2001-10-20 / Columnists

On The Beach… With Beverly Baxter

  Amidst chants of "Not Fair", "Undemocratic", and "dictatorship", nearly 50 members of the community participated in a peaceful protest outside the American Legion Hall. They were protesting the Rockaway Beach Civic
Assosication's decision to not invite all the candidates who are running in
the race for City Council in the 32nd District.

John Baxter, Robert Curran and a throng of their supporters told reporters from Newsday and Queens Public Access Television that what was taking place behind the Legion's
doors was an injustice to the community. "I'm proud to hold this sign," stated Mrs. Kathleen Sharkey. "This freedom that we so enjoy in this country is why we left Ireland and struggled to come here. They don't have this kind of freedom over in Afghanistan."

Robert Curran stated, "The candidates who are in there participating should be ashamed of themselves. They should be standing in solidarity out here with us. If all candidates are not invited, then no candidate should participate."

John Baxter, who organized the protest, told reporters that this is a clear example of how Rockaway continues to be dumped upon.

"We have no voice! We have no representation. All we have are civic groups who cater to mainland candidates who have time and time again failed us. Why not hear from all candidates and let the people decide who they want to vote for?"
   The Rockaway Beach Civic Association held its "Great Debate" last Tuesday night at The American Legion Hall; however, not ALL candidates were invited to the party. As I reported several weeks ago, the civic organization chose to exclude candidates Robert Curran, who is running on the Green Party; and John Baxter, who is running on the Independence Line.

In my conversation with my friend John McLoughlin, I became aware that only the two "Republicrats" would be invited and neither candidates, Independent, need apply. John explained that this was the decision of the civic group. He also emphatically stated that he was invited merely as a "Rockaway Citizen". I said, "Come now, John!" I stated that it is the responsibility of the Rockaway Beach Civic Association to conduct a fair debate and all candidates whose names appear on the ballot should be allowed to attend; and that I would be very much interested in a seat on the panel as a representative of The Wave.

Although John told me that, to his knowledge, The Wave was not invited (can you imagine the local newspaper not being invited?!), John did refer me to the RBCA President Dolores Orr. After several phone calls, as well as faxes, she had neither the courtesy, nor the decency, to respond.

Here is a Rockaway Beach civic group hosting a debate, which gives the candidates entree and exposure, candidates who are both from the mainland, and our very own candidates are excluded. Whether John or Robert has a chance of winning in the general election is hardly the point; but rather, they are legitimate candidates who will be on the ballot; and as much as they deserve to be heard, we who make up the Rockaway constituency deserve to hear from them. To limit the invitation to just the two-party candidates is to deny the community of a fair and unbiased debate. At the very least, this is a failure of the democratic process.
   So, what do you do if you don't get an invitation to the party? You have your own! The Wave newspaper will co-host a debate with The League of Women Voters on Monday October 29. I had to change the date in order to accommodate ALL the candidates and their schedules. All have graciously accepted. The venue will be Beach Channel High School Auditorium at 7:30 pm. I thank Susan Locke and Howie Schwach for their assistance and willingness to participate in this endeavor.
***Congratulations to John McLoughlin on his election as President of the 100 Precinct Community Council.
***This Saturday and Sunday, my friend Barbara Morris of West End Realty will host an Open House at 90-19 Holland Avenue from 1 until 4p.m. for the sale of four new luxury duplex two-family homes.
***The Garden Clubs of Rockaway will be planting yellow Daffodils in memory of our fallen heroes. The planting will take place this Saturday at the Pat Brackley Memorial Triangle and on Sunday on Beach 116 Street at the Rotary Triangle. Come join them.
***My best wishes to my friend Mary Bright at this time...and always.
***As the coquettish and narcissistic Scarlet O'Hara said to her persuitors who were about to abandon her to go off to war, in the movie Gone With The Wind, "War! War! War! Don't you men have anything important to talk about?"

Let's turn off CNN and the war and talk about l'amour! Let's address the important questions at hand. Should a woman send a man flowers and tell him that she loves him? Yes!
***Mohamed says, "It's better to try and fail than to fail to try"!
   See you.... On the Beach!

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