2005-04-08 / Columnists

From the Editor’s Desk

By Howard Schwach

With apologies to Jimmy Canon, one of the greatest sportswriters of all time, Nobody asked me, but …

.. Eliot Hoff’s letter stating that the Orthodox community has no obligation to have anything to do with its neighbors is disturbing but typical. His statement, “If other people don’t like that, they can live somewhere with no Jewish community,” is disturbing. The word “neighbor” does not mean simply a person living next door. It implies an interaction on the part of all the people who live in a community to somehow work together for the betterment of all. I understand the Orthodox community’s “deeply held religious beliefs” and its “conservative policy on interaction between the sexes,” but neither should keep that community from speaking with other groups.

.. this is the last chance for the Rockaway Partnership to get its act together and finish the Rockaway Tribute Park prior to the fourth anniversary of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, which took place on September 11, 2001. If they don’t get it done this time, the organization should begin refunding all the money it collected from Rockaway residents for the project.

Broad Channel residents and the members of the St. Virgilius parish should be congratulated for coming up with a business plan that was acceptable to the Brooklyn Diocese and therefore keeping their cherished school open for at least three more years. The Broad Channel community has been derided in the past, but it was one of only three parishes that got the job done.

.. The C-Span people who decided that it was necessary to put on a show denying that the Holocaust ever happened to “balance” a documentary about a new book detailing the horrors of the time. There seems to be no end to the foolishness of “political correctness.”

.. Perhaps the National Transportation Safety Board will finally take note that the Airbus A300 series aircraft are inherently flawed if another tail falls off another plane. The incident of the Airbus 330 flying from Cuba to Canada that lost its rudder three weeks ago was not enough, but it should have been. While the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) order the tails of all A300 and A330 aircraft to be inspected, it did not go far enough. All of the aircraft should be grounded and the tails put through a more rigorous inspection before 270 more people die.

.. Despite the fact that School Chancellor Joel Klein keeps talking about parent involvement, the system is doing all it can to keep parent empowerment to a minimum. The coming election of new Community Education Councils again points to the fact that the councils are in name only – the have no power to impact the education of their children with the exception of rubber-stamping decisions already made by the regional superintendent and her staff. The councils should be given some real power in the area of zoning and overseeing the budgets of district schools.

.. Get ready for a bumpy ride on the Cross Bay Bridge. Beginning late next year, the bridge will begin a major renovation project akin to the rehab of the Marine Parkway Bridge a couple of years ago – and we all remember what that did to the peninsula, particularly on hot summer weekends.

.. We are lucky to have in Rockaway such exciting artistic groups as the Rockaway Artist Alliance, the Rockaway Music and Art Council, The Rockaway Museum and the Rockaway Theatre Company. They provide us with a quality of life that many of the smaller communities within a large city do not ever see.

.. It is about time that the State Health Department allowed the city to designate a “surfing only” beach in Rockaway. While it took Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer to push through a modification to the Sanitary Health Act to get the job done, it has been the city’s lack of interest and fear of law suits that kept this from being done two years ago. Cheers to Pheffer and City Councilman Joe Addabbo and boo’s to the Parks Department, which sees our beaches as their fiefdom.

.. The coming Medicaid cuts that threaten our local hospitals and the health of our senior citizens must be restored. At the same time, the state should begin to address the massive fraud that takes place in the program with doctors, health care providers and HMO’s getting rich while hospitals and seniors fall. Rockaway needs both of its hospitals, especially in light of all of the new housing development that is going on in the community. To cut a hospital at the same time you are adding thousands of new homes is folly.

.. Freddy Ferrer’s comments that reopened debate on the Diallo case beg the point. The tragic accident, and that is what it was, was not a crime and a jury was right to find the cops not guilty. The fact is, aggressive policing by the NYPD has taken thousands of guns off the street in the past four of five years. Had that not happened, nearly five or six thousand minority residents in this city would have been dead. Look at the crime figures for homicides over the past years and look at who most often died in those homicides and you’ll see what I mean. It is not politically correct to say that aggressing policing and racial profiling saved thousand of lives, but it is true.

.. Michael Eric Dyson is a black professor at the University of Pennsylvania, recently wrote a screed against Bill Cosby for his comments about the black underclass. He recently told the New York Times, “None of us want our children to be murders or thieves, but Cosby never acknowledges that most poor blacks don’t have a choice about these things. I don’t believe in that kind of American John Wayne individualism where people pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Somebody changed your diapers and if that is the case, then you ain’t self-made,” When asked how he made it, when his brother, for example, is in prison for murder, Dyson said, “My talent was more easily identifiable.” If Dyson is right, that poor black people do not have a choice between crime and work, then we should all just pack it up. The next thing he will be saying is that black people should not be punished for crime because they had no choice. What bologna.

.. It is about time the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) added a writing sample. The ability to write clearly and to communicate with those who read what you have written are obviously critical in a college setting. There are too many people today in positions that require communication in English that can’t do so with any credibility. At one time, teachers had to pass a test in both spoken and written English before being licensed. That is not true any longer.

.. Chancellor Joel Klein wants to reverse his ban on cell phones in school because parents need to contact their children. What happened in the past when parents had to contact their children in an emergency? The called the school office and the office relayed the message. That should remain. What we don’t need is hundreds of kids text-messaging each other when they should be doing their schoolwork. It is yet another example of those at the top not understanding what goes on in a school setting.

..It has been a year since the city announced that it would build a memorial to those who died in the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 on Beach 116 Street. We have not heard a word about it since, and it is obvious that the Rockaway community has been cut out of the decision-making process entirely. That is no way to run a city.

.. It’s about time the Rockaway peninsula had a gifted middle school program. For too long, local kids have been leaving the peninsula to attend Brooklyn schools for their middle school experience. In september, Principal Brian O’Connell, late of PS 114, will open MS 180 as the Scholar’s Academy, a rigorous academic program for gifted kids. Let’s hope the yahoos at the DOE will not kill it before it gets going. On the flip side, we now need a Second Opportunity School (SOS) to house those kids who are not only gifted, but don’t want to learn and keep others from doing so. The DOE lies when it says that schools are getting safer.

They are not.

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