2001-12-15 / Editorial/Opinion

Who Speaks for Rockaway? Part II

Who Speaks for Rockaway? Part II

We have asked the question in this space on a number of other occasions. Who speaks for Rockaway? It is not a frivolous question. There will be many decisions made in the coming months that will impact each of the people who live on the peninsula, decisions about the Arverne Urban Renewal Area, and decisions about a commuter ferry service, decisions that affect our quality of life. Who will make those decisions? Our elected officials will have a part in the decision-making process, as they should. The Community Board, a group of local residents who are chosen by the Borough President, will have a major advisory role in the decision-making process, as will the civic groups that have the juice to reach out to our legislators. Unfortunately, there are special interest groups that will have a place at the table as well, groups such as the Jamaica Bay Task Force. We have been told that this environmental special interest group has an inordinate amount of power over what will happen to Rockaway because it often coerces timid legislators to take its point of view, and its point of view is blatantly environmental and blatantly anti-development. We believe that there is a balance that can be struck between saving the environment and completing the development necessary for Rockaway’s revitalization. Many on the Jamaica Bay Task Force will not agree that such a balance can be struck. As Community Board 14 district manager Jonathan Gaska told the Wave, "When the interests of birds, fish, plants and worms take precedence over the interests of human beings, we are in trouble." We agree and we urge our legislators not to bow to the pressure groups that would ransom Rockaway’s future to a growth of dune grass.

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