2004-01-30 / Letters



More on Bush

Dear Editor,

In his column "The Rockaway Irreg ular", Stuart W. Mirsky seems disturbed by the anger and bitterness expressed by some persons opposed to the Bush administration. I believe that as more facts become known and more people become aware of the facts, this hostility will grow.

On Sunday we learned from Paul O'Neill, President Bush's first Treas ury Secretary, that this administration was preparing for a war against Iraq as soon as they took office. He also found a lack of evidence of the weapons of mass destruction which were cited as the reason for beginning hostilities and forcing the U.N. ins pectors to leave before they could comp lete their job.

Those Americans who lost sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, and husbands and wives will find that the only justification for the Iraq invasion and occupation was a resolution pass ed in 1998 calling for regime chan ge in Iraq. Few, if any, members of Con gress who voted for this resolution believed it could lead to an almost unilateral, preemptive attack and occupation of Iraq. The anger at the deception will not be pretty.

If we are looking for more civilized dis cussion of U.S. foreign policy, I would start with WABC radio. In addition to Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, a regular voice on the station was Richard Bey. Some may know him as an entertainer and host of a daytime television show. Others may know him as a Rockaway resident and a student at J.H.S. 180 in the 1960's. I did not know him personally, but enjoyed his description of a role-playing lesson by Sidney Koski in his social studies class. Koski was an experienced teacher when I began teaching there in 1963.

In early 2003, Richard Bey began to regularly analyze administration policy and statements on Iraq. As the war began, Richard Bey disappeared from the airwaves. No one at the station will discuss the reasons for his termination. I urge those who know Richard Bey to contact WABC, so we can again hear civilized discussion of the critical issues facing us.


Trying To Help Youth

Dear Editor;

Thank you very much for agreeing to address the error sent to your office regarding the essay winner of the 2nd Annual Community Unity Cultural Day Celebration. To follow is information that I would appreciate you tying into our retraction if you can to hi-light the continued work of Carleton Manor Community Service Program (CMCSP).

Please keep in mind that CMCSP and it's collaborative committee, which includes other residents from New York City Housing Authority dev elopments and support from various service providers are only two years old, yet because of our driving mission we will continue to work on empowering initiatives no matter what form the obstacle takes.

I mentioned to you, due to the ex treme time involved with outreach and actually pulling NYCHA residents together for action movements, we couldn't always be proactive to wards event follow-ups because we have to react towards trying to resolve housing violations.A0Case in point, we were unable to fully reach out to our essay winners in a timely fashion that they would have had an opportunity to take part in the Rus sell Simmons, Hip-Hop Summit Ac tion Network and WBLS Radio personality Doug Banks - launched new voter registration initiative, "One Mind. One Vote."A0

Our volunteer mem bers worked diligently to gather information needed to coordinate a meeting between NYCHA and State Senator Malcolm Smith regarding our twenty-year struggle for community space to implement the new community service 8-hour mandate.

The Carleton Manor Youth Council has worked with the Hip-Hop Sum mit Youth Council in the past and is making plans to work in collaboration with them again and a television cable producer to launch a voters educational series of workshops within NYCHA.A0

In an effort to promote youth involvement with the co-facilitation of these upcoming workshops, three-four members of the Carleton Manor Community Service program will travel to Greenville and Colum bia, SC to take part in the Pres idential Candidates Debate between the dates of Thursday 1/29/04 and Sat urday 1/31/04.

Although we were unable to allow other residents from the community to attend this experiential trip, we will offer all the students who submitted an essay an opportunity to take part in other very important aspects of the work that we will do as soon as the weather breaks.A0I can on ly say that we are planning to meet the youth where they are by providing them with truth, justice and fun. Every essay submitted is proof that there are youth living in the Rock away community who are not happy with the many problems within their per spective neighborhoods and would like to take part in the positive resolution of community revitalization.A0 CMCSP will do everything feasible to help in their transition of becoming productive mem bers in society.

Members of the CMCSP have always believed that youth must understand how their vote can and will make a difference regarding every aspect of community revitalization and receiving the fair share of funding. Their understanding of how government/civics works will complement their appreciation for knowing the role of an Elected Official and how they can go about having community problems resolved.

I look forward to our return from SC and providing you with pictures from the trip. I promise to send you the site summaries that each youth/ young adult writes in an effort that their thoughts are heard.


Great Channel Students

Dear Editor,

I would like to write something positive about the students at Beach Chan nel High School. There are so many good students.

Approximately one month ago, I asked a few teachers if they could ask their students to write Christmas cards to an adult neighbor at Ocean Prom enade Nursing Home. He is lonely and waits for mail call each day to see if someone writes to him. His name is Joseph Platania, a wonderful senior citizen.

The results were overwhelming. The students created their own hand made cards, wrote sentimental statements and greetings of good luck and good health.

Each day at mail call, Mr. Platania would get so excited to receive a package from each teacher and his/ her students. He told me how much this means to him and he is forever grateful. Thank you students at Beach Channel. I'd also like to thank some of the participating teachers: Shawn Sullivan, Sheila Murray and Alice Baumann.


Did Not Know About Coughlin

Dear Editor:

In my column last week I reviewed the topics submitted by the essay win n ers. One of the essays spoke of Father Charles Coughlin. It has come to my attention that Father Char les Coughlin - a radio broadcaster in the 1930's, was considered to be anti Semitic. This fact was not known to me or any of the committee members. Subsequent to finding this out I spoke to many community mem bers of different religions and walks of life who were also unaware of this.

As a leader of the Rockaway Cat holic Jewish Council with Renee Free man I am actively involved in work ing to eliminate religious or racial bigotry. In fact we are sponsoring the 20th annual essay contest in the Rockaway Schools to promote brotherhood and sisterhood. Any form of religious or racial bigotry in my opinion is intolerable.


On Maria Monti

Dear Editor,

(The following letter was sent by Deidra Castillo of the P.S. 42 Parent Association on the passing of Maria Monti.)

Maria Monti was a loved and en dearing member of our school community for 20 plus years. All through these years, Ms. Monti was there when our school needed her. Through kindergarten graduations, when she would personally iron all the graduation uniforms every year, fund raisers, holiday plays, holiday celebrations for the student body, committee meetings for our new library, parent meetings throughout the district when we needed a parent to show up to represent our school, district meetings that appointed new staff, cakes for birthdays of her children and staff, and always a well wish at the end of every week that we have a good weekend.

Maria was a caring and giving person who never put herself first. At any time, if there was someone who needed help, Maria was there for them. All of her children went to P.S. 42, and Daneen was her youngest to enter our halls. A dedicated mother, Maria knew that education was the way to improve your life and stressed this with her children, whom she was so proud of.

This letter is to inform you that Maria was not just another victim of a cruel murder on our New York City streets. Maria meant something to our school and community; she was loved, respected and appreciated. She is us!

Not one of our school staff that has heard of Maria's murder has been able to sleep; only our tears tire our eyes enough for them to close. Our mourning is profound and burning our hearts with loss and worry for her surviving children. Maria Monti was a significant individual who touched a lot of lives and deserved an article honoring her life instead of detailing a gruesome death.

This is a humble attempt to honor a life that was taken from us too soon.

The school family P.S. 42 Queens is asking all of the Rockaway New York City School Community to assist us in raising funds for the Monti Family in their time of need. Please make checks payable to the Monti Family Fund. All Donations can be sent to:

P.S. 42 Queens Parent Association
488 Beach 66 Street
Arverne, NY 11692


Questions About Arverne

The following letter was sent by Bax ter to the city's Department of Hous ing Preservation and Development.

Dear Mr. Jackson:

Thank you for your response to my letter to Mayor Bloomberg dated Nov ember 14, 2003, in reference to the development of the Arverne Ur ban Renewal Area in Rockaway Beach. HPD is well aware that the Arverne Urban Renewal Area went through many stages since the area was first proposed for condemnation under the Lindsay administration. Arverne was declared a slum and blighted area under the Urban Re newal Program.

One must ask the simple question. Why did 308 acres of oceanfront prop erty go for more than 35 years without being developed? Based on all the Board of Estimate records on Arverne starting in 1964, I believe the answer is simple.

The City of New York received more than ten million dollars from the federal government to pay the property owners before condemnation. The Cor poration Council agreed to accept the money on the condition that they would have to abide by federal law. They didn't. In violation of the federal Housing Act of 1964, section 402, the city condemned the Arverne area without offering a single penny to the property owners. Each owner had to sue the city to get his or her money.

Now we see another example of the city breaking federal law. HPD is also aware that the Coastal Zone Man age ment Act of 1972 applies in a Coastal Zone Area. Arverne is one.

How can the city be in compliance with the CZMA if the Arverne plan calls for eliminating 46 public streets going north-south from Rockaway Beach Boulevard to the Atlantic Ocean? The state Coastal Manage ment Program Policy 19 and the city's New Waterfront Revitalization Program Policy 8 clearly spells out that existing Public Access and Vis ual Corridors must be maintained, enhanced and restored if necessary, and if that policy is not carried out, the proposed action SHALL NOT be undertaken.

New York State adopted the federal program and New York City Adopted the state program, and they all have to be consistent. The rules and regulations should apply everywhere and not selectively dep ending on the whims of wealthy developers and/or residents.

What I mean by that statement can easily be seen in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn on the east side of Coney Is land Avenue, running along the ocean.

There you must go through no less than 3 electronically locked steel gates to pass through the new development to get to the beach. It sounds good, and of course selfish, if you pay one and a half million dollars for a condo. Your money guarantees that no one will have access to the beach from the development area except people who live there. Another example is in Bergen Beach, Brooklyn. New homes were built on the perimeter bordering Jamaica Bay and denying almost everyone in the area Public Access and Visual Corridors to the water.

I don't believe for one min ute the people in Rockaway Beach would agree to the same type of re duced public access to the waterfront in their area. I can't for the life of me understand why all those city agencies and politicians would agree to building in any area if they really knew that laws were being broken. I have to assume their ignorance of the law is responsible for the apparent violations of local, state, and federal coastal management laws.

Knowing the history of the Arverne Urban Renewal Area, I firmly believe it is time to call for an investigation. It is time to clear up what appears to me to be an example of the government thumbing their noses at the public and using the public's money to do it.


Sneaking Past Social Promotion

Dear Editor:

You're almost correct when it comes to social promotion. The "maycellor" said he/they was/were doing away with Social Promotion in Elem en tary School at least three years ago. The children were not promoted in June, that is correct. A significant number of them went to Summer School.

Some children who were unsuccessful were then promoted in August under the radar when the media is busy talking about summer sizzle, beach pollution, the US Open, Labor Day Cook-outs etc.

Placing those children in the next grade after a 20-25 day program even if they did not succeed does not help them. Some caregivers think that mere attendance in Summer School is a free pass to the next grade. It is my hope that this will not be the case in 2004 while the media snoozes in the late August sun.


Howard, a Good Man

Dear Editor,

I for one would like to thank Mr. How ard for all the good he has planned for Broad Channel. It is no small thing he is going to do for Broad Channel: a drug store and med ical centers, both very much needed by the people of Broad Channel. We all should thank Mr. How ard for investing his time and money to better Broad Channel.

Let's hear it for the Howards who put something back into the Chan nel. We owe them a heartfelt thank you from us all.

I grew up in Broad Channel in the fifties and sixties and it is a great place to live and raise a family. I wish I were back in Broad Channel now that good days are ahead.


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