2006-02-03 / Community

Beachcomber

Just an hour before Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly was set to speak to community leaders at the 101 Precinct in Far Rockaway a week ago, there was another shooting at Beach 54 Street, leaving a local man with a bullet in his leg. At his meeting with locals, Kelly spoke about guns, reminding them that most of them come from out of state sources. It is very easy for criminals from Rockaway to drive to Virginia, Pennsylvania or Florida and give a local a couple of bucks to go into a gun store and buy a dozen or so guns. Those guns are then brought back to Rockaway and often tragically show up in gunplay in Edgemere or Arverne. While the guns come from elsewhere, it is up to our state legislators to come up with a law that would deter that importation of drugs by providing long prison terms for anybody making that “gun run.”

City Councilman James Sanders lost the chair of the prestigious Economic Development Committee and the $10,000 perk that went with it. He is sanguine about the loss, however. “I could always use the money,” he told The Wave at the farewell party for RDRC chief Curtis Archer last week, “but in this game you have to expect that there will be sanctions if you buck the leadership.” Sanders said that he had been offered some minor committee chairs, but has decided to spend more time with his constituents, admitting that those who claimed that he often ignored his district in the past “had some validity on their side.”

The annual “Plunge for Cystic Fibrosis” is getting closer by the week. This year’s event will take place at the Belle Harbor Yacht Club (Beach 126 Street and Beach Channel Drive) on February 11. There will be a pre-plunge party at noon and then the plunge itself at 1 p.m. at Beach 126 Street and the beachfront.

School Chancellor Joel Klein has set plans in motion to cut “the fat” from the regional offices in order to put more money into classrooms. That is an admirable goal, but we wonder why he continues to increase the salaries of his closest advisors at Tweed Courthouse (an address that seems to be living up to its historic beginnings). DOE brass got five percent pay hikes in late 2005, boosting the salaries of his deputy chancellors to $210,000. While he said that he would cut many middle managers, he added that he would keep his own staff intact “a testament to the success of my team.”

Mayor Mike Bloomberg wants to add insult to injury for those who choose to smoke cigarettes in New York City. After outlawing smoking in most public venues and literally forcing smokers out into the cold, the mayor now wants smokers to pay for their habit. He wants to increase the local tax on each pack to $2.00 from $1.50 – putting a pack of cigarettes in the $8.00 range. One smoker told reporters, “One little pleasure left and he wants to fine us for it.” The mayor said, “either your objective is to reduce smoking among our children, or it is to help those who sell cancer.”

Congressman Anthony Weiner says that the United States should cut its support of the Palestinian Authority now that the terrorist group, Hamas, gained the majority of seats in last week’s election. Weiner says that we should cut all aid to the authority until its leaders “renounce terrorism and violence.” Hamas is listed by the government as a terrorist organization and is responsible for more than 500 deaths resulting from more than 350 terrorist attacks since 1993, Weiner says. One of the stated goals of Hamas is to drive all Israelis into the Mediterranean Sea and completely wipe out the Middle East democracy. Recent events have shown Weiner to be prescient on this issue. President Bush says that he will cut off aid.

Lots of locals, including all of the regional office staff at the DOE use blackberries to communicate instantly with each other, a very expensive extravagance for the taxpayers who foot the bill. Now, however, they might be cut off from their Blackberries. The Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal last week in patent battle with Canada-based Research In Motion, Ltd., a company that claims to hold the patents to the technology that makes the device work as both a telephone and an Email provider. A trial judge in Richmond, Virginia is now free to impose an injunction against the American Blackberries at least temporarily ending the service.

Those who need legal advice and cannot afford to pay for it can once again access the Legal Aid Society at a Rockaway venue, the first time since that organization’s Far Rockaway office was closed several years ago. The Legal Aid Society lawyers will be at Peninsula Hospital Center on Beach 54 Street one evening each week. An appointment is necessary. Those interested in further information or in making an appointment should call 718-286-2462 on Fridays, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Wave Sports Editor Elio Velez wants to thank those Rockaway residents who have called and Emailed to tell him about local residents who are playing sports in college or other places off the peninsula. This has led him to some interesting stories, and he would like more. If you know of a Rockaway resident who is achieving in sports elsewhere, particularly on the junior college or college level, or in Europe, contact Elio at 718-634-4000 or by Email at sports@rockawave.com.

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