2000-04-22 / Columnists

Rockaway Short Takes


by Howard Schwach

There is a picture in last week’s Wave of United Federation of Teachers representatives visiting Assem-blywoman Audrey Pheffer in her Albany office. It is the kind of picture that Pheffer will use in her campaign literature to prove that she is pro-teacher. In the meanwhile, the bill to make an assault on a teacher a B Felony languishes in Albany because Pheffer and the other Democrats in the assembly attached it to a gun control bill that is anathema to the Republicans in the senate. The assembly refuses to split the bills and the teacher assault bill will die one more time because of it. Pheffer is not pro-teacher. She is pro-leadership and will do whatever the Democratic leadership tells her to do. The bill will die and teachers will be assaulted. That is her legacy, and I’d bet that not one teacher in that picture, including District 27 union honcho Harolyn Fritz, asked her about the bill.

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It seems to me that everybody really enjoyed summer the year that Shore Front parkway was closed to traffic on the eastbound side. Everybody, that is, but a handful of residents at Dayton Towers and one of two of the storeowners in the area. They found a local attorney who was willing to sue the city for them without charge and the suit was filed. It is easy to file a suit but it is harder to win. Unfortunately, the city did not want to fight and they canceled plans to close the roadway. Perhaps the time has come to revisit the idea. Perhaps this time the storeowners will not complain and the pro bono attorney will not sue. There is still time to get it done and our community board should look into the idea.

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Something else we should revisit now that summer is approaching is the parking policy on the west end. There is no reason why residents should not be allowed to park on the street in front of where they live. Resident parking stickers or the creative use of the EZ Pass now on most cars should take care of the objection that DFD’s will take all of the parking spots and somehow desecrate Rockaway with their presence. The cops could be EZ pass readers and would therefore know who was a Rockaway resident and who was not. They could then tow the cars of non-residents while residents would not have to shell out lots of money to park in their own community.

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Community activist Mary Dever called to tell me that she is now involved with Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the senate. She has planned some "Women for Clinton" events that will be announced in the near future. Her son, Michael, has been supporting Rudy Giuliani for the slot. Should be an interesting household the next few months.

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Rockaway weather never fails to surprise. On Saturday I was on the beach at 116 street in a t-shirt shooting pictures of the beached barge (it is amazing what passes for excitement in Rockaway). The next day I was back in my heavy coat and watch cap trying to get a quarter into an inoperative muni-meter on Beach 116 street. Let’s hope that is the last we’ve seen of heavy coats and watch caps for this year.

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Speaking of the muni-meters, their placement on the shopping street has made people creative. When I pulled into a space in Sunday morning, a motorist who was leaving offered me his receipt, which still had 20 minutes showing. I took it gladly. More drivers should do the same. On another occasion, I noticed a motorist pull in and go through the receipts he had accumulated. He found one that had the correct time frame (even though the date, in small type, was incorrect). He put it in his window and left, sure that the cops patrolling the street looked at the time but not at the date. I hope, for his sake, that he was right.

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Most people do not notice The Wave’s new, modern look. When I mentioned it to somebody, he asked, "Oh, is that what is different?" The front page is less cluttered and the typefaces that are used inside have been cleaned up. Those of you who did not notice the changes should take a look. They will like what they see. By the way, keep an eye out for more changes in the near future.

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The area of Beach 66 street has been getting a lot of action lately. A body was found washed up on the beach two weeks ago and just this week another body was found in the middle of the street. The first looks to be a drowning, but the second man died by gunshot. Are we once again becoming a dumping ground for murder committed elsewhere? It has happened before.

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To date, seven livery cab drivers have been killed in our city. They were all black men and the bet is that black men killed them. The question is why Al Sharpton and his minions have not said a word about seven black men dead when he plans major disruptions over the death of one black man. Is it that there is no political gain or media gain in protesting the death of black men at the hands of black men? That can be the only answer.

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I’m glad that Greg Meeks has been spending all his time finding out about China prior to the vote on trade ties with that nation. I would be happier if he could clean up and revitalize the shopping center across the street from his old Far Rockaway office. In all of his years as community activist, assemblyman and congressman, he has never been able to do anything to remediate the problem. Now, he is more concerned with China. What a world!

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I went back with family and friends to the Seaford Palace Diner on Merrick road, just past the Oyster Bay expressway. It is a long ride, but it is worth it. For less than 20 bucks I got soup, a Greek salad, wine, spinach pie, a large sirloin steak, three vegetables, coffee and desert. I also go a bag filled with muffins, pastry and bread to take home. The place, as usual, was mobbed and we had to wait 25 minutes to get a table, but the service is friendly, the food is excellent and the servings are huge. The bill for the four of us was $68 bucks and we took home enough to eat two more meals. Take a ride on a nice day and give it a try.

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State Senator Ada Smith is concerned about the relations between her "community of color" and the police. "We have a growing crisis of confidence when it comes to the way residents view their police departments," she said in a press release. "Too many people have been harassed, wounded or killed." Smith is simply trying to make political hay out of the killing of an unarmed man. I know that is what politicians do for a living, but she ought to stop and think about all of her constituents who are alive and well and not on drugs because the police have been allowed to do their jobs over the past few years. The fact is that crime and homicides are growing once again in her community because the police are afraid to do their job because of people like her. The good people who live in her community know the deal. If the police stopped patrolling Smith’s community and just kicked back and let things happen, not a good person would be able to live in her community in a short time. That is a fact of life and she should recognize it.

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I hope that the "name the bird" contest comes out better than the "name the whale" contest of a few years ago. I still can’t bear the name "Whalemenia." I sure hope the bird fares better.

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Lew Simon is sure that Technodome is on track and will someday become a reality for Rockaway. I have not spoken to anybody about it but I am willing to bet, based on past experiences, that there is no way we will ever see the sports place in Rockaway. The project is dead in Canada as well and the Canadian park was slated to open this year. Let’s find something else to do with the land and move on.

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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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