2004-08-06 / Community

Beachcomber

The Wave has a suggestion for the MTA in its rush to earn more revenue by allowing corporations to name our subway lines for a large sum of money. The A line, which serves Rockaway, should be sold to the company that makes Ty-D-Bowl. Its slogan then could become “One flush and you’re in Rockaway.”

Speaking of raising revenue, the city has contracted with several telecommunications companies to allow the placement of cellular and high-speed Internet antennas on 18,000 light poles citywide. City Councilman Peter Vallone, Jr., says that the city’s plan should be put on hold because there is no evidence that the antennas do not put out dangerous radiation. He wants radiation detectors on all 18,000 light poles. The city’s director of technology says, of course, that the antennas are perfectly safe. “These devices fall well below the FCC exposure guidelines,” the city spokesperson says. “In fact, the radiation from a microwave oven exceeds by 100 times the emissions from these antennas.”

It is inconceivable that Ed Re and his Rockaway Park association would recommend to the Parks Department that the natural dunes on the beach in that community should be bulldozed under, even in the name of safety and sanitation. The dozing of the dunes, which brought out the ire of hundreds of local residents, is another example of an elite few making decisions that impact on thousands of residents who never have a chance to have their voices heard until after the deed is done. We challenge Re to show The Wave a communication to his membership that told them that a vote was going to be taken on removing the dunes as well as the minutes of the meeting recording the debate and the final vote. We are reasonably sure that neither of those documents exists, because, to our best knowledge, no such general notice went out and because no such formal vote was ever taken. If we are wrong, Ed. Let us know.

Although Senator Chuck Schumer told reporters at the Democratic National Convention in Boston that “The Governor’s slot is not even on my radar,” it is clear to most knowledgeable political watchers that the senior Senator is gearing up for a primary run against State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and then perhaps against Republican George Pataki or even Rudy Giuliani (wouldn’t that be fun?). One sure sign of the impending primary race is that Schumer shut out Spitzer’s request to speak to the convention. It’s going to be a long and interesting political ride.

Federal Judge Robert Sweet gave the NYPD a little room to maneuver last week, when he modified his rule against the police conducting blanket searches of bags brought into the area where the Republican National Convention is being held in late August. In his ruling, Sweet said that the police could not conduct searches of bags belonging to protestors absent a “specific threat.” Sweet, who was roundly criticized for his decision by the city and most of its residents, then modified that opinion. While it will still be necessary to have “probable cause” to search, that probable cause could come from a simple “threat” that no longer had to be specific to the situation. The city still plans to appeal the judge’s ruling.

City Council members get money for supplies and for running their local offices. They are supposed to return any unspent money to the city treasury at the end of the year. Few do. Many spend furiously at the end of the year, spending thousands for cameras, calendars and office machines. To his credit, City Councilman James Sanders reportedly returned more than $18,000 to the city rather than joining in the spending frenzy.

There are only 49 subway stations in the city that are wheelchair accessible. The only one in Rockaway (the only station at ground level) is the Beach 116 Street station, the last stop on the A Line. The majority of stations that are handicapped accessible are in Manhattan.

The Bush White House has formed a new commission, to be called the “U.S. Election Assistance Commission.” DeForest Soaries, the chair for the new commission, has asked for emergency legislation from Congress empowering his agency to postpone any election, particularly the presidential election, in case of a terrorist act. Nixon once tried the same thing at the height of the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights movement. Nixon wanted to hold on to power as long as he could, even if that violated the Constitution and it looks as if Bush might be on the same track.

Arverne resident Marcia Loyd, the baker behind Marcia’s Sweets, a homemade cake business, stopped by The Wave office with a Double Layer Raspberry Chocolate Cake last week. Thanks for the sweet treat Marcia – we all enjoyed it.

Those who can’t wait for the MTA to take over the local private bus lines should look towards the draconian raises in costs and cuts in services the agency is planning for next year and the year after. The agency is proposing to raise the cost of monthly MetroCards to $75; reduce the cleaning of buses, train cars and stations; close ticket windows at 16 stations and combining peak hour trains. In addition, in 2006, the MTA would end weekend service completely on several routes, including Far Rockaway. That would force Far Rockaway residents who go into Manhattan on the weekends for shows and museums to use the A Train to access the “city.”

New York Mets, MetroStars and New York Liberty fans will not be able to catch their favorite teams on MSG and Fox Sports New York. Due to a dispute over cable rights fees between Time Warner and Cablevision, Cablevision blacked out both stations on all Time Warner packages last Sunday. Once again, the regular fan gets shafted when big corporations decide to fight for your hard earned dollar.

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