2005-10-07 / Columnists

From the Editor’s Desk

By Howard Schwach

Nobody asked me, but...

...The Democratic Party has managed to do it once again, to choose a candidate with no chance in the world to win. I understand that there are “Democratic Ideals” that the candidate has to espouse, but many of those “ideals” such as the right to welfare and the rights of the criminals over the rights of the community have been repudiated in several elections now. Witness the campaigns of Ruth Messenger and Mark Greene. Witness the repudiation of Ed Koch and David Dinkins. The city is tired of old-line Democratic Party politics and ideals. I am a Democrat, but I find it hard to vote for a candidate such as Freddy Ferrer, who recently called for an end to identification cards for welfare recipients, therefore bringing back the good old days of rampant welfare cheating. On the other hand, I can’t vote for a bully such as Mike Bloomberg either. Maybe I’ll just sit this one out. By the way, Bloomberg already has a 53 percent to 38 percent lead, with white voters polling at 64 percent to 27 percent for the mayor. There are those who might call that racist, but the reality is that Ferrer is just too liberal for many New York City voters. At the same time, Ferrer has a 62 percent to 33 percent lead over Bloomberg with Latinos. Is that racist? Of course not, that’s just voting your interest. It’s going to be an interesting election season, but I would be surprised if Ferrer got 35 percent of the vote when all the ballots are counted.

...The overwhelming majority of New York City voters support term limits. They have proven it three times in votes that were not even close. Now, many of those same voters are calling for term limits to be placed in state elected officials as well. A recent study shows that seventy percent of those voters want term limits on the Governor and members of the State Legislature. At the same time, there are some City Council members who are looking for loopholes to overturn the term limits law without another vote. Perhaps they can do it, but I would urge all voters to repudiate those who voted to repeal term limits in the city by voting for their opponents. It is disingenuous at best to get your job because of term limits and then turn around and try and do away with them.

...Lenora Fulani has been removed from the Independence Party Executive Panel by its other members. It’s about time. The racist, anti-Semitic politician has no place in main stream government. Her removal will open the way for candidates such as Bloomberg to move to capture the party line, which is worth about 600,000 votes.

...The Department of Education says that everything is ducky, that qualified teachers fill every slot – well, almost every. Correspondents from schools up and down the peninsula tell me that many classes are being covered by subs and teachers on their free periods because teachers cannot be found. The problem seems to be especially horrific at schools such as Far Rockaway High School (or is that the Far Rockaway Educational Community), where 80 percent of the teachers were told to find jobs elsewhere in a school reorganization. Turns out there are no teachers to replace the ones who were told to go elsewhere, or at least who want to come to the new campus school. In addition, the number of teachers who left the system over the summer is staggering. More than 3,300 teachers resigned over the summer – just up and left, probably because they were tired of being told what to do each and every minute of the day with no support to make sure that they had the wherewithal to do those things. On top of that, 2,144 teachers retired during the summer months. That adds up to more than 5,400 fewer certified teachers this year than last and the DOE just did not have a way to play catch-up, not with the salary crisis and the discipline crisis and the district-driven curriculum problem. And, the mayor says the system is getting better under his control. Who is he kidding?

...The Mott Creek controversy is getting scary. A week ago Friday, two Molotov Cocktails were found nearby one of the houses on Beach 4 Street and Seagirt Avenue. One fence was painted with Swastikas and a large Jewish Star. The problem has been kicking around for months. Some Orthodox Jewish developers planned to build “out of scale” housing in the small area, between Seagirt Boulevard and the ocean nearby the Nassau County border, and residents enlisted the help of the city council to get the area downzoned to stop the large development. The developers claimed that the residents were driven by anti-Semitism and the battle was on. One resident has had a Swastika on his fence for months and refuses to paint it over because he wants to maintain the “evidence” that his neighbors are after him because he has black and Jewish friends to his home. Others think that the developers themselves are placing the graffiti to make it look as if the neighborhood is anti-Semitic. I certainly hope that this small area does not become a flashpoint for racial strife, something that Rockaway does not need.

...One of the most talented comedians to ever grace the small screen died last week. Those who have never seen Don Adams in the part of “Maxwell Smart (Agent 86) in the five-year run of “Get Smart” should look at the listing on Nick At Night and catch up. The show debuted on NBC in 1965 before switching to CBS in 1969. Adams won three Emmys for best comedy star. The show, a spoof of spy thrillers such as the James Bond movies, has become a mainstay for a whole new generation of viewers via cable television. He will be sorely missed although his show will probably live on for many decades to come.

...Congressman Gregory Meeks has excoriated Congressman Vito Fossella, who wrote in the New York Times that the election of Fernando Ferrer would mean a return to the “antagonistic years under David Dinkins.” Meeks called the statement “nothing less then coded fear-mongering language.” The fact is, I have been writing the same thing for months, and there is nothing coded or racist about it. The truth cannot be racist and Ferrer is in the mold of Mark Green, Ruth Messinger, David Dinkins and Ed Koch. It has nothing to do with race and all to do with ideology. Meeks, who became an assemblyman only because the Democrats made two new minority seats in Rockaway and then became a Congressman only because Geraldine Chapey, a Democratic District Leader, wanted her mom to become a Regent. Chapey traded her vote for Meeks to replace Floyd Flake for her mom’s appointment.

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