2004-05-07 / Columnists

Beachcomber

City Councilman James Sanders called on Thursday of last week to give us a "heads-up" to the fact that he would soon be on the council’s "worst attendance" list. Indeed, he was. Sanders explains his 67.02 percent attendance (not the worst, by the way) on two factors: his desire to spend more time in the district and the illness and passing of his mother last year. By the way, the council-wide attendance average was 85 percent last year. If they were all school students, they would be left back for non-attendance.

Even the New York Post has lost Rockaway. In recent issues, the daily paper has listed those places where their much-sought Yankee Medallions can be found. Unfortunately, the Rockaway stores are listed as being in Long Island. Not that it matters much. Few of the coins were available at the listed distributors in any case. Many of the stores that sell the Post in Rockaway told The Wave that they either received an insufficient amount of the coins or that they were cut off completely.

Cedarhurst, the wealthy town in the nearby Five Towns in Nassau County has enacted a new law that could have come right from Mayor Bloomberg. Seems that a new village law bans the opening of any new restaurant unless it replaces an existing food establishment. In addition, restaurants already in business cannot expand without permission from the village board. A spokesperson for the village says that restaurants create too much grease and that the water pollution plant cannot handle the load. Those opposing the law say that the town is simply trying to protect those who are already in business because they contribute to local politicians. Now, does that sound familiar?

Disabled rights activists have filed a lawsuit against the Green Bus Line, arguing that it violates federal, state and city law by failing to maintain its wheelchair ramps. The suit asks not for money, but for remedial action to get the bus ramps in use.

We think that Mitsubishi should call the next automobile it makes for American consumption the "Mitsubishi A6M. That was the designation of the famous "Zero" fighter plane that the company made for the Japanese Air Force and that was widely successful at Pearl Harbor.

Rockaway has a summer parking problem and a controversy over places where residents cannot park, but there is something special about Boston’s parking problems. Last month, a 180 square-foot parking spot (that’s 10 feet by 18 feet – about three car’s worth) went for $160,000 at a garage in the Toney Beacon Hill section of the city. One parking spot sold nearby that last year for $167,500. We wonder what the houses sell for.

East Elmhurst in Queens will soon have a memorial dedicated to all of the Queens firefighters who died in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. The memorial, which will be placed in St. Michael’s Cemetery, will allow visitors to download pictures and family statements of those who died. The memorial was announced two weeks ago and it is expected to be unveiled on September 9 of this year. That makes one wonder about our Tribute Park, which has now been more than two years in the making and promises to take another year the way things are going.

There will be no more bullies in New York City schools. The City Council Education Committee has outlawed that particular activity with something called the "Dignity In All Schools Act." It bans bullying or harassment based on sexual activity, economic circumstances, religious practices and other factors. When this bill passes the entire council next week, the body is going to start work on a bill outlawing daytime.

We now understand that the completion of Tribute Park was put on hold by a Deputy Mayor who saw a New York Times article saying that the park was to be a "memorial" to those Rockaway residents who died on September 11, 2001. Seems that "tributes are okay and can be completed without review, while "memorials" are to be built only after review by the City Arts Commission – the very same people who wanted the Dough Girl to be removed because they deemed that it wasn’t artistic enough. While we hope this won’t stop the park in its tracks, it certainly will slow it down.

Lenora Fulani is the head of the Independence Party. John Baxter, the man who wants Rockaway to secede from the city, is the local district leader, or whatever they call it now. Mayor Mike Bloomberg runs on the Independence Party line. So what? Well, Fulani once espoused the idea that since so few minorities vote, their vote should count twice as much as white voters. Fulani’s most recent brouhaha came when her charitable organization, "The All Star Foundation," funded a play that posited the idea that the Jewish community was responsible for the Crown Heights riots a few years back. Lots of school kids went to see the play, all paid for by Fulani and her foundation. A scene from the show, for example, shows Hasidic Jews beating a minority youth. It might be time for those politicians who court Fulani’s party to back off.

Once again City Council Speaker Gifford Miller visited Rockaway on May 3. That is the third or fourth time that Miller, who plans to run for Mayor in the next election, has come to Rockaway. Strangely enough, he always seems to wind up at an Orthodox Jewish venue, however. This time, he hosted a "Far Rockaway Town Hall Meeting" at Congregation Kneseth Israel in West Lawrence. We guess that Miller is assiduously courting the Orthodox vote. In his other two stops that day, Miller visited senior citizen’s facilities.

Howard Mills, the upstate lawmaker looking to unseat Chuck Schumer certainly has a sense of humor. Last weekend, he stood in front of 26 trees, symbolic, he says, of the trees that had to be cut down to make Schumer’s press releases this year.


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