2004-07-09 / Letters


Must Be The Sand

Dear Editor;

Life's a beach, or so it seems in Rockaway. I've been living here for five years, and am still trying to understand this beach mentality.  "I love it here," my husband says, "If I had a million dollars, I would still live in Rockaway" Well, nowadays, you would need a million dollars to buy a home in Rockaway. But what is it that seems to draw people here?

Is it the water?  Many other places have water.  There are lakes, rivers, creeks, ponds and streams, so why here?  Maybe its salty water.  Salty water can make you sick if you swallow enough of it.  It can make your ankles swell and cause you to become the object of ridicule among your friends. Salty water also smells like fish. Fish have an offensive scent and are, for the most part, unattractive, scaley creatures. Salty and fish-scented, its probably not the water.

Maybe it's the waves, the majesty of a wave as it reaches its crescendo and crashes against the shore. It's hard to talk on your cell phone when the waves are being majestic. The majestic waves are powerful. They can knock you off your feet, short circuiting your cell phone, making you swallow lots of salty fish-scented water, causing your ankles to swell and making you the object of ridicule among your friends.  It's probably not the waves.

Could it be the sand? The beach has lots of sand. Sand sticks to your calves after the majestic waves knock you down, short circuiting your cell phone, making you swallow lots of salty fish-scented water, causing your ankles to swell and making you the object of ridicule among your friends.  It exfoliates your bare feet as you run back to your chair, disheveled, to get your towel. 

Sand does not discriminate.  It's in your towel, on your food, in your clothes, on your shoes, and always in your house.  Summer in Rockaway is waking up to feel the grits and grains beneath your feet as you make your way to the bathroom.  Constant reminders of the water, the waves, the sun, the surf, and the lifestyle that defines Rockaway.

I think it may be the sand.


Responds To Mossa

Dear Editor:

In reference to Mr. Mossa' s letter, the release of the USA prisoners, held captive in Iran, only a few days after Mr. Reagan's inaugural day, was not a credit to Mr. Regan, as Mossa  hints, but to some obscure event or, as I sincerely believe, it was in defiance to his predecessor, Jimmy Carter.

During his tenure as President, Reagan was a key factor to another release of USA prisoners, this time, I believe, held hostage in Lebanon. 

Although I sincerely believe that he didn't do it for political advance,  Reagan dealt the release of them  through an obscure, infamous agreement. 

He sold arms to the terrorist Ayatollah in exchange for the prisoners.  

In the final analysis the President gave in to terrorists; he sold them arms and lied to the Congress and to the America people. It was only towards the end on his second term that he publicly admitted the secret agreement.

The Iran-contras ignoble event is a matter of congressional record.

Mossa states that in 1981 Reagan came to rescue the economy of the country. We still remember that under Mr. Reagan's tenure, many banks collapsed and who doesn't remember the mortgage rates at double digits?

I remember it well and how. We had active equity in our homes that became passive over night. A friend of mine wanted to move from the city, but he couldn't sell his house because he needed $30.000 to sell it.(the market value went below his mortgage value) Through his "voodoo economics" he cut the income tax rates for the "upper 1%" one of the reasons that, when he left office in 1988, we had the biggest budget deficit in history, forcing his successor, George  Bush, Sr. to enact huge tax increase, proved to be the main reason of "Mr. read my lips, no new tax" political downfall. 

With an economy rescue like that, who needs an economy slum?

Do we forget that as a president he fired 11,000 air traffic controllers for the sole reason they dared to strike? Those 11,000 people never regained their positions. That much said for a defender of the laborers' s rights.

Do you forget that when 240+ Marines were killed (I believe in Beirut in 1983) the "Gipper" didn't do a thing to punish the responsible, setting (perhaps, I say may be) the pace for other terrorists attacks to go unpunished?(oh, yes, 

I do remember that he assumed all the responsibilities for the attack (sic)

Do you forget that a "stars/palm reader" Nancy had great influence over some of his routine presidential decisions?

Mossa "assumption" that we live in a better world because of Reagan' s vision is the understatement of the year.

As for the lion and the lamb living peacefully together, I agree with him 100%. they should, but that feat can't  be accomplished with a "strong military arm", as he asserts, but only when the lamb gets a fair share  of the "action"    


Jones Was Good For FRHS

Dear Editor;

Far Rockaway High School lost an excellent principal when Cheryll C. Jones retired this June. She came to Far Rockaway High School before there was a Department of Education. Before she came to our school, she discussed with Superintendent John Lee her 5-year plan. This was her third year. This year we graduated 50% more seniors than last year. Our passing rate on the regent's exams was improved. We were experiencing success with our community's children when the Department of Education came along. Why was the principal forced to retire?

It was Far Rockaway High School in the beginning of the year that brought to light the city's failure to implement a "superintendent suspension" system that existed before the DOE was formed, but never recreated. That is why the Chancellor chose Far Rockaway High School to have a press conference about "beefing up" security and suspensions in schools. By coincidence, one of the children at Far Rockaway High School began acting out and became disorderly, and with the press (both television and newspaper) present, was arrested. The chancellor, in my opinion put Far Rockaway on the list as one of the 12 worst due to this activity. How could he not when there was all this activity right in front of him and the reporters? This event put the principal on the chancellors 'B' list and did not endear her to the Regional Superintendent either.

Another event that probably put a nail in the principal's coffin occurred in the school's auditorium. The Regional Superintendent came to speak at an assembly of students. There she told them that although she has not been at Far Rockaway very much, she feels very strongly for Far Rockaway and thinks of us often. The kids laughed at her. That probably put the principal on the 'C' list.

One-day the superintendent addressed our faculty to announce that we were going to be blessed with a small school within our building. It seems that our building is under-utilized and we would have to give up some of our classrooms for another school to come in. This school (Fredrick Douglas Academy) will have only 100 students, seven teachers and a principal. Rather than give Far Rockaway enough money for creating smaller classes and other student services, the DOE decided that they would do to Far Rockaway what they did to Andrew Jackson and create multiple schools in one building. Anyone who knows about the schools knows that this model does not work. As a matter of fact, the four schools at Campus Magnet have such problems; the building has a 5th principal to oversee the other four principals. Seems to me that too much money is being spent on supervisors and not enough on the children. The Superintendents announcement to the faculty was not well received. This probably helped put the principal on the 'D' list.

The principal's supervisors were calling her at home, during weekends and during vacations. Everything they wanted her to do she did. All procedures they wanted us to put into place we already had in place. What our school did not have were the personnel to help clear the halls and get the children to the classrooms. That is what we got when we became an impact school. The additional agents allowed the school to get the children to class faster, more of them on time, and as a result, more of the children had success this year.

But do not be misled, the school's success was not only due to the additional agents. We were able to establish a "twilight school" for the most disruptive students, thus eliminating the need to divert administrative attention to those few students who caused much of the problems. We were able to establish a "late room" that was staffed and allowed the school to deal with students who were late on a routine basis. The teachers were able to start classes on time, more instruction was accomplished and the teachers, working with and under the guidance of the principal made the school better. The most amazing thing is that we had more success this year despite the constraints put on us by the DOE.

We must remember that we are working with children. Not all children react and respond to the same teaching methods. The DOE wanted to 'assembly line' the education process. We were told to do 4 square writing in every class, have read aloud's, implement the Region 5 workshop model (10 minutes of instruction, 20 minutes the children work together and then a 10 minute wrap up by the teacher and class) and 'ramp up'. Teachers become teachers because they want to have an impact on the child's life that will benefit the child. Mechanizing education prevents the teacher from utilizing teacher's "special skills" that each teacher brings to this profession. You know what I am talking about. Think of your favorite teachers from your days in High School and you will realize that the most memorable teachers had their own special styles that reached your soul and brought out something special in you. If you tie the teacher's hands, you demoralize the teacher and prevent the learning process from occurring. But I digress. This is about the principal.

It's only my opinion that she was punished by the superintendent because the regional superintendent did not like the reception she would get when she would come to the school. I think I should know. I spent many hours in the principal's office, on the floors of the school's hallways, at the student's entrance and in the superintendent's office. I wear many hats in the school, one of Dean, one of Teacher and one of UFT chapter leader. I worked with the parents, the children and the regional superintendent. No, the regional superintendent did not tell me this was the reason, but there can be no other. Ms. Jones did a wonderful job at our school and was forced to retire.

Now, we are facing a 1.5 million dollar cut in our budget. The extra agents will be pulled out of the school in September and we will have another school operating independently and cooperatively within our school. If I were a parent of a child who attended Far Rockaway High School I would be made as hell. How dare they reduce our budget? How dare they take away our security? How dare they make our classes 34 yet the new school will have 25 in a class? Why is the city trying to destroy our school? Removing a successful principal, (since the 1980's we have not had a principal stay more than five years) one who had the support of her staff, respect of the parents and children and who has shown improvement in all of her three years only sets the tone for a school re-routed to failure. The next principal is coming into a very difficult situation. I wish the new principal all the luck and success in the world. After all, my main concern is the children of Far Rockaway High School. The children should be all of our concern. Let the city show it cares about Far Rockaway. Talk is cheap and easy, doing the right thing is not. The only right thing the city has done for Far Rockaway was to add the extra agents and personnel to help the school run. Now they plan on taking all that away. What's next?


Bush Must Go In November

Dear Editor,

The Republican party of New York should be ashamed of itself. Why do they back a President who has caused our brave members of our armed forces to be killed? There is no need for our troops to be in Iraq any longer. Why put our young people in danger?

I call out to all Americans not to vote for the President in the upcoming election. Make him retire to his ranch in Texas. He did not win the election in an honest way in Florida. He bought the election, which alone makes many Americans not trust him. Now, with his big mistake in Iraq, it shows us that he is not a President that should be in office. He is only going to cause the United States of America to go down with his leadership.


Flatow Confronts Wohl

Dear Editor,

Your Editor's Desk report about Steve Wohl's terrible experience with the hindrance of beach access by authorities reminds of his confrontation with Flatow, Manhattan Coordinator of The Jamaica Bay Task Force.

Steve is one of Rockaway's strongest advocates of beach access as well as for conservation of natural areas and especially in the Arverne Urban Renewal Area. He proved it with his ticket blitzing experience-indeed a brave warrior for the cause!

Steve was confronted at a recent Jamaica Bay Task Force meeting by Eugenia Flatow, who tryed to have him cease one of his lengthy tirades against the rape of Averne and for conservation and beach access. He looks fierce but accepted a gentle tap on the back from her-after leaving her seat- to catch his attention wihou any reaction other than to look at her as in photo with Don Riepe (TheBay Guardian) looking on a bit stunned. It was exciting - especially for me who recognized the irony of the confrontation. She played a leading role in drafting the NYS Coastal Management Program(the NYC program an insert) and access and conservation are important policies of the programs. So after over 40 million dollars of federal funds to the programs since 1978-1982 (when eh programs were drafted) Rockaways' access problems continue and Arverne is being raped (and opinion given absence of water dependent and related developments and insufficient conservation). Steve's protest was more than valid. Thank you for your kind attention.


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