For many, many decades, we have not had a Rockaway resident as our City Councilman representing the west end, and all we get is ignored and stepped on. As we all know, Rockaway's problems and opportunities are very different and unique from the mainland, yet we only get a mainlander representing us. I read with much disdain Beverly Baxter's recent column, where she touts a young "mainlander" with not much life experience for the City Council to represent us. Beverly, where is your loyalty to Rockaway? We need a Rockawayite to represent us, not a mainlander.
No Shopping Center
In Far Rockaway
I was simply amazed to read that stark reality has surfaced again in Far Rockaway. I wonder what phase two will do to further mess up the Far Rockaway section of our peninsula. The worst move ever was when the old central transportation hub in Far Rockaway was eliminated for a shopping center that did lousy, and then was used by a throng of people as their own private parking lot. It had sewage backup from the big restaurant, entrances used as exits and vice versa, a beautiful bank building that stood empty while a new one was built beside it, etc.
Soon after the grand opening, the new bus station that was out on the main streets was complained about, due to the traffic problems, which arose.
Then some very bright person decided to build another bus depot that did create more problems than it solved, and a parking lot in another place which was worth your life to use, and covered with trash and broken glass. Many cars were damaged or stolen to boot!
The Long Island Railroad Station at Far Rockaway was moved to Nameoke Street, and the not so rapid transportation station was completed across Mott Avenue at Beach 22 Street. In order to transfer to Long Island or the subway to the several buses that went north or west or east, a commuter had to walk several blocks or take a cab, if you could find one that is! And nary a bus went near or past the Long Island Railroad.
But typically, the blame was put on the blight that struck the area, not piss-poor planning! And nothing was done about anything.
The Big Kahuna! Would merchants on Central Avenue and Mott Avenue move into the new shopping center?
Why in the hell would they? Mott and Central Avenues had always been the great shopping district for scores of years. All of the cross streets had mom and pop stores also, and merchants and their customers knew each other by their first names, as repeat customers shopped at the same places all the time, and service was always good. And deliveries were on time, free of charge!
The names of all these old places of business would make a list as long as Central Avenue and Mott Avenue are today, commercially speaking, that is.
But the research done on the building of a shopping center could and would fit on a postage stamp.
Long before and long after the shopping center was built in Far Rockaway, there was enough empty land south of the Far Rockaway Depot on both sides of Central Avenue to build a Green Acres type of shopping center, but there were no visionaries around locally. Have you ever asked or wondered why? When all around New York City, shopping malls and centers built work out?!
The answer is very obvious, but your legal staff is not big enough to handle the flak if you ever got politically right for a change!
I wonder if there will be some back engineering done at the Far Rockaway shopping center. The subway and the LIRR should be joined again with an enclosed transfer platform above ground, and a bus terminal created once again with a patrolled waiting area 24/7! West-enders could then ride the A service to the LIRR to get to Penn Station or Flatbush Terminal and get home the same way. The Nassau and Jamaica buses could also take advantage of this "back to the past," when the future simply doesn't work! If anyone complains, then let the people claim "eminent domain" and have this type of plan back engineered to suit the public need for excellence of transportation.
Why can't the general public make use of eminent domain, instead of the government or a developer? Doesn't "We The People" stand for anything, or is that politically incorrect insolence!
Ask your readers if they would like to see this happen, or would they rather face the bleak reality of another "fubar" situation in Far Rockaway.
If a "killing" is to be made, kill the shopping center!
Another Famous Rockawayite
Apparently Richard Rodgers of Rodgers & Hammerstein fame was born on June 28, 1902 at Hammels Station, Arverne, New York. Just thought I'd let you know.
Got It Wrong
I write this letter in response to a letter written in last week's wave titled "RLL Not Playing Fair." The venomous letter written by Karen Buffolino, while probably written with the best intentions, nonetheless contains several misunderstandings, erroneous facts, and outright false accusations. This letter allows me to address and clarify several misunderstandings.
Buffolino's letter begins by stating RLL starts "unlike any other league in the country" and that "all other leagues in Queens, the other boros, the state & country, rate each player on tryout days. Then the players are distributed equally, according to ability, to each team to hopefully equalize and allow for honest competition." The letter further states that coaches with "the best rolodex" handpick their favorite players, which results in similar results. This is simply untrue.
To begin with the official policy of Williamsport (Little League International Headquarters) from which we receive our charter to play, recommends that the league organize children into groups at a young level and keep them together for the rest of their Little League year. We choose to deviate from this model. We have experimented with variations, drafting, rating, and elections (via coaches meeting) and other hybrid models. None are perfect! Even a simple drafting system has produced poor results because half of the coaches don't show to draft and I end up having to draft teams.
Since I know the kids better than anyone else I end up drafting extremely strong teams. Also the approach of having tryouts and rating sounds spectacular! But unfortunately it is logistically impossible mainly for the two following reasons: 1) We have an abnormally large league and having tryouts en masse is not feasible especially given the fact that there are dozens of people still signing up well into the first week of baseball! And 2) having tryouts for such a large league requires more volunteers than we are able to garner in pre-season time. Even straight rating never works perfectly because people have intentionally lowered or upgraded their children's playing strength so they end up on a better team. Simply put no system is perfect and no matter how much satisfaction we get when the system does work well there will always be people who are quick to criticize. I have been involved in sports programs (Little League and CYO Basketball) for over 32 years and I can tell you for sure that no system works perfectly and you can't please everyone.
It is a simple fact that in an in-house program like ours there will be weak teams, strong teams and mediocre teams. Teams develop, get better, and evolve. Little League is not about winning or losing, it's about building sportsmanship and character through baseball and to imply otherwise by stating we allow teams to monopolize the league is simply untrue. Its difficult to keep a balance between time, money and effort, but my ultimate goal has been and will continue to be to develop a program that works best for all of the children.
The letter also is factually incorrect by stating there is no traveling all- star team at upper levels. This is simply untrue; there are all-star teams at upper levels.
Aside from the harsh implication that the League doesn't "play fair," the actual content of the letter is simply wrong. Ms. Buffolino and anyone for that matter is more than welcome to contact myself or other league officials to inquire about the operation of the league. I am very "hands on," and have put my own time, money, sweat into this league with several other faithful volunteers that make it work for the children. To sling false accusations and imply that there is some "stranglehold" over the league by a few not only insults and completely discounts the efforts of so many, but also insults the tireless hours of hard work put into this league. We have nearly one thousand children in the league, and no matter how much time, effort and hard work you put into such an endeavor it is simply impossible to please everyone. With grandpa, grandma, uncles, aunts, mothers and fathers we end up having to deal with literally thousands of people.
Had Buffolino contacted myself or another league official we would have gladly discussed the history of the league and all our attempts to instill parity within our divisional organization instead of now having to respond to a letter that slings false accusations at myself and others in this league. It is hurtful to deride and imply venomous accusations at volunteers who give their time to give back to the community. It is especially hurtful to do this when many volunteers have no vested interest in the league- that is they are in it for the long haul because their children have already passed through the league (or they have no children in the league to begin with), but still they remain on as volunteers because it is the right thing to do. It is very easy to criticize, and not everyone will be happy with a system that we develop, but we will continue to do what we think is best for all the children. I wouldn't be involved with this League or any other organization if I had been previously swayed or intimidated by critics- I and the bulk of volunteers in the League are in it for the children and will continue to work for what is best for all of them.
MARTIN P. ANDRESSEN
ROCKAWAY LITTLE LEAGUE
The Lifeblood Of Democracy
I want to thankThe Wave for its kind words in the Beachcomber last week and for its recognition that competition at the polls is the lifeblood of a democracy.As I explained when I decided to run againstincumbent Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, we urgently need a democratic restorative at the local level. A competitive Assembly race promises to be the best way to accomplish that. I made my decision to run,not because of any political ambition (though I must admit I've always fancied the idea of doing something at an elective level),but because I believed it was time.It's no good for our community, and no good for our elected officials, when there's no competition in the voting booth. Competitionis part of life . . .andit's certainlya part of politics when done right in a democratic society.
Of course I also disagree strongly with Pheffer on a variety of issues and, in particular, on what our Assembly person ought to be doing up in Albany. I want to fight for changes in how our state should be run and help make former MassachusettsGovernor Bill Weld's recent call for spendingand taxing capsa reality. I want to see voter ballot initiativesmade possible, as has been done in other states.I wantMedicaid reform. I want school choice in the form of vouchers that enable parents to choose where they send their kids. This, too, is a form of competition and schools will be the better for it.And I wantan open and fair process for allocatingstate moniesvia our local representatives. Taxpayer dollarsbelong to all of us and should only be apportioned in a public and visible manner.
The upcoming campaign should provide plenty of opportunity for Audrey and me to present our differing visions, goals and intentions. Perhaps we'll even surprise one another with someareas on which wecan agree. I look forward to a fair and civil campaign, one we can all be proud of so that, win, lose or draw,we'll be able to say at the end of the day that wepursued this with mutual respect and did honor to the democratic process.
In that spirit, I'd like to acknowledge The Wave's kind offer to sponsor a public debate betweenus in October and indicate my acceptance of this offer at once. We can work out the detailslater on, of course. But for now let's agree to do this and give the voters of the 23rd AD a serious choice for a change.
STUART W. MIRSKY
CANDIDATE FOR ASSEMBLY
Plea For More Nursing Home Funding
This letter is written specifically to get the attention of New York State Governor Pataki, which I hope the editor can do.
I am a resident of the Peninsula Hospital for Rehabilitation. I am surrounded by other residents who are 80, 90, 100 and more years old. We are all suffering from various ailments- mental, emotional, or physical and confined to wheelchairs. Some do not know who they are or where they are; there are broken hips, necks; some with one leg, others with no legs. I, as an example, have had open-heart surgery In addition to another heart attack. I have diabetes, swollen legs, am unbalanced and cannot stand on my own two feet. We wear diapers and need the assistance of a nurse for our personal needs. We sit in the hall in our wheelchairs. I listen to the cries, such as, "Mama, Mama, help me," and I cry. My legs are bandaged to keep from further swelling and my arms are black and blue from the needles, which take my blood.
My husband at 95 years old died in the bed next to me this past September of heart failure. I have a son who is 59 years old who has Parkinson's disease and is in a home in Belle Harbor and comes to see me when he can. I cry constantly, inwardly, as I think of what happened to me these recent years. I walked, shopped, cooked, worked and enjoyed a social life. I thanked God every day.
I suddenly collapsed and found myself in Peninsula Hospital.
Governor Pataki: I am writing this for your attention for the sake of humanity. Please, please extend funding to the hospital, nursing homes and homes for adults who work to prolong and save lives. Thank you very much.