2005-11-04 / Letters


Accusations All Wrong

Dear Editor;

This is a response to the story printed in last weeks Wave regarding the “huge party” held by Stella Maris students. The majority of the time, those parents pointing fingers and those concerned with others never look into their own homes or in the lives of their own children.

Now, let’s set the record straight for once: if you are going to tell a story and have it published in the Wave, PLEASE at least tell the correct story. Some of the accusations of this eyewitness account have been embellished and are absolutely ridiculous. And furthermore, the audacity for one to include Sister Barbara’s name within this article and making it sound as if she has not a care in the world is outrageous!

To all those whom have attended Stella or have had any connection with the school are well aware that the Sister Barbara mentioned in this article is not the one we know. She is the most concerned person when it comes to her students as well as the rest of the school and would never brush off such a problem.

FACT: 1) Parents SHOULD be aware of their daughters’ early dismissal and what they are doing afterwards.

2) It is NOT the school’s responsibility what happens after dismissal.

FALSE: 1) There were NOT 75-80 kids at this alleged location. 2) There was NO DRINKING and DRIVING from this alleged location.

And, if this was a party during school hours, there was drinking and driving and 80 CHILDREN there, why weren’t the cops called at this time?

It was not important enough for the police to be called with all this going on, but more important to print an article in the local paper?

Our town of Rockaway is very small, therefore everyone knows everybody’s business. Being a close and tight community is a positive thing but can be negative from time to time. My concern is that perhaps our local paper that we, including myself, love to purchase every Friday is becoming more of a gossiping paper. For me to have this letter printed I received an email, in response to mine sent to The Wave, stating that I must include my name. I was told that I was unable to submit this anonymously, although the article concerning the “Stella Girls” had no author and it was written by a Wave employee.


(For the record, that portion of the Beachcomber column was written by Wave Managing Editor Howard Schwach, who was an eyewitness to the entire incident, as were numerous others on Beach 125 Street. The police were called and responded with two patrol cars. The police warned the kids and left, along with many of the partygoers. A number of them came back and resumed the party until well after 3:30 p.m. The item was printed in Beachcomber because, while it was not important enough for a full-blown story, it was important enough to note in passing in what is, after all, an opinion column.


Alive And Kicking

Dear Editor,

I have been on the 100th Precinct Community Council Board over a year now and find it personally rewarding. I would like to reach out and let all residents of Rockaway know the importance of having a Community Council and attending the monthly meetings. The Council strives to keep our community well informed by having a variety of speakers. At our most recent meeting in October we had officers representing the Special Victims Unit (S.V.U.). This year we had various speakers such as elected officials or their representatives, a Judge from Supreme Court, representatives from the Queens District Attorneys Office and a Police Officer from the Harbor Unit spoke at our general meetings.

Captain Charles (Butch) Neacy, Community Affairs Officers Lou Brust, Pete Griffith and officers representing various units of the 100th Precinct work hand in hand with the Council and do an excellent job. Howard (Jate) Doremus President of the 100th Precinct Community Council along with Sandy Doremus go above and beyond their commitment to serve our community. It is of the up most importance for all members of our community to attend these monthly meetings. This is your opportunity to be well informed, and also to inform your local precinct of any concerns you may have.



If I Were King

Dear Editor;

If I were king… or had a more important position such as columnist for The Wave I’d banish all talk about the ferry that will never dock or about the ferry service that will inevitably sink. Let’s face it, Rockaway ferries are like the Riis Park pool—- a fantasy. Perfect for impotent politicians. As Chuck Schumer told a former editor of this paper (If I’m elected senator, you’ll get your pool). Period. When the Chuckster became Senator he amended the pool stuff. He said, when the Senate gets Democratic control, you’ll get your pool. Ok, Chuck, we get it. We can’t swim in the pool; just please don’t make us wade through your BS.

Don’t let me forget about the ferries—-I’m getting to them. But first, I gotta say a pool makes more sense. Every year there’s a shortage of beach lifeguards. You’d think it would occur to somebody with clout that a community that relies on its beaches would have a pool. A place where kids could learn to swim; and a place where some of those kids could train to be lifeguards. Nah, let’s make those kids go to other counties (Nassau and Kings) to find a pool. You think somebody would say—-if they’re building a bridge to nowhere in Alaska, they could build a pool in Riis Park. You’ve heard about that project, right? Congress okayed $223 million to build a bridge nearly as long as the Golden Gate and higher than the Brooklyn Bridge, to connect the town of Ketchikan (population 8,900) to the city airport on Gravina Island (population 50)*. That’s population: fifty. Five Oh. (*USA Today, May 17, 2005) As Chuck told me, if I become Senator of Alaska, you’ll get your pool.

But forget about the pool – though we shouldn’t—-this is about ferries. They’re overrated. They’ve got to be heavily subsidized, riders have to pay a steep fare and above all, they’re not just not that convenient. I mean, as you sail along getting fresh air (assuming the ferries can ride in the particular weather of the day) checking out the skyline things seem pretty good. You’re making good time and life is good. But the ferry has to dock and now you watch the clock. You saved some time on the waterway but now they’re wasting time tying up the boat. What are they doing?! Okay, they let you off. It’s great for the three people who can walk to work from the ferry terminal. But everybody else faces a hike and trudge more than a quick walk. Worse, some people end up, where? On the subway. They’ve got to go uptown or cross town. Within a couple minutes, you’ve forgotten about all that fresh air you got on the ferry. You’re now frozen or wet or hot and tired.

Forget ferries. Still, the commute to the city stinks, so we gotta figure something out, right? . The Q-Rail is dead. (i.e. Restarting the LIRR line is a non-starter). So what’s to be done?

Simple. Run an Express A line train six times in the morning and on the return six times in the evening. Starting at 6 or 6:30 am run an express every half hour from Rockaway Park (B 116th) to Broad Channel to Howard Beach to the City. Boom. Three or four stops then the city. Forty minutes.

It’s hard to type while I’m busy patting myself on the back but here’s the true genius of it all. The City can do this NOW. They don’t have to find ferry operators or build docks or do feasibility studies. The rails are in place. And here’s the true kicker. The City can announce that it’s a two year pilot project. If it’s a success, it stays in place. If ridership doesn’t justify it, they can ditch it. Sure, it might have to be subsidized for those two years – but at a fraction of a ferry (and probably less than the Green Line and other bus services).

See, right now, the City can say current ridership levels don’t warrant express service.

It’s a chicken and egg, Catch-22 thing. The City says you can’t have express service because you don’t have the ridership. We say we’ll never increase the ridership until we get express service.

But we all know there’s a lot of building going on in Rockaway. Legitimate questions about who is buying and moving in are being asked. Well, if buyers knew there was easy access to Manhattan (via this great express line) they’d be more inclined to invest and live here.

To Manhattan: six express trains in the morning. From Manhattan: six express trains from at 4 pm.

A two year test run. (Permanent would be better but how can they

deny a test run?)

Weiner? Addabbo? Pheffer? Get on board!

I bet if Chuck Schumer was senator, he’d get it for us.


I Live With Them

Dear Editor:

Kathleen Hayes-Lovoi’s letter (10/21 WAVE) caught my attention.  She challenges Mr. Baxter regarding the “working class” vs. undesirable, troublemaking residents in Rockaway Park. Ms. Hayes-Lovoi also opines as to where this nuisance behavior originates and what might be done about it. I’d like to make a couple of points responding to, and expanding upon, her comments.

I’ve lived for two years among the people discussed in that previous letter.  These are the folks who are constantly hanging out or wandering on the corners of B116th and RBB, up and down side streets and on the Boardwalk. They are the severely mentally ill, as well as drunks, crackheads, ex-cons, con artists, and others. Definitely, the problems of public urination, aggressive panhandling, begging, petty crime, shoplifting, blocking pedestrians, traffic, and store entrances...to say nothing of open drug deals, vandalism, and more...these daily destroyers of the quality of life and safety in Rockaway Park demand a solution.

The “crime” that got me in the midst of all this is a combination of personal hardship, disability, and the poverty that usually follows these things.  The rooming house/SRO establishments of Rockaway Park are among the very few places left that provide housing for persons like me—single adults dependent on one small Social Security check a month.  Rooms cost $400-$500 per month, little upfront money is required, and utilities are included in the rent.  This is half of what studios or rooms in private homes or apartment buildings cost.  Current market rents are far beyond my means. City/State affordable subsidized housing is in very short supply and waiting lists range two to three years and beyond.  This is no paradise here, but it beats sleeping under the boardwalk or in a city shelter.

Many local rooming house/SRO residents are in situations like mine. We are not a public nuisance or threat. We are clean and respectable, and we tend to invest almost all of our tiny monthly incomes right back into the RP community: its grocery stores, deli’s, barbershops, clinics, dollar stores, Laundromats, and pharmacies.  I hope readers will keep this in mind when the “big cleanup”...which will be inevitable for the progress of the community...finally starts to happen.  There are lots of us who, though poor, and needing cheap accommodations, actually are good citizens who support and appreciate this community. We deserve to live here—affordably—as much as anyone.

As for solving the public nuisance problems: Let me share something from two years of observation.  First, there are systems in place to serve, help and supervise potential troublemakers.  They are the adult homes, group homes, nursing homes, supportive apartment programs, as well as the counselors irresponsible for probationers and parolees. Taxpayers dole out an awful lot of money to create and staff these systems.  Too many people are being allowed to drift away from these needed supports.  Somebody...a lot of some bodies...are not doing their jobs.  So the first part of a real solution to nuisances on RP streets must be to hold those responsible in the mental health and correctional fields, who are just not doing their jobs.  Those in RP who have political clout need to be going after these irresponsible agencies and individuals, holding their feet to the fire so to speak, until there is action and improvement.

Once persons who have slipped through the giant cracks in these systems land here, the second aspect of the problem comes into play.  Rooming house/SRO owners, in order to keep rents low, must keep their rent rolls constantly full in order to turn a worthwhile profit. This is understandable. However, some owners seem to take the easiest path to this goal by renting to anyone—I mean anyone.  Often, no screening process of any kind is used in accepting tenants.  Surely, these owners are bright enough to realize when local troublemakers, persons with minimal ties to reality, or those who reek booze from every pore, ask for a room. These people ultimately offend and threaten their fellow tenants and victimize the community itself.  The only solution I see, is for those with clout in this community, backed up by property owners who are concerned about their investments and the quality of life in RP, to exert pressure on these landlords to use more discretion and some sort of meaningful screening process when deciding on prospective tenants.

Let’s hope this can happen without displacing those who are poor but responsible and supportive of the community, and badly in need of this type of housing. We too look toward a bright and successful future for Rockaway Park.


Instruments Needed For Gifted PS/MS 43 Students

Dear Editor,

This is a general appeal to the Rockaway community from the Instrumental Music Program at PS/MS 43 in Far Rockaway. Our band has been growing steadily over the past three years. However, student interest has recently increased, such that we find ourselves in the position of having more talented youngsters than instruments for them to play!

We are appealing to the community for donations of used but playable musical instruments to put into the hands of our eager, talented students. We are seeking band instruments: flutes, clarinets, saxophones, trumpets and trombones. Donations will be tax deductible. Please contact us at (718) 327-5859 if you have any instruments to donate.




Will The Truth Be Revealed?

Dear Editor,

When the levee was breached in New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina, commentary and pictures, and I believe a “witness” mentioned that a barge, driven by the rushing tidal surge, crashed thru the levee with a resounding “cracking” sound like thunder. As a result of the levee breach, water poured thru into the low area of said city. You do not have to be a hydrology expert (if you live in Rockaway Beach or Far Rockaway) to know that when rushing water pours over a wall or through a missing section of a wall, a washing away of sand and dirt on the opposite side will create a bowl, hole or depression.

In the aftermath, photos on TV and in the papers showed a long brown barge-like shaped structure. It stood out like a sore thumb when the neighborhood buildings all looked the same.

Yet the public is asked to believe that someone deliberately set a dynamite charge off to flood the city. And the incident of the barge passes into the realm of forgotten first reports! For the truth doesn’t sell many newspapers, or blow up the eggs of those who ride the wave of lies.

When the airliner crashed upon the Belle Harbor community on November 12, 2001, first reports by the Coast Guard people, who were on the bay, reported a heavy jet fuel smell over the bay. This was reported later as the plane dumping fuel before it crashed! That plane did not have the equipment to dump fuel as American-built airliners do, and eyewitnesses have reported booms and pops and smoke and fire before the plane went down!

Could it be that that particular airbus plane literally shook itself apart, and in doing so ruptured fuel lines in the fuselage and wing tanks and hot engines, which were ignited by short circuiting panels and wiring?

I am also wondering if the fueling of the plane, or the valving that is involved, had anything to do with the possibility of a bad valve mechanism letting fuel evacuate, to spread in the plane’s air wake over the plane’s skin, and to be ignited somewhere and flash back.

As time goes by, the given causes of the crash are falling apart, and many questions go unanswered. Incidents concerning airbus passenger safety have a long history in the central United States. I remember their small passenger aircrafts suffering many crashes in winter due to faulty de-icing of the wings, not pilot error. But the newspapers in the east did not do much reporting on this. I do not recall how many crashes and deaths were involved out west. Maybe Mr. Trombetta can advise us.

Many years ago, James Stewart and Marlene Dietrich starred in a movie titled “No Highway In The Sky.” Stewart played an airline crash investigator who realizes that the plane he is flying in could disintegrate at any moment. The movie, made in 1951, showed a true investigator who stuck to his guns amongst all the politics, ridicule, embarrassment and balderdash thrown at him, until what he predicted happened. And what happened afterwards will not happen today, because of political chickens…and if the pilot was killed, it was his fault no matter what!

Add up all the non-reported or underreported incidents, not to forget the ones out west, and what do you come up with?

I myself would rather fly a kite than an airbus passenger aircraft. If you keep track of air shows, a while back an airline crashed at one such air show, while the pilot was fighting the computer for control to abort the new computer program for landing. The pilot was trying to get altitude while the computer was trying to land. The computer won, and the pilot died in the resulting crash into a mountain or hill.

The solid truth does not have any meaning today, because money, business, practices and foreign companies mean more than a person’s life: an airliner passenger who may right on that so-called “absolutely safe” airplane.

Perhaps a whistleblower will come forward and reveal the awful truth (that people are beginning to realize) about a crash that will not take off and fly away!


Some Weed And Seed History

Dear Editor,

I am dismayed at some of the inaccuracies of your reporting on the Weed and Seed meeting (October 19) by your Contributing Editor Miriam Rosenberg.

First, I need to give some history on the Weed and Seed program and its growth to where it is today. Weed and Seed received official recognition from the US Attorney’s Office for the Arverne community in July 1977. Initially the Fiscal Agent and Site Coordinator was the Rockaway Development Corporation. The program was originally implemented by the Rockaway Development Corporation before being transferred to the New York Police Department in 2001 with the NYPD acting as the new Fiscal Agent and Site coordinator. After the five years of site recognition was up, the NYPD submitted an application for site recognition to expand the site to Far Rockaway area. The new expanded site was approved, and the steering committee at that time voted that the Queens Library would be the fiscal agent and site coordinator.

Please notice that at no time did I mention anything about a chair of the steering committee for there was none. Ms. Rosenberg had been aware of this, since she had been a regular attendee at the steering committee meetings for the past four years. I as the site coordinator had been facilitating these steering committee meetings in the absence of a chair to keep the process going as had been done under previous leadership. As the site coordinator, I have made numerous efforts to find a chair, but no one volunteered to accept the position until the monthly meeting in September. The above was mentioned at that meeting, where Ms. Rosenberg was an attendee.

At these meetings it was explained that all programs and services expenditures had been approved by the steering committee, which consisted of representatives from the community. Ms. Rosenberg failed to quote that piece of information. A point of fact your reporter, who sat on the steering committee, was one of the committee members who approved these expenditures when presented by the NYPD site coordinator and again after the library had taken over the responsibility. I had explained this to Mr. Ed Williams at this past meeting and explained the process on how the steering committee can change upcoming funding for the future. She also fails to report that. The Community Capacity Development Office, of the US Attorney Office, monitors and approves all spending by the Far Rockaway Weed and Seed Site. I believe she has taken Mr. Williams’ positive comments and interpreted them into negative comments and lost her objectivity as a reporter.

I have supplied the chairs and steering committee enormous amount of material and manuals that will assist the chairs and steering committee in its duties and responsibility. In addition I have applied for technical assistance for an out side consultant service that will provide training for the steering committee. What Ms. Rosenberg did not mention was that the library contracted with an outside evaluator to evaluate the current programs and report back to the library to either recommend that the programs are effective or not effective so in the future the steering committee can make the necessary changes in the allocation of future funding of these programs. Secondly, the library has been working on sustainability for the Weed and Seed program and has also contracted with a grant writer to look for funding to sustain the work and accomplishments of the Far Rockaway Weed and Seed Site.

In the short time as site coordinator for the Weed and Seed Site at Far Rockaway, the record has demonstrated a monumental change in how we now operate, implement and monitor this worthwhile program and the Queens Library contribution to this remarkable program. We have taken steps to ensure the community is the leading voice in how to combat crime. In fact the 101 Precinct has led the city’s precincts in highest reduction of crime partnering with Weed and Seed.




A ‘Rude Awakening’ Concerning Housing

Dear Editor,

This letter is in response to “Concern Over Housing In The Rockaways.” I was surprised to learn how much ignorance still plagues the Rockaway peninsula. Ms. Grossman, your comments were not only stereotypical, but also very insensitive, racist and classist. How dare you refer to human beings, people and families as who’s and what’s. My question to you is who and what you are that would make you any different or better?

Ms. Grossman, I don’t mean to alarm you, but that “whats” that are shopping in Waldbaum’s with food stamps are the same neighbors of yours who have always shopped there. These same neighbors are even the ones who pick up their welfare checks, possibly in the same bank you franchise at. RUDE AWAKENING: Waldbaum’s on Beach 114 Street did not just start taking food stamps since more ethnic groups are migrating to Rockaway with Section 8 or otherwise.

If Ms. Grossman were less narrow-minded and more open to other cultures, she would soon realize that her problem with her current neighbors is an isolated incident and has less to do with Section 8 and families that consist of 10 or more children.

Living in the Rockaways for over 30 years, I strongly doubt that as of right now in today’s housing market, property value in Arverne has gone down. Ms. Grossman, your article was GROSS, MAN, and you need a reality check. Try volunteering at a local community center (Addabbo), food pantry or soup kitchen. Try talking to some of the people who you lift your nose to, and you may realize that you have a lot more in common than you think. You may also discover that someone’s present may be your future. All, no matter who you are, can be just a paycheck, stock market crash, depression, embezzlement (ENRON), or natural disaster away from being homeless, hungry and in need of a handout. AND IN CASE YOU DON’T BELIEVE ME, JUST KEEP WATCHING THE NEWS.


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