2000-10-14 / Columnists

On The Beach… With Beverly Baxter

***When will we ever learn? Although it's a great disappointment to our community, were we really ever so naive enough to have initially believed that we'd ever see capital money for the Riis Park pool project? Come now! It's one thing to want it, it's another thing to get! The thing I find most infuriating, as well as insulting, is that our elected officials keep seducing us with their promissory notes. It's truly the height of audacity the way they court our vote before the election by waiving a bonanza of promises; and then right after the election, they have the colossal nerve to stand before us and not deliver. It's as if they are saying to us, "Give me your vote and I'll still love you in the morning, darling!"

***How does a proposed $25 million dollar project dwindle down to a $5 million dollar project and then become nothing at all? And of course, when all else fails, blame it on partisan politics! Perhaps we elected
Congressman Weiner because we believed he would naturally inherit the influence and connections of Chuck Schumer and that we would be the beneficiaries of this alliance. My, were we wrong!

***I really believe it's so important that we consider the candidacies of
other, and as many, candidates who have a real desire and interest to run. We should be open to hearing from them instead of continuously re-electing politicians simply because we are familiar with their names and they attend our parties. We should "interview" and become acquainted with others who want to answer the call, and "hire" the best candidate for the job.

Anthony Stasi, candidate for State Assembly, drives to his job each day just like every other citizen. Whether it be by public mass transportation or in the comfort of one's own car, working New Yorkers in general feel the literal "crunch" of intrusion each day on their way to and from work. The "down time" wasted enduring merciless traffic jams has even prompted many commuters to actually set up "shop" in their cars turning them into little makeshift offices on wheels. For many, sitting in traffic has become either a peaceful refrain listening to entire novels on CDs or a time to get more work done on a laptop. For "citizen/candidate" Anthony Stasi, the agonizing daily experience has been often spent pondering practical solutions to our transportation problems. He states that "if companies with more than 100 employees would be willing to
stager their hours and have different shifts, this would do a lot to alleviate congestion. Doing so would also have other ancillary benefits. It would also cut down on crime as there would be more people on the road over longer periods of time over the course of a day." It's certainly an idea that makes sense. However, Rockaway has its own unique transportation problems. There's been much talk about a federally funded ferry service from the Coast Guard station. It's a good start, however, Rockaway needs more extensive service through out the entire peninsula.

"The only way for a privately-run ferry service to be economically feasible is if the operator could operate all day and not just during the rush hours. The operators should be given permits and access to the airport to operate to and from the city. This would be more profitable for the operators and therefore, it would reduce the fare. Ferry service and using our waterways as a natural form of transportation is a viable and practical alternative; but it has to be cost effective for commuters and at the same time, profitable for the operators," states Stasi.

He is also in favor of restoring the L.I.R.R. "We desperately need economic development. This will not be accomplished with more low-income housing as the Democrats continue
to pursue for Rockaway. I am in favor of middle-income development and we need more help from the state in the way of tax incentives for builders. We've more vacant land now than we had ten years ago. Why? It's a question that needs to be addressed. We have a booming economy. Contractors are building all over the city and state. New and existing construction job sites are evident all through out New York. Why not here? We need to perhaps educate our current Assemblywoman and tell her that the only way we
can accomplish any kind of a renaissance is by attracting the middle class and we won't be able to attract them with out alternative means of safe transportation."

Our conversation soon turned to education. Stasi states, "A renaissance is an inter-related work in progress. All aspects are dependent on each other. Education reform is an important part of the whole and must be addressed. I am in favor of incentives that help working families choose their own children's education. I support a $1500 per child tax credit. There is a bill currently in the Assembly and it is waiting to be voted on. I believe in school choice and empowering parents with tax credits to make that choice. A tax credit differs from a voucher in that vouchers are money taken out of school budgets and there are restrictions. A $1500 per child tax credit is exactly that and the monies could be used for computers or tutoring, etc. I also support magnet school programs.

Another issue that Anthony Stasi has taken a stance on is his opposition to Airport privatization. He opposes the idea because it would directly impact many who live in our community. "Audrey Pheffer has been silent on the issue; but if the airport is privatized, then we risk loosing many good union jobs. Many would be effected if the Port Authority didn't continue to oversee the entity of the airport. My opposition is not popular with Republicans; however, it is sensitive and correct for our district."

There are a myriad of differences between our current State Assemblywoman and Anthony Stasi. You are invited to attend a community forum to be held at Beach Channel High School at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday October 24. See you there!

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