2001-09-15 / Letters

Researcher Experts Wanted

Researcher Experts Wanted

Dear Editor;

We are writing to you to tell you about our exciting discovery concerning the history of New York City and to ask you for your guidance in how we might use this discovery for the betterment of the city.

In short, we discovered on microfilm that in 1915 the New York State legislature drafted, voted on, and passed a charter which made the peninsula of Rockaway Beach, Queens, an independent city. The charter was passed by both the state Assembly and the state Senate and was sent to Mayor Puroy Mitchell, who neither signed nor vetoed the law.

We have consulted lawyers for information on the legal status of the charter, and they believe that it would have taken state legislation to overturn the charter. They were unable to find evidence of such legislation and believe that the charter, although never enacted, may still be law. Since this discovery, a group of lay citizens has been getting together informally to brainstorm about what it might mean.

We call ourselves the Rockaway City Committee, but we are simply a handful of concerned citizens whose main interest is improving our community. We did not know where to turn, and so we are asking for your advice.

We believe this is a unique discovery and would like some guidance on how we might go about using the charter to benefit the people of Rockaway Despite the fact that Rockaway has fourteen miles of beautiful waterfront property, it is overburdened with a disproportionate share of New York City’s housing projects, health-related facilities, abysmal public schools, sub-par transportation, and 24 percent unemployment.

If the charter is still valid, we are faced with the possibility of enacting it and turning Rockaway into an independent city. Before we would consider seceding, we would like to investigate the financial, political, and practical feasibility of such a move.

Have there been previous examples we might study? How would we find out about them? What kind of specialists might we ask to provide us with such analysis? Might this be the kind of research project someone would be interested in?

Whether or not secession from the city is feasible, or the will of the current residents, we hope the discovery of this charter can at least give us some leverage in demanding improvements from the city. Any information or advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you so much for your time and consideration. If you are curious to see the charter, we would be happy to provide you with a copy. It is an interesting read.

JOHN BAXTER


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