2004-08-20 / Letters


All letters submitted to The Wave, including those sent via e-mail, must contain names, addresses and phone numbers. All letters are subject to editing and publication at the discretion of the editors. The Wave will no longer publish letters in which the name is withheld, unless, in the opinion of the editorial board, there is a compelling public interest to do so.

What Do You Expect?

Dear Editor;

I read the article today, Friday, about Dr. Cashin’s defense for dismissing Cheryl Jones from Far Rockaway High School. Of course, she calls my allegations untrue. What else would anyone expect? That she would admit to such “accusations”? My son read the article and said “hey dad, they have something about you in here.”  He told me “ But they don’t say what she (Cheryl Jones) did wrong. It says that more students graduated, that more students passed regents exams, so why did they get rid of her?”  I pointed out the answer. It is in the 5th paragraph “the school became an impact school and she was there.”  If anyone cares to review the statistics of the schools that became the first 12 impact schools, you would find that the statistics for Far Rockaway are nowhere near the statistics of the other schools on the list. I, and everyone else at Far Rockaway High School, know that we became an impact school only because one of our students acted out and was handcuffed in the main hallway on the first floor, in front of the press and the Chancellor. Not making Far Rockaway an impact school at that time would have raised questions from the press as to “what does it take to make a school an impact school if a student is arrested in the presence of all those police and press?” It was clear at that point that we were going to be on the list.

In the 6th paragraph Dr. Cashin says “When am I going to address these issues?” asked Cashin. “Every time we delay, some child loses out.” What does that mean? It seems to me that since we were cut in budget 1.5 million dollars, that our classes are going to be 34 (legal maximum) and that we are squeezed into fewer rooms to make room for the Fredrick Douglas school that is being placed into our building, this is what makes our children “lose out”.  The superintendent seems to think that although our principal succeeded in making our school perform better, reducing our budget, resources and morale will help our children not “lose out”. 

  The superintendent brings out the mysterious “silent majority” who doesn’t care for Jones.  This she admits in the 14th paragraph when she says, “There are others who are displeased (with Jones),” said Cashin about those with whom she has spoken. “Members of the community have expressed concern.”  Where and who are these people? I see parents come and go all day. I read The Wave every week. Where were the letters from parents praising Dr. Cashin’s decision to replace Jones? Where were the letters and petitions that expressed displeasure with Jones? They don’t exist and there is no constituency of parents who have negative feelings for Cheryl Jones. You can be sure that when someone with political connections starts with “I have a list of people who...” it smacks of McCarthyism and falsehood.

 However, it makes no difference what is said here. The only ones who can make the ROC change its mind, or effect a larger budget to run the school or to do anything are not the teachers. It’s not the chapter leader. It is the parents. Only the parents, acting as a collective unit can make any difference in our school. How about making some noise, parents. Your collective voices can reach the Chancellor and Mayor.

  In paragraph 17 Dr. Cashin says “I don’t make decisions based on occurrence, but on studying the performance of staff over time and making decisions of what’s best for the children.” Yet, Dr. Cashin has had only one year as Superintendent, and this year our statistics have improved. What did Cheryl Jones do that would warrant her removal? Nothing. Just a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Dr. Cashin has not said anywhere in this article why replacing the principal is best for the children.

In the 18th paragraph she says “That school, for a long time, has been going in the wrong direction.” Not so, and saying so is insulting to the entire staff and faculty at the school.

I am sure that the new principal will have to walk a tight rope between the realities of our school and the demands of Dr. Cashin.  I wonder if Dr. Cashin thinks that with a new principal, we will have 100% of the senior class pass all regents exams and graduate? Maybe she thinks that the new Principal will make the students smarter, will make all parents come to school on open school night and open school day (we usually have only 1/3 participation from the parents for these days) and that the new principal will prevent students from engaging in negative behaviors? I will welcome the new principal and look forward to working with her. Both the new principal and I understand that we are merely players in this political game, but it is the children’s future that is really important here. The children of this school are going to suffer from a reduced budget, fewer teachers and security agents and larger classes. It is not her fault that she will be principal and Cheryl Jones is not. But she should certainly see the handwriting on the wall. If Dr. Cashin is not happy, she too might become history. 

  Far Rockaway High School will suffer as long as the parents do not make any concerted effort to get the superintendent to fund the school properly and make sure we are fully staffed. The superintendent will not listen to me, nor does she care what I think.  She has said as much at other times. It is only a collective voice from parents that can get any politician or chancellor to pay attention. Parents, the ball is in your court.  Write letters, make phone calls and go visit the superintendent. If you take up her time with your issues, she will pay attention. If you do not take action, you will reap what you have sown.




I Won’t Quit

Dear Editor,

If the mountains crumble

And fall upon my tired body

I won’t quit

If people turn their backs on me

I won’t quit

I am holding on to God’s unchanging hands

I will not quit

When my tears overflow and fill the ocean

I won’t quit

When people knock me down and trample over me

I’ll just get up, and start over again and

I won’t quit

Quitting is for losers and I am one of God’s winners

I refuse to quit


Leave It To The Pros

Dear Editor;

I read your editorial in the July 30 online version of The Wave. I found it irresponsible journalism and offensive to those who have worked tirelessly on the investigation of Flight 587 to push such a conspiracy theory.  Mr. Trombetta’s conspiracy theories rank right up there with Pierre Salinger’s allegations that a U.S. Navy missile downed Flight 800. 

The biggest fallacy of conspiracy theories is that it takes only one person to bring it down. Mr. Trombetta is trying to say of the hundreds of NTSB staffers who are actively working on the Flight 587 investigation every single one of the them is in on this? All it would take is one person, just one lone individual to bring down an entire conspiracy. Look at how the Watergate scandal opened up, or, even more recently, the Lewinsky scandal. In each case, one person came forward which started an avalanche. That has not happened in the case of 587 because there is no cover up taking place.

Although I live in Maryland, I have ties to the Rockaways. Both sets of my grandparents lived there. My father’s parents lived on Beach 128 at the beach, only blocks from where Flight 587 made its final plunge. My mother’s parents lived in Dayton Towers. All are now deceased and it has been a number of years since I have revisited the Rockaways.   

I know that the Rockaway community was hit hard, both on 9/11 and on November 12, 2001, and that everyone wants answers. Please let the professionals do their job. I am certain all the questions will be answered, even those allegations raised by Mr. Trombettas, once the report is published.



Should Not Encroach

On Others

To the Editor:

I’m writing this letter to call attention to the beaches located on either

side of the North Channel ( Addabbo) Bridge. Despite constant cleaning by the National Park Service personnel there is a constant flow of trash left on the beach.

The people responsible for this seem to be observing some sort of religious rites in that they place yellow and red flags on tall sticks in the water and spread out plastic cloths of the same colors. Large amounts of fruits are then placed on these non-biodegradable cloths, some prayers are murmured, and then the participants leave. At this moment, their offering becomes pollution.

Not only are they littering, they are feeding the shore birds (which is prohibited by signs posted liberally throughout the area), feeding the pigeons (also prohibited in public places), contributing to the ever increasing rat population and causing unsafe conditions for boaters in the area. Park Police are quick to ticket anyone in the parking area for leaving so much as a crust of bread for the birds, yet they do not address these people.

Those persons using public areas to fulfill religious requirements should have respect for all of the people who enjoy the relative tranquility of these beaches. They should appoint someone to properly dispose of the articles used in one of the containers provided. Our environment should not suffer for the beliefs and practices of any group of people.

I’m hoping that this letter is read by the offenders and that necessary changes are made as soon as possible. If not, then the Park Police, NYCPD, and DEP should stop ignoring their actions and start protecting the environment.


Cat Population In Breezy

Dear Editor,

I recently visited a friend in Breezy Point and was shocked and dismayed at the number of stray or feral cats running around not to mention the ones that obviously have kittens under porches and other hideaways. Breezy Point is an affluent gated community and there is no excuse for the people who live there to allow a growing feral cat population to exist as in some of the poorer areas of the city.

The days when animal control consisted of drowning excess puppies and kittens are gone – at least in New York. The city spends a great deal of money on animal control and is now pushing the trap-neuter-release (TNR) strategy. This reduces the annual increase in cat population and over time may completely eliminate the population. Breezy Point should take advantage of what the city offers.

Animal control is now handled for the city by Center for Animal Care and Control (CACC). Their website is Uwww.nycacc.org/U or the Brooklyn Shelter at 718-272-7200. They advocate the TNR program since everyone is fed up with the number of animals which have to be killed or euthanized.

The ASPCA no longer does animal control, but upon request they will send their Mobile Veterinary Van to the community for inexpensive neutering of stray cats. For more information contact Uwww.aspca.org/U or 212-876-7700.

Another New York City organization which sponsors TNR programs is Neighborhood Cats Uwww.neighborhoodcats.org/U or 212-662-5761. Neighborhood Cats, the ASPCA and Defense of Animals are sponsoring a seminar on October 16 (National Feral Cat Day) on the problems association with feral cats.

It is hoped that someone in the Breezy Point community will organize a TNR program.


Dubos Point Mosquito Problem

Dear Editor,

It appears that many in the crowd of angry residents of new and older Arverne housing don’t appear too convinced that the assurances of elected officials and the NYC Department of Health would bring relief from this wet season’s current crop of mosquitoes.

One new homeowner actually purchased his own mosquito trap and brought an impressive plastic bag filled with ‘the catch’ and yet the problem continues. Others complain that developers didn’t inform them of the mosquito problem and on the private streets the city is not responsible for treating.

A bright spot for some was the announcement by the Department of Health that permission had been obtained from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation in Albany to spray the Arverne area with insecticide that kills adult mosquitoes. Sarah Colson, Corresponding Secretary of Arverne Civics and longtime activist on this issue welcomed the news but cautioned that some people complain about spraying. She exhorted the crowd to send letters to the department with a leaflet provided. The civic groups even promised to mail letters for residents to facilitate a continuing pressure for results. She even suggested a protest at City Hall as an option.

Both Congressman Gregory Meeks and Councilman James Sanders, Jr., were on the ball with respect to funding Army Corps plans for restoring tidal flow to the Dubos Point stagnant water creeks-which Friends of Rockaway has been pushing for years (see page 25, August 5, 2004, Wave). But delays continue. Congressman Meeks educated the crowd on the importance of restoring wetlands and how fish swim into the opened channel and eat the mosquito larvae.

I pointed out that the Community Board 14 and the Sanitation Department approach to mosquito eradication (by stripping topsoil and living vegetation while lot cleaning) has actually set back Dubos Point wetland restoration (by restoring tidal flow to stagnant creeks) by more than 5 years! There is a record of other wetlands in the Bronx and Staten Island that were prioritized by the previous Parks Commissioner (while Dubos Point buzzed with mosquitoes) for wetlands restoration.

While a 65:35 cost share was pointed out by Congressman Meeks for the Dubos Point implementation of Corps plans and that he is working hard for the federal share I pointed out during the meeting and after that the Damages Account for Jamaica Bay has an available share of $7.5 million from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation for Dubos Point treatment and the Parks Department could use it as a local sponsor for Corps plans or can apply for 1996 Bond Act funds. So funds released now might accelerate the process. Reverend Evan Gray of the Macedonia Church, representing Assemblywoman Michele Titus, promised to call Albany to try to bring about the release.

Congressman Meeks was impressive in exhorting the crowd to stay angry to motivate him and all concerned and maybe a miracle will happen this year ‘to end all the nonsense’ by taking the Arverne mosquito problem seriously (an opinion). Why even funds might be obtained for a boardwalk and environmental center as recently erected at Marine Park in Brooklyn. There was a Dubos Point Advisory Group at one time with plans for a boardwalk and activities for youth and maybe the Arverne Civic’s Taskforce will evolve to take on this function and to protect the resources of Jamaica Bay at Dubos Point.


100 Precinct Cops

Not So Good

Dear Editor,

I’m writing this letter out of the disgust I have for the N.Y.P.D. in the 100 Precinct. I’m a responsible dog owner. I can name just a few of many occasions that I witnessed the 100 Precinct cops go about doing whatever they are doing. I think I have more police intuition that these guys that slither around in the early hours of the morning going against traffic to check state inspection and registration on windshields. Let me give you a few incidents:

One morning at 4:30 a.m. on Shorefront Parkway there were a few people lurching up to no good but these worms that drive by in police cars from the 100 Precinct never see them. I guess you could say they had tunnel vision because they had their quota to meet and they continued on looking to give out some real tickets.

Another morning I was busy moving my car for alternate side of the street parking along with walking my dog, when I saw people sleeping it off on the steps of St. Rose of Lima. The cops looked at me, put their car in reverse, stopped, and looked at the vagrants probably thinking if they get out of the car and told them to leave it might lead to a confrontation so they kept driving. Oh, and of course, I made sure I cleaned up after my dog.

This morning I was walking my dog when I saw the cop car checking inspections when it stopped. I saw that there must have been a ticket from the prior day on the windshield. The police officer looked at the ticket and continued to write another. I hope I never have to rely on a cop from the 100 Precinct. Don’t get me wrong, I have much respect for the NYPD, but very little for the 100 Precinct. I think the president of the PBA should put out a mandate on these cops of the 100 Precinct and tell them to get a little back bone and man up and do their job which is to look out for the criminals and look after the safety of the citizens of Rockaway.


Boardwalk Needs Stores

Dear Editor;

I have lived in Rockaway for the past 6 years.  Prior to my residence here I resided close to the Atlantic City shore.  We had a vast amount of attractions there that generated a large influx of people to the beaches.  Unfortunately Rockaway is not gathering it’s due of visitors as I feel it surely could.  The beaches here and the “feel” of Rockaway beaches just would and does generate people but if you added boardwalk attractions such as shops (tourist souvenir shops, eateries, bike, surf, skate etc rentals), game sites and more, we could make this a place to rival other beaches.  Coney Island has its amusement park, Atlantic City has its Casinos, Ocean City also has amusement parks but Rockaway has nothing.

When people go to the beach, they tend to want to eat, relax and be entertained and after everything is through they want a souvenir. Where can they eat on the boardwalk other than if they happen to park on Beach 116th St? What type of entertainment is there? Are there games? Rides? Something memorable? How about just an “I love Rockaway” T-shirt bought on the ACTUAL boardwalk? Who thinks to buy those at the local grocery store??? That, salt water taffy, fudge and the occasional toss and win game should all be found at the boardwalk. It can be found at the boardwalk,.... just not ROCKAWAYS boardwalk.  I ask you why? How is it that when I tell people I’m now from “Rockaway” they just look at me and go “HUH?” When I was near Atlantic City they knew where I was talking about and I say, it’s mostly because of our boardwalk ... we need attractions something on the boardwalk up and down it from Beach 9th to as far up we can get, it craves people. These little stands you have don’t cut it. Why is that McDonalds is not at your stands?  Why don’t they sell T-shirts and more... And how come there isn’t more? If I could be of any help, please contact me... I’d like to see Rockaway be all that it can be and then see it become more.


New Senior Center

Dear Editor,

We have a new senior center in Rockaway Beach. It’s called “Seaside Seniors” on the corner of Rockaway Beach Boulevard and Beach 90 Street. It used to be the Hammels Senior Center for the past 45 years.

It is now under the direction of the Department For The Aging and Catholic Charities. The girls in charge are Cruz Fishman and Goldie Ryan. Our old friends Janet and Pat have left for parts unknown.

This is a very, very nice place. All slicked up, a new paint job, new furniture and at 12 noon you can pay a dollar for lunch. One can’t go wrong on the price.

Very few of the old timers are left. Lily Davis, Francis Falacara, Mabel Winkelman, Catherine Moran and our old cook Charlie Washington retired to San Raphael, California.

Our director, Irving Oppsman also retired to Dallas, Texas and has a class in painting at a local center there.

I hope you like the new place.


Dunes Are Necessary

Dear Editor,

As if on cue, the one-two punch of Bonnie and Charley to Florida points out the importance of being knowledgeable about coastal development and management of barrier beaches subject to storm surge. So why is there no overall authority to guide reps of local agencies so no harm is done for example to dune (or wetlands) that protect the environment or real estate?

For Friends of Rockaway I provided the only testimony at a NYS Department of Environmental Conservation administered public hearing to establish the Coastal Erosion Hazard Lines behind the boardwalk in Edgemere (no construction in this duneland border) and its hard to imagine how a local Parks Department would obey and local power like a civics group to destroy protective dunes in a nonsensical operation.

Not only does the Parks Department have a beach maintenance guidance booklet produced by the Corps of Engineers but the beaches of Rockaway and Staten Island are special flood and erosion control hazard management areas. The beaches are, in this plan, artificial foreshores’ that require nourishment from beach fills or else they erode away. So to destroy dunes that oppose erosive forces needs some coordinated explanation from City Hall in the hurricane season. Note: Long Beach to the east in Nassau Count has an approved 15-20 foot dune plan though its not funded yet. Thank you for your kind attention.


Benepe Out Of Touch

With Dune Issue

Dear Editor,

(The following letter was sent to New York City Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe.)

I want to make it clear to you that I have volunteered my services on behalf of every resident of the Rockaway Peninsula, along with every beach loving citizen of the United States, in writing this letter to you.

I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. It just wasn’t possible. No NYC Commissioner could be so brazenly incompetent. No NYC Commissioner could be so brazenly callous. No NYC Commissioner could be so out of touch with reality.

So I decided to take a walk and see for myself. When I arrived at my destination – the boardwalk and Beach 123-124 Streets – I found it all to be true. The dunes were gone! Poof! Just like that! Bulldozed on the whim of the pompous people of the Rockaway Homeowners Association and obliging ineptness of the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation. I stood there – agape!

For starters, the Rockaway Homeowners Association has absolutely no jurisdiction over the beach and the dunes. Period. If they are under the impression that they do have jurisdiction, they just found out that they are wrong. Said association should be dismantled post haste and its board of directors and staff held up to public ridicule.

The more important issue is whether or not you and anyone in your department is paying attention to anything at all. Do you have any idea how long it took for the natural formation and growth of those dunes? Poof! Gone! Just like that!

Do you have any idea of the importance those dunes play in beach preservation, shoreline preservation, beach erosion, the ongoing ecosystem, coastal preservation, coastal protection, natural land protection and just downright natural beauty? Poof! Gone! Just like that!

Do you or anyone in your department have any clue whatsoever? Were you not paying attention in grammar school science class? Have you ever stepped foot on a beach?

Commissioner, there are beaches on this planet that could really use those dunes. If this occurred anywhere on Fire Island you would have been in jail by now. I shudder to think of what would happen to the members of the Homeowners Association.

Then I remember that you are the same man who is responsible for dictating the rules and regulations that govern out beaches and our boardwalk. (Yet another ongoing disaster of monumental proportions!)


Prokopov, A Savior? I Think Not!

Dear Editor,

(The following letter was sent to Lew Simon, Democratic District Leader.)

I just finished reading today’s issue of The Wave and between the articles by yourself and Howard Schwach, one gets the impression that we are about to anoint this Vladimir Prokopov as the savior of Rockaway Park.

I think not!!!

As I understand it, Prokopov’s plans for the Lawrence Hotel was to renovate it as a facility for bed-bound medicated/comatose patients. Like we need more of these vegetative specimens, right? And of course, all of those monthly SSI/SSD checks would go directly into his pocket. Sounds familiar? Just like one of our local SRO owners, who is single-handedly responsible for attracting most of the vermin that litters our streets.

Well lo and behold, after plunking down all this cash, Prokopov finds out that the Lawrence is structurally unsound and can’t be saved, the zoning is prohibitive and the community wants no part of it. So now the man owns a $500,000 white elephant and the sign goes up to “call owner,” so he can cut his losses and run. All this talk about development, stores, condos, buying the Baxter Hotel…yatta, yatta, yatta, is all face saving and back-pedaling.

Prokopov breezes into town, driving a sparkling new Mercedes and trunk full of $100 bills and all of a sudden, he is the new Messiah. What does this guy know about the Rockaways? Rockaway Park? The history? The character of the community? I’ll tell you what he knows: Zip! Nada! Zilch!

You’re sleeping Lew! I wouldn’t trust this guy as far as I can throw him. The faster he leaves, the better!

No if you’ll excuse me, I was assaulted the other night and although New York’s Finest say I’m lying, my left knee is the size and color of an eggplant and pulsating out of control.


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