2006-03-03 / Community

Beachcomber

The bylaws of the Rockaway Park Homeowners and Residents Corporation say that new officers shall be elected at the annual meeting, which the document mandates be held each December. There are those in the community who have been to the past few December meetings, which have all been holiday parties, without ever seeing an election. They are wondering if elections are ever held or if the current president, Ed Re, who we hear is neither a homeowner (although he does own rental property in the community) nor a resident and is, in fact, the vice president of the Belle Harbor Homeowners Association (where he does live).

Pier 92 restaurant, located on the bay at Beach 92 Street (behind McDonald’s) has reopened its doors under new management. The long-time Rockaway landmark promises a new menu with consistent food and service. As always, the views from the restaurant’s deck are among the best in the world.

A local resident found a number of discarded syringes in the parking lot in front of the CVS Pharmacy on Beach 88 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard last week. Afraid that they would be picked up by children, she took them into the pharmacy for disposal. The pharmacist on duty said that he had no way of disposing of the “sharps,” however. He did eventually take them. A call to the city’s 311 system revealed that all syringes and other “sharps” should be placed in a plastic bottle, sealed, labeled as needles or syringes and then thrown in the regular garbage for pickup.

It seems as if drivers of yellow cabs still consider Rockaway a third world nation. A local who came back from South America into JFK’s International Arrivals Building last week could not get a cab driver to take her to Rockaway, no matter how hard she tried or what she offered. It seems that the drivers wanted fares to Manhattan or to other transportation hubs so that they would be insured a fare going back to the airport. Rockaway is considered a “dead end” location because the chances of getting a fare going in the other direction from the peninsula are often slim and none.

Yet another example of the State Senate’s basic misunderstanding of how New York city workers do their jobs surfaced last week when Senator David Patterson sponsored a bill that would require cops to shoot to wound, rather than using deadly force by shooting for the torso – the largest target on the body. Patterson has obviously been watching too many cowboy movies, where the star simply shoots the gun out of the hand of the bad guy to save the day. It doesn’t work that way in real life and cops will die if they don’t shoot to put the bad guy down. Cops are outraged at Patterson’s bill, and rightfully so. Their job is hard enough without restrictions set by politicians who have no idea what they are talking about. The bill would also set a new provision for manslaughter in the second degree that would be reserved specifically for law enforcement officers who “use more force than necessary to stop a crime suspect.” Who is going to decide what is necessary, the cop who has a gun pointed at his head or a politicians sitting in his office in Albany?

Late in 1997, the 911 system received a call of a man with a gun involved in a dispute at a Brooklyn location. Cops responding to the call and saw a man fitting the description given to them walking away from the scene. He was told to stop and kept walking. The cops drew their guns and told him not to move. The cops say the man moved his hand towards his waistband, and then raised his arms. A quick search of the man revealed a .25-caliber handgun in his jacket pocket. He was arrested and convicted and his conviction was upheld by an appellate court. Now, however, the Court of Appeals has overturned the conviction on the grounds that the cops had no right to draw their guns and ask him to stop because there was no “probable cause” that he had committed a crime. The fact that he did have a loaded gun apparently had no bearing on the decision. We wonder if the court will order that his illegal gun be returned so that he can go out and use it on some other innocent citizen.

Speaking of the New York State Court of Appeals (the highest court in the state, akin to the U.S. Supreme Court in terms of our state), the court refused to waive the statute of limitations and allow dozens of old sexual abuse cases against the Roman Catholic Church go to trial. The court said that 42 plaintiffs, including at least a dozen from Rockaway, who say they were abused by their parish priests during the 1960’s and 1970’s had not shown that specific actions by church officials kept them from filing their suits within the statute of limitations, which is legally within three years of the incident or before a plaintiff turns 21 years of age. The court said in its decision that the conduct of the church “might be morally questionable in any defendant, let alone a religious institution, it was not grounds for waiving the statute.”

Andrea Duggan-Sanders, the wife and former chief of staff for City Councilman James Sanders, Jr., confirmed reports last week that she is considering her own run for office – the State Assembly seat now held by Democrat Michele Titus. At the recent open house held by her husband, Duggan-Sanders told The Wave that she is currently weighing her options. “I’m being heavily pursued, but I haven’t decided yet,” she said. There are also rumors that the City Councilman will run against Greg Meeks for the House of Representatives, but he scotched those rumors. “I do not believe you should go on to a higher office until you finish the job you started,” he told The Wave.

The principal of Middle School 198 told a town hall meeting last week that the school would soon be closed and reopened with a new name, a new number and a new curriculum as a small, specialized school. The school will be known as the “Goldie Maple School,” a fitting tribute to a woman who strived all of her life to improve education in Rockaway and was a long-time member of Community School Board 27.

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