2001-01-20 / Columnists

Short Takes

Short Takes

I don’t know what kind of drugs the editorial board of The Daily News were using last week when they wrote that "Mayor Giuliani’s final State of the City address proves once and for all that when it comes to education, he is more interested in building up than in tearing down." For seven years, the mayor forced teachers to leave the system, vilified teachers and principals, cut funding to the schools, declared that the system should be ‘blown up,’ forced several superintendents into early retirement and generally destroyed the system. Then, he makes one pro-education speech and the mayor declares him the Education Mayor. Sure, the mayor had some good ideas and some expensive ones as well and it is about time he said something positive about public school education, but that is probably more to solidify his legacy than to do something for the kids and the teachers. The Daily News has proven once again that "The Hometown Paper" has no idea of what is going on in its hometown.

* * * * *

I received a couple of e-mails from angry riders who were forced to pay premium prices to ride the car services on the day of the big snow. One such rider, who was charged seven bucks for a few blocks, was told by the driver that "we are the only cabs running and we have to charge that much." It seems to me that price gouging is price gouging no matter who does it and when it is done the agency that regulates those car service cabs in Rockaway should take a close look at what went on.

* * * * *

A number of cities have successfully closed down their crime-ridden city housing projects and have made the transition to a concept that includes both mid-rise and town house models. Those cities that have made the transition – St. Louis, Chicago, Newark – have found that the crime rate has gone down and that people who lived in city housing were generally much more satisfied. Perhaps it is time for New York City to do the same and I would suggest that the city start with the four major city housing projects in Rockaway. The death of a young man who literally was killed because he was from the wrong side of Beach Channel drive once again proves the need to do something about city housing. Sure, there are many decent, hard-working people who live in those projects. But there is also a hard core of thugs and gang members who need to be moved out of our community if any real revitalization is to take place. Once again we have a kid who was destined for big things killed for no rational reason by a kid who was destined for prison. When will it all end? When we no longer have the projects as a breeding ground for youth crime.

* * * * *

The Port Authority has completed its ferry study and it pretty much comes down to the fact that regular service from Rockaway to Manhattan cannot be successful unless it is subsidized. That is no secret and it is something that many of us on the peninsula figured out for ourselves without an expensive study. The report says that there are not enough riders in Rockaway alone. It says it, of course, in PAese. "It quickly became apparent," the study says, "that an expanded market would have to be brought into the mix to develop the critical mass necessary for project viability." That means they need more people, and they hope to get them from the five towns. Can you picture a cold, windy December morning as a commuter comes out of his house in Woodmere, drives 20 or 30 minutes to Breezy Point, boards a cold, rocking ferry to take a forty minute ride to Manhattan for $100 a month and then take a bus from the ferry slip to midtown, when he could have taken the LIRR for the same price and been in midtown at about the same time or even earlier? I don’t think so! Even if you double the number of people who take the subway from Rockaway to Manhattan each day, the ride unsubsidized would still cost about $10 to $15 a round trip. That is too much for most of the budgets in Rockaway. Al Stabile, who asked for the survey said it all. "If we can’t make it affordable," he said, "who is going to use it." Exactly!

* * * * *

I have been informed that the New York City Department of Finance has approved an increased fine for parking in a handicapped parking spot without the proper identification. From now on it will cost non-handicapped drivers who feel they must park in those close-up spots $180 if the police tickets them.

* * * * *

I went to the Chamber of Commerce meeting at the Beach Club last week and I have to say that I am impressed with the organization’s plans and with its new leadership. The organization has plans for not one, but three, fireworks displays next summer. One would be held on July 4, another on the National Night Out Against Crime and the third on Labor Day. That would be a boon for Rockaway but it will take about $50 grand to make it work. Another great plan would be to hold a Rockaway Triathlon sometime in July. Participants would run and bike in Rockaway and end with a swim across Jamaica Bay, perhaps to the new Beach 116 waterfront park that will be funded with a $200 thousand grant just given to the Chamber. It all sounds great to me.

* * * * *

According to recent issues of The Wave, some locals are thinking of running for the city council seat being vacated by Al Stabile (thank goodness for term limits). Palmer Doyle is a long-time activist who has done lots for his community and the west end of Rockaway. The other is Chris Jorge, an activist who has done lots for kids through her arts program at MS 180. Unfortunately, she also took the lead in forcing Al Stabile to move plans for the highly successful Beacon program out of MS 180 and into a mainland school, depriving hundreds of kids and their parents of after-school recreational and educational experiences

* * * * *

Speaking of the city council, the weasels want to overturn the wishes of the voters of the city and do away with term limits. "There are lots of people who are very angry about term limits and feel they are terribly unfair," a veteran lawmaker said. Sure, those who are angry about term limits are those who will lose their jobs because of it. The voters overwhelmingly voted for term limits and then turned down a couple of attempts to do away with them. Now they have come and we should start thinking about extending them to the state offices as well.

* * * * *

Claire Shulman, who is on the way out because of term limits, recently gave 18 of her staffers $65,000 worth of raises. Shulman says that they deserved the raises because "they put in lots of hours." Deputy Borough President Peter Magnani, whose main job seems to be going to community board meetings, got a raise from $123,071 to $130,071.There are lots of city workers who put in lots of hours and do far more for far less.

* * * * *

I was clicking through the channels last weekend and came across the women’s Rutgers – Boston College game. I stopped to see if Rockaway resident Janelle McManus, a freshman at the school, was playing. In fact, she was starting her first game. Although it was fairly obvious that Rutgers was too big and too experienced for BC, McManus scored big in a losing cause. She scored 15 of her 23 points in the second half and hit a three pointer to tie the game at 58 with 7.5 seconds to play. That is a tough play for a freshman in her first game in any league, but she pulled it off. She also scored four of the team’s eight points in overtime. Rutgers won 75-66. Next year, McManus will be joined by Claire Droesch, the Christ the King standout. I can’t wait.

* * * * *

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.


Return to top


Email Us
Contact Us

Copyright 1999 - 2014 Wave Publishing Co. All Rights Reserved

Neighborhoods | History

 

 

Check Out News Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Riding the Wave with Mark Healey on BlogTalkRadio