2003-11-21 / Editorial/Opinion

A Political Fight Would Be Counterproductive

A Political Fight Would Be Counterproductive

The last thing that Rockaway needs is a fight between Congressman Anthony Weiner and Mayor Michael Bloomberg over a permanent memorial on the peninsula in memory of those who died in the crash of American Airlines Flight 587. In a fight between those two political heavyweights, Rockaway can only come out the loser. Weiner has been negotiating for the local residents for two years. He was asked by the Belle Harbor Property Owners Association and other local activists to be their point man right after the crash. We have to assume that he has done so in good faith, even though the negotiations have been behind closed doors. He said at a meeting at the Beach Club a few weeks ago that he was close to working out a compromise that would include a small plaque at the site and the inclusion of tribute bricks and benches in a special section of Tribute Park on Beach 116 Street. While we do not believe that the families of the people who died on the plane will accept that solution, at least it is a compromise that could have begun the discussion. Instead, the mayor came along and bypassed the community entirely by placing a small plaque (that included his name along with the name of Borough President Helen Marshall), and the promise of a "suitable memorial" for Rockaway. Nobody in the community knew the plaque was coming, not Weiner, not the community board, not the homeowner’s association. At the memorial, a representative from mayor’s office told The Wave, "Weiner will have nothing to do with the decision on a permanent memorial." That means that the community will have nothing to do with the memorial as well, and that does not bode well for this community. We urge our congressman and our mayor to get together and to take the community’s interest to heart. Otherwise, Rockaway will once again get something from the city that it did not bargain for.

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