2000-05-06 / Columnists

Rockaway Short Takes


by Howard Schwach

Drivers beware! There is no longer a "Right Turn on Red" sign posted at the entrance to the Waldbaum’s shopping center on Beach Channel drive and Beach 112 street. I am not sure whether the sign just fell down or whether it was removed by DOT, but cops have been active giving tickets to those who turn into the parking lot without noticing that the sign is gone. For the majority of people who drive regularly in the area, the sign is such a familiar sight that nobody looks for it any more. They just make the right. That will now get them a moving violation.

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As I write this, the battle between WABC Channel 7 and Time Warner Cable has heated up. Despite the channel 7 bid to extend the time for negotiation extend until after the May sweeps period, Quics pulled the channel’s signal from its network at midnight on Sunday. There is not much you can do. You can get an A/B switch and an antenna and switch from cable to broadcast any time you want to watch an ABC program or you can tell ABC that they are wrong. Or, you can tell Quics that it is wrong. You would be right in both cases. Both the cable network and the Disney/ABC people are bullheaded and we, the viewers, are the ones who will suffer. I only watch two ABC programs – NYPD Blue and the Practice, but I will miss them both. Disney has the right to keep ABC off the cable network but it is not money it wants. It wants Quics to put three of its channels on its basic service – the Disney Channel, Toon-Disney and SoapWorld. Quics refuses. Disney refuses to take money – it wants the channels on in New York City. ABC wanted to extend the deadline until after the sweeps period – to late May. Quics saw no reason to do that because this is the time that Disney needs every viewer it can find so that it can charge large ad costs to advertisers. It is to Quics’ benefit to do it now to put more pressure on Disney. The FCC will moderate the dispute and you can look for ABC to be back sooner than later. Who will win? Nobody, and the viewers are sure to lose.

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The rumors are that Hillary Clinton has been invited to be the guest speaker at the coming Beach Channel High School graduation. It would be a coup for the school and a good "sound bite" for Hillary. In very real terms, however, having her around is not worth the problems that it brings.

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It seems that the Russian mob centered in Brighton Beach is using Rockaway as a dumping ground for its unwanted bodies. The bullet-ridden body of Mark Simon was dumped near Beach 66 street on April 14. He was allegedly involved in a credit card scam that involved the mob. Authorities believe that a hog-tied corpse that washed ashore in Rockaway last Tuesday is that of millionaire émigré Borys Kiejilches of Staten Island. And last Friday, Olga Ventura was found shot in the head in her Far Rockaway home. There have been numerous other shootings involving Russian emigres in Brighton Beach, Coney Island and in Staten Island. I guess that Rockaway, with all of its open lots and shoreline, is a good place to dispose of the unwanted bodies, but I just wish they would find someplace else.

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A recent decision by a federal judge will insure that the lawsuit brought by three Broad Channel men who are former police and firefighters against the city will go to trial. The city had tried to short-circuit the suit, but the federal judge disagreed. You will remember that the former city police officer and two former firefighters were fired by the city after Mayor Giuliani ordered their firing. They took part in blackface in the infamous Broad Channel Memorial Day Parade two years ago. The three men have sued the city, claiming that the firings violated their federally protected free speech rights. They were off duty and out of uniform at the time of the parade. The lawyers for the city had been hoping for the judge to throw the suit out of court, while the lawyers from the ACLU, who are representing the three Board Channel men, were hoping that the judge would give a summary judgment in their favor. Instead, he sent it to a trial. There is no word of when the trial will take place.

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Mark Green thinks that he will be the next mayor by hook or by crook. He is so sure that he is making mayoral noises. He wants to abolish the district school boards and the central board and give the power to guess who? The mayor, of course. He did not want to do that while Giuliani was solidly in office. How things change in the political firmament.

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The new building now under construction at Beach 102 street and RBB looks to be a success even before its planned September occupancy. The Hammel Senior Center is eyeing the property as is the Neponsit Adult Day Health Care facility and the LIJ Alcohol Rehab Clinic. I’m sure that all three could live comfortably in the new 23,000 square foot building.

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Speaking of the alcohol rehab center, I know that the opposition to the use of the new building for that purpose is growing. Last week I likened the opposition to that of the opposition to the Claddagh I.N.N when it was first proposed. Today, it is a respected community institution that serves many of the Rockaway people in need of help. Driving by the old Rockaway Beach Hospital last week I was reminded of the opposition to that building’s use by Services for the Underserved (SUS). Many of the same people who are opposed to the new plan were opposed to SUS and many of the same arguments were used. I am becoming more and more convinced that the Beach 102 street site might just be the right place for the rehab center.

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Slain Tenant activist Maria Medina will be honored Saturday, May 6, with a kick off to a memorial fund in her name. School board member James Sanders will coordinate the fund, and it is a very worthwhile endeavor. You’ll remember that Medina was killed by an errant shot during a drive-by shooting. At the time, she was volunteering her time to the tenant patrol at the Redfern Houses in Far Rockaway. The event will include a march around the housing project to "reclaim it for the community," and a church service. Donations to the fund can be sent to Sanders at 14-41 Beach Channel drive in Far Rockaway.

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Members of the Assembly who represent Rockaway and who raise tens of thousands of dollars from lobbyists who have never even seen Rockaway were recently asked by Common Cause to limit their gifts to $25 in value. Both Pauline Cummings and Audrey Pheffer (who has raised more than $71 thousand from lobbyists) have reportedly not supported the ban. Twelve members accepted, six (including Cummings) have refused and the others just ignored it. The Senate Republicans, by the way, have accepted the plan.

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That’s it for this week. Remember to send complaints and comments to newsie42@aol.com or to hschwach@ msn.com. Have a good week and safe home.

 


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