2000-09-16 / Columnists

Rockaway Short Takes

by Howard Schwach

In 1993, Noach Dear made an agreement with state investigators for him to repay more than $37 thousand to his private foundation that was set up to assist Russian Jews. The investigators had found that Dear had used foundation funds to pay for his personal expenses. At the time, Dear said, "All that is in the past and we have moved on from there." An audit released in January of this year revealed that Dear had received "511 excessive contributions from 325 individuals and two political committees totaling $563,913" during the period of July, 1997 through December, 1998. Dear says that he has worked with the Federal Election Commission to "correct every mistake." He added that he "obviously learned from that experience." One would have thought that he would have learned from the 1993 experience, but he obviously did not. Just last week, Marcia Kramer of Channel 2 News reported that Dear had taken an illegal contribution of $20 thousand from the owner of the Green Bus Line and Jamaica Bus. Kramer intimated that Dear had taken the money to insure that the companies keep their franchise despite the fact that the lines have a terrible record and that they continually pollute the community. For the past several years, the City Council (Dear heads its Transportation Committee) and the mayor have continued the existing franchises by not allowing a competitive bid system. Dear answered by saying that he is not the head of the Franchise Committee, which has the final say, but that is a lame answer in respect to the power that he wields in the council. In my book, three strikes and you’re out. Strike one for Dear was in 1993, strike two was in 1998 and the third strike was the recent Kramer report. The voters should call him out in November.

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Another reason to shop locally. I have been using Marvin and Sons (Those who still call it Marvin’s Mart are really old-timers) to fix my watches and change my watch batteries for years. I recently rode all the way to Cedarhurst to get my battery changed. When I got to the store, however, the person behind the watch counter told me that he was too busy and that I should come back in an hour or so. There was nobody else at the counter and he and the girl working behind the scenes were having a conversation. When I questioned why it would take so long, I was told that the girl had to go to lunch and I probably should leave it and come back another day. I left with my watch and went to A & J Jewelers next to the subway on Beach 116 street. In about two minutes he had the battery humming and the charge was only five bucks. I have learned a lesson. Shop locally first for those things that you can get locally.

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What do you want to bet that President Clinton pardons Jonathan Pollard, the convicted Israeli spy, in October or early November, just prior to the election? That would give Hillary a leg up with the Orthodox Jewish community, who see Pollard’s continuance in prison as a slap in the face to Jewry and Israel.

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It has been two years since the city closed down the Neponsit Nursing Home so quickly that residents were literally moved out in the dark of the night and spirited to other facilities. Two residents died shortly thereafter and advocates blamed the deaths on the sudden move. At the time, the mayor said that it had to be closed down because it was in disrepair and that it would cost upwards of $50 million to fix. The city was ready to chop the place down the day after the evacuation, but advocates went to court and put a stop to the demolition. A recent study commissioned by the city council says that it will cost only $600 thousand to make the fix – a far cry from $50 million. While the cost to repair the building is probably more like $1 million (and the city has already paid $450 thousand in fines), there is a chance that the city will go ahead and repair the building and restore its function as the peninsula’s main senior citizen health care and day care provider. One can only hope!

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I have been trying to get Wally, the owner of the Lido Deli in Lido Beach, to open a store in Rockaway, but to no avail. I guess that I will have to continue to drive to that location to get the best and biggest deli sandwiches this side of the Carnegie Deli in Manhattan. Try it, you will love it.

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The Rockaway Action Committee and the Littoral Society will sponsor at beach cleanup as part of the annual International Coastal Cleanup at Beach 116 street today (Saturday, September 16) from 9 a.m. to noon. All volunteers are welcome for this worthy exercise.

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I am sure that all motorists will join me in asking that something be done about young kids riding those new small scooters down crowded streets, especially at night. I have heard that many kids are winding up in hospital emergency rooms after their scooters meet a car or after they fall off onto the hard concrete. According to experts, 90 percent of the injuries from scooter accidents involve children under 15 years of age and a full quarter of the injuries involved fractures or dislocations. Be aware, parents, these are not benign toys.

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I have been called lots of names for writing this column during the 14 years or so that I have been writing. Some of them have been in writing and some verbal, but never over a live mike as happened to a New York Times reporter recently when George Bush called him an expletive deleted during a conference. It should not be taken too seriously, because it is all part of the game. Writers say things about politicians that they do not like because they are true and politicians say things about reporters because that is human nature. It is all part of the game and it is nothing to get too excited about.

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A while ago I wrote about a series of movies for senior citizens at the Green Acres Theater. The cost of admission is only one buck for seniors and that is certainly the best bargain in town. The schedule: Monday, October 2 at 1 p.m. –West Side Story (Natalie Wood); Monday, November 6 at 1 p.m. – You Were Never Lovelier (Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth) and Monday, December 4 at 1 p.m. – Billy Rose’s Diamond Horseshoe (Betty Grable).

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Testing a ferry on a run to Manhattan is one thing and installing regular commuter service from Rockaway to Manhattan is another. We have to thank Rockaway resident Joe Hartigan for getting us even this far, but we have a long way to go. The service promises a 24-minute ride from Breezy Point to lower Manhattan, far less time than the hour plus it now takes by subway. That would be great, but only if it is regular and it is affordable. If it costs upwards of $100 a month or more to commute to Manhattan then the service will fail because of the expense. The trip will probably have to be subsidized and so far there is nobody in sight who is interested in subsidizing the trip. The United States Park Service set up the test, but it is just interested in moving people from Manhattan to events in Gateway National Park. To the NPS, the commuter service is a nice add on, but not part of the plan. An operator will be named in January from the 10 companies who have submitted applications. The winner will then have to tell the community what it is planning to do in terms of routes, time and cost. That is the critical issue. It was always easy to plan a ferry service. Implementing it is another story, as MetroMarine found out 10 years ago.

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

 


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