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Opinions On The Convention
This week a varied group of activists will come to New York City. Some believe in replacing public schools with private and parochial schools. Some believe that global warming is an unproven theory. Some believe that the U.S. has the right to attack any nation that might think of attacking us in the future. Some believe every law-abiding American family should be prepared to defend themselves with lethal weapons. They are Republicans and they will be inside Madison Garden.
Other Americans believe that all wars are evil. Some believe that minorities still suffer from racism. Some believe that medical care should be available to all regardless of income. Some believe that our current administration is the most inept and corrupt in our time. They are the protesters and they will be outside the Garden.
Our mayor is not familiar with either group. He wasn’t a Republican until he decided to run for office. He knew how to build a successful computer information company and make lots of money. He never protested a war, racism or supported striking workers.
Michael Bloomberg and some Republican strategists cooperated in bringing the convention to NYC. Bloomberg could associate with his new Republican friends, while the Republicans could again identify with our heroic firefighters and police and justify the quagmire in Iraq.
Freedom of speech and assembly in the village square is one of the most basic of our constitutional rights. Unpopular abolitionists, suffragettes and anti-Vietnam War protesters exercised their constitutional rights to march and rally. Central Park is our village square. This week the federal courts are deciding whether the denial of a permit to protest in Central Park can be justified constitutionally. I suspect our mayor’s opposition to the use of Central Park is based on the contrast between the diverse, creative protesters in the park and the boring speeches in the Garden. Concern has been expressed about violent demonstrations. There have been violent incidents in American history. The assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King and the Oklahoma City bombing did not occur during mass demonstrations. You have go back to Haymarket in 1886 to find an example.
I expect protesters and police officers will have much in common as they oppose the unfair distribution of homeland security funds, the Republican failure to create more living wage jobs, raise the minimum wage, negotiate fair contracts for police, firefighters and teachers but managed to eliminate overtime pay for countless workers.
Almost all protesters will come to express themselves, meet old friends and return home to continue their lives. The march on Sunday past Madison Square Garden and the demonstration by the NYC Central Labor Council on Wednesday are good examples.
In ordinary times many citizens will occasionally attend those demonstrations that affect their jobs or homes directly. This week, when the right to demonstrate at an appropriate place is threatened, it is our obligation to support our basic constitutional rights. Use it or lose it.
The Beaches Belong to Us
What do dune removal and Parks Department rules have in common? They are indicative of a city agency run amok and illustrate an unbelievable ignorance that cannot go uncontested. Analyze this.
Item 1: US citizens have access below the mean high water line on any ocean beach in the US. If you don’t know what the high tide line is stand in one place on the beach for 6 hours and you’ll get it. In 1899 the ‘Harbors and Rivers’ act gave our great-great grandparents that right. Hundreds of court cases have re-affirmed its validity over the last century.
Here’s a lay person’s (MY) interpretation and I’m NOT a lawyer. Let’s make believe you and a bunch of people (Lew, are you listening) are on the beach with both feet BELOW THE MEAN HIGH WATER LINE and the parks department employee says ‘please get off the beach.’ You point to your feet and say ‘Good day sir, as you can see, I’m below the high tide line, I have the right to be here, Section 123 US code 10, Harbors and Rivers act of 1899,’ POLITELY of course! It’s best to have a witness.
Now the fun begins. You’ll undoubtedly get a summons from a very flustered officer. Why not take it and go to court - no effort, no progress. Explain to the judge you’re innocent because you were merely strolling below the high water line, you know, ‘Harbors and Rivers act your honor.’ Judges know the law, they surely know of the act, and now we find out whether the parks department can nullify Federal law. Best case; the judge censures the parks department and all this nonsense is OVER! Worst case; the judge rules in error, finds you guilty, and fines you. Suppose you take the day in jail and refuse to pay the fine? Think the judge wants to put senior-citizen beach walkers in jail? You could be a New York Post headline. Enjoy.
Item 2: The last time Rockaway experienced an ocean-to-bay flood was, if my sources are accurate, in the mid sixties when the ocean met the bay. We are in fact due for the inevitable. Cross your fingers. How does the parks department protect us? They flatten the dunes. They demolish the ONLY natural protection from storm surge - little as it is- that any of us have.
How does one spell moronic, with a lower case or upper case M? All of Fire Island protects and nurtures its dunes. Jones beach, Gilgo, Montauk,
Amagansett; they all nurture their dunes. Our parks department flattens ours. Instead of putting up inexpensive, removable sea wall gates to protect our Rockaway homes from a storm surge, they ensure that the ocean can have unfettered access to all that you hold dear.
Conclusion: It’s time for the parks department heads to do the right thing and fall on their swords (figuratively of course). They have shown not only stunning ineptitude, but an inability to act in a rational manner and in the best interest of those they are supposed to serve. Go away.
Kerry: Wrong For America
John Kerry is running his campaign solely based on his “Vietnam story,” which as it turned out is a fraud, as he got caught lying, he has threatened to sue the real Vietnam swift boat veterans, in total disregard for freedom of speech.
As he keeps fighting his Vietnam War, Kerry has said nothing on how he is going to fight today’s terrorism. That is until recently when he said he would conduct a “sensitive” war against terrorism. Say what? Listen John, they blew up the World Trade Center, raped Jessica Lynch and beheaded all the American POW’s.
Time For A Choice
America has a choice: It can continue to weaken the economy and lose jobs as Bush’s policies are doing, it can continue to shift the tax burden from corporations and the wealthy to middle class wage earners, or it can help American families and small businesses to economic recovery and future job creation.
Bush’s jobs and growth policies have NOT put the economy on the road to recovery, so there is much work to be done by a new president. John Kerry has outlined a plan that will create more job opportunities for America’s workers and keep America the best place in the world to do business.
It’s time for America to make the right choice.
This letter is in response to reader Jennifer Molloy’s letter and the Wave’s first Beachcomber article last week.
I think the reason we don’t have boardwalk stores hawking souvenirs and skee-ball stands with saltwater taffy is, in part, because nobody who
lives here wants that. The last thing Rockaway needs is more 99-cent stores on or around 116th and the boardwalk. A map for economic success is not more seasonal businesses or more cheap multi-dwelling housing. Stable, year round business and (God forbid) a one-family house being built on any of this undeveloped land out here is what our chamber of commerce ought to be investing in. Because, no matter how much The Wave wants to compare us to Coney (in regard to the ridiculous beach
restrictions), we do not want to be Coney Island!
I agree with the paper on most of their issues with the city’s handling of beach regulations. I’d like to see Rockaway be a haven for water and beach enthusiasts. Foolish restraints put on fishing, surfing, and accessing the beach (no matter what time) only serve to infuriate the residents who would be using our beach long after the visitors leave. However, comparing us to Coney, even if to show the hypocrisy in city enforcement, is bad. Coney is a horrible, abused, non-self-respecting example of a beach community. I moved to Rockaway because it’s nothing like Coney Island. And though I hate the over-enforcement of lame beach policies, I’d take them all over Coney. I don’t care if they have a dance party on the boardwalk. They also have fights, garbage and three times the crime.
The problem is that the select few who actually have a hand in controlling what gets done out here, (dunes getting bulldozed away in the middle of the night, frivolous mall-medians getting built to raise property value, convenient parking restrictions applied to their neighborhood) messed it up for everyone. In their quest to protect real estate they have pushed for years to have these harsh restrictions applied to beach goers. It’s designed to discourage the undesirable “daytrippers”. And honestly, how can you blame them? I live down in
“Rockaway Park” and witness the Coney-like flux of city beach goers who come down and absolutely decimate the block and beach. (I’ve actually confronted people changing their babies and then throwing the diaper in front of my house.) But, as we all know, there’s a big difference in enforcing rules that help to protect the beach and community and enforcing rules that only hurt the local residents who value, appreciate and take care of their beach.
It’s not as clear cut an issue as people would like to think. We all hate the abusive Parks department rules and not being able to have much of a selection in food or shops. Let’s stop comparing ourselves with Coney. Compare us to us, and what we should be. If you want a Rockaway t-shirt, stop in Tom’s shop on the way back from the beach, but we don’t need no steenkin’ skee-ball!
Kerry Is Too Liberal For America
Those voting for John Kerry should consider this: Kerry is a Liberal Democrat. We had liberals in power some 30-35 years ago. Welfare was out of control. Crime was through the roof. Liberal Democratic judges were letting criminals go free before their victims could get out of the hospital. Our cities were unlivable. Police had their hands tied. If they took any action they could get into trouble. So they did nothing.
If Liberals gain control, we will have all those problems again.
Those who don’t remember the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.
Flight 587 News
I’d like to respond to a letter by Wave reader David Cohen, which appeared in your August 20th edition.
In his letter, Mr. Cohen accuses me of putting out “conspiracy theories” related to the crash of Flight 587 (FL587). It’s one thing to accuse me of putting out one conspiracy theory, but Mr. Cohen goes further and says I’ve put out more than one (“theories”). I’d like to set the record straight.
I challenge Mr. Cohen to point out where in our summary and our multi-part report (on usread.com) we have alleged a cover-up of the cause of the crash of FL587. He won’t be able to . . . because it is not there.
Howard Schwach speculated that a government cover-up might be at work, but I did not. I have no proof there is a cover-up. Among some of our findings, we have uncovered evidence the NTSB does not know about much of the debris found in the Rockaways. All we’ve done is highlight these disturbing facts. I also do not attempt to belittle or defame the work of many intelligent, hard working individuals at the NTSB. But as we have heard before, the “road to hell is paved with good intentions” and as we’ve also learned from recent history––even when a CIA Director tells the President something is a “slam dunk”, it could in fact be “an air ball”. If the CIA, with all it’s good, hardworking people, can get something so terribly wrong, isn’t it possible the NTSB could err? That is all I am alleging. That they have erred.
Mr. Cohen suggests I am one person challenging the NTSB. That is also not true. There are dozens of aviation experts who have assisted me in my work. At the Witness Meeting sponsored by the Wave in July 2002, at least four experts came to the meeting––experts who support U.S.Read’s analysis of the NTSB investigation. No less than two former NTSB Investigators support our work at U.S.Read, and one will be interviewed with me on radio this week.
Mr. Cohen suggested we wait for the NTSB’s final report. The NTSB has already reached many conclusions about what did and did not happen, and they have released scores of factual reports. Our “preliminary” report has analyzed and commented on what they have already made public. I believe that in this country we all love and cherish, the People benefit from such analysis and debate.
Anyone deeply familiar with the NTSB’s information releases to date, and familiar with our work, will tell you that we have raised some very good points.
Lastly, our work has uncovered evidence the NTSB overlooked. Critical evidence, such as the Air Traffic Control communications by the pilot himself and what those transmissions tell us about the condition of the aircraft. This evidence, and all our findings, support the counter-thesis that the tail departing the aircraft was not the cause of the crash, and the tail in fact departed later in the crash sequence. Match all this up with no less than 39 witness accounts of strange goings-on (loud noises, explosion, fire, smoke) before the tail fell off––and it’s very easy to conclude something is very wrong.