2004-04-09 / Letters



Anti-Catholic Views

Dear Editor;

I would like to start by saying that I respect the fact that you served in our country's military and taught in our public schools for 33 years.

These are very noble professions and you should be proud of those accom plishments.

That being said, I take issue with last week's "From the Editor's Desk" column. I'm not going to argue the point whether the words "Under God" should be left in the Pledge of Allegiance. I do take issue with your statement, "I have nothing against Catholics or Protestants." You devoted an entire column stating that Chris tians, particularly Catholics, caused your "silent suffering" because you were "forced" to say "Under God" in high school and because you were forced to hear Christian prayers on your naval ship because there didn't happen to be a Jewish chaplain a board your ship.

I'm not sure what the religious break down was in the US Navy at the time you served, but I can only ass ume that, if the general population is any indication, perhaps there weren't as many Jewish servicemen in the Navy. I'm not sure who is to blame for that. You also stated that a Rabbi had to be flown in from France when a Jewish doctor was killed to perform the first Jewish service on an Ameri can man of war in 100 years. You seem ed outraged that the Catholic chap lain was proud of that. I'm not sure why you had such a problem with it, but again, the Catholic chaplain was to blame for your outrage.

Mr. Schwach, your anti-Catholic views have been documented in this news paper for years. It is well known and has been discussed among the Rockaway Catholic community since I have been reading this paper. Many Catholics I know have stopped buying this paper because of your slant. Rock away's population consists largely of Jewish and Catholic people, and your publication can be a great tool in improving relations between these com munities. Instead, you seem to pre fer to create hostilities between the two. It's a real shame.

By the way, the song, "God Bless America," was written by Irving Berlin. He was a Jewish man from the Lower East Side of Manhattan. This song is now sung at professional baseball games in the seventh inning, and I sang it in my early Catholic school days. I suppose I could protest and attempt to get it out of the stadiums because Mr. Berlin's "God" is not my "God." Would I do that? Absolutely not. I don't care if Mr. Berlin was Jewish, Catholic, Hindu, Muslim or Budd hist. I was proud to sing it in Catholic school and I'm proud to sing it now.


Schwach Must Go - Or Change!

Dear Editor,

As long time residents of the "West End" of the Rockaway's both as rent ers and homeowners, we feel that it is time for Howard Schwach to resign or rethink his position as Editor of The Wave.

An editor of a local newspaper shou ld have the support and best interests of the residents the paper is supposed to serve. Mr. Schwach has carried on an editorial campaign vilifying the "evil" West End as part of his personal agenda against parking rules and just maybe because he never purchased a home and the prices have passed him by.

He has called the West End a "weal thy community." Funny, we don't feel that way. The Post Office calls us Far Rockaway and the New York Times calls us a community of cops and firemen. Actually our friends are an eclec tic group representing all car eers.

As a lifelong resident of Rockaway, from 107 Street to 139 Street. Moving to 139 Street at age 1 from 116 Street in 1940, renting the upstairs apartment, and in the summer renting our house out on 139 Street and renting a bungalow on 109 Street. And yes, my parents did register the house as two family in the 1950's. And the reason for the rezoning was after the apartment buildings on 129 Street and 139 Street were built, the homeowners want ed to keep the area residential. The "wealthy" people on 139 Street con sisted of an artist, newspaper press man, teachers, policemen, a jeweler, lumber yard owner, clothier, etc, none making a lot of money. And now, 64 years later, we have a neighborhood make up ranging from blue collar workers to those who are financially successful. Why do the people want to live here, for the simple reason that our community has grown because the homeowner's who rent also live in their homes and are not absentee landlords.

And why are people moving here in large numbers, paying high prices, high rentals, renovating and improving existing homes? We believe it is because of the reasons as indicated. We are not helped by an editor who vents his spleen weekly. Try making some comments that would help the area.

Why are prices rising? One reason is that the West End is one of the last great neighborhoods in New York City. We have a close-knit stable community with long-term family representation. Obviously we have the beach which one of the best we have ever visited. We have the lowest crime rate in the city, no thanks to the quota driven ticket givers. To paraphrase George 42, "it's the people stupid." Most of your police blotter crime listings in the 100th Precinct arise from SRO residents who have been located here.

The major drawbacks are the public schools. The parents do not trust JHS or MS or IS 180. PS 114 should be K-8. Just look at the crowds of children waiting to be bussed off the peninsula each morning. The argument was that there was not enough room for PS 114 to expand. Funny, but the Board of Education leased space and created a special school across the street. With all of the new construction, the demand for schools will es calate. One solution would be to con vert IS 180 to K-8. A good editor would campaign for a solution to en able parents to have their children rec eive an elementary school education close to home and not be forced to flee the peninsula. Please note that we would not let our children attend 180 twenty-five years ago, so little has changed in the interim.

The parking rules affect homeowners as much as anyone else. Try having a group of friends over for a weekend swim, the homeowners must make arrangements with neighbors in order to avoid parking tickets.

The beach block is a fire zone, which means a hook and ladder cannot turn around. Therefore, street park ing is out.

Other street parking rules, if chang ed, would not provide a large number of parking spaces. Why? The residents would park on the street instead of their driveways. Drive the Ozone Park and check how many spaces are available, they also place garbage cans on the street to prevent parking.

Riis Park is a viable alternative as it has the accommodation for visitors. The Wave should press the Park Ser vice to upgrade and improve the facilities.

The one advantage of the parking regulations is that the area can be policed by fewer squad cars. Could this be a contributing factor of the low crime rate?

People do not give enough credence to the fact that the peninsula is a potentially dangerous place to live. It seems that there are three exits from the Rockaways. Having lived thr ough hurricane Donna, a flash storm during a rock concert causing a panic, a Nor Easter, the oil embargo, a mild tornado, 9/11 and the plane crash; the first thing that is done is to close the bridges, leaving one way out. The resulting traffic jams heading east would place seriously ill patients in jeopardy for prompt medical treatment.

We feel that we need an editor who will campaign for the issues that concern the residents the most - the school situation, SRO's, city services and the lack of political clout.


Don't Forget Renters

Dear Editor:

There's been a lot of articles recently published in The Wave in regards to the new parking regulations along Rockaway Beach Blvd., with all its pros and cons given by local readers but, my concern is to the "Summer Parking" regulations stipulated by post ed signs reflecting no weekend or holiday parking from May 15 to Sept ember 30.

I realize I'm not a homeowner and don't belong to the elite Property Own ers Associations of the different areas in Rockaway, I'm ONLY a rent er. I realize my opinion may not really count since I don't pay real estate taxes, water, etc. I've asked for direction from local politicians who have yet to advise me as to a course of in quiry or action.

Yet, as a renter and resident, I'm mandated to pay local, city and state taxes, and I'm asked to register and vote for our local politicians. So, should n't my opinion count for something ?

Rockaway Park has numerous multi-family properties, and offersA0it's rent ers a A0choice of location and feeling a small community living. I have rented here for over six years and would n't think of moving, especially with it's beautiful beach access(when we're allowed).

With the vast drive for real estate in this neighborhood and the change over from single family dwellings to multi-family housing, I wonder if it's not time to review and change the current "Summer Parking" regulations put into law by our previous home owners ???

Let's face it, there's just not enough parking in Rockaway Park anymore for all those who live here, whether home owners or renters !!!!!

I realize people in this neighborhood rather keep the beaches rid of outsiders and the element drawn by "down for the day" beach goers and I agree but, summer parking is still an issue for those of us that live here year round.

Oh, the residents of Upper Belle Harbor and Neponsit can keep their streets private but, what about the rest of us, the hard working class that reside west of Beach 116th Str eet ???

I would be in favor of local residents being given the option to purchase "Resident Parking

Permits" for the summer parking reg ulations in force currently, wouldn't you ?????

Let's hear from other renters and local Rockaway Park home owners and let's not forget our local politicians, what do they have to say ?????


Name Street For Richie

Dear Editor,

A0A0 I feel compelled to add my voice and join my neighbors in support of the street naming of Beach 91 Street in honor of the late fallen FF, Richie Allen. For the Rockaway Beach Civic Association to deliberate any further on the matter is shamefully cruel and disrespectful with regard to the Allen family and distasteful to any person with any shred of decency. While the surfer Duke is important to the history of Rockaway's surf culture, the notion that he be memorialized on B.91 Street when Beach 38 Street has already been named in his honor, is folderol! I understand that B. 38 Street will be reconfigured to accomodate the Arverne building project; how ever, perhaps there is another street in the Beach 30's that would be just as amiable to the Duke's survivors.

I just think its wrong, especially in the wake of 9/11, for a community of neighbors to behave this way. The Allen family should not have to "beg" or plead their defense of Richie's "worthi ness", or endure any more pain-certainly not from a community, which Richie served and gave of his life. I hope and trust that the Rockaway Beach Civic Association will render the right decision in mem orializing Richie's memory on B. 91 Street. For the Allen family, future generations of surfers and FFs, and for the extended family that as a community we are, it's the right thing to do.


Incorrect Assumptions On AA 587

Dear Editor;

Was this first officer Sten Molin's first flight with this aircraft, an Air bus A300? Had he never encountered a wake vortex earlier while flying this same aircraft? That seems to be Airbus' belief.

Airbus seems to state that the presumed encounter with a wake vortex and his training were what started the events that lead to the crash of Flight 587. Though all three parties to the investigation, American Air lines, Airbus and the NTSB agree that the wake vortex encountered by Flight 587 was no different than those encountered daily by all aircraft taking off from JKF airport.

So it's the presumption of those wake vortex forces that lead to the improper use of the rudder that caus ed this crash. Airbus Report: Section 1.16 Fire - There was no evidence of in-flight fire prior to the fin separation. That's not what many eyewitnesses saw that day and not to ack nowledge that the possibility if we are to accept the Airbus theory as a correct one, that the side forces en countered by the misuse of the rudd er which had the strength to break off the vertical stabilizer could have broken cargo boxes inside which caused the explosions and fires in air prior to the fin separation reported by as many as seventy three eyewitness. The Airbus report is best suited for the public domain, as we the public have short attention spans.


Outsourcing American Jobs

Dear Editor,

The following letter was sent by State Senator Malcolm Smith to New York State Governor George Pataki.

I write to you on an issue of abso lute primacy to our State as a whole; economic development, including job creation and increased revenues for our businesses here in New York State.

The instance of offshore outsourcing of 'our' jobs - to countries such as India - is an issue that you, and all of the leaders in our State, are readily aware of and proactively prepared to deal with. The United States Dep artment of Labor and Forrester Re search, Incorporated have estimated that by next year - 587,592 United States jobs will have been moved offshore. The same projection for 2010 finds the number practically tripled, at 1,591,101 jobs moved out of the country. For your reference, I have attached appendix A which documents the aforementioned numbers by job category.

In terms of specific information relative to companies based in New York, it has recently been reported that IBM may move up to 4,730 programming jobs to India, China and other countries. In addition, HSBC may move up to 6,000 jobs overseas by the end of 2004, 2000 of which it plans on outsourcing to India. Fur thermore, GE has over 12,000 em ploy ees working in its outsourcing bus iness in India. These examples are just a small sample of the effect of outsourcing.

If, in fact, these economic trends are going to continue, I am prepared to offer a potential solution that will assuage and counteract and stagnating economic effects that New York businesses are enduring under present conditions.

As you are already aware, this past January, I joined with Congressman Gregory Meeks and other dignitaries, as we visited several cities in India as part of a trade mission. Given our numerous positive meetings with government and business leaders in India, I am confident that the potential exists for beneficial and reciprocal trade ties between our countries.

I am specifically and respectfully advising that New York State enter into a "sister state" agreement, thr ough a Memorandum of Under stand ing (MOU), with a state within India. The MOU should commit India's burgeoning middle class - 300 million strong and growing, in part, as a result of our companies engaging in outsourcing - to procuring products made by our companies here in New York State. Through such an agree ment, economic benefits will accrue to our companies here and this translates into greater income and job security for our working families.

Governor, as a man of vision, I am confident you comprehend the vast economic opportunities that are available to our companies in a fast growing democracy such as India. A "sister state" arrangement is the appropriate vehicle for the economic resurgence of our companies.

I am respectfully requesting that we meet at your earliest convenience so that I can provide you with further de tails of my trip and the discussions we have had with Indian officials and their willingness to explore this concept. I look forward to your res ponse.


Beach 91 Street Renaming

Dear Editor,

In The Wave I've been reading the articles regarding the street naming of Beach 91 Street. I'd like to thank Lew Simon for bringing it to our attention who Rockaway residents should address their letters to.

As a former resident of Beach 91 Street, I am appalled that we cannot honor our former neighbor, firefighter Richard Allen, who gave his life to save other human beings on 9/11.

Can we please bring some sense back to this insane world that we live in and devote a remembrance to a neighbor who so unselfishly gave his life to save others?


How About Boogie Boards?

Dear Editor;

Since the Parks department is going to review the surfing rules for this summer, another area also need to be addressed that affects even more people. The rights of our children to boogie board on their own beach needs to be enforced. Last summer was a fiasco with our children not being allowed to boogie board.

All boogie boarders should send their concerns & suggestions to the
following address before April 30th:
William Johnson, Department of Heal th, Division of Legal Affairs,
Off ice of Regulatory Reform, Corn ing Tow er Room 2415, Empire State Pla za Albany NY 12237.

Flood this office with your freedom to boogie!


Come Buy A Book

Dear Editor:

A0 Now that I don't write a column any more maybe I'll just write to the Bag of Mail every week.

Anyway, I hope Wave readers will turn out for a book signing at the Harbor Light on April 14 at 7 p.m.A0 Con gressman Pete King has written a terrific--and harrowing--novel, "Vale of Tears." Terrorists strike New York again, this time Long Island.A0 King usesA0flashbacks to 9/11, which serv es to remind the reader that though his work is fiction it is all very real.A0

Rep. King, from Long Island, is ori g inally from Queens and a longtime friend of many in Rockaway.A0 Turn out, April 14, buy a book, and meet the future Senator from New York.


Happy Rockaway Zombies?

Dear Editor,

An asteroid strike at Norton Basin - and not just out in the ocean would generate tidal waves to disturb any cap (cover) over toxic dredge spoils disposed of there by government agencies. And it might be just the size of the event to wake up some happy Rockaway zombies that something wrong is happening that they should be reacting to.

And supportive food for thought is a cable TV program mentioning a Tor ah code for a celestial body striking the Earth in 2012 which is the time "New Agers" cite as the ending of the Mayan calendar. But there is no certainty they say whether this is an end time from such a strike or a change in spirituality of great significance.

But what is more real is the potential for significant storm surge from a big hurricane tracking up NY Harbor to the Battery or any huge storm track ing past Long Island (and predicted by global warming experts with warm waters energizing such pheno mena.)

So Congressman Weiner is wise to enhance the ability to scan the skies for celestial objects (asteroids, comets, planetoids, etc.) but should also examine the potential for harm from these huge hurricanes. In the time frame of Senator Javits the beach nourishment programs were separated from U.S. Army Corps a plan to place a levee/lock system across the mouth of Jamaica Bay and on down to the shorefront. The Netherlands engineers have perfected such technology to protect from flooding residential areas and farmlands. The feasibility for such an approach for this area should be reexamined.


Why Fix It If It Is Not Broken

Dear Editor;

If Isn't Broke Why Fix it? Prior to the takeover of education by Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein, special education and the process of re ferrals to the 32 committees on special education were working quite effectively. Each school had a school based support team consisting of a social worker, a psychologist and educational evaluator. The latter position was responsible for the case management of all cases: initial referrals, reevaluations and triennial examinations (children receiving services for three years). The CSE's were also res ponsible for the assessment of children turning 5 who were known to need special education services as they entered the public school system. The CSE's were also responsible for the evaluation of private school children who were referred for possible special education services. The CSE's and the School Based Support Teams were structured in a manner to allow some sense of autonomy from the politics of each school regarding the view of referrals. (Some principals thought that a high referral rate or any referrals at all reflected poorly on the performance of the school thus reflecting badly on them)

The above disciplines had a supervisor and site supervisor for each sch ool. Cases needing more comprehensive services were referred for special education CSE review teams. Under special education statues a referral had to be completed within 30 days of clocking in of a case. Placement of a child needing services was required to be completed within 60 days. These were called compliance issues and was viewed almost obsessively as the goal of the job of the committees on special education and the school based support teams. It wasn't un usual for the CSE districts-let alone various schools to have compliance levels of 90% or better. Tell me what organizations have completion levels such as this of their primary goal? Children were evaluated at all time to meet the task of completing the evaluations of children. It was not unusual for some CSEs to be functioning from 3:30-6 four days a week, Sat urdays and Sundays, school holidays and July and August depending on need. The job was getting done with effective levels of accountability.

But the current administration in its zeal to take over and change the system could leave well enough alone. The system was working quite effectively. Since the Bloomberg administration has taken over, the position of education evaluator has been eliminated, (the tasks formerly assigned to the educational evaluator were given to the psychologists-how does 3 into 2 work?) the various districts have been regionalized and as reported in the March 19,2004 New York Times 9963 children referred were awaiting counseling, 15,352 were awaiting speech therapy, 10,533 were awaiting occupational therapy and 4.023 were awaiting physical therapy.

The current administration didn't inherit a mess-it created one. The edu cational evaluators were the keys to the team as a result of often being assigned to a school 5 days a week. They knew what preventive services a child often needed. The elimination of this position was simply irresponsible and ineffective. Under the prior system there was more support for the school based support teams, more supervisory personnel resulting in greater case management and resulting in more effective servicing of the children.

As a businessman, the mayor was a "numbers man" as the numbers don't like. The system wasn't broken. Why was it fixed?


Outsourcing American Jobs

Dear Editor,

When will American companies wake up and realize that by outsourcing jobs that were and are held by American workers they are ultimately hurting their own companies. If you lay off an American worker, they are unable to purchase goods and ser vices that are sold. They are unable to buy or lease a car, purchase clothing and cut back on food and restaurant purchases, thereby hurting the economy by not supporting other businesses. They also are unable to save thereby hurting the banks and other financial institutions.

A recent banking transaction open ed my eyes to the fact that my local bank is outsourcing their call center. I did not have a pleasant experience, because upon demanding a supervisor, I was placed on hold for a long time and no one ever came to the telephone. They don't care about Ameri can consumers and we are foolish to think that they would. I am discuss ing this with my bank. As consumers, if you are upset about this out sourc ing you should write, not call the companies that are doing this and complain loudly, or this practice will continue and get worse.

It is time for American companies to hire and employ American workers. These workers are the ones that helped to build up their companies. We have a lot of confidential personal and financial information being handled overseas by countries which do not favor the United States. What is wrong with us? How foolish can we be that big business is taking advantage of the American worker. It is alright to take our money for their products, but they don't need to employ us. Please wake up.


Nursing Homes in New York

Dear Editor,

My mother spent 6 years in a nursing home prior to her death in 1997, but I continue to be concerned about nursing home conditions.

A recent report by the General Accounting Office (GAO) is very up setting to me.

The report found that states often failed to refer a substantial number of nursing homes - that had a pattern of harming residents - for immediate sanctions. New York State accounts for 20% of these cases.

The report also indicated that New York has a large percentage of inexperienced surveyors who have to deal with a huge backlog of complaints.

New York scored poorly in the area of survey predictability. In order to avoid predictability, the federal Cent ers for Medicare and Medicaid Serv ices directed all states to avoid scheduling a survey for the same month of the year as the previous survey. How ever, the GAO report concluded that in New York, over one-half of the nurs ing home surveys are predict able.

While the nursing home industry has claimed that nursing home in spectors make mountains out of mole hills, the GAO report suggest that nursing home oversight agencies are actually not doing enough to detect and to eliminate the many serious shortcomings of our nursing homes. The GAO report can be found at www.gao.gov.

The Centers of Medicare and Med icaid Services reports that 82% of nurs ing homes in New York provide less than the recommended 4.1 hours of daily nursing care for residents; 23% of our state's nursing homes provide less than 3 hours of daily nursing care per resident. According to Nurs ing Home Community Coalition of New York State, "bedsores, loss of func t ionality, mental impairment, malnutrition, and dehydration are just some of the results" of understaffing for residents.

Let's hope the near future will bring meaningful reforms to improve our nursing homes.


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