2004-01-30 / Columnists

Beachcomber

Representative Anthony Weiner took his life in his hands last week end, when he donned his hockey goalie pads and took his stick onto the Mad ison Square Garden ice for a charity hockey game. Weiner, who has played hockey since the age of eight, and who plays on a regular basis, had to face slap shots from the likes of the Mark Messier and Boomer Esiason.

It’s always amazing to us that local organizations often do not want The Wave covering its meetings. That was brought to mind once again at the PS 114 Parent Association meeting on Wednes day night. An officer of the PA was at the Wave office earlier in the day to drop off a picture and she indicated that she was not happy that we were planning on covering the meeting. "Is it legal for you to be there," she asked. When we explained that any public meeting on public property was an "open" meeting, she blanched. At the meet ing, a male officer from the organization came up to the Wave editor and asked him to leave. When he refused, explaining that he had a right to be there, there was a powwow between organization officers and Region Five officials before the issue was finally dropped. What are these people trying to cover up?

City inspectors will be coming to Rockaway shortly to check that sidewalks are cleared of ice and snow. The inspectors have been working other parts of the borough, handing out hundreds of tickets, which cost homeowners $100 for the first offense and $350 for a second offense.

You have to wonder about the Dep art ment of Education, an organization that pushes a book that shows an Amer ican child living in an automobile in front of a dilapidated tenement. Seems that the book shows that most kids around the world live in good hous ing, while American kids live in abandoned cars. The illustration with the story shows a young girl, her mother and brother looking out of the window of the car. The text says, "This is where I live right now. My family is staying in our car. We will move into a house when we can." What will come next?

Residents of the new homes off Beach Channel Drive at Beach 103 Street say that they are plagued by teachers from MS 180, right across the street, who come down the one-way streets the wrong way looking for scarce parking spaces. The new homeowners say that the teachers even endanger students coming from school buses in their quest for a parking spot.

The NYPD is forming two new task force units to address violence in the schools. One will address problems in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island, while the other will handle Manhattan and the Bronx. The 70-officer groups will make highly-visible sweeps in the most violent schools and will respond to major problems in their patrol area.

The Wave often writes of "affordable housing" and "middle-income housing." What do those terms mean? The city recently defined those groups in terms of income. Low income is now defined as families earning 80 percent or less of the federal median income, or those earning between zero and $50,240 per year. Moderate income families earn between $50,241 to $62,799 per year. Middle Income families earn between $62,800 and $157,000 per year. And, you thought that you were rich.

The position of Parent Coordinator was designed for a community person to work as a liaison between the parents and the school administration. Many principals, however, including quite a few in Rockaway, have used the slot to hire friends who have no connection with the community whatsoever. It seems that many of those friends spend more time in the principal’s office, doing personal chores for the principal, than they do meeting and liaising with parents.

The Jamaica Bay Task Force will meet at the Marine Center at Kingsborough CC in Brooklyn on February 18 at 6 p.m. To many locals, that event has no meaning and few from Rock away will attend. The meeting is very important. It will address the plan to put toxic dredge spoils taken from New York Harbor into borrow pits at the eastern end of the bay, off Bays water. Those who are interested in the future of Jamaica Bay should plan to attend and make their voices heard.

City Councilman Joe Addabbo got a large promotion and an additional $10 thousand a year when he agreed to take the chair of the prestigious Civil Service and Labor Committee, but his new job could turn out to be Rock away’s loss. Addabbo will no longer chair the Parks Committee, which holds sway over the city’s parks and beaches. That chair will be taken over by Councilwoman Helen Foster of the Bronx, whose father, Wendell Foster, was once the Parks chair. Having the Parks chair in Rockaway had its benefits, although it did not pay off in terms of beach access rules, but at least we had the ear of the chairperson. We had access. We will no longer have that kind of access with a Bronx legislator who will probably be more interested in City Island than in Rockaway.

Canadian teenager Mike Rowe has started an international incident by registering the personal website he uses from home as www.mikerowesoft.com. Micro soft, the large company that mak es all of our software, did not think that funny. The company offered Rowe $10 for the name. The teenager held out for $1,000. The giant company says it hopes to reach an agreement with the teenager within the week.

The argument over access to health insurance has become a political football, but even those with a health insurance policy sometimes find themselves at a loss. A Wave staffer recently was told that he had a torn rotator cuff in his left arm. His insurance turned down a request for an MRI to find out what damage had been done. Instead, the insurer approved a term of physical therapy without really knowing what the damage might be. The staffer was told that if PT did not work, or made the situation worse, an MRI might then be approved.


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