2003-06-13 / Columnists



When The Wave photographer went out into the community, looking for pictures to illustrate our story on dog poop all over the peninsula, he photographed Pete O’Shea of Beach 93 Street walking his dog. We used that picture to illustrate that story never meaning to imply that O’Shea (who was not identified in the caption) was not picking up after his dog. On Monday, however, O’Shea called to say that many of his friends, knowing that he picked up after his dog, called him to find out what was going on. We regret the implication that the local man was doing something wrong, when he was not.

James Sanders, the City Councilman who represents the east end of Rockaway, has had an ongoing dispute with the city’s Campaign Finance Board over money that he believes the board owes him from the last election. He has opted out of the matching funds for the coming election, in which he will face challenger James Blake. Blake has run before, losing each time by a wide margin. There is no reason that Sanders should fear Blake this time around. He has done a good job for his constituents and easily deserves reelection.

The Wave got some good press this weekend in a story in the New York Times "City" section. The Times picked up on our story about the beach restrictions and the new signs that make no sense. It even quotes a Wave editorial and column. Of course, being the Times, Field Maloney, who wrote the blurb, says that The Wave reported that 70 signs were torn down when, in fact, we never gave a number. In addition, the story says that Rockaway residents are angry at the city because there is no Rockaway stop on the Long Island Railroad. There is a LIRR stop in Far Rockaway. Maloney interviewed Liam Kavanaugh, the Park’s Department Deputy Commissioner for Operations, who told him, "I know there’s a concern over a summer of tickets out in Rockaway, but that’s not our plan." He told the Times reporter that the rules will not be aggressively enforced. We broached that question to City Councilman Joe Addabbo, the chair for the Park’s Committee, who told us the rules would not be enforced. Why, then, have the rules in the first place? It makes no sense to post rules that you are not planning on enforcing.

On July 6, there will be a Far Rockaway parade to honor firefighters, police and other emergency responders. Sponsored by The Association of Auxiliary Volunteer Firefighters, and the Naval Heritage Group. It will begin at 12 noon, but the parade route has yet to be announced. Those interested in participating are urged to contact the Association at 347-612-0315.

A small plane landed on the beach at Long Beach on Sunday, nearby the Atlantic Beach Bridge. Nobody was injured in the accident, which is being investigated by the NTSB. A number of east end residents called The Wave to say that the plane flew low over Rockaway before coming down in Nassau County.

A Manhattan Supreme Court judge has ruled that the toll hike that recently went into effect on both the Cross Bay and the Marine Parkway – Gil Hodges Memorial Bridges be rolled back and that motorists who paid the increased tolls be given their money back. That bodes well for those with EZ Pass accounts. Don’t count on the money any time in the near future, however. The MTA, the agency that runs the bridges, has promised to appeal the decision.

There was a long article in The Daily News last Thursday about the growth of surfing in the local area. The article focused on women who are entering the sport and on Lido Beach, where the sport flourishes on a number of beaches designated for that purpose. Now, it seems to us that Lido Beach is still part of New York State, and that the state law allows the designation of surfing beaches. The city, however, still refuses to designate surfing beaches, deciding instead to ban all surfing in Rockaway.

A Federal judge in Nassau County has thrown out the county’s smoking ban bill. The "No Smoking" signs in county restaurants and bars will come down until July 24, when another hearing will be held. The judge ruled that the Nassau law was "constitutionally vague and economically harmful." This comes at the same time that many legislators in Albany are taking a second look at the State’s smoking ban, which will go into effect soon.

City Councilman Joe Addabbo will hosts a community meeting at the Beach Club in Monday, June 16 at 6 p.m. Addabbo says that it will be an evening of discussion of the "issues facing our community." Addabbo is the chair of the council’s Parks and Recreation Committee and it seems logical that one of the main issues facing the community is the newly-posted rules for use of the beach and boardwalk. Come and let Addabbo know what you think of the rules.

An unprecedented 6,197 teachers have requested retirement counseling, the final stop prior to actual retirement. "We’re seeing some really senior teachers who don’t have any confidence in what the school system will look like next year," said Randi Weingarten, the UFT president. "If they can pack it in, they are going to pack it in."

The telephone number given in last week’s Wave for contact with RMAC to make reservations for the coming USO show was incorrect. The woman who has the number asked us to mention that she has received dozens of calls, and asks that nobody else call that number to contact the organization.

Denis Hamill recently did a column in the Daily News extolling the virtues of the boardwalk at Coney Island. He wrote about KeySpan Park, the home of the Brooklyn Cyclones, as the focal point of a major revitalization of the entire boardwalk, largely funded with public money. That revitalization includes rides, restaurants, games and many other amenities that Rockaway once had on its own boardwalk.

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