2006-04-21 / Community

Beachcomber

State Senator Ada Smith, who is often called "The Wild Woman of Albany" for her actions over the years, told the New York Times this week that she did not throw a cup of scalding coffee at an aide, as has been charged. In fact, she told Times reporter Michael Cooper in an exclusive interview that she does not even drink much coffee, preferring tea as her drink of choice. Smith said that the aide, Jennifer Jackson, had been admonished that morning for making a mistake in the daily schedule. Smith said that Jackson then said about the Senator's weight, "You need to lose 100 pounds." Smith said that there was no coffee-throwing or hair-pulling incident, that she just told the aide off and Jackson quit. Smith, who faces reelection in November, said that the whole event had been an ordeal. "You just want to go home and get into bed and hide, even though you know you have done nothing wrong," she said.

The Kate Smith story continues to draw emails and telephone calls. One recent email said, "I remember my father telling me about working as a landscaper for Kate Smith. As I recall, her house was on [Beach] 147 Street on the beach block. This must have been in the late 1930's or early 1940's since [my father] enlisted at the beginning of the war. He told me that she was always kind and she was always dressed in long sleeves. I believe that Sam Levinson lived on the same street and in the 1950's Judy Garland rented a home in Neponsit while she performed at a night club on Flatbush Avenue."

Local author Maura Conlon-McIvor has released her memoir " She's All Eyes: Memoirs of an Irish-American Daughter". But this isn't a new book or even a sequel to her first book " FBI Girl: How I Learned to Crack My Father's Code. " It is simply the same book just renamed and was only released in hardcover. Last year, the hardcover publication of FBI Girl climbed to number 12 on Los Angeles Times bestseller list. This memoir of an Irish Catholic girl fighting to connect with her father, whose silence was created by his secrets of being a FBI Special Agent, is now available in paperback.

OK, you and your wife want to take your two kids to a Yankee game at the stadium. Better stop first at the bank and take out a second mortgage. Even mid-level seats cost in the $45 to $60 range. Let's settle on four seats in a upper tier box. Those sell for $52. Four tickets brings our cost for the day to $208. Pick up a scorecard for $8 on the way to your seats. Thirsty, two cokes and two beers coming right up - at a cost of $24. Want some peanuts? Add $4.75. If you are really hungry and want four hot dogs, add $18.50. Want a box of the traditional Cracker Jacks? Add $5.50. What have you spent so far? About $260 without any souvenirs. While most of the seats are sold out for the majority of games, it is clear that many Yankee fans are taken out of the game by the cost of attending a Yankee Stadium contest. Most people, however, are happy to pay the freight once in a while. "A beer and a hot dog on opening day," said one. "What could be better than that?"

David Paterson, the Senate Democratic Leader and a candidate for Lieutenant Governor, has proposed two more anti-cop bills. After pulling back on demands that cops shoot to injure rather than to kill when faced with a gun-toting criminal and calling for strict punishments for cops who do shoot to kill, Paterson has now proposed that politicians be allowed to question cops who use deadly force in pursing their duties. He also wants to take the power to prosecute cops accused of misdeeds from the elected district attorney and put it in the hands of a special prosecutor appointed by politicians. It seems that Paterson might have become something of a liability for Eliot Spitzer.

The NAACP's president, Ed Williams, was angered by The Wave's editorial two weeks ago urging the black community to do something about black on black crime, especially the proliferation of guns in the Far Rockaway, Edgemere and Arverne communities. In his "Open Letter" to the community, Williams said that The Wave wanted the police-involved shooting of a thug to turn into a riot and that our interest in black on black crime is feigned rather than real. A number of black residents, however, called to say that they agreed with the editorial and that black leadership in the Rockaway community has refused to take responsibility for doing something about the problem. It is always easier to imply, as Williams seems to do, that a newspaper is racist rather than address the problem that the paper is raising. The open letter by Williams is a good example of why the black leadership (both elected and in civic and church positions) is part of the problem rather than part of the solution. While this paper has been proactive in bringing the problem to light and forthright in discussing it, Williams ends his missive with "The community needs to know that [The Wave's] concern about black on black crime is about as genuine as Jim Crow breaking bread with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr." In the ultimate, we are sure that we are more concerned with the issue and have done more to address it than Williams and his NAACP chapter.

While the Mayor demands that union workers give back to the city in order to get a raise, it seems that the same does not hold true for the high elected officials or the City Council. The mayor has a commission to look into the pay of high city officials. In the past, those commissions have never, ever failed to recommend raises. Will workers such as the comptroller, city councilmembers, the public advocate and the five borough presidents have to do more work or give up benefits in return for large raises? Of course not.

Although All State Insurance has told us on a number of occasions that those Rockaway residents who have good track records and multiple policies with the company would not have their homeowners insurance cancelled, the company has embarked on a course that could well make many locals scramble for the vital insurance coverage. State law allows a compnay to cancel up to four percent of its policies each year. Published reports say that All State has told 26,000 homeowners in the region to look elsewhere, 3.11 percent of its customers.

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