2003-01-11 / Columnists

Beachcomber

The drought is officially over. DEP Commissioner Christopher Ward has announced that there has been a sufficient rainfall in the upstate watershed area during the past three months to raise reservoir levels well past the norm for this time of the year. Ward says that by June 1, the beginning of the watershed year, levels will be at 100 percent.

In the wake of a recent police shooting of a youth who was attempting to hold up an undercover police officer, who was posing as a delivery man, with a very realistic toy gun, several city Councilmembers have been joined by Eric Adams (100 Blacks In Law Enforcement) in asking for a ban on realistic-looking toy guns. The modification to an already-existing law would ban "any toys or imitation firearm which substantially duplicates or can reasonably be perceived to be an actual firearm." It is about time!

Mayor Mike Bloomberg wants a blanket amnesty for all illegal immigrants now in the United States. "There are things the city has to provide and because they're here illegally, they don't interact with the city government and you want them to interact with their city government."

Councilman James Sanders from Far Rockaway has been holding a series of hearings on the effect of the 2012 Olympic games on city residents, should the games be held here. Sanders wants city residents to benefit from the games. "It is up to us to consider how these plans can best serve the interests and well-being of the residents of this city," he told a group of Councilmembers and local activists. One of the propsed venues for the games is a new marina to be built at Breezy Point.

With each passing day it becomes clearer that the money New York City lost when the commuter tax was repealed will never be coming back to the residents of the city. While Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, who voted along with the Democratic majority for the repeal of the tax, has never explained why she voted to hurt the city in that way, it is clear that the repeal was part of a deal demanded by the upstate Republicans in order to vote for some of the Democrats pet projects, such as giving control of the schools to the mayor. Pheffer should explain her vote to those who elected her, preferably at an open, public forum.

There is some question of exactly what happened prior to the Christmas Day blackout. We have been told that a feeder cable went out of service at 10:45 that morning. Protocol called for LIPA to report that outage to authorities so that they could prepare for a possible brownout or blackout. LIPA did not report that outage. When the second feeder cable went out of service at 6:15 p.m., it caused a virtual blackout of the entire peninsula for more than four hours. We are still waiting for LIPA to respond to our questions about the first outage.

Mayor Mike Bloomberg has promised that the city would see an improvement in the schools in one year, now that he had taken over the system. "You will start to see results in a year," Bloomberg promised in a recent speech. He previously told voters that he should be held accountable if he were given control of the system and that he would leave if he did not get results. "You have to right to say, we gave you control, where are the results," he said at the time. Perhaps it is time for the mayor to make reservations with a moving company. He might be moving elsewhere in a year.

We realize that the Green Bus routes had to move from Newport Avenue to Rockaway Beach Boulevard due to the construction project on the former street, but the move has created lots of traffic problems on the Boulevard. The stopped buses on the corner of Beach 116 tie up traffic in both direction and keep north-south traffic tied up while the buses are picking up or discharging passengers. We have heard that there is a movement among those who live on Newport Avenue to push the buses to the Boulevard on a permanent basis, but that would be a mistake.

Pat Toro, the president of the Queens Chapter of The Vietnam Veterans of America, dropped in on The Wave this week to talk about renewed recruiting efforts in Rockaway. Toro says that his organization now has 247 members in Queens, but few in Rockaway. He is planning on holding a seminar in Rockaway in the near future to introduce the organization to any residents who served during the Vietnam War.

The budget for the five borough presidents is in excess of $23 million. Public Advocate Betsy Gottbaum's office eats up another $2 mil. That's a total of $25 million dollars spent for vestigial organs, groups that made sense in the past when we had a Board of Estimate, but make no sense and have no role in the way that city government is now structured. We are sure that the city could find a better use for that $25 million.

Political correct foolishness of the week: An alcohol-control expert at Harvard says that the students who riot at their colleges and universities after athletic competitions are really not at fault - they are victims of the beer commercials they watch on television. Those television ads, the expert says, "threaten the thin line between beer-powered exuberance and the onset of rioting."

With almost 100 votes cast in the latest Wave Online Poll, nearly half (45 percent) of those who responded think that the aftermath of September 11 and November 12, 2001 is still the biggest story of 2002. One-quarter (25 percent) think that Kevin Boyle's book, "Braving the Waves," was the big story of the year. There were two stories tied at eleven percent, the takeover of the Far Rockaway Shopping Center and the groundbreaking for Arverne-By-The-Sea. The other nine percent were undecided or did not like any of those stories.

A few of the numbers in last week's front-page story on Beach Channel High School were incorrect. The special education school housed at BCHS is PS 233, not PS 232. The article also misstated the increase in the number of students, saying that it had gone from 2,600 to 3,600, when, in fact, the school has grown to 2,600 students from the previous 1,800 students. We hope our errors did not inconvenience anybody.


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