2005-03-18 / Letters

A Minute Is Not Worth A Life Dear Editor,

As a resident of State Road in Roxbury, I see many things that upset me,  like the drivers who pass in the turning lane because they think we are going too slow. 

Or, the young mother who stops her car on the center median to unload her babies for the sitter, while cars speed by in both directions.

Or, the many drivers who think they are Mario Andretti and State Road or Rockaway Point Boulevard is the Indy 500. They are all in a hurry to get where?

Over the years, we have lost many members of our communities due to excessive speed. These victims are Our Neighbors, Our Friends, Our Family Members, OUR CHILDREN.  And when we lose someone, we slow down for a while.  But then it starts again.

Unfortunately, late Saturday night it happened again.

JR McDermott was hit and killed on Rockaway Point Blvd. In Breezy Point. He was only 18. And even though I wasn’t there to witness it, I would bet the driver who hit him was going too fast. The details of the accident are too horrible to print. But the volunteers who tried to save him will be forever changed.

So, my message to all you mom’s, dad’s, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters, is SLOW DOWN. Not for a while, but for good.

Our Children, YOUR Children want to live.

To Linda and John and the McDermott and Paden family, My Deepest Sympathy.

An independent survey recently discovered that driving 60 mph vs. 30 mph from the light to the Breezy Security Booth saves you less than one minute travel time.

Think about it!


Your Usual Rant

Dear Editor:

This week’s wave contains your usual rant about using “Tax Dollars” to fund private or parochial schools.  It still appears to me that you are anti-religion and anti-decent education. When are you going to admit that the Public Schools have a problem that is not related to money?

The main problem is that the students in the public system have no fear of anyone in authority. This is brought on by too many parents claiming “my child is a good child and wouldn’t do anything to get himself in trouble.”

School vouchers can help cure some of the ailments and at least save some of the black students from going from one garbage pail to the next, The first thing that they will learn is discipline which is so sadly lacking in public school.

The second thing they learn is English as opposed to “GANGSTA RAP.” Dress codes are important, can you see yourself hiring a person who comes to you in an oversized T shirt, dungerees falling below his/her waist, and a baseball hat on sideways? While you’re at it, ask the teachers to dress properly, how can a student respect you if you look like a tart or a homeless person.

You ask for more money, how much more do you want, and what good will it do if the teacher’s union refuses to obey decent work rules? There are some dedicated teachers in the schools, but their number is decreasing rapidly as they can’t take it anymore. When are you going to admit that?

As a Catholic, I really don’t want your tax dollars in our schools, because then you will complain about teaching religion, and GOD. I do, however, desire vouchers because I think that they will be of more help to the black people and help them achieve more respect from the white people, because the students will acquire manners, respect, and a good education.  


Be Careful Around SFDS

Dear Editor;

I am writing this to alert parents of children who hang around the St. Francis de Sales schoolyard on Beach 129 Street and the vicinity to be aware of the recent rash of attempted robberies happening to our children. 

A few weeks ago, an 11-year-old boy was surrounded on Beach 129 Street in broad daylight by a group of teens and was the victim of attempted bike robbery. When the punks didn’t get it, they smashed his reflectors and threatened him with more harm.

Then, a small group of eight graders were surrounded on Beach 130 Street and the Boulevard by a group of  kids and became the victims of another attempted robbery. 

Parents, please be aware that there are bands of marauding teens that are beginning to invade our once safe space. They are in the school yards and roaming around the streets and they see our children as easy targets.

We must get involved before this situation escalates. We need to be out there as the eyes and ears for our children. If you see an activity that looks suspicious, please call the precinct at 318-4200, to keep our neighborhood and children safe.



Dear Editor;

When all is said and done, nothing useful has been said or done unless criticism has given way to constructive suggestion. New York City’s public school system, once the jewel in America’s educational crown, has in recent years been hit hard by backfiring reforms, and is very much in want of healing. If there can be no gain without pain, then agony will at least be a beginning. Here is one prescription:

Meritocracy must be restored. The title of “principal” comes from “principal teacher.

Principals are now commonly appointed after having had no supervisory or teaching experience. They start at the top simply because a superintendent has ensconced them there by fiat. That superintendent often has no familiarity with the needs and character of the school, having hardly visited it, and may himself be scarcely more qualified than his protégé.

Until Chancellor Klein’s regime, prospective supervisors submitted resumes that were screened by parents, teachers, and practicing supervisors who then formally interviewed the candidates.

There should be rigorous exams for supervisors as there were during the glory days of the New York City school system. These tests should be written and scored, in rank order, by a Board of Examiners that is entirely independent of the Department of Education. Identification of applicants should be coded to obviate any charge or risk of cronyism, nepotism, or affirmative action substituting for merit.

When the school system was at its peak, it was mandated that applicants for assistant principal positions had taught for at least five years. An additional five years were required to rise from assistant principal to principal. People were hired in order by grade on promulgated lists. It was impossible to pass any test, even as a teacher, unless your speech was up to snuff, as a member of the Bureau of Speech could fail a candidate just for possession of an accent or a lisp. Perhaps it is as well that this is no longer the case.

Principals should have doctoral degrees in legitimate academic areas beyond theoretical education. They should be published and continue to publish throughout their careers.

Eligibility for leadership positions should strictly require legal certification without loopholes to accommodate aspirants with connections. People still in the midst of their schooling are being awarded leadership posts for which they are studying. A prominent superintendent in the Bronx was in fact hired while she was still going for her certification.

If a qualification is vital to perform a job, there should be no monkey business to get around it. If it is not relevant, then it should be abandoned. Chancellor Klein himself was reportedly granted a waiver because he lacks both a State Certificate in Administration and Supervision and a New York City license.

Quite apart from the potential impact on children of having their educational path paved by unfit authorities, consider the demoralizing effect on educators who see this abuse all around them perpetuated by the same people who rigidly demand that they meet all their expanding requisites in timely fashion.

A genuine meritocracy would make moot the debate over whether the schools should again be centralized as they were decades ago, because localized political machinations would be stanched and the duties of teaching and learning would take care of themselves.

Money is a food of meritocracy. Teachers are more likely to volunteer their time when they are not forced to watch the clock to get to their second and third jobs on time. But while holding out for what is materially due them, they will continue to be subsidized by that miracle called the psychic wage. But it is rapidly being spent.


Dangerous Intersection

Dear Editor,

Why do people have to get killed before a stop sign is placed? Or will that horrible crossing on the corner of Mott and Beach Channel Drive with the five second traffic light and cars flying all over the place (near White Castle and McDonald’s) be allowed to continue?

Please avoid the dangerous tree at 23-13 on the corner of Mott and Gipson where the large Metro Home Sales sign is displayed.

There has to be a lengthy clerical process before several large unattached tree limbs are removed. You’ve got to see it to believe it – and the crushing limbs have points.


Stay Local, Pray For Surf

Dear Editor,

It’s nice to see that Beach 93 Street has a variety of good stores to shop on. In a recent visit to the new surfshop, I stopped in next door at the video game store to find a great selection and friendly staff. Before entering the surfshop, I decided to get a haircut at yet another 93 Street business. As I walked into the surfshop, I was greeted by the familiar faces of a Rockaway Beach surfing family.

Steve Stathis and his sons, Christian and Craig, work at their new shop. Being a lifelong Belle Harbor resident and an eternal surfer, I had the pleasure to watch Steve surf with my older brother as I grew up. As I become older I watched Christian and Craig rip it up with my nephew. As I talked to Christian outside after buying a great new longboard for myself and a new skateboard for my kid, I noticed how good it felt to finally see Rockaway on the way up – local people, nice clean stores, new houses, older houses being fixed and the Atlantic Ocean a football field away.

In my three decades in Rockaway, I’ve seen a lot of people leave the area only to regret it. I’ve learned to appreciate what it means to grow up here on the Atlantic. Now to watch others who you’ve known for years not leave and set up shop doing something they love in a beach town they also learned to appreciate what I’ve known my whole life – there will always be Rockaway sand in my shoes. Shop locally. Check out the Beach 93 Street stores. Pray for surf.


Wrong About ABTS

Dear Editor,

On behalf of the developers for Arverne-by-the-Sea, I’d like to respond to a Letter to the Editor in The Wave (March 4, 2005) entitled “He’ll Believe It When He Sees It” authored by a Mr. William Molloy. While the first half of the letter was wonderfully crafted as it took issue with The Wave’s comment about a piece in The New York Times, the second part of the letter was ill-informed as it pertains to the construction of a YMCA facility.

The recreation facility, the Cross Island YMCA, will be built and is a branch of the national YMCA. Its Executive Director is James Sanders (same name as our Councilman, though no relation). If Mr. Molloy would contact Mr. Jack Lund, President of the YMCA of Greater New York, he would be more than pleased to confirm this.

As for the construction of commercial space, Mr. Les Lerner (Developer of ABTS) states, “I have shaken hands with a major name-brand Super Super-Market chain. We are currently in lease negotiations and expect these negotiations to be finalized soon. Until the lease is signed, I am unable to disclose the name of the entity. I expect to make an announcement by June; and at that time, the billboard will go up, and other retail will follow.”

The YMCA will be erected on the site where the Claddagh Inn is now. The city now owns every parcel of commercial land, within ABTS, that was once privately owned; and part of the master plan in making ABTS a reality, was for the city to condemn these privately-owned properties and acquire ownership. This first step has been a long process. The second step, for the city, is now the eviction of these tenants and the demolition of these properties. The old VFW structure will be demolished within the next two weeks.

According to the developers, and those who are close to the construction project, Arverne-by-the-Sea is moving along at a fast pace, the homes are selling out quickly; and Mr. Molly, you will believe it! In fact, take a ride down and see for yourself the beautiful models and take notice of the construction progress being made everyday! Arverne-by-the-Sea will be realized as the wonderful community it is intended to be... and the excitement is building!


Political Reform

Is Necessary

Dear Editor,

A letter in The Wave from “Independents for Reform” called upon your readers, “no matter what party they’re in or whether they even belong to a party to join in a genuine grassroots movement for political reform.” The “Independents” are not alone. There are non-partisan, non-profit groups with members numbering in the tens of thousands that have been working for fair elections, open government, and laws that will end unethical lobbying and campaign finance practices.

And they have achieved some reforms. Some of them in New York State and City are:

1. Executive and legislative branches in the state are covered by Lobby Registration and Disclosure Acts;

2. Laws have been passed requiring disclosure of groups working for or against ballot propositions;

3. The Levy-Silver Bill that prevents candidates from taking campaign funds for personal use;

4. Efforts by Common Cause/NY and the Help Americans Vote Act Coalition resulting in the New York State Senate and Assembly passing bills mandating a verifiable paper trail for new voting machines.

Of course, more reforms are needed. The Senate and Assembly have to come to an agreement and pass the act requiring reliable voting machines; gifts to legislators from lobbyists must be banned; lobbyists should be required to register and/or report when they lobby for state contracts; and there should be an independent ethics committee.

The lives of all people are affected by those we elect to office. If we want to live in a true democracy, we must be aware of what is happening in our city, state and national governments, and we must let those we elect know what we want.

So whether you are an “Independent” or a member of a political party, you can join with others who want and have been working for reform. It takes time and a lot of work, but the more we strive for the reforms, the sooner we will have them.


The Mighty Tongue

Dear Editor,

The tongue can be helpful, yet it can also be harmful. It can whip you harder than any strap. It can cause you to relapse. The mighty tongue can cause you to lose friendship, or it can restore a friendship. The mighty tongue can drag you through grim and pain, or it can lift you as high as the heavens. What is your tongue used for?


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