2000-06-24 / Columnists

Rockaway Short Takes

by Howard Schwach

It is not unusual for me to get angry e-mails, but the one I got recently from JPNasty was particularly virulent. JP wrote: "How dare you publish an unfounded rumor about the closing of a neighborhood postal facility? You have caused a small panic among the community…I hope you plan on remedying this situation you created. Please do not continue to publish unfounded rumors. It’s a shame anyone would ever take anything you have to say seriously." Well, Nasty, whomever you are, last week the postal service moved all of the "back office" personnel – the clerks who rack the mail and the carriers who deliver the mail-- to Arverne. You see, the service owns the Arverne site and it reportedly plans to utilize the large amount of vacant land around the present post office to expand and make it a Rockaway Post Office. The service rents the offices in Rockaway Park and Rockaway Beach. It makes sense for them to bring all the services to Arverne, whether that is better for residents or not. Right now there are just one or two sales persons left at the Rockaway Park Station. How long do you think they will continue to pay a high rent just to sell some stamps? Look for Arverne to expand and several other Rockaway offices to close. Of course, you don’t have to take what I have to say seriously. That is your option. When they do move out, however, I expect an e-mail apology. "Talk" to you when that happens. By the way, Nasty, large purple printing does not get more attention than small black printing.

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When 22 individuals and 13 food companies were charged with rigging bids to sell $210 million in frozen food and fresh produce to the New York City Board of Education, I gave the published story a cursory look and moved on. Something caught my eye after the jump, however, way down in the 22 paragraph. It read, "Additionally, separate charges were also filed today (June 1) in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York (Manhattan) against 12 individuals and six companies for participating in one or both of the bid-rigging conspiracies involving frozen food and fresh produce charged in the indictments. Those charged by a criminal information and the conspiracy or conspiracies in which each participated are:…Loeb & Mayer, Inc., Arverne, NY; its president and co-owner, Barry Mayer, North Woodmere, NY; and its vice president, Arthur Goldberg, Bayside, NY (frozen food conspiracy)." Those of you who have lived on the peninsula for any length of time know that Loeb and Mayer was, before it was sold recently, the oldest continuous business in Rockaway. It was also one of the most highly respected and its founders and owners did much for Rockaway causes. It is indeed a shame to see them go out like this. The federal indictments charge that the companies got together to rig bids so that each would have its area of influence and so that all could charge the Board of Education higher prices than would have been charged in a competitive situation. According to the Department of Justice, both of the local men and the company have entered plea agreements and will plead guilty. The maximum punishment for violating the Sherman Anti-Trust Act is $10 million for corporations and three years imprisonment and a $350,000 fine for individuals. The maximum punishment for violation of the U.S code is five years imprisonment and $250,000 in fines. Both Mayer and Goldberg are charged with the two offenses. The fact that they are both agreeing to pleas means that they will probably not get anywhere near the maximum sentences.

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My favorite comedy movie of all time was included on the recent AFI list of the "100 Best Comedies." That movie was 1965’s "Cat Ballou," and the fact that it ranked only 50th is something of a mistake. Lee Marvin, who is not known for his comedy turns, played both the drunken ex-gunfighter, Kid Shalleen and the kid’s evil noseless brother. When Shaleen was rolled out of the back luggage rack of a stagecoach, I roared so loud I woke up the rest of the theater and when he was found later in the movie, drunk with both he and his horse leaning against a wall during the big rescue scene, they had to take me out of the theater because I was laughing too loudly. Yet, the AFI rated such duds as Annie Hall (4), A Fish Called Wanda (21), Being There (26), Animal House (1978) and Shampoo (47) in front of my favorite movie. What do they know? I laugh every time I see it and that makes it one of the greatest to me. By the way, in case you are interested, "Some Like it Hot," was rated at number one. I guess you can’t argue with that.

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Take a ride westward on Beach Channel drive west of Beach 116 street and glance in the direction of Floyd Bennett Field. That golf ball on top of a tower is the new Doppler radar setup and it is indeed a beautiful sight. I don’t see how anybody can say that it is unsightly or unpleasant to the senses. The fact that it will also save lives is a plus. There are still people saying that it is harmful but I have never seen any credible evidence that would suggest that fact. Tony Weiner and Lew Simon are still fighting the radar on the grounds that it is not properly placed in a national park, but it is not in a national park to begin with.

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Speaking of Weiner, the first-term pol will have a hard time in the next election because he will be facing City Councilman Noach Dear, a man with lots of campaign cash and lots of backing from the Orthodox Jewish community. Add to that the fact that the Democratic councilman will be running as a Republican. Why would the Republicans back a Democrat for the Senate? "He has a very strong conservative philosophy, which coincides with the Republican philosophy in the congress," says one Republican spokesperson. That should make it a tough race for Weiner, but he deserves another term. He has been active in Rockaway and he has at least tried to address the peninsula’s needs. He has been on the wrong side of a number of issues, at least in my opinion, and he has sometimes been too quick to take the word of a small group of activists as the community’s voice, but I like him and he should be returned.

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I have written this before, but it bears repeating. The majority of guns traced to crimes in New York City last year came from Southern states such as Virginia, Florida, Georgia and Texas. Those states have lax gun laws and the guns they sell invariably wind up used in a crime here in New York. "A Georgia criminal using a New York gun is a rarity," Senator Chuck Schumer said recently. "A New York criminal using a Georgia gun is commonplace."

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The Army Corps of Engineers has targeted a number of areas around Jamaica Bay for environmental restoration. Among them are areas in Broad Channel, Bayswater State Park, Dubos Point and Brant Point. The restoration will begin with a study that will catalogue all of the shellfish, birds, and plants found in the targeted area. Another plan the Army Corps of Engineers is readying might have the opposite effect from restoration, however. It plans to dump toxic dredged material in borrow pits in Norton Basin, at the extreme eastern end of the bay.

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

 

 


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