2003-01-04 / Editorial/Opinion

Getting Together in 2003

Getting Together in 2003

We have often written about the Rockaway dilemma – the fact that our small peninsula is made up of dozens of communities, each with its own agenda and its own idea of what is good for Rockaway. It has been easy to dump on Rockaway because we could never get our act together and speak with one voice. The last time the entire peninsula spoke as one was more than ten years ago when the Edgemere Landfill became an issue. Rockaway won that battle and the landfill was removed. One would think that we should have learned the lesson that there is strength in unity. We did not, and the problem has been exacerbated from that time to this by racial politics and an attempt by the city to keep us apart. While we always had dissension between the various communities, we now have two community groups within one community at odds with each other over the question of rezoning PS 114. In "dueling letters" to The Wave in last week’s issue, Ginger Smith, the Zoning Chairperson for the Rockaway Park Homeowner’s and Residents, made it clear in no uncertain terms that the group favors rezoning the school to Beach 116 Street from its present eastern border on Beach 122 Street. At the same time, the Board of Directors of the Rockaway Park Association wrote to make it clear that it "vociferously objects to any and all up-zoning of PS 114." Which of the two groups reflect the wishes of the people who live in Rockaway Park? That question is not for us to answer. We mention the dichotomy only as an example of what defeats Rockaway’s interests over and over again. As long as we speak with 100 voices we will not be taken seriously to the powers-that-be. It is time to get together. Perhaps an umbrella organization that speaks for all the others is the answer. We once had that in the All Rockaway Planning Committee. That organization died a slow death once it charismatic leader left. Perhaps 2003 will be the year to find a way to speak as one. In this time of fiscal crisis, our survival as a viable community may depend on doing just that.

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