2001-11-03 / Columnists


We cannot believe that anybody really believed that the "Rockaway Voice," which showed up in Rockaway last week was anything other than what it was: a campaign puff piece for Joann Ariola. It was clear that whoever put it out wanted people to think that it was a real newspaper. Nowhere in its eight pages, however, does it indicate who put it together or where it came from nor does it say, "Paid for by the Friends of Ariola," or any other such notification as required by the campaign law. As a campaign piece, the "Rockaway Voice" rates a C-. As a newspaper, it rates an F.

Those groups that have traditionally opposed casino gambling are already lining up to defeat the latest proposal to place a casino in Rockaway. At least the mayor’s insistence on a casino in New York City, and specifically in Rockaway, has focused the city once again on the Arverne Urban Renewal Area and how it can assist the revitalization of the peninsula.

Either Randi Weingarten, the president of the United Federation of Teachers, is the most incompetent leader the teacher’s union has had in years, or she is the most disingenuous. First, she chose Al Hevesi as the UFT’s choice, even at a time when the polls showed everybody else that he didn’t have a chance. When Hevesi lost big in the primary, Randi gave the union’s backing to Freddy Ferrer. He lost as well. Then, she switched to Mark Green. Green turns around and honors the union’s support by saying that he would consider giving cops and firefighters a much larger raise than the other, "non-uniformed" unions, including the UFT. "There is an economic argument for giving some union members more, or else you might lose those members to jurisdictions that are paying more than we are paying," Green says. Hey, Mark, you just described the problem in regard to teachers in the city and in surrounding areas, but perhaps he does not understand that fact. What does Randi tell her membership about her continuous political goofs? "In an odd way, our clout was enhanced," she wrote in the union’s paper.

Remember that our new "hands-free" law is now operational. You cannot drive and talk on your cell phone at the same time unless you have a hands-free device on your phone. We believe, however, that the best bet for all motorists is to pull over to the side of the road, have your conversation, and then go along your way. Even with the hands-free device, some motorists get so carried away in their conversation that they do not pay attention to the road and the cars around them.

When supplies for the rescue workers at Ground Zero began to trickle into Fort Tilden for transportation to Manhattan, the Red Cross workers involved with the effort found that the National Park Service had allowed so many of the buildings at the fort, particularly Building 74 and the surrounding barracks, that the organization could not even use them to house volunteers.

Duke Kahanamoku was a Hawaiian who became one of our greatest Olympic heroes, winning medals in swimming at several Olympic Games. A while back, the Friends of Rockaway and other local water-related groups did some research and found that it was likely that the Duke surfed at Rockaway at a time that he was visiting New York City and Long Beach. For that reason, the local groups lobbied the city to set off a beachfront street and name it in the Duke’s honor. In 1983, Beach 38 Street was officially named as "Duke Kahanamoku Way." This confused police who had to respond to the area, but it pleased surfing groups. Now, the United State Surfing Association is pushing for a postage stamp to be created in his memory. Seems like a good idea.

One of the outcomes of the September 11 attack on New York City was the city’s desire for greater security, especially in its subways. For that reason, the plan to phase out subway token booth clerks has been put on permanent hold. "It is no longer on our radar screen," a spokesperson for the Transit agency says. "Everything has changed since September 11."

Congressman Anthony Weiner has arranged an Adopt-A-School plan that will tie PS 114 in Belle Harbor to the Connery Middle School in Lynn, Massachusetts. The program kicked off last Monday, when Weiner met with 5th and 6th graders at PS 114 to discuss the program at the same time that Massachusetts Representative John Tierney was meeting with the students at the Bay State school.

Oliver Stone, who is most famous for tying everybody in the federal bureaucracy to the JFK assassination without a modicum of proof, has now placed himself in the terrorist attack on New York City. "The attack was a revolt," he said. "The Palestinians who danced in the street were reacting the same way people did during the revolutions in France and Russia." "This attack was pure chaos and chaos is energy," the filmmaker added. "All great things come from people who were initially misunderstood and seemed frightening like madmen." See that, bin Laden is just a misunderstood revolutionary, in Stone’s eyes.

Orders are coming in to the Wave from all over the nation, requesting to buy the T-Shirts that are on sale to benefit the Broad Channel Volunteers. One order came from as far as Alaska. It seems that everybody in this nation wants a connection with the attack and wants to help those who were devastated by it.

Don’t forget to Vote on Tuesday, November 6. Voting is not only a privilege that accrues to American citizenship; it is actually an obligation in a year such as the one we have recently gone through.

We were remiss in last week’s column by not noting that Dr. Peter Galvin was honored by the Peninsula Hospital Center at its Anniversary Ball last week. Sorry, Dr. Galvin.

The Fundraiser held last Sunday at the Knights of Columbus Hall was a huge success. Hosted by the Knights and by the Rockaway Tavern and Restaurant Owners Association, the event drew hundreds of Rockaway residents, whose donation will go to the victims of the WTC disaster. A number of the Rockaway car services, including Beach Car, chipped in by providing free car service from the event.

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