2005-07-22 / Community

Beachcomber

Just last week, the NYPD graduated its most diverse recruit call ever. The FDNY, however, continues to have problems recruiting minorities and women for its ranks although it has tried mightily for the last few years. Now, the city is going to spend $1.5 million for a full-time staff dedicated to recruiting women and minorities. There will reportedly be an examination, which includes a grueling physical test, sometime in December of 2006. The money will also fund a fellowship at John Jay College of Criminal Justice that will give scholarships for the last two years at that school to those who pass the test.

We have warned people a number of times in this space not to put their garbage out too early because the city’s Department of Sanitation (DOS) gives $100 tickets to those who do. As we ride through the peninsula, however, we often see garbage piled on the curb early in the day. Just because the DOS has not hit Rockaway yet does not mean that the agency won’t soon do that. Just last week, 18 homeowners in Besonhurst were hit with the tickets blitz. DOS officials say that the garbage should not be put out earlier than 7 p.m. on the day prior to pickup.

We got this beautiful “Report to the Community” from New York Hospital Queens listing all of its services to the residents of the borough. Near the back of the book is a map showing the borough of Queens with all of the hospital’s service providers. The map, however, ends on the south end at JFK International Airport. Rockaway does not exist. We guess, for the hospital, Rockaway is a foreign country. Note to Stephen S. Mills, the president and CEO of the hospital: Even though you have no services here, we are still part of the borough.

There are three street lights out in the small area between Beach 137 and Beach 138 Street on Beach Channel Drive. The outages were reported to the city’s 311 system in March. They are still out. The outages make it extremely dark on that stretch of road.

The Wave got a number of calls from local residents who got tickets from the city’s Traffic Enforcement Agents while parked on Beach 116 Street with valid parking receipts in their front windows. Though none of them want to go public because they are afraid it would start a vendetta between them and the powerful enforcement agents, they say that the agents were simply reading the receipts wrong. When one man pointed that out to the agent, he was told to “plead not guilty by sending in the ticket and saying the Muni-meter was out of receipts.” It’s bad enough that the agents pray on local storeowners, now they are reportedly giving tickets to those who are parked legally.

An anonymous flyer is circulating on the west end. The unsigned flyer charges that the beaches between 138 Street and 140 Street have been closed not by a lack of lifeguards, as reported. The flyer charges a conspiracy between local residents and parks department officials to close the beaches so that other New York City residents cannot sit in front of their homes. One local even went so far as to charge that parks officials are taking bribes to keep the beaches clean and clear. There is no way to corroborate the story, and we wish that the person who made the charges would come forward with some evidence of the conspiracy.

Robert De Niro was in Far Rockaway in early July to scout locations for his upcoming film “The Good Shepherd,” which is in pre-production. Our sources say De Niro fell in love with an aged bungalow that could wind up on the silver screen as the home of a down-on-his-luck character, but Bobby D. himself could out of luck with local residents, who immediately complained that filming would disrupt their lives.

Local firefigther Patrick Hayden, the son of Peter Hayden, the FDNY Chief of the Department, made news this week not for fighting fires, but for a series of high-stakes poker games. Hayden entered a Las Vegas tournament with $10 and came home short of winning the whole tournament, but with a polk of $173,880 to show for his time in “Sin City.” Had he won, he would have brought $7.5 million home to Rockaway.

If you want to see who does business with the city and get the names of all the registered lobbyists who do business with city agencies, we have a Website for you. You can now go to www.nyc.gov/html/bizsearch for all that information.

There is some indication that at least one of our two local hospitals might be in danger of either downsizing or closing. Governor Pataki has just put together a commission to study the problem and it is clear that there is nobody who knows much about the Rockaway peninsula on that commission. We know that every community thinks that it is somehow “special,” but Rockaway, isolated as it is from the rest of the city, is really a special case. There are 18 permanent members of the commission that will make the final decision. Twelve are appointed by the governor and the other six by the State Senate and the Assembly. There are also “regional panels” that will join the permanent members in their deliberations. The two New York City members, appointed by the governor, are the principal in a consulting firm and a retired court examiner, both from Manhattan.

Congressman Gregory Meeks is usually in favor of free trade, whether or not that free trade means the end of many jobs in America. He is reportedly on the fence, however, on the planned Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). Meeks met with the president of Nicaragua and with President Bush on the issue. Both urged him to vote for the proposal, but Meeks told reporters that he is not sure. He recently told the International Brotherhood of Teamsters lobbyists that he is concerned with jobs in this country; He is also reportedly concerned with raising labor standards in Central American nations. According to published sources, he asked President Bush to boost the federal minimum wage in return for his vote. It is expected that Meeks will vote for the bill.

New York Magazine recently did a poll on how New York City residents were affected by the terrorist attack on London. One hundred locals were polled. On the question of avoiding the subway, 85 said no while 15 said they would. Thirty-five said that they were “hyper-alert” to suspicious people and packages, while another 39 said that they were “somewhat alert.” When asked if Washington was doing all it could to stop another terrorist attack in New York City, 94 said “no.” Seventy-three said that they believed another attack on the city was “inevitable.” Asked if they were planning to leave New York City because of the terrorist threat, 86 said ‘No.”

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