2001-03-31 / Columnists

Short Takes

Short Takes

Every community has its moral compass. Rabbi Joseph Weiss was Rockaway’s moral compass. He was the rabbi at the West End Temple for 52 years, but his efforts went far beyond the west end. He was the past president of the Association of Reform Rabbis. He was an active member of such local organizations as the Rockaway Rotary Club, the Chamber of Commerce and the Belle Harbor Property Owners Association. He will be sorely missed.

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There is blood in the water. It is almost impossible to beat an incumbent in such political sinecures as the City Council and the borough president seats. Because of that, there is usually a dearth of candidates interested in challenging for the seats. Thank goodness for term limits. Now that Juanita Watkins, Al Stabile and Claire Shulman all have to go, however, the candidates are piling on. John Macron has joined the crowd running for Al Stabile’s City Council seat. He is a Republican, which means he will have to face Joann Ariola for the nomination. She is a formidable candidate and she recently received the party nod for the seat. She will also face Alex Lutz, Stabile’s nupshleper, in the primary race. I won’t go into the Democratic candidates once again, because that would take two pages and I really don’t have the space. I think that Ariola is a lock for the Republican nod because she has party backing and because she has lots of political experience. You’ll remember that she was Stabile’s very active chief of staff before they had a falling out and she ran a close race against Audrey Pheffer for the Assembly a few years ago. By the way, Republican Mike Abel has dropped out of the BP race, leaving Stabile as the only Republican challenger. A Republican winning the BP seat in Queens, however, would be akin to Audrey Pheffer winning a match in the WWF.

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Gian Jones, a nupshleper for Greg Meeks, has announced for the City Council seat now held by Juanita Watkins. He will face a divisive primary with a number of candidates, including my favorite, James Sanders Jr., a man who has been on the school board for many years and who brought distance learning to Rockaway several years ago. Another Democratic candidate for the seat, Ed Lewis, looks promising, but it might not be his time.

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There are lots of rumors about changes in the Beach 116th area. I hear that the car wash located on BCD is being forced to vacate by a "greedy landlord." That would be a blow to the area, because they have been servicing local drivers for more than 15 years. The rumors have it that the kosher deli slated nearby the train station will open "right after the holidays." There are so many rumors about the diner morphing into something else that it is impossible to keep track of them. Where there is smoke, there is fire, however. Keep tuned.

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Be careful when you use ticketmaster.com to buy tickets to local events. It was easy to do, but when all was said and done, the added charges and fees almost doubled the ticket price.

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I have a couple of interesting web sites for you. There is a new site that has mapped the city. You can see your zip code or your home by logging into the site at www.oasisnyc.net. Yale University is celebrating its 300th birthday with a series of lectures on the web. Jean Fox, who is the head of the Yale alumni group locally, says that you can take part in the lecture series by logging into www.yale.edu/yale300/democracy. Happy web surfing.

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All of the Democrats running for mayor (and, some of the Republicans as well) are now painting themselves as the top advocate of education. They all have great ideas for improving education in this city and, if you will only vote for them, what wonders you will behold. That raises a question: Where have you been, guys? One of the candidates is the public advocate. Another is the Bronx borough president. A third is the city comptroller and a fourth is the City Council speaker. All of them were in a position to do wonders for education but all they did was play politics with the mayor while the person in that office morally and physically blew up the schools through his vilification of the staff and his lack of attention to the program. Now that they are running for that office themselves, they suddenly see the light. C’mon!

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There is a small group of Rockaway activists who have been pushing for the old White Pot Junction line of the LIRR to be restored. They argue that it would cut 30 minutes from the commute between Rockaway and Manhattan. There is no doubt that they are right. Rockaway residents would be well served by the renewal of the line, although the run would probably be ten times as expensive as the A Line is now. There is another side to the story, however, one that has to be considered. The people who live along the line, many of whom moved in after it was closed 50 years ago, don’t want it to run again. "I wouldn’t want trains running back there again," one Rego Park resident told a reporter. "If the trains begin again, I believe that I will have to watch my son (who now plays in his backyard) every second." The old right of way is used for jogging, walking and for parking their cars. One long-time resident (I refuse to use the term "older" anymore) says that he remembers that the trains killed many people as they passed nearby homes. "A lot of people got killed up there," he said. "I wouldn’t want to see it running again." Sometimes, what is good for the goose is not good for the gander.

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Ryan McCormick of Breezy Point had a dream year on the basketball court, carrying Adelphi University to California for the Elite Eight Division II NCAA championship. His team went 31-0 and he was the top scorer and playmaker. At Bakersfield, however, he and his team quickly found out that they were big fish in a little pond. When they moved into the big pond and had to play a team from a much stronger league, they could not keep the string alive. Despite McCormick’s 22 points, his team lost to Tampa by a score of 82-68. He led both teams in scoring.

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Claire Droesch is another local basketball player who has been having her problems late in her final year at Christ The King. The round ball All-American, who will soon join Janelle McManus at Boston College, was suspended for three games late in the season for a school fight. Then, her team, that had won 11 straight State Federation Championships, went down to the three-time PSAL champion Bergtraum High School team. Droesch scored 31 points in the game, but her team fell 67-59 to the city team.

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Bushism of the Week: "They want the federal government controlling Social Security like it’s some kind of federal program."

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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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