2003-01-25 / Columnists

From the G-Man

By Gary G. Toms

By Gary G. Toms

Taking A Final Bow

Hey people! I don't suppose there is any easy way to say this, so I'll just come out and say it. I have resigned from my position here at The Wave, and I will be moving on to what I expect will be bigger and better opportunities in media, publishing and the entertainment industry. I will not disclose the details of my departure, but I will say that my decision is probably best for all of the parties involved. My last official day at The Wave will be February 13, and the very last "From the G-man" column will appear in the February 15 issue. You might want to pick that one up. It could become a collector's item. (Smiles)

I want to thank all of those who were responsible for giving The G-man a place from which to grow and become popular. In particular, I would like to thank the late Leon Locke and former Managing editor/columnist Kevin Boyle. They took a chance on an unknown writer who went on to become Associate Editor, the first African-American in 109 years. I wore that badge proudly, and while some in the community never accepted me in the position, others showered me with love and support. I thank you.

From day one I made it abundantly clear what my intentions were, and to this day, I make no apologies. Thus far, I have spent 28 years of my life growing up in the black community of Rockaway, so it was only natural that most of my columns and articles placed emphasis on social and economic conditions that are having a profound impact on that community. There were rumblings about it, as some people felt I was placing a little too much emphasis on the black community.

Recently, someone went as far as to tell me to STOP being an African-American and be an American . I won't respond to him. I'll just pray for him and others like him. So, to all those who claimed that I was "fanning the flames of hate," you now can take a big swig from your moonshine bottles and celebrate my departure. It's okay. I have come to realize that if I made you that uncomfortable about the issue of race, then I'm one hell of a writer. I hit a nerve, and that's all that matters.

My position at the paper has allowed me to meet some amazing and giving people in the community. There are too many to name, but those who have had a direct and ever-lasting impact on my life include Curtis Archer, Ed Williams, State Senator Malcolm Smith, Assemblywoman Michele Titus, the late Pauline Rhodd-Cummings, Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, City Councilman Joe Addabbo, Jr., Joann Shapiro, Jonathan Gaska, Detective Willie Olmeda, P.O. Mike Valentino, P.O. Kenneth Beecher, P.O. Pete Rahanotis, Joanie Ward George, the late Janet Talcott, Robert Levine, "Dr. D," Luis A. Hernandez, Alla and Glenda Nesmith, Pastors Donald Ventura and J.D. Williams, Liz Sulik, Deb Colton, the Eisenstadts and all of the members of the Rockaway Artists Alliance. Geoff Rawling...you f-----g rock!!

The relationships that I built with both NYPD Precinct captains (Inspector Lindahl of the 101 and Charles Talamo of the 100) has helped me to have a better understanding of what they do on a daily basis for the Rockaway community. More importantly, they listened and allowed me to stress the need for better communication between police and the black community. Yes, there will always be a certain degree of tension between the two, but because of Lindahl and Talamo's leadership, there have been no Amadou Diallo's in Rockaway. As I take my leave, I ask that each of these men continue to make sure it stays this way. Let your men do their jobs, but remember...the name of the game is protect and serve .

I also would like to thank all of the people that came to me, and trusted me, to tell their stories. Some were happy, and some were laced with pain and sorrow. Whatever the case, you allowed The G-man, or Gary G. Toms (investigative journalist) to be your voice. That was the greatest part of the job.

To my staff of exceptionally talented graphic artists and layout designers, thank you. You each have contributed to my writing career in ways that you cannot imagine. Any feature or concept design that I wanted, you created. So, Vladimir, Jeanette, James and Felicia...I salute you and thank you from the depths of my heart.

Finally, I want to thank all of you...the faithful readers of this column. You have allowed me to grab your attention for 3 to 5 minutes each week for the last five and a half years. Many of you wrote letters, sent Emails, and called me directly to tell me that I made you laugh, cry, or angry as hell. Good! That means I did what I was hired to do.

It's been a wild ride, and I know that it will only get wilder as I head toward new opportunities. I'll be around, and you can bet the farm on this. The best is yet to come. That's a guarantee. I love you all, and I'll miss you. Be good to one another. All the best....From... The G-man .

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