2003-09-26 / Letters



Letters To The Editor

Beach Rules Are Not New

This is a letter from Parks and Recreation Deputy Commissioner of Operations sent to local resident Barbara A. Kilfoil.

Dear Ms. Kilfoil,

Commissioner Benepe has asked me to respond to your letter concerning beach rules and enforcement issues.

None of the rules posted this spring in the Rockaways and at other city beaches are new. Many are rules that affect all parks in New York City; some represent State Health Code requirements for operating bathing beaches, and others respond to specific local conditions. The Rockaway boardwalk curfew has been in place since at least 1996 and appears to have been developed in cooperation with the local community board and police precinct. Commissioner Benepe has consistently stated that if a consensus for new curfew hours emerges, supported by local elected officials and the community board, he would consider changing the curfew. A 2 a.m. curfew, however, is unlikely, since all parks officially close at 1 a.m.

Expanding lifeguard coverage would require more funding for the program or a reduction in the amount of open beach during the normal 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. operating hours. Since we already have difficulty recruiting enough qualified lifeguards, it is unlikely that beach hours could be expanded in the near future. The State Health Code does not permit a "swim at your own risk" option. Unless the code is changed and the laws that govern municipal liability amended, we cannot allow unsupervised swimming. Lifeguards have discretion over when to permit or prohibit the use of "boogie boards," which is a prudent approach to water safety. The rules covering unattended personal property are not meant to prohibit normal beach customs. We will discuss the interpretation of the rule with the local enforcement personnel.

At our request the State Department is considering revisions to the State Health Code that would expand fishing and surfing opportunities. We hope to see new regulations governing these activities in place for the 2004 season. Bicycles are generally prohibited on all boardwalks during busy daytime hours from Memorial Day to Labor Day. There is a designated bicycle lane on Staten Island, where boardwalk crowds are small. Dogs are also not permitted on boardwalks during the height of the season, though here again, if there were a consensus in favor of permitting leashed dogs on the boardwalk, we would consider amending the rules. The Department of Transportation handles parking regulations.

Our rules and regulations are designed to make public spaces safe and orderly for everyone to enjoy. We have not initiated any special enforcement measures this summer, but we do have an obligation to take appropriate action when someone creates a public nuisance or an unsafe condition.

Thank you for writing and best wishes for an enjoyable summer.


Bashing President Bush

To the editor:

In the last few months there have been letters to the Wave from Republicans having fun bashing Democrats in order to try to sell voters on their Republican friends.  I have not noticed any Republican bashing by Democrats.  As a Democrat, I would like the pleasure of bashing the Republicans' highest office holder.  I am going to write about George W. Bush with sincerity and conviction.  My own, probably, not yours.  I am entitled to this, I am told, because I live in a free country.

Some people view George W. as having a huge advantage going into next year's general election.  What exactly is that "huge advantage"?  I see a president with: Falling approval ratings; A quagmire in Iraq and Afghanistan equal to the most pessimistic prewar estimates; Increasing deficits, yet huge tax breaks for the wealthy; Staggering unemployment figures; 93,000 more unemployed in August; An arrogant disregard for the environment; Unkept promises of help for Aids in Africa and the "No child left behind programs;" and No money to help New York City's problems.

Now, George requests 87 billion dollars to help justify a floundering policy in Iraq and Afghanistan that will have to walk through a bit of fire first.  Lawmakers said they expect sharp questioning of the request and debate about the effect on Federal spending, taxes and a record setting deficit.  This money he wants represents 1/5 of all the money to be spent next year on non-military programs (such as education, housing, veterans' affairs, jobs and the programs already being squeezed by a deficit that will reach 480 billion dollars.  All this from a man who didn't even capture the popular vote!

Yes, we had the 9/11 tragedy. Yes, George W. focused on the terrorist group Al Qaeda and its leader Osama bin Laden.

However, when he could not find and destroy them, he lost focus and all of a sudden Saddam Hussein and questionable secret weapons of mass destruction were blamed for 9/11.  Well...months later with large numbers of dead on both sides (people being killed each day) Iraq and Afghanistan are in disarray with violence and need of water, electric, food and security.  

The only weapons of mass destruction are cars and trucks loaded with explosives.  With all the actions he has taken I believe the world is not any safer, but in greater danger.

More and more people are realizing that his bad guesses and mistakes have not brought George Bush any closer to his unrealistic goals he has set for us and the world.  Do you feel any safer?  Do you believe we will be hit again by terrorists?

The voters in the United States will understand how vulnerable Mr. Bush is.  Defeating George W. Bush is not only possible, it should be easy!  As long as a Democratic candidate is willing to say that the Bush presidency has been a disaster for this country and that we cannot afford another four years of George W. Bush, he can be defeated.


Have To Be Vigilant

Dear Editor,

We have to be vigilant when they bring up talk about the power plants for our area. We have to insist on the best technology because if you let them off "for a while, for startup, to begin operations, to test systems, etc. etc." it is tough to get them back on track. Witness what is happening in other parts of the country.

President Bush's final New Source Review (NSR) rule will harm the environment, despite what he claimed in his speech Monday at a Detroit Edison Monroe Power Plant in Michigan.  The site of the speech was chosen as a model plant that would benefit from the new NSR rule; however, the rule would enable the Monroe plant to dump at least 30,000 more tons of sulfur dioxide emissions each year.

The Monroe plant is the eighth largest emitter of sulfur dioxide in the country.  President Bush talked at length about a 1999 request Detroit Edison submitted to the EPA debating whether its planned upgrade would constitute a major modification that would require it to improve its pollution control devices.

The President tried to argue that the EPA's decision was too "complicated" to implement quickly,"[3] but the EPA's response letter clearly gave the company the go ahead and in fact encouraged it to begin its upgrade project: "Detroit Edison has been free to proceed at any time with the Dense Pack project without first obtaining a PSD permit as long as it adheres to its stated intention to not increase emissions as a result of the project. Indeed, EPA encourages the company to proceed with the project on this basis, since it appears to both reduce emissions per unit of output and not increase actual air pollution."

The outcome for the Monroe plant under Bush's new NSR rule means that it can increase emissions by more than 30,000 tons a year, a 56 percent increase over current levels.  And in Michigan, where as many as 22 counties may have air too dirty to consistently meet new federal clean air standards, state environmental officials are concerned about overall air quality. "The challenge we are facing is new ozone (smog) regulations, and counties that will be designated as being in nonattainment," said Patricia Spitzley, spokeswoman for the Department of Environmental Quality. "That's a huge issue."


A Little Tongue In Cheek

Dear Editor;

The time has come to do something for a leader in our community. This man has stuck his neck out, zealously performing his duties while under the withering fire of public criticism. All the while, he has remained (mostly) calm. For his efforts, he has not been rewarded, and it is up to us to help him reap the reward to which he has dedicated himself.

I speak, of course, of Captain Talamo of the 100 Precinct. The reward toward which such men aspire is the promotion to a command that is active, and thence to borough or citywide posting. What is his problem? Our community is too quiet. There is barely enough serious crime to make daily newspaper headlines. Our neighboring command, the 101, lends but token assistance to the arrest record of Capt. Talamo. The real stuff, shootings, robbery, organized drug trade, etc, have been kept in house by the 101.This leaves poor Capt. Talamo with the occasional driving under the influence, misdemeanor marijuana, and spitting on the sidewalk offences.

Capt. Talamo, to his credit, has been creative in filling this void. Summonses for activities that have been routine in Rockaway for years, such as walking on the beach, surfing, fishing, etc, have come under fire. This has yielded a decent but unappreciated up-tick in the neighborhood arrest record. Unappreciated by the Borough Command that is, as Capt. Talamo has not been promoted.

We can help! Do your duty, aid Capt. Talamo, show the powers that be that he can oversee a crime-ridden neighborhood as well, or better, than anyone else. Smash your neighbor's window, have a drunken brawl in the street instead of a quiet beach party, deal drugs openly, harass the DFD people by slashing their tires. Oh, yes, don't forget to surf on crowded beaches so you can slam some poor kid with your board, and maybe drown in the process, so Emergency Services can be called out. When you go out on the beach at, gasp, night, make sure you build huge fires and throw bottles of beer around, singing bawdy songs, and generally causing a nuisance. Oh, I'm sorry, nuisance tickets won't do it You must rape, burn, and pillage the locals so that the crimes will gather the attention of command in a POSITIVE way. Make sure those drug deals are multi-million dollar, burn your neighbor's house, slash the DFD's in the face, not the tire. Make sure that Borough Command notices our precinct. I'm sure we can come together as a community to give Capt. Talamo the support he needs to move up and on. Thanks to all of Rockaway for being so understanding.


Adopt-A-Parking Space

Dear Editor,

Although I live in Rockaway Beach, I do most of my shopping/banking, etc. on B. 116 Street.

It has become apparent to me and I suppose many others, that the Sanitation Department has no intention of keeping the parking spaces clean. I heard of Adopt-A-Highway and lately Adopt-A-Park. Why not Adopt-A-Parking Space? Store owners on B. 116 Street or individuals for that matter could keep one or more of the spaces clean. A little sign could be placed on the curb or in the stores' windows saying "we support Adopt-A-Space."

Maybe the Chamber of Commerce could get behind this. Maybe even The Wave could print the names of storeowners or people who adopt one or more spaces. Just thought I'd write with this idea.


You Can Make A Difference

Dear Editor,

Shortly after Labor Day, my husband and I were walking on the boardwalk and noticed all the baskets overflowing from 74 Street to 126 Street. Behind the concession on 106 Street, the dumpster was so full that cardboard was all over the ground. Near the lifeguard trailer, debris was thrown at the curb of Shorefront Parkway.

One telephone call to Councilman Joe Addabbo's office made a difference. Sandy and Jake made telephone calls and everything was cleaned in a few days. Thanks Joe, Sandy, and Jake.

I alerted the Parks Department re: protruding board between 106 and 108 Streets, which I fell over and injured myself. Right away the carpenters put a new board in. Thanks, Parks Department.

For the past two years, I have been requesting Low Pines to be planted at 101 Street and 105 Street plant beds near boardwalk. Councilman Addabbo's office has assured me that this matter would be taken care of in the near future.

One telephone call, letter or joining an association can help to improve the quality of life on the Rockaway peninsula. I'm urging Rockaway residents to get involved. We need to show our politicians that we have a stake in the beautiful beachfront community as we experience the Rockaway Renaissance.


Dreamers, Stick Together!

Dear Editor,

However, I note with deep alarm the following:

1. Applications for the "Arverne By the Sea" are being solicited. ($395,000 or more to live in a mosquito-infested, flood-prone area.

2. "$400,000 sandstorm" is under way to dump already polluted, toxic dredged material on the dying marshlands. This can only worsen the problem.

3. Your report (p.34, 8/29) of an Arverne Town meeting contains this quote: "The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was unable to attend. They were to give a status report on a proposed project that will restore the flow of the saltwater marshes (sic?) in a Jamaica Bay restoration project that will be of significant help in reducing the mosquito infestation at Dubos Point, Bayswater State Park and Brant Point.

This is like putting a band-aid on a festering cancer. The mosquito infestation is just one of many symptoms being manifested by a terminally ill Jamaica Bay. Surely the Corps of Engineers report, when given, will posit a means of flushing the bay with ocean tidal water, by means of a canal connecting ocean and bay, as proposed in the '30's by my father, and in '56 by Bob Moses.

The Town Meeting report lists many city, state, and federal agency representatives, all seemingly interested only in the mosquito problem. Surely these officials (or their professional staffs) can see that the problem if really the fact that Jamaica Bay is dying, slowly but surely.

Bringing the marshes and the bay back to life by the restoration of tidal flow by means of a canal from ocean to bay near the "Arverne By the Sea" project should be the finding of the study by the Corps of Engineers.

Any lesser recommendation will lead to a continuing, very wasteful flow of taxpayer money.

Keep up the good work, Mr. Schwach. Us dreamers should stick together.....


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