2003-09-05 / Letters



Racially Divisive

Dear Editor:  

Recently an editorial was written accusing me of having an "agenda" in opposing the planned development of Arverne. In the context of the editorial, the word agenda seemed to have a negative implication. The editorial did not indicate what my agenda was; instead I was criticized by innuendo. Community Board rules provide the public with public speaking time at a meeting. In the democracy we live in all I was guilty of was using my three minutes to disagree with this high-density plan. After the meeting I did not contact the Wave with my "agenda," the Wave contacted me for comment.

In the same addition of the Wave a member of community Board 14 suggested that those that do not agree with the plan for high density housing in Arverne are really complaining about "shifting demographics and ethnic politics." This type of patronizing can only be described as racially divisive grandstanding. 

When one considers that Starett City is 6,000 housing units one can begin to understand the impact of 4,000 housing units in Arverne. If you add to this number the planned 1,500 units in Edgemere and all the other development that has and will take place in Rockaway you can begin to recognize the potential harmful impact on this geographically isolated community. If we must develop housing my agenda includes a vision of low density, one, two and three family housing, with the pride of ownership. The current plan calls for a component of high density rental units which historically have failed in Rockaway. My agenda calls for adequate classrooms so our children can learn which the current plan does not provide. My agenda calls for adequate open space for our children to recreate, which the current plan does not provide. My agenda calls for roads, busses and subways that can accommodate the population without causing intolerable crowding, which the current plan does not provide. I would like to see Arverne developed to the density of the neighborhoods most of the members of Community Board 14 live in. The WAVE can "hope and trust" that the right decision is being made, but I believe your hope and trust has no basis in reality. I believe those who supported this development will wish they hadn't in ten years. I applaud the members of the Community Board who had the courage to resist the pressure and abstain or vote no to this ill-conceived plan. They risk being subjected to name calling, innuendo and possible removal from the board.


Head In The Sand

Dear Editor:

Parks Commissioner Arian Benepe obviously knows sand--he's clearly got his head buried in some--but he doesn't know Rockaway beach. His August 14th op-ed piece in the Daily News to "set the record straight" about a Fourth of July fundraiser was both disingenuous and arrogant.

As the summer season winds down and the general media spotlight inevitably turns away from the beaches, it's a good thing The Wave can continue to be a voice for the people of Rockaway.

Benepe writes, "Because of the crowds, and in fairness to everyone, no permits for events were issued that day on Rockaway Beach." He goes on to say the organizers of the fundraiser "had sought and been denied a permit to have a large private party." In fact, those who sought the permit were denied because of a filing deadline. They were told that permits must be applied for at least thirty days in advance of the event. Benepe says the group was "warned by Parks and Police" not hold the event but did so anyway. If he's looking to "set the record straight" he might try dispensing accurate information.

Yes, the event was held. And yes, the police issued summonses and confiscated thirteen coolers of alcohol. Benepe says, "Several days later, rather than take responsibility for its actions, the group claimed that its illegal event-with hundreds of people in attendance-had been unfairly targeted by police." What does "take responsibility for its actions" mean? Is there something to confess? Yes, the event was held. And yes, the event raised thousands of dollars for 9-11 related memorials.

Isn't the commissioner (and anyone concerned with the Bill of Rights) troubled by police confiscating coolers? Since when is "possession of alcohol" a crime? Since when can cops just open and inspect coolers? Besides beer, sometimes coolers have juice boxes and insulin for diabetics! Fine if police want to give summonses for "open containers" but confiscating coolers? What crime is it to have unopened beer?

In the most disingenuous of all remarks, Benepe cites the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He says "alcohol use is involved in up to 50% of adolescent deaths associated with water recreation." Two points here: the summonses were not given to adolescents. So how is that statistic relevant? And presumably, "water recreation" includes swimming pools, lakes, rivers, etc (not just New York beaches). And if he wants to cite statistics here's a one:: no alcohol-related deaths have occurred in Rockaway waters for decades.

  Benepe exhibits shameful ignorance when he says the 4 of July event traditionally leaves behind "truckloads of trash and broken glass." On this stretch of beach, residents and event organizers fill available garbage cans and haul off plenty of garbage themselves --so that Parks or Sanitation "trucks" are only needed to empty the cans. If there's a truckload of garbage it can be found in Benepe's editorial.

On one point there is agreement. Benepe says it is the "city's responsibility to sensibly enforce rules to ensure that they can do so in a responsible manner." And that's all we're asking for in Rockaway. All we want is for enforcement to be sensible and responsible.


Prison Can Happen To You

Joseph Lamarca, the writer of this letter, is presently in Attica Prison for a term of 12 to 25 years as a result of a manslaughter conviction in 1999. He will be eligible for parole in 2009.

Dear Editor,

I address this letter to the youth as well as to the young men and women in Rockaway who may be involved in any type of negative or delinquent life style. My name is Joey LaMarca, and I write this letter from my cell inside Attica Maximum Security Prison.

In 1996 I was involved in a crime that took place in Rockaway. I was arrested, found guilty, and now spend my days and nights regretting the ignorant past I once lived. I have now been incarcerated for the past seven years, and any light at the end of the tunnel remains years away.

My so-called reasons for committing my crime I now realize weren't reasons at all. I know this because the fact is there are no reasons or justification to commit criminal acts! I was living in a mind frame where I was concentrating on things such as my reputation instead of on the consequences of my actions.

I never thought about the individuals I hurt. I did things out of greed, out of ignorance, and from my misconception on what I thought life was about. The sad reality now for me is that I am told when I can eat, when I can sleep, when I can go outside, when I can make a phone call, what I can wear, and even what I'm permitted to say. The truth is I never dreamed imprisonment would happen to me. My family were very respected high ranking law enforcement. So, if it can happen to me, it can happen to you! Prison is a second by second assault on the soul, each day an echo of the day before, and at times I feel as if I'm choking in silent pain.

It is said that hindsight is 20/20, and when I reflect back on the choices I made I realize my enormous mistakes. I have learned that life is about educating yourself, building a family, being responsible, helping your neighbor, and really just trying to enjoy life in general.

It now has been seven years since I have seen the beach or the boardwalk. The Atlantic Ocean you are steps away from, I can only now dream of. I now realize I took many things for granted. If any of you reading this have a dream or a positive goal in life, GO FOR IT! When you talk about your goal it's a dream. When you plan for your goal, it becomes possible. But, when you go after that goal, when you become determined, that's when it becomes your reality! At this time I am living life as it is from a steel and cement cell, but all of you have the chance and the opportunity to live life as it should be. It's not only possible to have and achieve your dream, tell yourself it's necessary! I ask you to never let success go to your head, and never let failure go to your heart.

I would like to close with a short story. There is a tree called 'The Chinese Bamboo Tree.' When you plant the seed of this tree in the ground it takes five years of watering the seed everyday just for the tree to break free from the ground. But after it does break the ground, in just FIVE WEEKS it grows over 90 FEET TALL.

So for everyday for five years this man would water the same spot on his grass with no results. All his so-called friends and neighbors would call him crazy and stupid. But, after five year's of dedication and belief, and NEVER GIVING UP on the dream of his tree, one day it popped up! Then, five weeks later he had a beautiful Chinese Bamboo Tree in his front yard, which was over 90 feet tall! This man placed his favorite comfortable chair under the tree, and because of his dedication, hard work, and faith, he was able to sit back and relax.

The same so-called friends that called him crazy and stupid were stuck in the summer heat, but this man sat back in the shade. Yes, it takes hard work to reach certain goals in life, but if you do it right the rewards will last forever! I beg of you all, DO IT RIGHT! Take it from me, it's worth it!

I would like to thank my wife Kim and our friend Lauren for both being a positive inspiration in my life. My best to all of you out there. Stay safe, smart, happy, and healthy in all you do.


Why Keep Spending Millions?

Dear Editor,

On Thursday, August 20, I received some literature from Congressman Anthony Weiner. The section that sparked my attention was about the new sand replacement next summer. It says that the Rockaway Peninsula gets pounded by Mother Nature as we protect the mainland. The sand replacement project will cost a few million dollars. I know for a fact the sand replacement method has been done in the past because I observed it. The question we have to ask is how many times will this be done and why keep spending millions, has he ever heard the word Jetty. I am aware a Jetty will cost more but in the long run it would prove to be more economical. Let's face it; Mother Nature will only take back the sand from our beach again and again and again.


I Love You, I Love You...

Dear Editor,

I know the solution to "Road Rage." The formula is repeating, "I love you, I love you, I love you."

Whether the driver is the passive or active one, he or she only needs to respond with "I love you, I love you, I love you" and the situation will be resolved amiably.

The participants may scream these words, whisper these words, mouth these words, or simply think these words. It works regardless.

I am writing you to let you know the solution. I know you will want to share this with your many readers. I hope you will. I figured this is the best way for me to get the solution out there, through your publication.



Life In A Wheelchair

Dear Editor,

I just read Tom Morgan's letter to the editor.  I want to know who said that terrible thing about Chris. On top of that I want to know where he lives.  No I don't want to kill him (although that was my first reaction to the letter).  I want to educate him on the trials and tribulations of the life of a child in a wheelchair, in particular Chris.  I would also like to educate him on the impact of having a child like Chris in your life.  Chris has been a major part in my family since his mother brought him home from the hospital.

His mother and my sister are very close friends and therefore a part of our family.  Chris in almost twelve years has gone through too many surgeries to count.  He has had many setbacks, and through it all the kid puts a smile on his face and gets through it.  He toughs it through everything life hands him.  He finds a way to make it through the many challenges that face him everyday.  A little baseball never hurt anyone.  You hear many Pro players say that if it weren't for little league when they were younger they would never have made it through life because it was their outlet.  Maybe Rockaway little league is Chris' outlet for not being able to do things the way everybody else does them.  Although he doesn't play exactly the same way as his teammates, He's out there! He's hitting the ball.  He's (dare I say it) HAVING FUN!!!  He didn't ask for much just a chance to play baseball like his other friends that he plays with outside of his house.  Who am I or anyone else to say he can't do that?  Parents should be glad that their children are getting a chance to know Chris.  Maybe by playing ball with Chris, they'll learn from him that they too can get through whatever curveballs life can hand them.  And trust me by being with Chris, they will become better people, I know I have.

Now Tom, about that jack a@% box, I'll be happy to watch it for you next season.


An Alternative Form Of Energy

Dear Editor,

Our home had electricity during the recent blackout.  We were able to use our computer; our portables phones and have some lights on.  This was possible because some years ago my husband and I decided to get some batteries, an invertor and two solar photovoltaic panels that use the power of sun to produce electricity.

This is not new technology.  It has had selective use by city, state and federal government for many years. It could be and should be part of a comprehensive energy system.    

Since the early 1950s studies commissioned by the federal government have discussed the viability of and the necessity for safe alternative energy (solar, wind and hydrogen).  These studies were ignored at the urging of the Pentagon because of its desire to have a civilian atomic energy program that would supply them with plutonium for bomb building. Hundreds of billions of our tax dollars have been spent on this failed technology.  The cost to our health and well being is immeasurable.

Please understand that nothing will change without the insistence of an informed citizenry. Get active people, more than our lights depend on it.  


What Is He Saying?

Dear Editor;

As concerned as I am about the environment, when I try to read Bernard Blum's Environmental columns my eyes glaze over and I feel like I am reading secret code.

He might want to tone down the jargon and endless editorial sidebars when stating the facts.  It would make it a lot more accessible to
readers who would like to help out but can't seem to figure out just what
he's ranting about.


Ethical Treatment?

This is a letter sent to Liam Kavanagh, Assistant Commissioner For Operations, NYCDPR.

Dear Mr. Kavanagh:

Beer with food has been ok at the beaches for years and even a 6-pack is not a great sin! Why even the National Park Service at Riis Park permits beer sales as was just noticed at the Kite Flying event there today.

So to use beer drinking as an excuse to harass local people and make a 'tabloid extravaganza' with ticket blitzing even of tourists brings the Parks Department policies on 'reverse coastal access promotion' under scrutiny as Rockaway experiences a housing boom!

So the tabloids 'dis-iniformed on the coastal access problem' on the beaches and hopefully a beer distribution concession will be a future arrangement for city profit.

On the other hand if this is a never situation - a return to the former days when Rockaway was more of a resort - then at least all this draconian ticket blitzing should be explained. It's not enough to be told by politicians to just do any problems will be settled. Note if I access my Arverne beaches for specimen collection or to photograph organisms I don't need "an adventure" with "goons" under your control. The last Assistant Commissioner never had sent a letter of discretion to the chief enforcement agent that would have lessened pressure on the foot and motorized soldiers - to relax therefore - and allow access unhindered. Have you sent such a letter this season?

So whatever collective wisdom has created a harassment season has undermined NYC/NYC coastal access polioies even if justifications can be presented! As a coastal access activist, I perceive conspiracy whatever the reply will be.

Rockaway is too easy to manipulate and 'only ethics' will adjust to reasonable and friendly relations with stakeholders in beach use fun and enjoyment as well as in ecology education.

Has Rockaway been treated ethically even in wetlands restoration and mosquito control?

Thank you for your kind attention and concern.


A Democrat for Bush

Dear Editor;

Standing on top of the pile, at ground zero and his spontaneous response to the rescue workers at the World Trade Center, "I hear you, and they will hear us". That statement defined this man and his presidency. Every other debated action from that moment was just a world full of political positioning for what spoils there are to reap. "New York what a town" the terrorists battered the battery and our Democratic City Council battered our city further, our city which took the hit for the country on 9/11 should have been the most united and steadfast in supporting the mission stated by our President standing at ground zero that day.

But, their decision to give their personal view and to call for a vote on an international issue, their resolution # 549, which proclaimed a lack of support for our Presidents position on the enforcement of the United Nations resolution number #1441. That vote brought shame to the Democratic Party and the citizenry of New York. Would turning the other cheek as suggested by some democratic presidential front runners have been a better response?

Only history will know.

Do I switch parties? Become an independent, somehow the Republican alliance with big business still scares me. Or do I stay loyal and hope for a more centered party.

What I worry most, is that is seems, whichever party is in power at the time will make decisions not based on fact or truth but of the convenience of a better outcome. 


Terrorists Have Arisen Again

Dear Editor,

Remember 9/11, the terrorists our enemies. Also, remember the infamous day when Mayor Bloomberg, the New York City citizens terrorist, raised your property taxes, doubled the sanitation fines, doubled the parking fines. He had his terrorists swarm into your neighborhood examining, opening your garbage bags contrary to the fourth amendment searching for evidence under color of law to issue you fines.

Well these doubling of fines, the raising of taxes, could not have taken place if your City Councilman voted against the legislation.

Now these terrorists' cohorts of the mayor councilman are raising their heads once again petitioning you to vote for them on the upcoming elections. Convinced the taxpayers are stupid with short memories.

These political prostitutes, City Councilman James Sanders, Jr., Joseph Addabbo, Jr. rubber stamped the mayor's tax increases and doubling of fines. It is up to you voters now to remember what they did to hurt you.


Brazen 9/11/03

Skies azure
Towers gold
Fanatics strike
Grief untold
America braces
Heroes brave
Hundreds rush in
So few to save
Liberty cries
Citizens unite
Banded as one
We brazenly fight
World stunned
America newly proud
Though we cried
Freedom never cowed
Flags fly
Loves we mourn
Embracing still
What can't be torn
Heroes all
Todd, Mychal, John
Forced to the spotlight
Their valor lives on
Another autumn
Two years have passed
We journey on
The fallen our mast
N.Y., D.C.; a rural field
Their destinies sadly met
We mark this day in our hearts
Lest we forget


Ballad of The Firemen, 9/11/01

The airplanes seized,
The pilots killed,
The towers struck,
And the blue sky filled
With smoke and fire
And a ghastly rain
Of bodies falling.
Thousands slain.
The alarm went out.
They heard the call,
These brave firemen
Who gave their all.
The day is done,
The sun has set.
They climbed the stairs.
They climb them yet.
From Rockaway
And Bedford-Stuy,
Just young men
Like you and I.
Yet while qualied
In shock and fear
They heard the bell
And donned their gear.
From Crown Heights
And Kings Park,
With no more fear
Than boys on a lark,
They rushed to the towers
Rising high,
Twin torches blazing in the sky.
The day is done.
The sun has set.
They climbed the stairs.
They climb them yet.
Not one man asked,
"Let this cup pass,
the fire and the smoke
and bursting glass.
Not one man said,
"Spare me today."
They only said,
"Show me the way."
The way was up
Toward smoke and fire.
The towers came down as
They climbed higher.
The day is done.
The sun has set.
They climbed the stairs.
They climb them yet.
"Three hundred died,"
Officials say.
"Three-hundred firemen died today."
But by my count
Three hundred live,
Live in our hearts.
What can we give
To those who gave all?
Honor them now and for all time
As they find the stairs
And begin to climb,
And climb the clouds,
And climb the sky,
And climb the stars.
They will not die.
The day is done.
The sun has set.
They climbed the stairs.
They climb them yet.


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