2005-01-21 / Community

Beachcomber

Even though the mayoral elections is still ten months away, Congressman Anthony Weiner is in full flight in his campaign to take the job away from Mayor Mike Bloomberg and keep it away from his Democratic opposition. In a January 13 press release, Weiner outlined his “initiatives” for revitalizing the outer boroughs. Those initiatives include stopping the new West Side Stadium, pumping economic development money into the “other four boroughs,” ferry service to Manhattan (although he does not specifically mention Rockaway) and speedier bus service from the outer four to Manhattan. He also calls for a ban on Wal-Mart stores in city neighborhoods and a cut in fines to small businessmen. Weiner seems to have the pulse of many city residents on this and may tap the anger of locals who believe that Bloomberg has lost touch (if he ever had it) with the man on the street.

More and more, the mayor is publicly displaying his anger when he doesn’t like something. He did it last week at a Far Rockaway High School press conference when a few of the reporters got paged while he was speaking. Recently, in discussing the Green Bus strike, the mayor said of the line’s owner, Jerome Cooper, “He’ fighting everything in court. I think he’s down in Florida vacationing while everybody else is here working and trying to get to work on the buses. He is, I think, ginning this up.” I guess somebody has to remind the mayor that he spends a lot of time in Bermuda when he perhaps should be doing the city’s business. Talk about throwing stones when you live in a glass house.

The new 311 complaint system seems to be working well, but there is one glitch that needs to be addressed. The major complaint coming into the system is about noise. The city knows where the noise exists, but that information is closely held. For example, the community board, the liaison between the city’s citizens and their government cannot get the noise information from the city. At times, even the police are left out of the loop. What sense does that make? It makes sense only to the city officials who want the information kept secret. Why is it important for the community board, for example, to know about noise complaints? How about when the bar or restaurant causing the noise comes to the board for a variance to expand or to add outside tables. Shouldn’t the board know that the restaurant has been a bad neighbor? Of course it should—but it doesn’t.

The United Way has announced that a single parent with two children who lives in New York City must earn nearly $50 thousand a year in salary in order to make ends meet. That total differs greatly from the $15,670 a year that a person making the minimum wage earns.

Now that a Rockaway commuter ferry seems to be further from reach, locals are again arguing for the resumption of the long- abandoned White Pot Junction branch of the Long Island Railroad for a new light rail system. The line would link JFK Airport to the city and would also bring Rockaway into the loop, cutting about 35 minutes from the rail trip from the peninsula to Manhattan. There is, of course, a question of whether the unused land would any longer be suitable for a rail corridor since many people have built homes and other amenities nearby the old line. In addition, people who live along the corridor have been fighting the plan for years and have the support of some powerful political leaders in their battle to keep the line out.

The North Fork Bank came through for senior citizens in Far Rockaway by agreeing to keep its newly-acquired GreenPoint branch on Seagirt Boulevard open, even though on a more limited basis. The bank had no obligation to keep the redundant branch open, but did so to accommodate many elderly and infirm customers.

While Region Five supervisor Kathleen Cashin continues to talk about how safe our schools have become, Beach Channel High School continues to have its problems. On Friday, January 7, a mother came to the school with her daughter for the express purpose of assaulting another young lady who she said had been bothering her daughter. Both were taken from the school in handcuffs after a mêlée in the school corridor turned into a minor riot. On Wednesday, January 12, three female students and a male student were arrested in the building for fighting and reportedly causing another minor riot. There is a discipline code, but it does not seem as if it is being carried out.

To show how far political correctness has come, two men were arrested in a Nassau County court last week for telling “lawyer jokes” while they were waiting for court to begin. The old jokes, such as “How do you tell a lawyer is lying? His lips are moving.” And “Why do the bury lawyers 100 feet underground? Because down deep, they’re good people, angered some lawyers who heard the two men and they were arrested and jailed for “disorderly conduct.” How stupid!

Battles over bogus kin have reportedly held up some of the settlements with victims of AA 587, according to an exclusive New York Post report last Sunday. The report, written by David Hafetz, says that three years after the crash, one-third of the 350 lawsuits have not yet been settled as some fractured families fight over bogus weddings. The story says that some of those who were married to victims were simply sham marriages for the purpose of bypassing immigration rules. Those lies are now coming home to roust.

Wave readers will recall our front-page story on the “Broad Channel Stranger” who police and the District Attorney’s office interviewed during the week of December 3. Although no arrest was made at that time, the DA’s office is still investigating and contacted The Wave for information just last week.

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