2001-06-30 / Columnists

Rockaway Short Takes

Rockaway Short Takes

by Howard Schwach

There is nothing worse than a woman scorned, or so the old saying goes Al Stabile might be finding that fact out the hard way. It is beginning to look as if Stabile did what everybody says that he did, but it is also becoming clear that the facts came to light largely because Stabile chose to anoint his present chief of staff, Alex Lutz to take over his council seat rather than Joanne Ariola, his former chief of staff. When Ariola first left his side to join councilman Noach Dear, there was talk that there was a split between Ariola and Stabile, but both denied it. The split was obviously over who would take over Stabile’s seat when he became term-limited. While there is no evidence that Ariola is the genesis of Stabile’s public problems, there is lots of circumstantial evidence. Follow the bouncing political ball: Stabile decides to back Lutz. Ariola leaves Stabile "to pursue other interests." Stabile hires Lutz and anoints him. Ariola decides to run anyway. John McLaughlin leaves The Wave and becomes the editor of the Forum. John becomes involved with the Ariola campaign, perhaps as her campaign manager or publicist. The Forum breaks the story about Stabile. Get the picture? I guess that all’s fair in love and politics. More to follow.

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Alan Hevesi was once my favorite candidate for Mayor. Then, he began to pander to those groups who helped to elect David Dinkins and Ed Koch. If you read this space regularly, you know that I believe that those two men did more to destroy New York City than anybody else since John Lindsey (who helped to destroy any hope that Rockaway had of remaining a stable community). While Hevesi has spent a bundle on television ads, his popularity and his poll numbers continue to slip. Perhaps he should try and put together the coalition that elected the present mayor rather than the one that elected Koch and Dinkins. Pandering is not becoming, especially for a politician who would be mayor. Having said that, there is no other Democratic candidate that I like better and perhaps I will have to abstain or vote Republican this year, and I know that I am not the only Democrat to think that way.

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While some of the numbers went up in Rockaway elementary schools, the reading and math scores in Rockaway middle schools continue to sink to the bottom of the pool. At IS 53 in Far Rockaway, the reading scores went up slightly, to 20.8 from 19.7. That still means that less than a quarter of the students in that school are meeting standards. Math scores fell to 12.6 from an already terrible 13.4. At Middle School 198, the reading scores went up slightly from 12.9 to 15.0. That means that less than two students in ten are meeting the state standards. In Math, the school dropped to 4.0 from 7.7, meaning that only four out of 100 students are doing math adequately. At 180, which was once the "School of Champions," reading scores dropped from 21.0 to 17.6 and Math scores rose to 16.3 from 13.8. At both MS 53 and MS 180, new principals from outside the district placed there by Matt Bromme, have proven not to be up to the task of running a Rockaway middle school. At 198, the problem is longer-termed and intertwined with the fact that the district has zoned all of the kids who could read out of that school for years, instead sending them to MS 180. Things might change when Rockaway is rezoned after some new schools go on line, but don’t bet on it.

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It is time once again for the St. Camillus carnival. The fun fest will run at the church property from June 27 until July 1, from 7 p.m. until 11 p.m.

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Mark your calendar for July 22 at 6 p.m. That Sunday is the date for the Legends of Rock and Roll concert being held in memory of the former Wave publisher, Leon Locke. The free picnic concert will be held at Fort Tilden and I urge everybody to attend.

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The spate of stories about local pharmacies mixing up prescriptions and allowing the public to see old prescription records lends credence to the old saying that people should check their medications carefully before taking them. A word to the wise should be sufficient.

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When election time comes around, all of the would-be pols join the incumbents in being seen all over the place. When the election is over, however, the community becomes a poor relation that is better heard than seen. The Chamber of Commerce and The Wave had to cancel their plans for a Town Hall political meeting because the four invited guests – our federal legislators all, had other and more important plans for the evening.

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I keep getting questions about why The Wave suspended Lew Simon’s column until after the election. It is a matter of fairness. One candidate should not have a forum that the others have no access to. It is not a matter of being unfair to Simon, but of being fair to all the other candidates who are running against him.

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That’s it for this week. Remember to send comments, complaints and news tips to newsie42@aol.com or to editor@rockawave.com. Have a good week, and safe home.


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