2006-01-13 / Letters


The following letter was sent to Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer.

Dear Assemblywoman Pheffer,

Is this how politicians help senior citizens and the handicapped? You set up special housing for them, and then when no one is looking, you allow it to be taken away.

I’m referring to what is happening at 711 Seagirt Avenue, in Far Rockaway.

I wrote to Mayor Bloomberg about this, and have had no reply. I sent copies to Governor Pataki, Senators Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer, Speaker Gifford Miller, City Council Member James Sanders, Jr., State Senator Malcolm A. Smith and the editor of our local newspaper, The Wave.

The editor of The Wave printed my letter in their December 9 edition, and State Senator Malcolm A. Smith sent a representative to the meeting we had on December 22 at 711 Seagirt Avenue. No one else responded. So much for their idle talk about how much they care and work for seniors and the handicapped.

How about instituting some SPECIAL legislation to prevent this from happening, or is it now fashionable to turn housing designated for seniors and the handicapped into Section 8 city housing- renting to the general public. You will be setting us up as EASY PREY for vermin, as now happens in city housing projects.

Since sending these letters, I came home at noontime on New Year’s Eve and found my apartment door wide open. Did Santa Claus pay me a second visit, or is someone sending me a message. I have been to the police about this.



A Poem For Her Teacher

Dear Editor,

I’d like to Thank Mrs. Meritt as one of her students.  She inspired every single one of her students to go beyond the stars.  To reach the abilities that most people don’t have in a lifetime.  I had her last year in the third grade.  She taught us poetry, math, spelling and other stuff.  She didn’t teach us baby spelling words like brick or car.  She taught us hard words that would challenge us.  She taught us sixth grade poetry not baby stuff.  I could probably say this for all her kids last year.  Mrs. Meritt made it fun to go to school and learn.  She was a fabulous teacher.  I wrote this poem for Mrs. Meritt:

Winter is death

Birds asleep no chirps at all

Snow is out

No green in sight

No leaves on trees

Branches bare spring rebirth.

Birds chirping

Grass lies as green as the skin of watermelon

No white in sight

Sun is bright

Winter is dreadful but calm whiteness on the ground

Snowflakes all around

Spring flowers bursting out

With shiny tulips shimmering in the sun

Winter is gloomy

But when Mr. Snowman comes out joy for all the children


Sandy beaches, big beach balls, sandals and sunglasses

Winter snowflakes on your jacket

Snow on your tongue

Windows all fogged up


Sun shining in my eyes


Snowy housetops


CLASS 4-306, PS 114 

Wave Got It Wrong

Dear Editor,

I was taken aback by your “expose” regarding the high cost of parking spaces at the new Ocean Grande condominium (“Beachcomber,” Dec. 30). Your numbers ($35,000  for the year for an indoor spot ) simply didn’t pass the “smell test,” so I looked a little closer. I used a $5 calculator (you might want to get one for your staff) and quickly realized that the “Manhattan prices” (as you call them) using The Wave’s New Math would amount to a whopping $2,919 per month !! Even Manhattan would be shocked.

I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that you didn’t bother to check the Ocean Grande sales office (as I did); after all, why bother with basic Journalism 101, when fact-checking would have interfered with yet another opportunity for The Wave to disparage the new building and others under construction in the area.

Either real estate common sense – or a phone call – would have informed you that parking spots in a condominium are purchased (that’s a one-time fee, not an annual rental) along with the apartment, and become an asset of the owner that can be sold when and if the owner decides to move. It’s part of the investment in the condo.

I’d like to give you the benefit of the doubt and chalk up this item to a slow, holiday news week. But deep down, I fear it’s part of a pattern of coverage that seeks to take shots at the trend of development and building in The Rockaways — a phenomenon which I’d think you’d be happy to encourage. Who among your readers was so anxious to artificially and inaccurately inflate the numbers that they would rush to you with this dubious “tip”? What is their agenda? (And please give us a break from language like “…The Wave has learned…” and “…reportedly…”; what is this? Watergate?) And are the editors of The Wave not complicit for eagerly swallowing the bait and simply passing along the misinformation as fact?

Inquiring minds want to know.


Dinner With Friends And Neighbors Is Priceless

Dear Editor,

I am writing in response to the mean-spirited and unfounded letter I just read in The Wave regarding the Rockaway Residents Association. Obviously there was another agenda that was the real reason for such babble.

I have been a business owner, homeowner, and coach in the Rockaway area for over 25 years, and have admired what some people do on their own for the betterment of their community. Honoring John Lenihan by the homeowners was well deserved, as he is someone who has worked hard to maintain the quality of life in the area he resides in for no compensation. Ed Re also donates his time and expertise to the community he not only lives in but also owns businesses and properties. When was the criteria changed as to whom you donated your time?

The affair at the Knights of Columbus was a gathering of neighbors and residents to honor not only John but also Steve Stathis and the Graybeard Organization (of which I am a member). We all know how much the Graybeards have contributed to our little town.

It boggles my mind how someone could pick on such a nice event as this and go to the point of examining the cost. Fifty dollars for food, a few drinks and the companionship of neighborhood friends is priceless. Perhaps Ms. or Mr. J. Brennan, if that is the person’s real name, had some other agenda in mind. Unfortunately, some people do not believe that you can disagree on issues and still get along. The community majority wins in a democracy and we all move forward.

I say to J. Brennan “Bah Humbug,” and hope that next year you are honored at the Festivus Annual Award Dinner.


An Ill-Considered

Christmas Gift

Dear Editor,

Ill-considered Christmas gift or ticket to big trouble? Over the New Years Eve weekend several windows of the Rockaway Artists Alliance T-6 and T-7 buildings at Fort Tilden were penetrated by pellets fired from a bb gun. Thankfully this time no one was hurt.

Besides the cost of replacing these already brand new windows, let me point out a few other things for members of the community, especially parents, to consider.

Rockaway is a part of New York City. Under New York City law, bb guns, yes bb guns, are considered firearms. If you gave your child one of these, you didn’t give them a toy. If you let them walk around with one, it’s something they can get arrested for.

Fort Tilden is Federal property, and in fact adjacent to a manned United States Army Reserve post. Firing at federal property is no longer a prank. It’s a felony. Even unfired, possession of a firearm on federal property with intent to commit a crime is a felony, punishable by fines and up to five years prison. If you’re unsure on this point, go read it again on the wall at the post office. It’s right there next to the mug shots.

And especially in these times, does anyone want to consider the possible consequences of firing, let alone carrying, a weapon in the vicinity of a branch of the United States Army? My guess is there may not be opportunity to ask questions first.

Please, as people sharing the same community, we’re asking you to let us help each other before issues spiral out of all of our hands. As neighbors we’re asking you; if you know your neighbor’s kid is running around with a bb gun, let the parents know. It is not a toy anymore. If you think your kid might be responsible for the damage at Fort Tilden, take the pellet gun away. End it, before it ends in jail. Or worse.


Slanderous Comments

Dear Editor,

In the January 6, 2006 edition of The Wave you printed a letter from a “J. Brennan”, which I would like to address.

In the letter, he/she made very slanderous accusations against the present committee members of The Rockaway Park Homeowners Residents, Inc. without a scintilla of proof.

It is my hope that the President and Treasurer of the Association will also respond to these offensive, libelous and uncalled for statements against those people who have and continue to work hard, without pay, to maintain and improve the community in which we all live. It doesn’t matter whether you call it Rockaway Beach, Rockaway Park, Belle Harbor or Neponsit. They are all in zip code 11694. We are supposed to be a “community”.

This “J. Brennan” questions why John Lenihan was named “Man of the Year” by the Association. What is wrong with that? It is not a monetary award. Why should it be closed to committee members or members of the group? It is simply an Association award of recognition and John has worked very hard for our community for a number of years. He has done more than collect dues. He has helped arrange for speakers knowledgeable about issues of concern for our community, arranged quarterly meetings, made coffee, set up chairs, cleaned up after meetings, assisted in the arrangements of holiday parties, sent out newsletters written by the Association, etc.

Fifty dollars per person seems, to me, a very fair price for renting a hall, providing plentiful food, an open bar, music, servers plus door prizes which were, by the way, solicited from local businesses by John Lenihan.

If “J. Brennan” is a member (?) of the Association , why doesn’t he/she read the quarterly newsletter which states in every issue: “The checkbook and balance statements are available to all members.”

Too many people in our society find it all too easy to be unfairly critical of those willing to try and improve the quality of living rather than doing the thankless job themselves.

Slanderous insinuations are unworthy of being printed in any paper. Shame on The Wave and “J. Brennan”.


Representatives Should Listen To Citizens’ Concerns

Dear Editor,

I am writing to you as an individual citizen and voter who lives on the Rockaway peninsula. I also happen to be the president of a civic association, but am not writing to you in that capacity. It is only mentioned to put this letter in a factual context.

New York City has over 30,000 police officers. This past December, for the first time in 2005, two of those police officers were murdered. This prompted the Governor, I fear more out of political opportunism than a desire to prevent crime, to call a special session of the New York State legislature to enact a death penalty for the murder of police officers, and to enact restrictions on the interstate transportation of guns into this state. The speaker of the State Assembly jumped on the bandwagon, and was quoted in the news as offering more stringent anti-gun laws.

As an attorney, I am of the opinion that a death penalty for murdering only police officers, and no one else, is unconstitutionally discriminatory against the rest of the population, and would be struck down as unconstitutional. I also know that the U.S. Constitution reserves to Congress the exclusive jurisdiction to regulate interstate commerce, and am of the professional opinion that New York State lacks the jurisdiction to restrict the interstate shipment of guns into the state. The Supreme Court recently struck down a New York State law, which restricted the sale of wine which is produced in other states.

My civic association had a meeting on Monday, December 19, 2005, just two days before the special session of the Legislature was to commence. Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer attended that meeting, and addressed the membership on the fact of the special legislative session. After the meeting, I attempted to talk to Audrey about the proposed legislation. I wanted to get more details on what the Governor was proposing, and on what the Speaker of the Assembly was proposing. I wanted to express to my State Assemblywoman my legal concerns, which are expressed above. I wanted to tell her that as valuable as the lives of our police officers are, the lives of every resident of New York State are just as valuable, and that the general population is entitled to the same protection from being murdered as are police officers. I wanted to tell her that disarming the law-abiding members of society will not prevent criminals from obtaining guns, but will only create a safer working environment for criminals. I also wanted to tell her that if police officers need guns to protect themselves from being murdered, as they sometimes are, then other law abiding citizens also have the need for guns to protect themselves from murder, as we sometimes are. Lastly, I wanted to tell her that a private citizen who passes a State Police Records Check, and an FBI records check (on the purchase of a gun) is no more likely to commit a gun crime than is a police officer.

After 28 and a half years of combined active and reserve duty in the United States Army, with one year of service in Vietnam, I think that I have paid my dues as an American citizen, and have earned the right to express my opinions to my elected representatives. In fact, I think that every American citizen has the right to express his or her opinions to his or her elected representatives. This is a basic right that I served my country to protect.

When the meeting was over I went over to Audrey to discuss the legislative session with her, but the moment I mentioned it to her, she imperiously turned her back on me (literally) and stated in a superior tone of voice that she would not talk to me about it.

There is something wrong with an elected “representative” who represents only herself and the leadership of the State Assembly. There is something wrong with an elected “representative” who does not trust the People, and has no interest in their opinions. There is something wrong with an elected “representative” who refuses to “represent” her constituents. There is also a certain lack of political savvy in an elected “representative” who treats community leaders with utter contempt.

It is time for us to elect an Assemblyperson who will represent the People, instead of the self-proclaimed elite in the Albany power structure.


All letters submitted to The Wave, including those sent via e-mail, must contain names, addresses and phone numbers. All letters are subject to editing and publication at the discretion of the editors. The Wave will no longer publish letters in which the name is withheld, unless, in the opinion of the editorial board, there is a compelling public interest to do so.

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