2000-12-02 / Columnists

Short Takes 1202

Short Takes

I got another vitriolic hate letter again this week. That is not unusual. I get them all the time. This one pointed out that I had no right speaking about education since I have not been in the classroom for years and years "thanks to my friends at the district office." That couldn’t be further from the truth, but that is not the point that I want to make. The writer asked me not to use his name if I printed his comments. That really bothers me and it has for some time. He and others of his ilk have no intestinal fortitude (there are other words for that, but I can’t use them in a family paper). I really believe that if a person has something to say and he or she wants to say it publicly (such as printing it in The Wave), then he or she should have the courage to affix a name to those ideas. I do not believe that The Wave has the obligation to print letters that are ended with "name withheld" or with "please don’t print my name." Sure, there are legitimate reasons why a person would not want their name affixed to their ideas, but those legitimate reasons are few and far between. If you want to have your say, say it like an adult and let everyone see what you have to say. Otherwise, stay silent.

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Audrey Pheffer’s announcement that she would seek the borough presidency just a few weeks after she won another term in the assembly really floored me. It is hard to understand the move. Perhaps she got tired of traveling to Albany and would rather travel to Forest Hills. If the Democratic Party backs Pheffer, she will probably win the job going away. I have to question whether, in light of Pheffer’s record in the Assembly, her win would be the best thing for Rockaway. Don’t get me wrong, I like Audrey. She has been a diligent worker for the elderly for many years, but I cannot think of much of a positive effect she has had on other issues, such as education or crime. Pheffer will face other Democrats who want the job just as badly, but do not have her name recognition, including Karen Kaslowitz, Sheldon Leffler and Helen Marshall (all members of the City Council who will be losing their jobs about that time), Carol Gresser (former Queens rep to the Board of Education), and Assemblyman Tony Seminario. The latter is probably the only Dem who can challenge Audrey should the party give her the nod. On the Republican side, we have Al Stabile and Councilman Michael Abel. A Republican has as much a chance to win a borough-wide race as pigs have to fly, but that’s another story for another time. The race will probably be Pheffer against Stabile.

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Speaking of the next election (will this one ever end?), the race for City Council shows promise to be interesting to the end. As you know, Al Stabile has been term-limited out (just as BP Claire Shulman is) and the field is wide open. Stabile’s chief of staff, Alex Lutz, is reportedly ready to run and so might be Joanne Ariola, Stabile’s ex-chief of staff and a loser in a post election to Audrey Pheffer. I have never ever seen Lutz in Rockaway and that probably means he is not the best candidate for the peninsula. Ariola is an attractive candidate and would probably do a good job for Rockaway. On the Democratic side we have Art Beroff, a member of School Board 27 and a would-be candidate for even higher office. We also have Joe Addabbo, jr., who lost to Stabile the last time around and who is also an attractive young candidate. He would also do a good job for Rockaway and he certainly has name recognition, especially with older voters who might think that they are still voting for his father. Then, we have Lew Simon. Lew has done lots for individuals here in Rockaway as the district leader, but he has lots of baggage to carry. The Republican candidate is sure to trot out his phony resume (he said that he was a graduate of Brooklyn College with a masters degree in educational administration from Adelphi – neither is true) and his phony teaching credentials. Those phony credentials may not mean much in Rockaway, where Lew has become something of a folk hero, but they will mean disaster on the mainland. The race will probably turn out to be between Addabbo and Ariola and that would be all right with me. The kicker in the mix could be Beroff, who has the time and the money to run as an Independent should the party choose not to give him the nod. That would hurt the Democratic nominee (does the name Nader mean anything to these people?).

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I am glad that the people who run the peewee football program in Broad Channel had the good sense to cancel last Sunday’s championship game. The field was in terrible shape and some kid could have injured himself for life. This is not the NFL, guys, these are kids. Kickoff at Memorial Field in Broad Channel will be at 1 p.m. on Sunday and you will probably see a better game than you will on television. Go Shamrocks!

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Military veterans still in active public service as teachers, police officers, firefighters, etc. can now purchase up to three years of pension credit for time served in the military. The cost will be three percent of an individual’s last 12 months salary for each year of credit sought. For example, a person earning $50 thousand a year and claiming two years of service time would have to pay in $1,500 per year of $3,000.

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Gangs are becoming a major problem in this city. That is why I like the proposed law that would stop gang members from "loitering in a public place with one or more other persons" if police determine that the persons are "trying to establish control over an area, intimidate others from entering that area or are concealing illegal activities." One of the city councilmen who sponsored the bill said, "There are street gangs taking over parts of our city. This is just a tool to help [police] do their job." The civil libertarians have already jumped all over the bill, calling it a violation of basic human and Constitutional rights. A similar bill in Chicago netted 45,000 arrests before it was declared unconstitutional.

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The politically correct are at it again. There is a proposal on the table to ban the game "dodge ball" in schools. You all know the game. Kids throw a playground ball or a basketball at other kids. If the second kid catches the ball, the one who throws it is out of the game. If not, the catcher is out of the game. The kids love it. Why do away with it? "No child should be a target of violence by another child," the PC say. When will it end? Not any time soon. A USC report says that children are "victimized" by being read to by a parent. "Reading aloud to ones child is an act of violence that represses the young," the report says. "It forces them into the jail of patriarchy and cultural structure." Wouldn’t Dr. Seuss love that one?

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


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