2002-11-09 / Columnists

Beachcomber

The Wave has received a number of calls from Rockaway residents inquiring as to where they can buy Kevin Boyle's new book, "Braving The Waves." Since there are no bookstores in Rockaway, we have decided, in the public interest, to sell the book here at The Wave offices on Beach 88 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard. The books should be available here early next week.

The written statements that were taken during the flight 587 witness meeting sponsored by The Wave earlier this year have been made part of the official National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation docket. The NTSB, of course, has really ignored the witness statements, calling them either "unreliable" or "subjective," but one report during the four-day hearings said that the reports were "not inconsistent" with the agency's findings. The NTSB says that the fire and smoke seen by local observers came when the engines separated from the fuselage.

Some of the best home decorations for Halloween could be seen on Beach 92 Street between the Freeway and Beach Channel Drive. They could be seen, that is, until the large blow-up figure and the other decorations were stolen from the front yard. This is only the beginning of the holiday decoration season, what with Thanksgiving, Christmas and Chanukah coming quickly. Those who want to decorate their homes should be wary of those who want to take those decorations for their own.

Many local medical offices go out of their way for their patients, but few do a better job than Sands Point Physical Therapy, which has coffee, donuts and bagels for their early morning patients each day.

The City Council has joined with the 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care to introduce legislation that would ban the sale of toy handguns or firearms in New York City. Current city law allows the sale of brightly colored toy guns constructed of clear material, but experts say that many simply color the guns black to make them look more realistic. The new law would outlaw any toy gun that looks real, no matter its color or construction. The legislation would not outlaw toy guns that are intentionally shaped differently than a real gun.

Despite a major recruiting push, only 24 percent of those who applied for the upcoming Fire Department test are minority applicants. This is slightly lower than the percentage on the last test, given in 1998. The head of the group that represents minority firefighters said that the results were disappointing and that his group would file a discrimination suit against the city in the near future. It is unclear what else the city could have done to draw minority applicants. The recruiting push, by the way, cost the city $2.7 million at a time when money is tight. Its failure should force the city to rethink its policy on recruiting special interests.

Les Lerner is one of the leaders in the development of Arverne By The Sea and he says that the developers would build a new synagogue to replace Derech Emunoh, which was demolished after a devastating fire earlier in the year if the congregation could show that the building would attract Jewish families to the community. The building was originally slated for renovation as part of the development agreement before its hulk was leveled by the city after the fire. In July, the developers provided a trailer for the use of the congregation until something more permanent could be found.

Every mayor has only so much "political currency" to spend each year. That is why is it surprising to us that he is investing so much of that political currency on the smoking question. It is clear that the City Council is ready to compromise and to give the mayor about 90 percent of what he wants. Bloomberg, however, does not seem to want to compromise on this question. When the dust settles around November 12, there will either be some sort of compromise or the bill will be defeated and there will be no change in the present rules. The Post, by the way, has taken to calling the mayor "Mayor Fumeberg" because of his insistence on a smoking ban everywhere. He has even mentioned banning smoking on the city's beaches, and wouldn't that bring in lots of new revenues for the city?

The State Legislature took the first step last week in replacing the 32 local school boards. Under a new governance law, the school boards will expire at the end of June 2003. The legislature was tasked with coming up with a new structure that would address the community's need for access to the system. To that end, it appointed a 20-member task force that will hold hearings and make recommendations in the next six weeks. The task force will probably hold one hearing in each of the five boroughs and you can bet that it will be at Borough Hall in Kew Gardens. The task force includes many with no education background as well as some with a more reasonable background, given the task at hand. We will all have to wait and see what they come up with.

Chuck Schumer is angry at Navy Commander Edward Gehrke, a recruiting officer who said that the kids in Bushwick High School and in its outreach school were ineligible to serve because they couldn't pass the qualifying exam and because they had "too many drug and police issues." Schumer wants the commander punished, but we think that, unfortunately, he probably told the truth. The students in the school had asked that the city not provide the recruiter with any personal information about them. The city had previously been providing addresses and telephone numbers for students.


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