2003-06-27 / Columnists

Beachcomber

Beachcomber

Now we know the truth. It was our own Kevin Boyle, former Wave editor and author of "Braving The Waves," who started the rumor that Bill Clinton was going to run for Mayor of New York City, a rumor that he has denied. According to Dennis Duggan (an old friend of Kevin’s) writing in Newsday last weekend, Boyle started the rumor in a letter to the Washington Post in 2000. Leave it to Kevin to stir the pot.

The Department of Education and the mayor have finally realized that they should not throw out the old bathwater until the new bathwater is ready to pour in. The state legislature is scrambling to replace the 32 community school boards, which were due to expire on June 30. It is clear that the new parent committees required by the governance law will not be in place by September, so the school boards have been given a new lease on life, until at least early next year. The sticking point is the question of how the new parent boards would be elected. The state does not want a general election, because that would cost millions of dollars for little return. Less than five percent of those eligible voted in the last school election. Some people want the school’s PA presidents to elect the board members, but it is doubtful that the federal government would approve such a plan because it would take away the rights of minority voters to take part in the election. The smart money is betting that the school boards have another year to live, and perhaps longer, while the pols work out a compromise that the feds could approve of.

At the end of the last school year, the mayor promised a brave new world for the school system, that at least 50 principals would be fired at the end of this school year for persistent educational failure. Now, the end of the year, the number of principals who will be fired is seven. Actually, only one principal in the city was brought up on charges of educational failure. The other six retired under the gun. What the mayor and the chancellor do not understand is that the principal is not always at fault when a school fails. We have schools in Rockaway where only a small handful of kids come to the school with the ability to read. How, then, can we blame the principal when the kids do not read up to grade level after one year in their school?

If you are one who watches the record books, you are probably happy that the month of June this year brought more rain than any other year in recorded history. We’d bet that you already knew that without us telling you about it. For most of us, the rain was an inconvenience, but for many business owners, the month was a disaster. Many restaurants, stores and pubs with outdoor facilities need the sunny weekends in the summer to make it the rest of the year. Pier 92, for example, opened a bar on its deck and set up many special events to attract diners. The rain each weekend, however, has dampened the possibility of the success of the new programs. By the way, in case you did not know, we have had 10.15 inches of rain this month, while the old record was 9.78 inches in 1903.

Drive along Cross Bay Boulevard in Broad Channel, and you will see the beautiful flowers throughout the community. The civic association says that City Councilman Joe Addabbo can be credited with getting a grant that provided the flowers while local residents provided the sweat equity to plant the flowers.

The Ninth Annual Fluke Tournament run by Broad Channel’s Shad Creek Association will be held this year on July 10 and 11. This non-profit event has become one of the premier fishing tournaments in the area. Those interested can contact Jim Ferchland at the association, which is located at 529 Cross Bay Boulevard.

It seems that the Parks Department, which has already screwed up the rules that determine when people can and cannot use the beach and the boardwalk, now wants to mess with GI Jane, the statue to the women who served with the military. According to a story in Sunday’s New York Times, the statue was never approved by the city’s art elite fourteen years ago, and was only given temporary space on the piece of city land across from the Doughboy Monument. Now, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe says that his department has to take a second look at the statue and its placement. That means it might be unceremoniously removed and tucked away in some city warehouse until it rusts away or until the American Legion can find a private plot on which it can be erected.

Those Rockaway residents who bought tickets for the Dragon Tales show at the Nassau Coliseum on Friday night must have been angered as we were by the fact that the coliseum had rented out most of its parking lot to a fair and that those going to see the kids show had to zig zag through the fair grounds to get to the entrance. At the end of the show, a heavy rain had started and parents had to lug small kids at least a mile (it seemed that long) through the rain around and over cables and barriers to get back to where their cars were parked. It was poor planning and those who thought that it would be a good idea to force parents to take their kids through a maze of food tents and games to get to see a show should be ashamed of themselves.

The number of people leaving our city for more friendly climes is growing. Last year, more than 152,278 people moved out of New York City than moved in. That number was up 27 percent from 1998. Those are people voting with their feet that city government is not doing its job. Mayor Bloomberg might think that he is doing great job despite his 24 percent rating, but those who are leaving the city say otherwise. They talk of taxes, low-performing schools and harassment by city agencies as the main reason they are leaving. Many of them are moving only as far as Long Island or upstate. One local political leader checking his voting lists was amazed at how many people were gone.


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