2001-08-25 / Columnists

Rockaway Short Takes by Howard Schwach


It is time for my prognostications (and, perhaps, my endorsements) on the upcoming City Council races in both the 31st and 32nd councilmanic districts. First, the 31st. The conventional wisdom is that Charlotte Jefferson will win simply because she is the party’s choice and they will turn out all the votes necessary to bring her in as the nominee. That is not necessarily true. First of all, Jefferson is not a Rockaway person and many on the peninsula will not vote for her simply for that reason. Secondly, many believe that a Rockaway person is needed to bring home the bacon for the peninsula. Third, many in the Orthodox community are angered at the Democratic Party for choosing Helen Marshall for Queens Borough President over their own Audrey Pheffer. All of those things, I believe, will give James Sander, Jr., a chance at the win. I hope so, because I think that Sanders is the one candidate who will do the most for Rockaway, and especially for its kids. In the 32nd district, there are four Democratic candidates left, two of whom really have a chance at winning. Lew Simon will win most of Rockaway’s votes despite the hard fight that Chris Jorge has been putting up. Seminario is in the race simply to take votes away from Joe Addabbo, Jr. Seminario will not get more than a handful of votes in Rockaway and he does not seem to care. That leaves Simon and Addabbo. If you read this column regularly, you know who I am endorsing. Simon is a liar who is considered a clown by most of the Queens political establishment. He has as much chance of bringing needed amenities to Rockaway in a body such as the city council as my dog does, and he is no longer living.

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It always interests me to look through those who donate money to candidates and wonder about their motives. It is clear that many Rockaway residents have donated money to various candidates, and I have no problem with that. Everybody has the right to support the candidate of his or her choice. For example, a number of Rockaway Artist’s Alliance members and officers have donated to Chris Jorge because she is active in that organization. I do wonder, however, why the two men listed as presidents of the Green Bus Lines, one who lives in Lawrence and the other who lives in Larchmont, donated $250 each to Lew Simon’s campaign. The Wave has often written of the peninsula’s problems with Green Bus and how it appears to keep its franchise by donating large amounts to politicians who can affect its future. Now, we can add Simon to that list.

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I received a tip on Friday that there was a group of management types from LIPA, the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the city Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) at the old LILCO site on Beach Channel Drive and Beach 112 Street. As most of you know, LIPA is in the process of building a new facility to replace the old generating plant it already has on the site. You all know that the site is one of the Superfund sites, which means that it is polluted. When residents began to complain that the site literally smelled, the officials were "invited" to the site to check it out. I have been trying to get some public comment from LIPA, from the DEP, from the DEC for weeks. When I got the call, I picked up my camera and went to the site. I saw about six guys with local political candidate Chris Jorge and Joan Mettler, who once wrote the "Big Mouth Bass" column for this paper. I pulled up across the street and took my camera out of the trunk of the car. Mettler saw me coming and said something to Jorge, who glanced my way and then said something to the men. They all scurried like rats from a sinking ship. Jorge and Mettler walked away from me, towards the elevated structure and the men ran for their cars. I chased them and cornered them in the parking lot. They refused to speak with me, saying that there would be some public disclosure about the site, next week, or the week after. My question is, why were they talking to Jorge and to Mettler when they would not speak with the press? Why did Jorge walk away without speaking with me? What standing does Mettler have in all of this? What is going on? Stay tuned!

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The Citizen’s Union maintains a website that provides information about the issues involved in the political races as well as biographical information about each of the candidates running for office. When they held their political forum at Beach Channel High School in Rockaway last week, the Citizen’s Union made hard copies of those bios to hand out to those few who attended the event. On that biography sheet, it said that Lew Simon is a "retired teacher." Lew called The Wave to say that the bio is in error and that he did not place that information on either the website or in the printed material. "I am not a licensed New York City or New York State teacher," Simon said. While I worked for a yeshiva for a time, I did not have to be licensed for that job. I certainly am not retired from teaching," Simon added. By the way, several major party candidates did not show for the forum, including Joann Ariola and John Seminario (who came early but left after the opening statements).

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Carol (Solomon) Martson, Far Rockaway High School, class of ’56, e-mailed me recently to tell me that there is a FRHS on-line chat each Tuesday night at 9 p.m. on the MSN Network. The link to the chat can be found at http://communities.

msn.com/FarRockawayhighschoolchat. Carol says that she has been landlocked in the Phoenix, Arizona, desert for 41 years, but that she misses Rockaway and looks forward to chatting with all of the alumni from the school.

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The Women’s Outreach Network sent us a press release detailing the visits of a mobile mammography program that is slated to visit a number of communities in Queens over the next few weeks. The press release list about 20 sites in Queens and not one of them is in Rockaway. Again the question, "Why not Rockaway?"

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There were a number of shootings at and around Ocean Village last Friday night. Rumors are, the shootings were retaliation for the shooting last week at the same location. Police flooded the peninsula on Friday night and Saturday, looking for the shooters. The last thing we need is an all-out gang war on the peninsula just when there is a promise of new middle-class homes and new business in the area.

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The annual wheelchair races will be held on the boardwalk at Beach 10 Street on Sunday, August 26, beginning at about 3:30 p.m. Come out and cheer on the contestants.

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


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