2003-12-12 / Columnists

Beachcomber

Beachcomber

Service on the highly-touted AirTrain will begin next week. The 8.1 mile link between Jamaica, Howard Beach and John F. Kennedy Airport has been 30 years in the making. Whether the service will sell is another story. Many critics of the program say that what’s needed is a one-seat ride from the airport to Manhattan. As things now stand, riders from the airport to Manhattan will have to change at Jamaica to either the LIRR or the subway.

Editors at The Wave often discuss the ethics of journalism as part of an ongoing educational process for new journalists. When The New York Post ran an editorial cartoon depicting two firefighters at Ground Zero, one asking his dying buddy if his wife were free that night," it reopened the debate on "over-the-top" editorial cartoons. While we obviously support free speech and the right of the Post cartoonist to be heard, we could not let this pass, especially in a community that lost so many firefighters on September 11, without commenting and decrying the Post cartoon. It was indeed inappropriate, even as a editorial comment on an ongoing news story.

The two congressmen who represent Rockaway, Greg Meeks and Anthony Weiner, will hold a town hall meeting on Wednesday, December 17 at 8 p.m. The event, to be held at Congregation Kneseth Israel at 728 Empire Avenue, seems to be dedicated to the Rockaway Orthodox community, but we assume that anybody who shows up will be welcome.

One has to wonder what Mayor Bloomberg was thinking when he made the deal to give New York City to the company that makes Snapple. An investigation by City Comptroller Bill Thompson discovered that the contract was let without any competitive bidding and without really thinking the deal through. First of all, $21 million will go back from the city to the marketing company that brokered the deal, a company that is owned by Snapple’s parent company. What was the mayor’s response to Thompson? "We don’t need your approval," the mayor’s office said. "This deal can’t be stopped." Typical of the mayor, who thinks that he can make any decisions he wants without community input. Look for a move on the American Airlines Flight 587 Memorial in Rockaway that will do much the same.

Ex-Black Panther and now City Councilman Charles Barron has made headlines once again for saying, "White men have too much power in this city and we have to equitably distribute the power positions." Barron says that he will rally students, residents of housing projects and young hip-hoppers to support his program of redistributing the power. What Barron does not understand is that there is already a way to distribute power in this city, and its called "voting."

Want to know why schools cannot control their students any longer? A Michigan student got up in the school cafeteria and called the principal a "skank," and a "tramp." The student was suspended, but the ACLU took the student’s case and a court recently ruled that Michigan’s verbal assault law was unconstitutional. If it’s okay for a student to be that disrespectful to the principal, think what he or she can say to or about a teacher. There has to be a certain order and discipline in a school in order for students to learn and institutions such as the courts, the Advocates for Children and other do-gooders are insuring that there will be neither order nor discipline in our schools. Until the discipline question is addressed, no changes that the mayor and chancellor might make will make a bit of difference.

The house lighting ceremony at the "Little North Pole" had to be postponed one day due to the blizzard that hit us on Friday and Saturday, but it went off on Sunday night with hundreds of cold locals in attendance. Those who have not seen the home at 144-03 Neponsit Avenue should take a ride one evening and do so. Donations are being accepted on site for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.

While the rate of index crimes committed in the city continues to drop, there has been a precipitous rise in murders in both of our two precincts. In the 100 Precinct (Rockaway Beach), there were two murders last year and four this year, a 100 percent rise. In the 101 Precinct, in Far Rockaway, there were five murders last year and a whopping 12 this year, for a 140 percent rise. There are a number of reasons for this setback. Drugs and gangs are making a comeback, particularly in the city housing projects that dot the peninsula. At the same time, it has become much more difficult for police officers to address the problems because of new rules in obtaining warrants as well as in confronting those who are believed to be carrying a weapon. You can’t handcuff the cops and expect them to keep drugs, gangs and guns from impacting the community.

The city council is aiming for potty parity, and we think that it is about time. For years, we have watched the lines outside of female rest rooms grow and grow as men simply walked in and did their business. Women often have to wait up to a half and hour. This also impacts men, of course, those who have to stand and wait while their women stand in line. The council wants to make a law that there has to be two women’s toilets for each men’s toilets that are built. Some think this is a frivolous law, but it is about time.


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