2006-02-17 / Community

Beachcomber

Joanne Ariola called to tell us that the rumors that she has left the Mayor’s office are greatly exaggerated. Ariola laughed at the rumors and said that her mother called, angry that she didn’t tell her that she lost her job. Sorry, Joanne.

If our City Councilman, Joe Addabbo, decides to challenge State Senator Serf Maltese in next November’s election, as published reports suggest, then it opens all sorts of interesting possibilities for other local politicians. Reports say that Mayor Mike Bloomberg will support Addabbo, despite the fact that the councilman is a Democrat, because he wants to end the Republican majority in the Senate. Who would take Addabbo’s place in the council? There’s lots of conjecture that two of our local Democratic leaders are eyeing the position. Lew Simon has run for the spot unsuccessfully in the past, largely due to some past transgressions such as lying before an official body. Geraldine M. Chapey (the younger) has never run for office, but there are many who believe that considers this “her time” for the position. Then, there’s Frank Gulluscio, who until recently was Addabbo’s executive assistant until he left for to become the District Manager of Community Board Six. Other Democrats might come out of the woodwork for this one as well. Some Republicans will join in as well. Look for Joann Ariola, who represents the Mayor in Queens, to run. Perhaps some local Republicans from the newly-revitalized Rockaway Republican Club will decide to run as well. Should be interesting.

Speaking of Republicans, we have heard rumors that a new Republican Club to rival the Rockaway Republican Club, might soon sprout on the peninsula, reportedly backed by Mayor Mike Bloomberg (who might be angry at the locals for supporting his opponent, Tom Ognibene, for the seat). We have heard that the new club will be called “The James Conway Sullivan Republican Club” and that it is headed by two unnamed locals. We wonder if there are a sufficient number of Republicans in Rockaway to house two competing clubs.

Do you think that President Bush has dropped his plan for the privatization of the Social Security system? Think again. Page 321 of the President’s new budget for 2007 has $24 billion for that purpose, an expenditure that raises to $712 billion in four years. Senator Chuck Schumer says that the budget entry is “a sneak attack on seniors and all of those who expect to receive Social Security benefits when they retire.”

If our mayor has his way, every car will soon have a rooftop device that will alert police when the car is exceeding the speed limit. We wonder if there is any limit to how far Bloomberg will go to collect revenue from New York City residents. Bloomberg says that the new device, which really exists, is not an infringement on basic freedoms. “If I have a police officer watching to see if you are going down the street speeding, or the car reports automatically when you speed, is either of those things fundamentally different in its infringement on your liberties,” the mayor asked. “We all want the laws enforced and when we have technology that can let us enforce the law and save money in doing so, what’s the argument?” Did somebody mention “1984” or “Big Brother is Watching.”

Attorney General Eliot Spitzer recently announced that his office receives tens of thousands of complaints each year from state residents who believe that they have been somehow scammed. Statewide, the major complaint involves problems with the Internet and with credit card debt or ID theft. Internet problems are also number one in New York City. The Better Business Bureau agrees. The most-oft complaints to that agency are connected to Internet auctions.

A roaring apartment fire at 40-20 Beach Channel Drive two weeks ago was put out quickly by firefighters from local companies using a new device that was used by the FDNY for the first time that day. Firefighters lowered a large asbestos cover over an open window in the apartment, keeping the high Rockaway winds from the fire and depriving the fire of oxygen. Fire officials say that the experiment was a big success and that the fire department is looking to expand the experiment.

The MPS Society, which seeks a cure for a group of genetic diseases that kill young children, will host an awareness game night featuring “Facts In Five” at the Island Park Jewish Center (191 Long Beach Road) on Saturday, February 25 at 7:30 p.m. Those interested in further information can call Joan at 516-432-1797.

Congressman Anthony Weiner responded to Rockaway’s telephone woes last week by holding a press conference in front of the Telephone Building on Beach 81 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard, nearby the site of the two cut cables that caused the problem in the first place. Weiner wants the Public Service Commission to investigate the outage and to bring sanctions against the guilty party. Calling both Keyspan Energy and Verizon, “Keystone Cops,” Weiner says that the finger pointing between the two agencies has to stop. Keyspan says that its contractor cut the cables because the were not adequately marked by Verizon. The telephone giant answers by saying they were marked and that the gas company’s contractors simply dug in the wrong place. By the way, those who used cell phones during the emergency may be in for a surprise. Because the local cells were so overused during the outage, the system looked for more distant cells and that brought “roaming charges” for many calls.

On February 10, the DOS put out a press release calling the period between February 6 and February 20 as the period of heaviest snow in city history. Boy, were they right. Up to this year, the largest snowfall (as measured in Central Park), during that period was 15.5 inches. Last Sunday’s storm brought 26.9 inches to the park, but far less to Rockaway. We had approximately 15.4 inches, which is about the same as the February 6, 1978 storm.

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