2003-10-31 / Letters



Thanks, Joe!

Dear Editor;

I'd like to ask all my fellow readers of The Wave to please join me on Election Day, Tuesday November 4th, in re-electing Councilman Joe Addabbo to a second term as our representative in the City Council. As a council member, he has done much to improve our quality of life. On a personal note, I would like to express my gratitude to Joe for his sensitivity throughout the Street-Naming process. Since the World Trade Center tragedy, where we lost so many from our community, and for whom so many will be memorialized with a street name, Councilman Joe and his Staff have gone far beyond the scope of merely doing a job. They have been compassionate and eager to help expedite a difficult and emotional process. Joe, along with his Rockaway Liason, Sandy Doremus and staff, have come into our lives in such a personal intimate way; ensuring and tending to all the necessary ceremonial details. I truly regard them as members of my extended Rockaway family. I join my neighbors throughout the community in thanking them.


Wave Wrong On 6200

Dear Editor;

I would like to take the time to clarify a few pertinent points regarding an article that appeared in the Friday, October 10, 2003 edition of the WAVE, "From the Editor's Desk". A portion of the article touched on the plans for the development of the property located at 6200 Beach Channel Drive. My response is only to clarify that portion of the article.

RDRC and the Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center have partnered to develop a new home for the Rockaway's only federally qualified health center on a portion of the 54,000 square foot site. The plan also includes the development of an educational center offering comprehensive vocational and academic training. Two years into this process those particular objectives have not changed, and in fact both realities are closer to materializing than ever before.

Given the more immediate need for relocation due to the upcoming Arverne-by-the-Sea Project, the Addabbo Center and RDRC continue to move through the public process of developing this city-owned property in phases; Phase I: the health center and Phase II: a new educational center. Construction on Phase I will commence early in 2004. It should not be misunderstood that the new home for Addabbo is a Plan B proposal for the site.

From the beginning York College was identified as one of several educational providers for the Educational Center. York College very early in this process identified which programs under their umbrella they believe will meet the greatest needs in the Rockaways. On Monday, October 13, Dean Ron Thomas of York College, who has represented the school on this project from the very beginning, reiterated the point to RDRC that "York's expansion into the Rockaways was proposed to offer courses in the following areas: pre-college courses, introductory college level Liberal Arts courses, and continuing education courses. The 6200 Beach Channel Drive site is one of the locations looked into as a possible site to house the College's expansion in the Rockaways." He further states that the CUNY Aviation Institute at York College is funded by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and is operated by York College in collaboration with The City College and John Jay College of Criminal Justice and was never a part of the expansion in to the Rockaways.

We want to encourage the residents of the Rockaways who eagerly anticipate the realization of this much needed educational center that the Aviation Institute does not detract in any way from the Rockaway Educational Center and the realization of a permanent presence of institutions of higher learning on the peninsula.


Controversy at Beach Channel

Dear Editor,

The controversy at Beach Channel High School shows a shocking breakdown in the system for appointing principals. As a UFT delegate for close to 30 years, I heard quite a few cases of improper behavior reported to the Delegate Assembly.

Most of these conflicts were settled by quiet discipline or assistance, transfer to administrative duties or retirement. Few came to the attention of the general public.

The hiring of principals must be an open process. Candidates must be interviewed and their records reviewed. At BCHS it appears that this did not happen.

There are quite a few former colleagues of Barbara Pleener, both active and retired, who are ready to go on the record concerning her past. The stories will not only embarrass Mrs. Pleener, but the school system itself.

The best solution for the students and teachers at BCHS and the NYC Department of Education would be to quickly and quietly move her back into the exile she came from.


Sanders Will Raise Taxes

Dear Editor,

Politicians have emerged from their cocoons, the politicians who want to be elected or reelected. They lie. They cheat us now that it is election post time. They have their dirty hands in our tax money pockets by feeding the gullible public self-serving nonsense to further their own selfish ambitions. James Sanders running here in Rockaway for City Council is irresponsible for raising your real estate taxes & for doubling sanitation and parking fines. He did not raise a finger of objection when he voted yes to more taxes before the infamous City Council along with his fellow members satisfying our Mayor's dictates.

Mayor Bloomberg along with Sanders and the City Council raised your taxes. His excuse was that the City needed revenue to continue in business. We, in Rockaway, as part of Queens County along with the rest of the outer boroughs paid their fair share of the tax burden. However, James along with other council members and the Mayor did not tell us the real reason for the tax hike along with fines and other thievery of the people. Manhattan was not paying their fair share of the tax burden. Many real estate developers were not paying taxes at all. Case in point, Madison Square Garden property does not pay taxes; Broadway theaters and so-called cultural centers don't pay taxes. Donald Trump erected along the Hudson River massive rental and condo buildings that have been given tax breaks. Manhattan is one big tax break and we, the small homeowners, are getting shafted. The mayor blames the shortfall on 9/11. Properties were wiped out of business. However, the horrendous shortfall in Manhattan was taking place before 9/11 because of the tax burden. Stock market companies were moving out in droves along with other large tax paying companies to other states in nearby New Jersey and Connecticut who have offered great deals to business who come there.

Office space in Manhattan goes begging for customers. The result is that the developers are not paying their tax burden. Case in point: Time Warner Center, a high profile new office building complex where they have given up on renting the spaces and are occupying the building themselves. There are no takers. Asking rents at $70 a square-foot. The question is: who will pay the taxes since there is no income for this exclusive center? Time Warner will move 1,700 workers into these buildings vacating the buildings they came from. Who will pay the taxes in Manhattan? Does the Bloomberg administration foreclose these properties INREM foreclosure? No. The administration elects to raise taxes on the backs of homeowners. James Sanders, the guy who wants to be reelected, raised your taxes instead. He supports more taxes on homeowners. Dump him on Election Day along with the other scoundrels cloaked in their political prostitute suit of clothes. Think before you vote.


Monereau Is Great

Dear Editor,

As a White graduate of Beach Channel's class of 2003, I was outraged after reading the article in The Wave about Mr. Monereau in October 17 paper. As a former student I can tell you that Mr. Monereau was cheered not because he is black but because, the students know he is not only a great teacher but a great person. And, by the way, it was only two years ago Mr. Monereau was booed at every assembly that was held in Beach Channel. Mr. Monereau is a vital part of the faculty that I came to know and love in my four years at Beach Channel. The school surely won't be the same with out him. To Mr. Monereau my hat goes off to you I will do everything in my power to help you.


When Will You Print It?

Dear Editor,

It has been eight weeks since you received a request from me to help the senior citizens of Roy Reuther House by publishing a letter that contained the U.S. citizen and NY State constitutional tenant rights that have been violated. This was backed by the copy of court orders, which overruled the violations along with correspondence from US government authorities. I had all of these documents presented to you so that you would not have to worry about the possibility of any slander.

As I read the Wave every week, it seems to me that you are more interested and concerned in e.g. dogs, swimmers, bicyclists, surfers, roller skaters, board walkers, wine drinkers on the beach, being instrumental in presenting the fact that victimized senior citizens have been backed at least five times by the Housing Courts against unjustified and illegal housing practices that have been in violation by Roy Reuther House building manager.

Please recognize the necessity of this issue in the plight of hundreds of senior citizens that are victim of this type of unscrupulous housing practices.


Addabbo Gets His Vote

Dear Editor;

The vote that mattered most in the City Council after September 11 was the vote to support our president in his pursuit of the terrorists. Only seventeen of the city council members supported their president. Joe Addabbo was one of them! The resolution # 549 which proclaimed a lack of support for their President's position, on the enforcement of the United Nations resolution number #1441.

Joe Addabo voted his heart, not party, that's a leader. Joe gets my vote!


Racism Is Not The Problem

Dear Editor;

In regard to the comment in Editor's Desk about my role in the Beach Channel High School protest, I want to make clear that my objection was NOT about racism.  We have a problem with the fact that the recommendation from the C-30 committee, which includes a number of parents, concerning the appointment of the principal, was thrown out and then they were told they had a choice of two new applicants who were not on the original list.

We have a major problem in light of all the evidence concerning Principal Barbara Pleener.  We have a problem concerning the chaos and turmoil in the school.  We have a problem concerning incidents of injury to students in the school.  We have a problem with the unruliness and lack of control in the building.

From the beginning we suggested that the school be provided with
additional security and school aides to maintain security and to keep
bathrooms open when needed.  At no time did I ever suggest anything other than the fact that the school needs major help.

At our Democratic club meeting on September 25, Dr. Cashin said no learning was going on when she visited the school.  I could not make a comment like that because I'm not in the building and am not qualified to judge.  It is an actual fact that many students have been arrested since the beginning of September.  The school is overcrowded and needs major reorganization for the protection of the students.  A number of parents in Dayton and Belle Harbor have pulled their children out of the school.

After attending the first Parents Association meeting of the term, I
found parents were angry about overcrowding, closed bathrooms and lack of security.  It was not about who is at the helm, but about the safety of the children.  At the parents meeting, Principal Pleener rattled off the name of the head of security for the Department of Education, but did nothing to assist in this matter.  It hit home when I learned that several sons of Good Government Regular Democratic club members were among those being assaulted.

I marched with the parents to protest conditions in the school, not
the race of the principal.  It is now apparent some of the facts becoming known, that Barbara Pleener was not the right choice for principal.  As I am writing this, I have been told that a new principal would start in the school on Monday, October 27.  His name is Dr. Morris.  He currently works at Maxwell H.S. and at Hofstra University.  I hope to meet him soon.

I hope this clears up any misunderstandings. If you have any questions, feel free to call me at 945-1216.  I'm only a phone call away.


Wohl Is Right About Arverne

Dear Editor;

I congratulate you for continuing to publish the letters of Stephen Wohl. In the past, many have rejected his thoughts on national policy out of hand, and thereby lost the benefit of his cold, hard analysis.

I hope all will read his letter in the Friday October 17 Wave with an open mind. I agree completely that the Arverne solution is wrongheaded. How can such a national treasure be made the means of enriching a few developers.

There is nothing wrong with people getting rich, if it is the result of
their ingenuity and hard work. There IS something wrong with enrichment as the result of cronyism.

Could the Community Board not have insisted on seeing proposals for seaside recreational industries which would have several benefits rather than the ugly shoddy construction and overcrowding that they have approved? Seaside or maritime recreational facilities would provide jobs for the many people already in the Rockaways that need work. Together with intelligent transportation solutions (that would benefit all of us) they would attract tourists all year round. New York City is not only the Great White Way, it also is a prime seaside location.

The development violates federal guidelines as far as access to the ocean.

It also does not meet the requirements for optimum traffic flow and
emergency evacuation.

Furthermore, it does not provide for energy efficient construction. (I guess that's OK. After all, Florida Light and Power will be glad to give us a new generation plant to supply the energy that would not be necessary if the buildings included solar panels.

Besides the criminal sidestepping federal standards, the project just
doesn't made sense. The Arverne project (East and West) contemplates 6000 housing units (remember the huge Starrett City has 6000 housing units).

What if there are 1.5 children per family, will the 800 seats the developer is required to provide do much to help overcrowding, school dropouts, and consequent social ills? Or will the city play catch up later, footing the bill, and letting the developer off the hook? After all, at the conservative estimate of 6000 students (4000 x 1.5), the 800 seats will not go far.

Thank you Howard Schwach for publishing the reflections of Stephen Wohl and thank you Stephen for continuing to help us with your research.

But what should we do? What can we do? Anyone with ideas and the proper level of indignation can contact me (I'm in the phone book). Maybe we can make life difficult for the bad guys.

We surely can make sure that Addabbo, Sanders, Smith, Titus, Pheffer, Weiner, Meeks, Clinton, and Schumer know that we are watching them.


NOAA To Investigate

Dear Editor:

This week, members of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are visiting the State of New York to evaluate how the State is adhering to the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, section 312. In 1982, the State of New York received $1.75 billion to join the federal government's Coastal Zone Management Program and receives money annually to educate the public and to enforce the rules and regulations that govern coastal areas. Members of NOAA evaluate New York State's compliance with the Program every three years, and this year's evaluation includes an on-site visit to Rockaway Beach to investigate allegations that much of the new and proposed development throughout the peninsula is in violation of federal law.

The Coastal Zone Management Act, which was passed by Congress in 1972 to protect the precious resources of our nation's coastal areas, applies in all Coastal Zone Boundaries; and the entire Rockaway peninsula, from the ocean to the bay, and from the tip of Breezy Point to the Nassau borderline, including Broad Channel, is considered a Coast Zone Boundary. According to the Coastal Zone Management Act, anything built in a Coastal Zone Boundary must conform to certain standards. For example, any new development in a coastal area must preserve any existing public access or visual corridors to the water. These existing rights of way, which include city streets and may even involve pathways through private property, can be enhanced but must not be diminished. Proposed buildings must also be consistent with the character of the surrounding buildings. In order to ensure the consistency of any proposed development with the regulations, the law requires anyone who wishes to undertake building in a Coastal Zone to fill out and file a consistency assessment form on either the local, state, or federal level.

While both New York City and New York State have each developed their own program for coastal management, they are required by the federal government to have programs that are at least as stringent as the federal program in protecting the coastal zones. Recent construction in Rockaway Beach seems to indicate that the federal standards are not being upheld. Members of the NOAA will inspect sites of alleged inconsistency with the CZMA.

One such site is the new Wavecrest building on Beach 24 Street in Far Rockaway which was built over a mapped right of way to the beach and, as a six story apartment building, is out of character with the surrounding one-story bungalows. Rather than enhance public access to the beach, the structure obliterated easements, and a stark brick wall has replaced the visual corridor to the water. More new buildings are underway on Beach 26 Street and are also being constructed over a mapped right of way to the beach, despite the fact that these bungalows, like their counterparts on Beach 24 Street, have easements recorded into their deeds. In yet another apparent instance of inconsistency with the federal law, the Duane Reade building on Beach 116th Street has built over a mapped right of way to the water, blocking existing public access and wiping out a mapped visual corridor to the water.

Perhaps the site that will take most of NOAA's time during this week's visit will be the 308 acre oceanfront stretch that has been vacant for forty years and is now being primed for proposed development of Arverne. The plan, which recently got the go ahead from Community Board 14, calls for eliminating 46 city blocks and creating four private gated communities. Whether or not the developers filed consistency assessment forms with the proper State and City authorities remains to be seen, but it is doubtful that such a drastic diminishment of public access to the water will ever be deemed consistent with the aims of the CZMA.

I hope the NOAA evaluation team takes action to correct these alleged violations and supervises a team to educate the Community Boards, the politicians, and the public about the rules and regulations laid out in the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972. I hope they hold accountable the State and City officials who failed to enforce these coastal laws. For without NOAA to keep the coast clear of inconsistencies and violations of federal law, I am afraid Rockaway will sink to new levels of muddy mismanagement.


Community Is Not Fair

Dear Editor;

The memorial to those who died on Flight 587 should be at the site, where the plane crashed and where all the bodies were found.

A memorial close by the site doesn't make sense at all.  

I am opposed to how the Belle Harbor community is reacting towards all of this. Some of their neighbors died that day, and they don't even think about that.  After all, it was more Spanish people that died and perhaps they don't care. That is not fair and it not right.


The Old Rockaway

Dear Editor:

I have just read Stephen Whol's story about our beautiful Rockaway. We moved out 40 years ago. Even then drugs were starting to take over.  In all that time Rockaway has gone downhill. The city doesn't care about people only money. First they threw low-income people into summer bungalows after WW II. There were very few places to find employment and that is why most of Rockaway went to the city or other nearby towns for employment.  How did they expect people with a low income to afford the LIRR or bus travel to jobs? In forty years whenever we visited our former home we went home almost in tears to see the ruins and disarray of the entire area. Rockaway has the most beautiful beaches in the world and should be a place that is enjoyed by all. Instead of traveling to the Bahamas, and other beach areas.

Rockaway is the place to be. (The old Rockaway).


Cursing on the Bus

Dear Editor,

My heart is very heavy this evening. Today on the Green Line Bus we had to go to the back of the bus. There were three teenagers who had filthy mouths. Everything that came out of their mouths started with an "F." They were very loud and proud of what they were saying. It's so sad to hear young, pretty girls cursing like truck drivers. My eyes swelled up with tears. These kids need help. The bus drivers shouldn't let them ride in the bus. They have no respect for the older people who also have a right to ride the bus. When I was a teenager, we use to dance and sing, but we didn't curse or disrespect ourselves. They should have an adult ride with them or a police officer. We need someone to help us. Nobody wants to hear that nasty language after a hard day's work. Maybe the bus driver should have a tape player and let them listen to some preaching or church songs.


Far Rockaway Input
(The following letter was sent to the Coalition for Far Rockaway Members.)

Dear Editor,

I would like to use this opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Orit Ben Moyal. I am a Mazer Intergroup Relations Intern at the Jewish Community Relations Council, working on a master's of social work degree with emphasis on community organizing at the Wurzweiller School of Social Work at Yeshiva University. I am assigned to staff the Coalition for Far Rockaway (CFR) and will organize meetings, communicate with members, and develop programs, amongst a variety of other assignments.

During the last general CFR Meeting on October 1, 2003, it was suggested by Bob Kaplan to add an educational component to each of the coalition meetings to enhance our knowledge, awareness, and assessment of communal needs and current issues.

With the goal of creating more effective and interesting meetings, our intention is to identify topics for potential presentations, so we can start planning the upcoming coalition meetings. Therefore, I would like to ask you to share with us your thoughts, areas of interest and ideas for potential subjects, nationally and locally, which you would find valuable.

You can email me at ben-moyal@jcrcny.org. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any question you may have. We look forward to hearing from you and value your input.


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