2004-12-10 / Columnists

Beachcomber

People all over Rockaway and Broad Channel were talking last Wednesday about the release of a suspected pedophile who was picked up in Broad Channel. They all wanted to know why the police released the unidentified Brooklyn man after he was positively identified by a teenage girl at the scene. The facts do not support the anger that people felt. The fact is that the man, who was trapped on the narrow Board Channel street by neighbors, had gained so much weight since he accosted the young girl in August and exposed himself, that she could not positively identify him. When police showed her his driver’s license, she did identify him, but she could no longer do so in person. The fact that she identified his car and it was chock-full of toys did not matter. After hours of interrogation, the Queens District Attorney declined to prosecute because there was not enough evidence to take him to a grand jury. He was picked up from the 100 Precinct by his lawyer and a doctor. His family had him taken to a Nassau County facility for psychiatric evaluation and our information indicates that he was admitted for treatment. We have to believe that he has done this before. The only media outlet other than The Wave to carry the story, by the way, was Fox 5 News, which used two pictures that were given to them by this paper.

A little-recorded provision of the new federal spending bill would allow politicians to transfer some of the funds they had collected to run for federal office into an account that could be used to run for local office – such as Mayor of New York City. If the bill is passed, it would allow Congressman Anthony Weiner to use up to $1.5 million in his present campaign chest for a run against Mike Bloomberg in 2005. A spokesperson for Weiner said that the addition is being pushed by the Federal Election Commission. It would affect only a hand-full of members of the House and Senate who might later plan to run for local office.

Published reports say that our other Congressman, Gregory Meeks, is quietly jockeying for a leadership post with the Democratic National Committee. Meeks was one of the first supporters of John Kerry in Queens, and led his local election effort. Should he get the seat, Meeks would have a great influence over the party’s agenda for the next four years. According to the reports, Meeks wants to be one of the five vice chairpersons, who will be chosen at the party’s winter meeting in February. Meeks made two speeches at the Democratic National Convention in Boston last summer and is considered to be one of the young and up-and-coming Democratic Representatives.

The Wave would like to wish Pete Rahaniotis, former 100 Precinct Community Affairs Officer, well in his new assignment at Patrol Borough Queens South.

With the holiday season underway, some local residents and ex-residents have been calling The Wave to find out where they can purchase Rockaway logo apparel. Now that Jilly’s is gone from Beach 116 Street, the only place that we know of with a collection of shirts, jackets, hats and sweatshirts is The Rockaway Sunset Diner on Beach 116 Street, although “The Gift Is Love” sells a limited line as well. You can also get apparel such as shirts, jackets and hats on line at www.rockawayapparel.com. The apparel has logos such as Rockaway Playland, Rockaway Beach, Irish Town and Rockapulco.

Local environmentalist Bernie Blum is in North Shore Hospital, undergoing tests for an undesignated illness. For the past 20 years, Blum has kept Rockaway’s feet to the fire on environmental issues and was, for a time, the environmental reporter for this paper. We all wish him a speedy recovery.

Now that colder weather is coming, local residents have been surreptitiously dropping unwanted pets at the front door of the Rockaway Animal Hospital on Beach Channel Drive and Beach 114 Street. On one recent day, there were two cat carriers with their furry cargo in front of the door early in the morning. The vets try to place the displaced animals, but that is not always possible and they soon become a burden on the facility.

The Killing Kompany is coming back to Rockaway with “The Super Bowl Murders,” which will be held at the Beach Club on January 28 at 8 p.m. Those who attend are interspersed at tables for dinner with professional actors. A murder takes place (to steal the winning super bowl picks) and it is up to the diners to solve the crime. Such evenings are always lots of fun and the dinner superb.

The United States Postal Service has a problem. Seems that all of those Email messages bouncing back and forth in the ethos has cut down on the number of people using the mail to send their missives. Their solution: charge more to send a letter. The USPS is expected to ask for a boost in the cost of first class stamps to 41 cents from the present 37 cents early next year. The service says that it has to close a $1.35 billion budget deficit created by high fuel costs, reduced call for services and a huge pension debt service.

The City Council is at it again. This time, it’s the “Digital Divide.” What, you might ask, is the digital divide and why does the council want to “fight this scourge?” The answer is simple. According to the council, there are some people who can’t afford high-speed Internet access. That is the digital divide, and Council Speaker Giff Miller (who is already running for mayor), wants to closed the divide by studying why the divide exists and then closing it by throwing public money at the problem. Should every New Yorker be guaranteed free high-speed Internet access as a constitutional right? Miller seems to think so. He also thinks that the “right” to Internet access is being “denied” to people based on race and economic status.

In September of 1991, Maria and Eliezer Marrero were arrested because they chained their 15-year-old daughter to a radiator on a regular basis to keep her off the streets. They sued the city, arguing that their actions were not criminal and therefore the arrest was illegal. They asked for $900,000 in damages for the incident. The recent civil trial took a month. It then took two hours for the jury to throw out the case. Seems to us that the case provided a good laugh for the jury and little more. It cost taxpayers lots of money, however, to defend the ridiculous and unwarranted suit. The law should allow the city to recover those costs from the plaintiffs and their lawyer.

Watching the sparse media coverage this week about the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, which changed us all on December 7, 1941, we had to wonder what the media would be saying about the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2064.

Those who want a copy of the final NTSB report on the crash of AA 587 can get it online at its Website at WWW.ntsb.gov/publictn/2004/AAR0404.htm.

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