2001-09-01 / Columnists

On The Beach… With Beverly Baxter

No, you were not hearing things...Indeed, that was in fact our very own John Baxter all day, both last Saturday and Sunday, every 22 minutes on 1010 WINS and ABC News 88 Radio. John was interviewed about his discovery of the 1915 Rockaway City Charter! Evidently, there are those who say that John does "not get along well with others" or they question why he is getting so much publicity with the media; however, I suppose it's simply because, he has something to say....that is news...worthy!

Indeed, the Charter for Rockaway City, according to the legal experts, is valid. It certainly has garnered the attention of the New York City and Nassau County powers that be. Baxter states that the Charter, as was the case with the original, has to go before the community in the form of a referendum to see if the Rockaway residents want to be self-governing. This should take place in the early spring.
   If you are a "Strap-Hanger", John Baxter has secured your place on the
train! Through his Coalition for Safer Transportation, John has WON his case against the M.T.A. against closure of token booths. A temporary restraining order was issued by Justice Diane Lebedeff who decided in favor of the coalition, made up of over a 100 organizations including Baxter's lead
organization, The Coalition for Safer Transportation, and a Stay against any closure of Token Booths was issued. Baxter's coalition's argument was that the Token Booths can’t be closed with out a public hearing before the community boards. The Stay allows for the coalition to continue to petition Governor Pataki against any such closure through out the city. The Stay, in effect, prohibits the threat of closures of 53 token booths that were scheduled to close as early as Monday morning, August 27, potentially leaving thousands of commuters without adequate service or in danger. Attorneys representing the Coalition are Senator Eric Schneiderman, Arthur Schwartz, and Ursula Levett. Baxter states that the "goal of the coalition is to enact legislation that will keep All of the Token Booths open permanently." This is quite a feat for John Baxter, his Coalition for Safer Transportation, and the other organizations whose representatives worked
hard and had testified at the hearing. If you proudly declare yourself a strap hanger who relies upon Mass Transit each day, then you owe your thanks to John Baxter for this success in safe mass transit!

Justice Diane A. Lebedeff rendered her decision based on the Public Authorities Law. Enacted in 1977, the law was passed after public outcry that the public should be consulted in the form of public hearings on any possible closures of token booths. This stay is a major victory for Baxter’s coalition as well as the other organizations who were plaintiffs in the law suit.

John Baxter was interviewed again recently on WCBS 101.1 Radio for his comment and reaction to his coalition’s victory. "How can the MTA and the New York Transit Authority be so arrogant as to think that they can just close 53 necessary token booths, effecting the safety of millions of people, with out a public hearing! The stay allows our campaign to petition Governor Pataki with a million signatures. We anticipate that he will do the right thing. There is a Federal Law Suit being filed by the LightHouse International as well as the Americans with Disabilities Organizations. It are the disabled people who would be most seriously impacted if the closures took place. Right now there are many subway stations who do not provide adequate access for the disabled. We will fight this and we will win!"
***Although I attended the Debates in both Rockaway at Beach Channel High School and on the Mainland at Saint Barnabas Church, I can only tell you that I am so glad that I am unable to vote in this Democratic Primary for City Council! There were, however, for me, a few surprises! The debate at B.C.H.S. was for All candidates running in the election, including Democratic, Independent, and Green Party Candidates; however, Republican Candidate Joann Ariola was a "no show" at both debates. Joann, whom I have always felt is a formidable candidate, evidently feels very confident that she need not attend. Baxter disagrees! In fact, Joann Ariola is actively running a primary against Baxter for HIS Independent Line! Only, You don't know it, because there hasn't, nor will there be, a debate...if Joann continues to ignore the fact that she is obliged to the constituents, in order to ensure a fair and well-informed primary, she should debate. Joann is a great candidate with much experience; but according to Baxter, that's "debatable! So, take me to the debate!" John invites Joann to discuss and debate the issues for the Independence Line. Baxter already has the backing of the Independence Party, he is the Independence Party Leader in this district; however, Joann wants to challenge and take the line from Baxter without "earning" or debating it. Her ability in doing so, according to Baxter is...debatable!

***Speaking of the debates, I would have to say that I was most impressed by Robert Curran and his very articulate understanding of the issues. However, he is running on the Green Party Line; and in my opinion, he is in the wrong party. Robert’s political star is bright and had yet to rise.
***We all know that Rockaway "rocks the vote". We, here in this community, vote! However, Did you know we have not elected one of our own candidates from Rockaway to the city council in over 75 years! We have such an opportunity to do so...NOW!
***Welcome home to Teresa, Anne, and Doreen who embarked on a lovely cruise to Bermuda!

***Best wishes for a great Labor Day Holiday weekend! See you…On the Beach!

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