2003-05-23 / Columnists



There are many funny stories that come from the bureaucracy, but few are funnier than what recently happened to Congressman Anthony Weiner. The Federal Election Commission determined that money that Weiner got from his parents during his first campaign in 1998 were illegal under the campaign finance rules. Weiner says that much of that money was from gifts he got from his bar mitzvah when he was thirteen years old. "I put all of my savings into that first campaign, and they loaned me some money to help me out," Weiner says. "Some of it was my bar mitzvah money." Weiner told a Newsday reporter, "Regardless of the appearance, I have no intention of breaking off with my parents."

All of the seasonal workers have been fired by the Parks Department. Those are the people who clean Rockaway’s beaches. Parks is hoping that those workers will be replaced by people whose welfare benefits have run out and must work or those who are on work-release or alternative sentencing programs. Park officials are not even sure that those marginal workers will be available. If they are not, then we are in for a very dirty beach and boardwalk this summer.

We have noticed that many local drivers have made a conscious decision not to obey the law because it is too much trouble to go around the corner on one-way streets. Many of those drivers just go the wrong way on those streets, either backing out or simply driving against the traffic. Just this week, we saw three drivers coming out of one way streets on the west end going the wrong way. In one case, the young man sped around a car exiting a driveway, never even slowing down. Take the extra time, people, and do it the legal way.

The controversy that Duane Reade began by suing both artist Patrick Clark and The Wave for defamation over a paid advertisement that Clark placed in the paper has been escalating, at least in the daily press. Both Newsday and the Daily News did major stories on the situation and the News even added an editorial on free speech. This past weekend, the New York Times chipped in with a small piece in its City Section. All in all, none of the published articles was very complimentary to Duane Reade and its determination to stifle public speech.

The city’s attempt to point out that residents are not getting more tickets this year and that there are no quota programs in city agencies is really disingenuous. The numbers tell another story. Department of Environmental Protection summonses are up by 77.5 percent from last year, Department of Transportation summonses are up by 17.9 percent, NYPD quality of life summonses (including those given on Rockaway’s beaches) are up 14.5 percent (to 151,424 from 132,227) and parking tickets are up nine percent.

A number of new members have been appointed to Community Board 14 by Borough President Helen Marshall. They are Janice Jackson, John McCambridge, Robert Narducci and Glenda Nesmith.

Despite all of his fiscal and public relations problems, Mayor Mike Bloomberg told listeners of his WABC radio show that he’d be reelected "by a very wide margin." "The public will judge me when its time for my reelection," he said. "I will win because things will improve."

Along those same lines, a survey (among 400 Manhattan residents) that was done as part of a lawsuit involving "Queen of Mean" Leona Helmsley found that she was the most hated person in New York City. Lizzie Grubman came in at number two, Al Sharpton was three, Martha Stewart was four and Donald Trump was five. Woody Allen, George Steinbrenner, Rudy Giuliani, Michael Bloomberg, Arianna Huffington and Tina Brown rounded out the top ten.

The official beach opening scheduled for Friday for Rockaway has been cancelled because of the weather It made no sense to have one here, because the real official opening, with Bloomberg was held in Coney Island on Wednesday. Why Coney Island, when Rockaway has longer beaches? Good question.

There will be at least two Memorial Day parades in the area this year. The Rockaway parade will take place on Monday, May 26. It will begin on Beach 129 Street at approximately 11:30 a.m. The Broad Channel Parade will once again be on Cross Bay Boulevard on Sunday, May 25 at approximately 1 p.m.

The first Veterans Information Day to be held in Rockaway for many years will take place on June 7 at the Knights of Columbus Hall (Beach 90 Street) from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Vietnam Veterans of America. Vets from any of America’s wars are invited.

We have been told that sales are brisk for the tell-all book about Rockaway’s past, "From Ocean to City: The Transformation of Rockaway, New York." The book, written by Lawrence and Carol Kaplan, is available at bookstores and on the Internet at both Amazon.com and Barnes and Nobel. We have read the book and urge anybody interested in Rockaway history to do the same.

A search of previous aircraft crashes has led us to find that the major crash that brought a plane down on Brooklyn Streets many years ago is marked with a simple plaque on the street. The site of the crash in Cove Neck is not marked at all. In fact, the town changed the names of the streets in the area so that the relatives of those who died in the crash will no longer be able to find the exact site.

We were saddened to hear of the passing of former New York Knicks great Dave Debusschere, who died at the age of 62. Debusschere was part of the great Knicks championship teams in 1969-70 and 1972-73. He was a tough power forward who could pass, rebound, defend and hit the outside shot. The Knicks epitomized the word team with their outstanding play. His acquisition from Detroit in 1968 was the final piece in the puzzle for the Knicks. Those teams with Willis Reed, Bill Bradley, Clyde, Dick Barnett and The Pearl will not be forgotten. Rest in peace Dave.

Mike Bloomberg has announced that school crime is down because of his policy of placing more school safety officers in troubled schools. Every teacher in the city knows that is a lie. We listen to the police scanner each day and not a day passes that the police are called to one local school or another on an assault call or for a medical emergency brought on by student misbehavior. According to union stats, assaults by elementary students have doubled.

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