James Sanders, Jr., who bucked the party nomination for his city council seat, supported Michael Bloomberg in his reelection bid and refused to support City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, found the cost of those actions last week when he was summarily dropped from the chair of the prestigious Economic Development Committee. Not only will that demotion cost Sanders prestige, it will cost him the $10,000 stipend that goes along with the chair. Sanders sees an upside to the demotion. He has long been criticized for not paying enough attention to his Far Rockaway district. Now that he is no longer tied to Manhattan by the ED Chair, Sanders says, he will have much more time for the concerns of his district. We will all have to wait to see how that translates in the real world.
The New York City Department of Health has unveiled a new Website that will allow locals to view the results of health inspections in restaurants throughout the city, including those close to home. The new site [at nyc.doe.gov] allows the public to search for restaurants by name, Zip Code, borough or neighborhood. Those who click on a particular restaurant can easily see how the eatery scored in its last few inspections as well as what violations it was cited for. The Health Department says that restaurant scores on the site that fall below a score of 27 are relatively safe. A score of 28 or above suggests that there might be a problem that needs to be addressed by the agency. How about your favorite peninsula eateries? You’re going to have to go on line to find out.
Former Broad Channel resident and DOS worker Doc Dougherty will be appearing on the soap opera “As the World Turns” beginning on February 7. Since resigning from the DOS, he has appeared on such shows as “New York Undercover,” “NYPD Blue,” and “Law and Order.” In addition, he has had a recurring role as Jackie McNaughton on “One Life To Live.” His one-man play about Broad Channel was recently filmed by a producer for “The Sopranos” and is receiving consideration as a movie.
The Department of Education never ceases to amaze. One would think that somebody in a position of authority would “run” each test by taking it as a student to insure that there are no mistakes. That is a fairly simple method of vetting a test at least on a superficial level to make sure there are no typos and no glaring glitches. The DOE did not do that simple check on its high-stakes Grade 7 English Language Arts (ELA) that was given last week and the agency once again wound up with a red face. It seems that there were a half-dozen questions on the test that did not correspond to the answer grid that was given to students. The test asked students to pick from among A, B, C, or D. The answer grid for those questions, however, listed the answers as E, F, G, and H. What was a student to do? Even the DOE can’t answer that question and many parents are giving the agency a failing grade.
There are many in Rockaway who are skeptical of the new Office of Emergency Management (OEM) plan to evacuate Rockaway and Broad Channel in the event of a Category Five hurricane. In fact, they are skeptical that any plan for the evacuation of the peninsula can be viable, with the exception of the “get out of town three days before the storm hits” option. Unfortunately, the numbers of those who choose not to think about the possibility far outweigh the numbers of those who worry about the possibility. As one Broad Channel man succinctly put in on our Website, “we simply chain our homes and our boats to a sturdy fence.” Now, that’s a plan.
The city’s Department of Transportation really stuck it to west end residents when it reopened its Muni-meter system on Beach 116 Street. First, the DOT raised the ante by charging twenty-five cents from twenty minutes rather than for a half hour, as was previously the case. Then, to add insult to injury, it increased the time that the meters are active. Before the change, meters were active from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Now, motorists must feed the meters from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Then, the city added a half-hour of street cleaning time (meaning no parking on the entire street) from 7:30 a.m. to 8 a.m. each weekday. We are willing to bet that will cut down on the number of people dropping in for their morning coffee and... at establishments on the street. If you can’t park, how can you run if for coffee and the newspaper? At least on Beach 129 Street you can’t park on one side from 7:30 to 8 p.m. and on the other from 8 to 8:30 p.m., giving motorists a shot at finding a parking slot during that time.
Riders of the former Green Bus Lines, recently taken over by the MTA, say that they have seen cosmetic changes on the line, with newer and cleaner buses. Service, however, seems to have remained the same. The rumors are that there will be a new bus schedule released in a few weeks.
Police Department statistics show that the majority of guns used in crimes in New York City come from elsewhere. Those statistics show that 18 percent of the guns taken in arrests were bought in the city. The other 82 percent were bought elsewhere, with Virginia leading the list with the sale of 17 percent of those guns. North Carolina (12 percent), Pennsylvania (12 percent) South Carolina (ten percent), Georgia (ten percent) and Florida (nine percent) lead the list. In addition, the number of illegal guns confiscated by the NYPD has declined since Bloomberg became Mayor, despite his contention that ending the proliferation of guns is his main goal. In 2001, when he took office, nearly 7,000 illegal guns were taken off the street. This year, that total was slightly over 5,000. The mayor would probably say that fall was due to fewer guns in the city, but we all know that is not true. The drop is gun confiscations is directly attributable, we think, to the disbanding of the NYPD’s Street Crime Unit, the agressive team that unarguably took a large amount of illegal guns off the street during the time it was active. The Street Crime Team was disbanded by the Mayor in the wake of the tragic Diallo shooting, and the decision to disband the team was a political decision rather than a rational one.