorists will have to walk from their parked car to the nearest machine, input the required money and get a slip showing the time their parking allotment expires. They will then have to walk back to their car and put the slip in their car window. I suppose that both the cops and the meter maids will then walk up and down, looking in the windows for expired slips and use those as data to give tickets. This doesn't sound onerous on a nice sunny day, but I can’t picture people on a very rainy, cold day, running back and forth between their cars and the muni meter machine. Why the machines couldn’t have been like those in the parking lot, which do not require the slip to be placed in the window, is beyond me. It seems that the whole expensive deal is simply to force the residents to pay more for their parking and to allow for more tickets and more revenue for the city.

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As one who is nearing retirement age, I am happy to see that the Social Security penalty has been waived. By a 100-0 vote the senate joined the House of Representatives in allowing Social Security recipients to collect full benefits no matter what they earn. In the past, those who receive the federal benefits had them reduced if they made more than $17,000 in any calendar year. The House passed the measure by 422-0 a few weeks ago.

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Don’t get too excited about commuting to Manhattan by ferry. The service slated to begin this summer at Gateway (If, in fact, any ferry companies respond to the plan) will be used to ferry people who want to visit Gateway. Regular commuter service from Rockaway to Manhattan is reportedly still a few years away. The Feds agreement to allow the old Coast Guard pier to be used for the service is a breakthrough of sorts and they should be congratulated. I have a feeling, however, that it will be years before any real service begins.

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I do not yet know who won the special election held last Tuesday because I am writing this column prior to the vote, but I am willing to bet that Mal Smith won going away. I would have to say that this is one election where the voters had no choice at all. The major political movers and shakers anointed Smith, who has close ties to Floyd Flake, and that was all she wrote about this election. Andrew Jenkins, who ran against Smith as a candidate of the Liberal Party, never had a chance and that was good. Jenkins says that he is innocent of the charges of money laundering that put him in prison for a year. He says that it was a political conviction. That is tough to sustain since he took the money from an undercover agent and was arrested boarding the plane that was to take him to Africa at the completion of his money-laundering task. The money was found in his briefcase. Let’s hope that his loss in this election will provide Jenkins with a reason to give it up and find another line of work.

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There can be lots of debate as to why the mayor’s popularity has sagged recently, but there seems to be no debate about the fact that Hillary Clinton has taken the lead for the senate in the latest polls. Rudy has dropped several points in the past three weeks and Hillary has picked up two or three points. That puts Hillary at 45 percent and Rudy at 42.3 percent. Only three weeks ago, Rudy had 49.5 percent and Hillary 42.3 percent. Among New York City voters, Rudy dropped from 34 percent to 28 percent while Clinton rose from 60 percent to 66 percent. Rudy still leads upstate and among independent voters.

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Congratulations are due to Rockaway resident Tricia Tubridy and her Christ the King teammates who took the "A" Division girl’s crown by beating Bergtraum High School last weekend. In her last game for the school, Tubridy scored 26 points and pulled down 10 rebounds. Claire Droesch, the other Rockaway standout, who has a bad ankle, scored just seven points. Tubridy reportedly will choose between Columbia and Harvard for her college career.

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The opening day parade and ceremonies for the Jamaica Bay Little League will be held on Saturday, April 29 at 10 a.m. The parade will begin at the Broad Channel Athletic Association building on Noel road and will end at the ball field on Cross Bay boulevard. This is the first year for the league and everybody connected with its inception has been working hard to make it a success for the kids of Broad Channel and Rockaway. All children are welcome to take part in the league.

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I think that some of the problems we have in this city rest with the media. Whenever there is a problem in the black community, the media turns to Al Sharpton, a racial arsonist who has been caught lying to the public in so many cases that it seems strange that the media still speaks with him. Far be it for me to say that I should pick a black spokesperson, but there have to be others with more credibility than Sharpton. At the same time, the media often turns to Ed Koch for comments. Koch and his ideas were thoroughly repudiated by the voters many years ago. He has had nothing to say of merit in years, yet the media continues to turn to him for comment whenever a controversy over the present mayor takes place. Whenever there is a question that involves education, the media turns not to a professional, but to one of the education advocacy groups that are run largely by people with no school experience. Why not talk to an expert? Sharpton is a racist and a liar. Koch is a liberal with an anti-mayor agenda. Education "specialists" who run private foundations have even more of an agenda. Yet the media continually turn to them for comment and that comment usually exacerbates the problem. Perhaps, after all, that is what the media is looking for.

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That’s it for this week. Remember to send comments and complaints toNewsie42@aol.com. Have a good week and safe home.

 

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