2005-05-06 / Columnists

From the Editor’s Desk

By Howard Schwach

Nobody asked me, but …

...The towing program now going on in the Dayton Plaza Shopping Center does not serve anybody very well, especially since the large lot is never lacking for open spots. One of the people who was towed recently told me that she did stay more than two hours in the lot because she shopped first at CVS and then went for lunch in the restaurant. Then, she went shopping at C-Town. When she came out with her packages, her car was gone. She called the police and was told that B and M Towing had taken her car. It cost her lots of aggravation and more than $100 to get her car back. She says that she will never go into that shopping center again.

Some health care providers seem to provide better care than others. Recently, my temporary bridge came loose while I was eating a buttered roll. While my local dentist, Dr. Aaron Brandwein on Beach 129 Street was not in, he agreed to meet me at his office at nine p.m. that evening, on his way home from a meeting. Sure enough, he called me at home about 9:05 p.m. and told me that he would be at the office in fifteen minutes. In no time at all, he took care of the problem and I didn’t have to wait days to get my problem relieved. I wish there were more like Brandwein.

…The MTA brass keeps putting themselves in the hole, talking about how well the subways are running and they putting off repairing stations at the same time the agency is giving away millions of dollars to the New York Jets. I understand that Mayor Bloomberg controls the MTA board and that he strong-armed them into voting his way, but this is getting ridiculous. The last thing subway riders want or need is a sweetheart deal that costs them thousands of dollars and lots of aggravation in terms of dirty and decaying stations, fires and service disruptions.

…Those who think that private accounts is the answer to the social security problem should remember the early 1990’s. When the tech bubble burst, thousands who had put their last dollar in a continually-growing market quickly found themselves eating cat food for dinner. If you don’t think that can happen again, you have not studied history. When it comes to retirement income, slow and steady is the byword and that is what the traditional social security program delivers. Retirees might not get rich, but they usually have enough to keep home and hearth together.

…It’s time to move ahead on the memorial to the 265 people who died when American Airlines Flight 587 crashed in Belle Harbor more than three years ago. Now that the site has been established at Beach 116 Street and a community group has been formed to find a fitting memorial to go on that site, the Parks Department should move quickly to get the site ready. We don’t want another fiasco like the Tribute Park hold-up because Parks and the Arts Commission were not on board from the beginning. Mayor Bloomberg wants a plan in place by November. That is already four years after the fact. We all need to work faster and smarter on this issue.

…The Florida self-defense law, which was crafted by the National Rifle Association, allows people on the street to shoot those who they think are threatening their lives. “Meet force with force,” is the NRA motto and critics see bleeding bodies lying all over the streets of the Sunshine State. The NRA now promises to bring the law to ‘Liberal” states such as New York. We can see it now. Beach 54 Street and BCD. “Sure I shot him, officer. I thought he was going to hurt me.” What a world the NRA wants us to live in.

…We should immediately move to impeach any city legislator who tries to do away with the present Term Limits rules. City Hall insiders say that the City Council is quietly moving to do just that. Of course they are. They want to keep their jobs. The voters, however, are strongly in favor of the rules and want to keep them just the way they are.

..My first night on active duty with the U.S. Navy, I was at the Naval Receiving Station at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in Brooklyn, awaiting my orders to a unit with the Sixth Fleet. I was walking up the stairs (the starboard ladder, as they called it) when a group of prisoners from the Naval Brig in the same building came up the stairs towards me. “Gangway, prisoner,” the lead man, who had a shorn head and a large “P” on his denim shirt. When they got abreast of me, the lead prisoner said “excuse me,” and one of the Marine brig guards hit him hard on the shoulder with a scatter gun he carried. “You speak only when spoken to, boy,” the guard said menacingly. I vowed then never to break the law and eventually became a court reporter, a small cog in the Navy JAG system. The point is that the brig has now been empty for eleven years and it will now be demolished to make way for 400 units of mixed-income housing and some stores. Another part of my personal history gone down the drain and it is beginning to make me feel somehow older with each piece that disappears.

..On March 22, Corporation Counsel Michael Cardozo, the city’s top lawyer, wrote a letter defending Mayor Bloomberg’s right to funnel millions of dollars in funds from something called “payments in lieu of taxes” to the New York Jets in order to finance a $300 million contribution to the new midtown stadium. Now comes the good part. Before joining the city government, Cardozo was a partner in the powerful law firm, Proskauer Rose. What did he do for the firm? He was the head of the sports law division and his firm represented Woody Johnson in buying the Jets in the first place. The attorneys presently in the sports law division represent the Jets, the Nets, the NBA and the NHL. If that is not comsidered to be a conflict of interest, I can’t think of anything in politics that would be considered a conflict.

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