2003-03-22 / Columnists



A letter from the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT), mistakenly sent to local representatives, suggested free parking on Sundays in Rockaway would become a thing of the past. DOT spokesperson Lisi de Bour­bon said the Sunday meter program, which could generate several million dollars a year in revenue, is "not coming to the Rock­aways." Other areas in Queens, she said, will be included. Signage in those areas will be changed by the end of June, de Bourbon said.

The federal government’s fiscal problems must really be getting out of hand. There is a sign in the Rockaway Beach Post Office that says, "Due to the fiscal crisis, we will no longer provide tape." How chintzy is that?

Two young women had placed an American Flag at Beach 20 Street and the Boardwalk in honor of the men and women who lost their lives on September 11. Last week, they watched in horror as a young man, obviously angry at the flag or for what it stands, ripped it from its moorings and throw it into the ocean. They were wary of pursuing the reason for the anger with the man, so they just let it go.

The 311 system seems to be in operation at last. Those who have questions for any city agency or who want to pass on problems or suggestions, should dial 311. The Wave tried the system to report a couple of traffic lights that are not operating properly, and we got a courteous operator who took our complaint and wished us a good day. Will the lights be fixed? That remains to be seen.

Senator Chuck Schumer’s car was stolen recently and he is angry. Not about the car, but about the fact that the city wants to charge him $23 for a new EZ Pass tag. "It is outrageous that crime victims facing the burden of paying for another car should also be re­quir­ed to pay for a replacement EZ-Pass," Schumer wrote to officials. Welcome to the real world, Chuck.

When the City Council voted this week on its anti-war resolution, it did so by voice vote. That fact makes it near impossible to find out how individual Councilmembers voted on the issue. We tried the council’s website, but there was no vote count listed there, nor will the council’s press office issue individual votes when a voice vote is taken. You would think that the council is trying to keep the information on how members voted a secret from the public.

Ten years ago this week, the second "storm of the century" to hit Rockaway during the winter of 1993 hit the peninsula and Broad Channel this week, flooding large portions of the community and forcing the cancellation of all subway traffic to Rockaway. Dozens of cars sat in large floods, their drivers and passengers forced to abandon ship and head for high ground.

Congressman Greg Meeks opposes going to war with Iraq, while Con­gress­man Tony Weiner approves the war. Both Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton are on the fence. In the recent City Council vote, although the votes of individual members is supposed to be kept close to the vest, The Wave has learned that Joe Addabbo voted against the council resolution while Jim Sanders voted for it. Just thought you’d like to know where our legislators stand on such an important issue.

On Sunday, March 23 at 10 p.m., Sands Point Physical Therapy on Beach 102 Street will hold a symposium on Osteoporosis for wo­men. The session, led by Dr. Stuart Kaplan, is free, but reservations are necessary. Those interested should call the physical therapy office.

On Saturday, March 16, members of the Rockaway branch of the Woman’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) attended a rally outside of the office of Senator Hillary Clinton. The rally is part of an anti-war protest called "Code Pink." More than 2,000 demonstrators assembled to protest Clinton’s support of the administration on the war in Iraq.

Speaking of the City Council, that body voted for a tax hike and has gone along with the mayor on cuts to city services. Those cuts, however, do not impact the council in any real way. While the council has lost about 40 slots in the past year or two, the budget cuts do not hit the council and its bloated budget the same way they will im­pact city services that really count, such as police, fire and education.

The countdown is now eight days and counting. The ban on smoking in all or our bars and restaurants (with the exception of the myriad of establishments that are not affected) will begin at 12:01 on Sunday, March 30. By the way, nonprofit organizations that have no employees such as the American Legion, the VFW and the Knights of Columbus are exempt from the law. The owners of the establishments where people are caught smoking will receive a fine of $200 to $400 for a first offense. The smoking patron will not be fined. Many restaurant and bar owners worry that they will not be able to stop patrons from smoking, short of using force.

There are those who want to keep the Q35 bus running on Rockaway Beach Boulevard when the reconstruction of Newport Avenue is finally completed. Those who regularly use RBB to move up and down the peninsula on a regular basis, however, find that the buses bunch up at corners, forcing all sorts of traffic problems, particularly in the vicinity of Beach 116 Street. We vote that they go back to Newport when the work is finally done.

Today, Saturday, March 22 at 11 a.m., a portion of Beach 92 Street and Hol­land Avenue will be named for Fire­fighter Steve (Bells) Belson, who died on September 11, 2001. Belson is the first to have a street named in his honor, but he will not be he last. Many more memorials are planned.

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