2004-01-16 / Letters


Far Rock Is Out of Control
Dear Editor,


Far Rock Is Out of Control

Dear Editor,

I attend Far Rockaway High School and the school is seriously out of control. It has gotten to the point where they have to have dozens of cops with guns in the school. The cops within the school are not helping the situation. It's gotten to the point where I fear for my life when I walk into the school in the morning.

First we have to get scanned. That's ok. But now we have to take our shoes off and get our bag searched. I mean we are just going to school we are not going to RIKERS ISLAND. I honestly don't think that this is fair to us students. They have it on the news that it's the students' fault85but its not.

Yes, there are fights in the school but which schools don't have fights? Kids are being beaten up in the hallway by police officers. It's really getting out of hand now. We are being assaulted for nothing and it's not fair. Many things go on in Far Rockaway High School that they fail to let out.

If the students are in the hall with a paper pass they put the kids down in the cold basement for the day. The kids are given assignments to do. Hello! Why would you put kids down there if the kid did not sign the pass himself? Shouldn't the teacher be held responsible for this? I would be really happy if you could look into this. Please give the students a chance to tell our side about what happens at Far Rockaway High School.

All I see in the news now is what the kids at Far Rockaway High School are doing. What about what the teachers don't do? How they don't teach. What about parents who send their kids to school to learn and not to get beat up by cops? What about the principal not being there not doing anything for the school? The only time you see her is when the bell rings. What about all that?

No one wants to take responsible action because they feel that we kids have no say, and that they only see us as troublemakers. But that's not true. I am a senior who has never been suspended or left back.

Why don't I see in the news how Far Rockaway High School has an In-House program where they put kids in one room for 6 periods and the kids cant eat or drink anything until 7th period. You can only go to the bathroom one time a day. How come we never hear about that on the news or in the paper?

Why: because that's one of Far Rockaway High School's secrets that they don't want to let out. I'm praying to God that you guys over at the wave contact me. Please hear me out. I'm not that only one who feels this way. There's lot of us who feel this way. If you would please look into it we, the students, would be very happy.

Thank you.



On Our Way Clarified

Dear Editor,

Thank you for the coverage of our award ceremony on December 23 (On Our Way Celebrates Award.) We are deeply honored that the NYC DOH acknowledged our service to the community.

However, there are several points that need clarification for your readers. Firstly, Sandy Ungar is our In take Coordinator, and she is not authorized to tell a parent if a child is eligible for services. In fact, On Our Way does not determine eligibility, nor does any program like it. Ms. Ungar can schedule evaluations since we are an approved evaluation site. However, approval for services lies with either the Early Intervention official or the CPSA administrator at the appropriate meetings.

Additionally, Assemblywoman Pfef fer and Speaker Silver will be working to keep the NYS Early Interven tion Program as a whole away from the Governor's "axe," not simply On Our Way as the caption below the photo may suggest.

Lastly, On Our Way also provides physical therapy, often a key component to addressing delays in the development of young children including infants. This service was omitted from your article. Thank you.



Trip To Nowhere

Dear Editor,

I recently left Rockaway to take the A train to transfer to the new JFK Airtrain; not to go to the airport, but to take the Airtrain into Jamaica and link to the Long Island Rail Road. I called to confirm times and money transfers and basically was lied to over the telephone by the Airtrain operator. What the operator and brochures don't tell the traveler is that the cost of the ride is $10, not $5.

The Airtrain, connected to Howard Beach, is considered a branch; a transfer to Federal Circle is needed to take the Airtrain to Jamaica, costing an additional $5. The Airtrain is a "Trip To Nowhere" costing $2 train fare, $10 Airtrain fare = Roundtrip $24 without the cost of the LIRR.



Weiner Needs a Civics Lesson

Dear Editor,

If Congressman Wei ner runs for mayor, as "Beachcomber" suggests, this is to demand that he first undergo remedial training in the U.S. Constitution. Please recall that on December 7, 2000, Weiner, on his House of Representatives official stationery, showing him as a member of the House Judiciary Committee, sent a letter, joined by two state legislators, to influence a bankruptcy judge on the Dayton Seaside litigation. Mr. Weiner gave no notice of this letter to those who were its targets. Indeed, the court through chambers distributed a memo to the lawyers on the Dayton Seaside bankruptcy stating that the letter could not be considered by the judge in reaching his decision.

Clearly, Mr. Weiner is in need of instruction about the wall separating the legislative and judicial branches of the federal government, a wall created by the U.S. Constitution. Cer tainly, Mr. Weiner's willingness to open a breach in that wall should question his fitness to be on the House Judiciary Committee - as well as his comprehension of the oath he took to support the Constitution.

Indeed, perhaps we should all get the reform in government if we elected people who just honored their oath of office. What, after all, are demands for campaign finance reform if not clear implications that our elected officials are a bit rusty in observing due process, fair play, equal protection of the laws. We do not deserve representatives who ignore their oath of office in any form - unless we tolerate such disregard.

But Beachcomber's mention of the next mayoral contest brings to mind a different scenario. Wouldn't it be interesting if Attorney General Spit zer decided on an office closer to Wall Street than the governor's mansion? Does anyone doubt that Mr. Spitzer would be our next mayor if he ran? And that, in turn, could create a new situation in Albany: Gov. Hillary Clinton (and how grateful Senator Schumer would be for that turn of events, no doubt.) Just the way to get some executive experience, provided a presidential run this year does not happen for Senator Clinton.



Moderates Need Not Apply

Dear Editor:

In the January 2 issue of The Wave, two letter-writers took me to task for stating that I had left the Democratic Party and become a Republican because I was fed up with the way Democratic politicians and leaders have reacted to the attacks on our country on September 11th, 2001 and to their constant carping and demeaning criticism of President Bush's courageous and farsighted handling of America's response to those events.

Norman Silverman wrote that the attack on Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein was wrong because Saddam was not proven to be a danger to us (no connection with 9/11, no weap ons of mass destruction) while the military action to remove him was just too costly, too dangerous and could make matters worse. These are respectable arguments though I disagree with them. As I said in my earlier letter, the issue was not a proven connection to 9/11 or even the possession of weapons of mass destruction. It was that Saddam Hussein was a danger to us because of his activities and behavior. These included his expansionist ambitions, his documented efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction (as most clearly evidenced by the fact he had and used them in the past), his cruel tyranny in his own country, and his contacts with and support of terrorists including those who attacked us on September 11th, 2001.

Silverman went on to add that going into Iraq was wrong because "we cannot afford to pay for prescription drugs, an effective school system, better mass transit, crime control or protection of our water or food supply if we spend hundreds of billions we don't have (deficit spending) on unnecessary wars." But what he misses here is that all this spending on domestic concerns he favors will be meaningless if we cannot defend our shores. What would people like Silverman have had us do after the attacks on 9/11? Not fight back? Certainly we can argue about the advisability of taking the war to Saddam Hussein who had been a growing threat to world stability and peace for decades. I happen to think it made tremendous sense but others question it. But just spending money on domestic concerns while our enemies operate with impunity around the world is an invitation to disaster.

In my prior letter I had noted that President Bush is in good company in standing up for America, the company of men like Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy, both of whom were not afraid to confront this nation's enemies militarily if necessary. To that Silverman answered that "President Truman had to fire General Macarthur when he wanted to lead U.S. troops into China" and concludes with a statement that "A successful change in American policy would inspire those who believe in democracy . . . throughout the world as the election of John F. Kennedy did in 1960." I must admit I have no idea what he means by these statements, besides trying to wrap today's sorry crop of naysaying Democratic candidates in a mantle their rhetoric and policy prescriptions have not earned them. None in the Demo cratic field of presidential aspirants sound as if they would stand up for this country the way Bush has done, just like Truman and Kennedy before him.

The other letter-writer, Mr. Jesse Plutzer reminds us, "under the Republican president Herbert Hoov er . . . families (were) put out on the street by city marshals" and notes that this "made (him) into a lifelong Democrat." While I respect Mr. Plutzer's devotion to the loyalties of his youth and admire his eighty-plus years (I hope to be as articulate as he is at that age), I would like to remind him that the Hoover years and the Great Depression were a long time ago. Today's Republicans are not Herbert Hoover's Republicans any more than today's Democrats are the Democrats of such presidents as FDR, Truman and Kennedy. In deed, the Democrats of Howard Dean and John Kerry and all the others are a party of negativism and anger that would have shamed their predecessors. The ideas of this current crew seem to be exclusively about getting back into power so they can raise our taxes, make nice to those who despise us around the world, and spend more domestically while the terrorists who brought us 9/11 ride roughshod over the planet.

In fact those who, like me, disavow such policies include many still in the Democratic Party, people like former New York Mayor Ed Koch, retiring Georgia Senator Zell Miller, and former Clinton administration official Andrew Cuomo. At least one other Democrat, who like Mr. Plutzer is in his 80's, Texas Rep. Ralph Hall, has recently announced a decision to switch from the Democratic to the Republican Party just as I recently did and for the same reasons.

Why this disaffection? It seems to me that today's Democratic Party has been hijacked by the left, as reflected by Howard Dean's brand of angry, intolerant politics. They've made their message clear: 'moderates need not apply' and that's a sad trend for a once-great party. And the reason I left.



For Melissa and Mike

Dear Editor,

The other day, I looked at my St. Francis de Sales yearbook from 1996 and I stared at two faces two classmates that are gone. Their names were Mike Cunneen and Melissa Lampropoulos. I think back on those years in grammar school and I regret not knowing Mike and Melissa well enough. Still, they were my old classmates. They made me smile, as they made many others smile. I knew them well enough to miss them. I knew them well enough to know that many others miss them too. This poem is for Mike and Melissa. It is also for their classmates, friends and for their families, who will never forget.

Song for Melissa and Mike

In a house of sand you grew
You breathed sea air
You felt the breeze blowing off the bay
You once walked the sun warmed sand
And swam these summer seas
But now, no more
Like a summer day, your lives stood
Too short, not long enough

And now, when we hear the breeze
It sings a sad song
It whispers of what once was
When we were young
When the schoolyard was our world
When skin was soft, not weather worn
When our heart beats with child's blood
But now, no more

And now, when we walk on the beach
Our feet leave lonely footprints
The waves crash, and the ocean sings
It sings for you
A song of what once was
When you played in the water
When you left footprints in the sand
But now, no more

Like you, we are all children of the water
Sons and daughters of the sand
And, I should never say "no more"
For you live in the song of the ocean
Your voices blow in the breeze
Your hearts beat in the waves
And your touch is that of the sand



Thank You Walter Blum

Dear Editor,

In 1978 I had a serious cancer operation. While undergoing radiation and chemotherapy, I "bumped" into Walter Blum. He told me he had just given platelets in my name. Unless you're in the condition I was in, you can't imagine the lift and hope I received. When I thank God, and my family for my recovery, I also thank Walter Blum.


Dubos Point Mosquitos

Dear Editor,

(The following letter was sent by President of Friends of Rockaway, Bernie Blum to the Parks Commis sioner, Adrian Benepe.)

The production of mosquito larvae in enormous quantities is not what Dubos Point (a.k.a. Mosquito Point) should be known for! There should be a boardwalk and marine science center as at Marine Park, near Gerrit sen Inlet, in Brooklyn. So will the Department please apply for bond act funds or arrange for other funding sources to restore this ecologically valuable site that initiated "Buffer the Bay" of NYC Audubon Society and Trust for Public Land.

Also, will a lifeguard team be provided for the Arverne Beaches that are accessible by the Gaston Avenue subway stop at Beach 67 Street. Thank you for your kind attention.

P.S. Dubos Point stores too much standing water and has the Commissioner of the NYCDOH contacted the Parks Dept. about this?


Environment in Breezy

Dear Editor,

I am writing in response to the letter to the editor written Stephen Wohl in the January 9 edition of The Wave. I must congratulate Mr. Wohl on completing such a great work of fiction about the Breezy Point Cooperative and the plight of the piping plovers.

I served on the board of directors of the cooperative from July 1997 until July 2000. I can tell you the plight of the piping plover was always given top priority by the board. The cooperative went out of its way to follow every restriction suggested by the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service. An extensive program is undertaken every nesting season. Nesting areas are fenced off at the cooperative's expense, and access is restricted for people, dogs and any kind of vehicular traffic throughout the entire nesting period. The various government services have asked for a greater area of beach to be restricted each year to the point that probably two-thirds of our beach is restricted area during the nesting period and the cooperative always complies with these directives. Fed eral inspectors have free access to these areas at all times.

As for your story of 21 nests being run over by a cooperative "goon" at the board's directive, I'd like to ask you where you got this information. The federal inspectors would have found this if in fact it did happen. Nice try Mr. Wohl. But get your facts straight next time. There was an instance a few years back where a nest was disturbed. The federal inspectors could not determine if it was done by a human or a cat or a raccoon. For the last few years there have been fewer nests on the beach, but most of the chicks that are born, do in fact fledge. The federal inspectors have deemed the cooperative program a success.

I'd like to fill you in on a few things Mr. Wohl: Kevin Buckley has not been the manager of the Breezy Point Cooperative for about a year now. I will also tell you that when Mr. Buckley did serve as the general manager he did his utmost to have the cooperative comply with all the federal directives. You talk about the encroachment on to the piping plover areas. If anything, we have given up more of the beach each year to these nesting areas. Mr. Wohl, you also spin a yarn about the federal court making a decision to use dredged sand (at the public's expense, you point out) from Central Rockaway beaches to widen the beach at Breezy Point. First of all, there was no federal court decision as you call it. The sand used on the Breezy Beaches is from the shipping channels in and around Jamaica Bay. The United States Army Corps of Engineers approached the cooperative first to ask if they could dump this sand on our beaches because it would make it easier for them and we agreed. The Breezy Point Cooperative does and will continue to do what is right for the environment and our neighbors in Rockaway, be they human or animal. I don't know what planet you are from Mr. Wohl, but the next time get your information at least half right.


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