2004-09-17 / Columnists


Those residents who registered to vote by mail after January 1, 2003 must bring some form of identification with them to their polling place. The new rules are part of the “Help America Vote,” law passed by Congress. Those who registered after that time had to furnish either their driver’s license number or the last four digits of their social security number in order to register. Now, in order to vote, they will have to provide a photo ID, a current utility bill (with the address), a bank statement, a government check or another government document that shows the voter’s name and address. Those who do not have identification will be able to vote on a paper ballot rather than use the machine and that vote will be counted once the identification is verified.

The Wave has received a number of telephone calls in the wake of its story on terrorist Abderraouf Jdey, who Canadian reports say brought down American Airlines Flight 587 with a shoe bomb. At least three callers told us that they saw Jdey (whose picture was on the front page of the paper) in and around Rockaway after the crash, which occurred in November of 2001. One man said that he rode the subway to Rockaway on a regular basis, another that she saw him on the B100 bus heading towards King’s Plaza, a third that he was hanging out on Beach 116 Street two weeks ago, taking pictures of the subway station. We urge anybody who thinks that they have spotted Jdey to call the FBI’s New York City number. They are looking for him.

North Fork Bank recently bought GreenPoint Bank and, even though the two are only a block apart on Beach 116 Street, it seems that both will remain open. One move by North Fork is to be applauded by locals. As part of the merger, North Fork will move one of GreenPoint’s call centers back from India to its Melville, Long Island, headquarters. That will move 80 jobs from India to Long Island, reversing in a small way an alarming trend that moves jobs in the other direction through outsourcing.

A recent Wave page 1 story, “Mighty Cops Pull Woman From Burning SUV,” contained misinformation regarding the direction of vehicle travel in the two-car accident, and placed blame on the wrong driver. The Wave regrets the error.

It looks as if health care will become one of the major issues in the presidential campaign between now and November 2. First came the report that Medicare premiums would rise 17 percent in the coming year, impacting senior citizens throughout the nation. Then, on top of the Medicare jump, a recent study has found that health care costs for all Americans, not just seniors, are rising at a rate five times that of worker’s salaries. The report says that many workers will be knocked out of the health care market and will become instead part of an army of uninsured workers who will lose their ability to get access to quality health care.

Congratulations to Barbara Morris, the owner of West End Realty, who was recently named an “Everyday Hero” by Newsday. Morris was cited for her work in the community, including stints on Community Board 14, Rockaway Rotary Club, Rockaway Chamber of Commerce, the Claddagh INN, 100 Precinct Community Council, St. Pat’s Day Parade Committee and many others too numerous to mention in this space. Her annual Sand Castle Contest has quickly become a Rockaway icon. Well Done!

Not many locals attend the regular meetings of the Jamaica Bay Task Force, a group that has an immense impact on Rockaway and its ecology. Local environmentalists say that the peninsula is sorely mistreated by the Manhattan interests on the task force, and they may be right. One of the reasons for that mistreatment might be the fact that few locals show to voice their opposition to plans such as dumping toxic waste into the bay and allowing raw sewage to be pumped into the bay on a regular basis. The next Task Force meeting will be held at Floyd Bennett Field on Wednesday, September 22 at 6:30 p.m.

Ada Smith, who represents Broad Channel in the State Senate (the rest of us are represented more ably by a Smith of our own, Malcolm Smith), has been demoted to Assistant Minority Leader for Policy and Administration from a far more lofty position as Chair of the Senate’s Democratic Conference. Ada Smith has been accused over the past few years of what one could only call bizarre behavior – biting cops, running over the feet of security personnel and generally raising cain in Albany. She hardly ever shows up in Broad Channel, which is really appended to her Brooklyn district. In fact, Malcolm Smith, who does not represent the island community, often shows up for events in that community.

Should George W. Bush lose the bid for a second term as President, he will be the third family member to do so. Everybody knows that Bush’s father lost his bid for a second term in 1992, but fewer might know that Bush is

a distant cousin of Franklin Pierce, who lost his bid for a second term in 1856. In fact, Bush’s mother’s full name is Barbara Pierce Bush.

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