2005-02-25 / Community

Beachcomber

The city council is working on a bill that would suspend metered parking on Sundays throughout the city. Merchants whose stores are in shopping areas such as Beach 20 Street and Mott Avenue in Far Rockaway, Beach 116 Street and Beach 129 Street have long argued for such a law. The DOT has long argued that it needs metered weekend parking in beach areas during the summer to restrict motorists from parking all day long at meters, restricting those who would park to shop at local stores.

Experts who work with marine mammals say that the recent spate of seals washed up on Rockaway beaches is not unusual for this time of the year. The mother seals take care of their young until they are able to fend for themselves and then, this time of the year, they abandon their young to their own fates. Many who are not strong enough wind up on local beaches. The expert says that the seals have very sharp teeth and can be dangerous to those who approach them. In addition, the mammals are protected by federal law and those who approach them or harass them are subject to arrest and large fines.

There were three shootings in the 101 Precinct two weeks ago in a four-day period. While nobody was killed, it is becoming increasingly clear that there are too many guns on the street. While

the NYPD was once proactive

in taking guns off the street, its hands are now tied by its own regulations and the threat of action against the city by civil rights groups who believe that cops

are illegally targeting minority populations. It is just as clear, however, that it is minority men who are the targets of all of the shootings.

Activist Floyd Smith, who has long been active in the beach safety controversy, says that Florida might have a system that would work on Rockaway’s beaches. That system uses flags that denote the quality of the ocean water that day – from “Low Hazard” to “Beach Closed to the Public,” with a couple of intermediate steps. Smith hopes to bring the system to the eyes of Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe shortly.

The state has given certain schools the right to go back to the basics by pumping up academic programs at the expense of such “exploratory subjects” as Art, Music and Technology. Since all of the at-risk schools are going to be given that option and since the majority of schools in Rockaway fall into that category, we can only expect that many of the Rockaway schools will soon be cutting those subjects from their programs. That is a shame. While increased academics are necessary, there are many students who thrive on non-academic subjects and it those subjects that keep them coming to school.

When famed author Mark Twain edited a newspaper in Missouri, one of

his subscribers wrote to tell him that he had found a spider in his paper

and wished to know whether that

was good or bad luck for the reader. Twain replied, “Finding a spider in your paper is neither good luck nor bad. The spider is merely looking over our paper to see which merchant has not advertised, so that he could go to the store, spin his web across the door and lead a life of undisturbed peace ever afterward.”

Vic Trombettas, who edits a web blog called USRead.com has been involved in investigating the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 into Belle Harbor since day one. He has written many thoughtful articles for The Wave and has testified before the City Council about the crash. Trombettas is convinced that the video taken from the Marine Parkway Bridge that day shows more than the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) was willing to talk about in its recent investigation. He has filed a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request for a copy of the original video. He says that the NTSB, which has argued that it had no need for the original and had never requested it from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), now told him that it acquired the original in May of 2004 and that it does, in fact, show more footage than the video shown the public during the hearing. Trombettas is still waiting for his copy. He hopes that it will corroborate his theory that there was some sort of upset with the plane before the tail fell off.

Those who live in Mitchell-Lama housing can breathe easier. The City Council has extended the tax breaks for the middle-income subsidized housing for another fifty years.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently announced a new school for the Lower Manhattan area represented by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Bloomberg said he was building the school because that area “would serve the children of people moving to the area and that he expects 3,400 new students in that area over the next five years. When Rockaway (in the guise of Community School Board 27) asked the mayor and the Department of Education for new schools to address the building boom in Rockaway (more than 5,000 new students will be moving to Rockaway over the next nine years), all we got was a blank stare and a promise to study the problem. Once more, it seems that the important thing is knowing the right politicians and none of ours are the right ones.

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