2004-10-01 / Community

Beachcomber

The Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation often sends email and press releases to The Wave for publication, especially in the wake of September 11. “We have collectively and individually condemned the killing of innocent civilians, all civilians,” the most recent release said. “The recent gruesome event and Russia and Iraq compel us to reiterate in the strongest language that these heinous deeds are not acts of liberation or Islam. They are plain murder.”

The Wave is selling 2005 Broad Channel Historical Calendars at its offices at 8808 Rockaway Beach Boulevard. The handsome calendars are sold by the community’s Historical Society as a fundraiser and sell for $5. As befitting a bayfront community, the calendar lists high and low tides each day and each month features an historic photo from the community’s past.

The September 11 memorial events that took place around the tri-state area made it clear once again that most of those communities that chose to develop and build special memorials to those in the community that died that day in the terrorist attacks have already done so. A Staten Island memorial (how come they can call it a memorial, but we can’t?) was put on hold by the city bureaucrats, but a word from their Borough President and Councilman straightened the Parks Department out quickly and the memorial was completed. Even Woodmere, a community where six residents died that day, managed to get its memorial park up and running for this year. Only in Rockaway does the planned tribute (we can’t call it a memorial) remain on hold for a third year because of city meddling and the lack of any backbone on the part of our local politicians to face down the bureaucrats and say, “let’s get it done.” Now that winter is coming, planting and other work will have to wait until spring. We are looking at another year without the promised tribute, one that many locals donated time and money to developing. Perhaps it is time for the Rockaway Chamber of Commerce and the Community Board to turn the project over to a professional expediter who can actually smooth the way to getting the project completed.

The Wave was in error two weeks ago when we printed the address for the relief effort for the Haitian victims of recent hurricanes. The correct address is 193 Beach 97 Street, not 194.

When Community School Boards were disbanded in July and replaced by Community Education Councils, it was clear that the new school-based groups would have little power, even less than the CSB’s had at the end of their run. The promise at that time, however, was that the new CEC’s would have to sign off on school and district budgets, giving them an oversight over school spending. Now that the process has been completed for the school year, it is clear that the promise was not kept. Only four of the 34 CEC’s provided feedback on their district’s budgets prior to the deadline, mostly because that deadline was buried in arcane emails and not perceived by most of the councils. And, that was just the way the bureaucrats at Tweed Courthouse wanted it. District 27 was not one of those who responded to the budget email.

Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio are important. The rest of us are chopped liver. That’s a fact of life in this year’s presidential election. The three “battlefield” states are the only ones to get major attention from the candidates because all of the others, including New York, are either solidly in one camp or the other or have too few electoral votes to worry about. And, with new polling capabilities, the battleground might be limited even more, making specific cities the target of all the campaigning and all the ads. Some day soon, the candidates might spend all of their time and effort in places such as Harrisburg or Toldeo.

There are no New York City schools on the State Education Department’s list of dangerous schools this year. That is because, to make the list, a school is only dangerous if the number of incidents involving weapons is at least three percent of a school’s enrollment for two straight years. Get that? Think about it. If Beach Channel High School, for example, has 500 students, for example, then there would have to be 65 incidents involving weapons each year for two years in order for the school to be considered dangerous by the state. The fact that a young man sent a girl to the hospital be pushing her head through a trophy case does not count at all because there was no weapon involved. The fact that three young students were found with guns outside the school after dismissal does not count either, because the weapons were not used in the school.

Speaking of school crime, Mayor Mike Bloomberg says that he is winning the war on school crime despite the fact that reports show that the crime rate has risen more than 10 percent in the past year. The mayor says that there are really two kinds of school crime – violent incidents and disruptive behavior. He says that he and his administrators will stamp out both kinds of crime. We wish him well, but we are glad that somebody is finally addressing the issue of disruptive behavior in the schools. Bloomberg said, “Disruptive behavior doesn’t get the kind of press [that violent behavior gets], but it’s much worse in many senses because it’s much more prevalent.”

Ten Rockaway schools are now on the state’s list of “School In Need of Improvement.” They are PS 42, PS 183, PS 197, PS 215, PS 225, MS 53, MS 180, MS 198, Beach Channel High School and Far Rockaway High School. Many of those schools have brand new principals this year, a number of whom have little or no experience as school administrators. We wonder what that says to the parents of the kids who go to those schools. The state has like rules involving special education students, who cannot be punished for assault unless they use a weapon.

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