2000-04-29 / Columnists

Rockaway Short Takes


by Howard Schwach

The Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation (RDRC), an organization formulated on the theory that the money goes in but it never comes out, has done little to either develop or revitalize Rockaway. Take a look around if you do not believe me. Now the organization is giving its yearly award to Assemblywoman Pauline Cummings. They dub her the "clear choice" for the award based on her "tireless efforts." Somebody has to ask some questions here. First of all, why hold the Rockaway event at Russo’s on the Bay in Howard Beach? There has to be some place in Rockaway for the event and, if not, why hasn’t the RDRC in its many years of service, found a way to have such a place in Rockaway? Secondly, what effect has Cumming’s "tireless efforts" had on Rockaway? I surely have not seen anything that she has done short of get lots of publicity for herself. Her major accomplishment in office has been to get herself reelected. The organization says that it gives the award to "honor individuals who have played a major role in the resurgence of the Rockaway community and to celebrate the many accomplishments of the RDRC." A retelling of both the role Cummings has played and a list of the accomplishments of the RDRC can be placed on a postal stamp with room left over for War and Peace. Let it go at that.

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After a month of writing about it, I am still waiting for Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer and Assemblywoman Pauline Cummings to state their strong support for the bill in the Assembly that would make an assault on a teacher a D Felony rather than a misdemeanor. The bill is still attached to a gun control bill and will therefore fail without the support of both of out local Assembly representatives. I don’t understand the problem since both talk a good game about being pro-teacher and pro-education.

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The letter to the editor from EFK really struck a chord. The writer points out that many west end people use the prospective alcohol treatment center on a daily basis and that there will be opposition no matter where it is sited. I have to agree. It is a valid organization and it is badly needed. I am no longer sure that the Beach 102 site is not the right place for it. I remember when the Claddagh I.N.N. first proposed coming to Rockaway. There was lots of opposition, even from many of the same people who now do service there. There were the same arguments – it is not for Rockaway people, it will draw undesirable people to the area, it will harm the area, etc. They all proved to be false, because Claddagh proved to be a good neighbor and a needed service. I believe that the alcohol treatment center will be the same.

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I read a story last week that said that Mark Green was the front-runner for mayor should Giuliani leave for the senate or a year later. That story gave me nightmares. Think about it. Mark Green as mayor. Al Sharpton as police commissioner. Norman Siegel (the ACLU chief) as the schools chancellor. Time to wake up, New York, because it could happen.

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Congratulations to Maizle Morris, a long-time Rockaway resident, who is now focusing on a well-deserved retirement after 31 years as a nurse at Peninsula Hospital Center and as a community activist with Community Board 14 and with the Arverne Neighborhood Development Organization. Those she served will miss her drive and acumen.

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In Maizle’s "retirement" speech to the community board she told the story of why ducks fly in a V-formation. They do so because each duck’s beating wings create uplift for the other ducks, allowing them to fly much further. She likened that to community activists who beat the way for other members of the community to live a better life. It is a good story, but in Rockaway the ducks would more likely be hitting each other over the head to see which one can get to the destination first.

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Rumor has it that the old Beach Drugs on the corner of Beach 116 Street and RBB will soon be a new Krispy Kreme franchise. That would be welcome to the street, much more so than a chicken place, which was the first rumor. Of course, there may be more rumors now that workers are remodeling the place. We’ll all have to wait and see which of the rumors are true.

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Players are needed for the new little league program being sponsored by the Broad Channel Athletic Club. Any boy between the ages of 8 to 12 is welcome. The league will kick off the season next Saturday with a parade and opening day ceremony.

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I really like the Chamber of Commerce’s idea of a "Rockaway Fun Book," that will teach kids about the history and environment of Rockaway. They also chose the perfect person, local artist Steve Yaeger, to write and illustrate the book. The contest to name the Rockaway Seagull is well underway and I hope it will not be Gullamina or some such foolishness.

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Tune up for the 22 Annual Rockaway Ocean Run. It is the premier race of the boardwalk running season and a don’t miss for local runners. It will take place this year at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, May 7, 2000. Applications are available at The Wave and at many other places on the peninsula.

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There is a lot for Rockaway to be proud of when it comes to the past girl’s high school basketball season. Rockaway girls on several teams were tops in the city. Now the accolades and the lists of "All City" candidates is flooding in. The Daily News named Janelle McManus of Bishop Kearney as the Female Player of the Year. She was joined on the All City team by Claire Droesch and Tricia Tubridy of Christ The King. That makes three out of five of the top players in the city Rockaway residents. In addition, Katelyn Raphael of Stella Maris made the second team. Shanna Hamilton and Quianna McBean of Beach Channel made the second team All-Queens list and Tracy Gordon of Far Rockaway High School made honorable mention. Congratulations to all. I know that it is not politically correct, but I can’t help thinking of what it would have been like if all seven girls had played for Beach Channel. What a city championship team that would have been.

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Speaking of the Daily News, I loved the bit of commentary it did last week. The piece was headlined "Feds’ Smash and Grab Not Likely." It told of the belief that the feds would not move in and grab Elian Gonzalez in a military-type attack. We all know what that commentary was worth.

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Every once in a while the newspapers and websites associated with campaign finances does a bit on local legislators. Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin of Queens has $296,000 in his campaign coffers. I give that figure just to put the next figure in perspective. Audrey Pheffer has the next highest amount of any state legislator from Queens and that is $71,847. More typically, state legislators from Queens have an average of approximately $30 thousand in their campaign funds. Among Pheffer’s largest contributors is the trial lawyers association, Kraft Foods, AT&T, American Express, GEICO and the state teacher’s association. Whey the latter can’t get her to pass the new teacher assault bill after all of the money they have donated to her campaign is beyond me.

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

 

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