Now that the "mad cow" crisis has abated somewhat, I have managed to get my crystal ball cleaner and can now see clearly into the future.
Here’s what’s going to happen, beginning where I left off in my January 9 column.
May: City Councilman Joe Addabbo is mobbed at a Beach Club meeting by an angry crowd in bathing suits, dem and ing that the new beach and boardwalk rules be repealed. Addabbo refuses to speak with the crowd, saying that he would speak with one person at a time. By the time the meeting ends, Addabbo has spoken with 12 people. "Seven of those I spoke with, all Nep onsit residents, were in favor the new rules, so I will not fight them," Addab bo announces at the end of the meeting.. "That is what I consider a real consensus." He has to be taken from the restaurant by police officers when several of the demonstrators threaten him with spear guns.
The Chamber of Commerce hires Stephen Wohl as its executive director to replace Lew Simon. Wohl, however, physically attacks chamber president John Lepore at the organization’s first meeting, calling him a "Running dog lackey of the insurance interests."Whol is arrested and fired as executive director.
Region Five Supervising Administ rat or Kathleen Cashin is fired by the Department of Education for speaking with a New York Post reporter. She immediately accepts a job as the Chan cellor for all the schools in the Brook lyn Diocese. In her place, the DOE hires Lew Simon, pointing out that his resume says that he is a licensed teach er and an administrator, stating, "We wanted a man with lots of educational experience and one who knows how to deal with the press. Simon is that man"
Former BCHS assistant principal Claude Monereau sues the DOE on the grounds that it is clear that he is the only person in the world qualified to do Simon’s job. "They don’t understand me," Monereau says in a press statement. "I am the greatest."
Democratic candidate John Kerry offers Bush’s National Security Ad visor, Liz Sulik, the vice presidential slot on his ticket. Although she’s been working for a Republican, she immediately accepts and goes on the campaign trail. The announcement of her candidacy is made at the site of the Rockaway Tribute Park, which is still not ready for its grand opening.
The DOE, which received 750 applications for the District 27 Community Education Council (CEC) slated to replace CSB 27 in July, is so inundated with the paperwork that it announ ces that it cannot hold the election as promised on May 11. It announces that the community school board for district 27 will stay in office until at least December.
June: Lew Simon is fired by the DOE when a local paper points out that his resume is a fabrication. "We had such high hopes for him," the Chancellor says. "He looked so good on paper."
With Liz Sulik at this side, John Kerry becomes the front-runner for the Democratic Party nomination. Sulik promises to make sure that Rock away gets a commuter ferry service and that the planes would stop flying over Belle Harbor.
Congressman Anthony Weiner an noun ces that he will run for Mayor in 2005. "That should get me away from Rock away, which was never considered to be part of the city," Weiner said. "The whining about the damn planes and the swimming pool is driving me crazy."
Claude Monreau is selected as the new Region Five supervisor and he immediately fires everybody who ever said anything negative about him. He secludes himself at his Rockaway Boulevard office.
"When you are as good as I am, you don’t have to speak to anybody," he says in a statement issued through his secretary. He issues a memo to the entire school community that anybody even seen talking with a reporter would be fired immediately.
The Chamber of Commerce announ ces that Tribute Park would certainly be open by September 11. "That has been our aim all along," a chamber member says. Rockaway environmentalist Bernie Blum is chosen as the organization’s new executive director. He immediately calls for an end to lot cleaning in Rockaway, arguing that the chamber’s members are stealing Rockaway’s topsoil.
The city council passes a law banning snow in the coming winter season.
Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe closes the Rockaway beaches for the summer season. "Think of all the money we’ll save on lifeguards and beach cleaning," he says. He adds, "the move to close the beach will save the lives of all those who might have died in that dangerous surf this season and will insure that there will be less beer drinking on the beach this year than in any year in the past.
City Councilman Joe Addabbo issues a statement thanking Benepe for being so considerate of the lives of Rockaway residents.
Several thousand Rockaway residents show up on the boardwalk on the first hot Sunday of the month and hundreds are arrested by Park Enfor ce ment Police Officers. "We have to put this insurrection down early," Ben epe says. "We cannot allow lawlessness in our parks." That evening, Ben epe attends a concert on the beach at Coney Island, handing out free beer to concert-goers.
JULY: Tens of thousands New York ers jam the beach and boardwalk on July 4 to demonstrate against the closing of Rockaway’s beaches. Beach Chan nel High School is turned into a detention center and thousands of men, women and children are locked into the athletic field for several days before the ACLU gets them sprung.
A teenager who made a sand castle on the beach is sentenced to several months in prison for making "illegal constructions" on the beach.
City Councilman Joe Addabbo dec ries the arrests, but argues that the majority of people who he spoke to think that beachgoers are too noisy and that the beaches should remain closed for years to come.
Thirteen businesses on Beach 116 Street go out of business because of the beach ban. The Chamber of Commer ce’s new executive director, Jate Dor em us (whose wife works for Addabbo), issues a statement that, "Weak businesses are going out all the time. We can only hope they will be replaced by stronger, year-round firms.
More than 100 parents sign a statement that they will not consider MS 180 as a viable alternative for their kids until Cashin’s original plan for the school is implemented by the DOE. Unfortunately, nobody any longer knows that that plan entailed. Cashin refuses to tell anybody, stating that she "does not remember."
July passes with 3,746 arrests for breaking curfew on the beach and boardwalk.
The mayor and Commissioner Ben epe are ecstatic.
"Not only are we saving money by closing the beach," the mayor says. "Think of what all that fine money will do for the city budget."