2001-04-07 / Columnists

Rockaway Short Takes

by Howard Schwach

By now you have read the editorial page and the staff box and you will know that I have been named the acting Managing Editor of The Wave. I will work part time until the end of June. At that time, I plan to retire and take over the reins of this paper on a more permanent basis. People who know the plan have asked me if I will continue to write my two columns after I retire. I have been giving the matter lots of thought of late. I have been writing them for nearly thirteen years and they would be hard to give up. They are admittedly something of a narcotic for me. As with everything in life, it is up in the air whether the two columns will continue in their present guise or whether they will morph into something entirely different. In the end, the only thing that is important is that the readers are satisfied with the outcome.

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Speaking of change, I want to wish John McLaughlin luck in his new endeavor with the Forum. He has worked through a very difficult period with The Wave and had decidedly changed the paper before he left. Good Luck, John.

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There is no doubt in my mind that the new Golden Video store on Beach 116 Street is operating within the law. It is, however, a stupid law for communities such as ours. The 60-40 Law allows a "Sex Shop" (there is no other way to put it) to operate in commercial areas such as Beach 116 as long as it has at least 40 percent of items not of a sexual nature. I do not believe that a sex shop belongs on the strip. There is a fine line, however, between community rights and individual rights, and what I believe should not be controlling. The owners have complied with the Chamber of Commerce and have buried the sexually explicit material where young eyes cannot find them. I am not sure what else we can legally ask of them.

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I have been writing for months that there was no chance that the city would subsidize the fare on a ferry line running from Rockaway to Manhattan and that without the subsidy the ride would be too expensive for Rockaway commuters. Those who support the ferry idea took me to task, but now it turns out that I was right all along. There will no subsidized ferry service, which means there will be no commuter ferry service at all. I know that the politicians will now turn to the feds, but all you have to do is look at the buildings at Floyd Bennett Field to know that they don’t have the money to do the job.

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The Parks Department continually dumps on Rockaway and now it is dumping on Broad Channel as well. Standing water and stagnant pools plague the fields maintained by Parks at the old Day Camp site, and Parks can’t (or, won’t) do anything to remedy the situation. Those fields are used my lots of kids who deserve a place to play. Let’s get off the stick and do the job you’re being paid to do.

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A Rockaway precinct has scored in the top five in the city in terms of fastest response time. Officers of the 100 Precinct in Rockaway Beach averaged a 7.5 minutes response time from November of last year to this February. The top precinct, the 6 Precinct in Greenwich Village covers less than a mile. The second fastest is the 26 Precinct (which covers about a mile square. Third was the 7 Precinct, which covers .62 miles. The 100 Precinct covers "3.57 miles with 25 miles of waterfront." Congratulations to the men and women of the 100 Precinct.

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Claire Droesch, who gets more ink from this column than any other high school athlete, will now get some more. Claire has been named to the Parade Magazine All-American Girl’s High School Team. She will play with Boston College next year, but in the meantime was named to the WBCA All-American Game, which will be played in Hartford, Connecticut on April 7.

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A new finding says that there is no doubt that John Kennedy was shot with a bullet aimed from the famed "grassy knoll" as well as the shots from the Book Depository. I am not surprised. Experts are still debating Lincoln’s assassination and that took place almost 200 years ago. I wonder what they will be saying about Kennedy in 2163?

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Joanne Ariola has been named as the Republican candidate for the City Council seat to be vacated by Al Stabile. Joanne was the chief of staff for Stabile before she "left to pursue other interests." Those interests lie with Noach Dear. She became his press secretary. I like Joanne, but I personally think that Dear personifies all that is wrong in politics. She will not get points here for working with Dear. Stabile is not endorsing Ariola. That reinforces the widely held belief that Stabile and Ariola had a falling out before she left Stabile. Stabile is endorsing his present chief of staff, Alex Lutz for his seat. Lutz assures me that he has been all over Rockaway and knows the community and its issues. I have been all over Rockaway and I have never seen him, nevertheless met him. Perhaps he is the invisible man. He has been active, I have been told, for many years on the mainland. That does not earn him points in this space. I do not think it matters, because I believe that a Democrat will retake the seat. You will recall that Republican Stabile won against an elderly man who many believed had outlived his usefulness. It was a ground ball victory for Stabile. It will not be as easy for the Republicans this time around. There are more Democratic candidates than there are candidates for Survivor III. Joe Addabbo, Jr. seems to be the favorite because he will have the party backing (at least, that is my belief). I have heard that Gerry Chapey (the younger) has pulled out of the race, but I am not sure that she was ever in. Lew Simon has not yet announced formally. He has lots of support in Rockaway, but his constant lies might yet trip him up. Palmer Doyle and Chris Jorge are both local activists who are good people who have done good things for Rockaway. The bottom line, however, is that they realistically have little chance to win. I hear that Tommy Gebert has also dropped out. He lost me when he backed the organization against the kids in the Broad Channel Field dispute. Joanne Shapiro, who was the chief of staff for Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, has the political savvy to do the job, but will probably not get the party backing. She has been quiet of late. Perhaps there is a deal to make her the assemblyperson when Pheffer wins the Queens Borough President seat.

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Bushism of the Week: "They misunderestimated me."

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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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