2006-05-26 / Letters

No Venom From Here

This letter was sent to Rockaway Little League head Marty Andressen in response to his letter in last week's Wavc.

All the volunteers of the Rockaway Little League, including you, Mr. Andressen, deserve a round of applause for the long hours put in to teach youngsters to play the game and getting the fields in shape for play. No one, and certainly not I, have anything except praise for all of the parent-volunteer-coaches-officials involved in the league. I did originally give praise, so let's please set aside the drama and stick to the topics that were addressed. This is not a personal issue.

An opinion was voiced, due to the tiresome complaints, on behalf of many of those same volunteers you admire. My letter was not a personal slander, but was voiced to raise awareness of what most know already.

Let's not kid ourselves. Put out a suggestion box, you will see that the majority will overwhelmingly agree with opinions expressed.

I most certainly agree that "Little League is not about winning and losing, it's about building sportsmanship, self-esteem, and character through baseball."

Explain that to the players and coaches of a team who lost their first two games 16-1 and 18-0. When and where does the building of their self esteem come into play?

You are also correct that in Little League "there will be weak teams, strong teams, and mediocre teams." The major complaint coming from many of the volunteers-parents is that year after year, the same select "volunteers" wind up with the "strong teams." Let's not go into details. Just food for thought.

I never said there wasn't a travel team, as you stated. What was said was that all-star travel teams should be nourished and be just that, travel teams. They should not be involved (as a team) in intramural play. As you know, it wouldn't be fair for a CYO basketball team to be allowed to play intact during the intramural league or the summer classics.

Let these issues be addressed with civility, for the good of the league, and under the positive intentions that it was meant.


NYS Is Dying

Dear Editor,

State Senator Malcolm Smith reported in last week's The Wave that he and his fellow Senate Democrats have proposed an Economic Development Plan to stimulate our state's progress & growth.

Senator Smith's concerns are well founded...New York State is dying. Our ship of state is bloated and listless. New Yorkers are voting with their feet and leaving...NY & North Dakota share few attributes, except we're both losing populations.In 1980, New York and Texas had equal numbers of jobs...today Texas has double New York's. NY State spends & taxes $100 billion per year; double the median of our 49 brothers and sisters.Only California borrows more...we are a quarter trillion dollars in debt.

Since gas is in the news everyday, a trite example:in New York State gasoline is taxed 67 cents on every gallon, just across the River in New Jersey the price is 32 cents - half New York's!

Senator Smith's prescriptions to re-arrange the deck chairs are - at best - feeble and - at worst - destructive to job growth outcomes. New York's root cause of job disintermediation stem from our abnormally and outrageously high costs to do business here, live here, commute here, and die here. Our taxes and red-tape are - by far and in extremis - the worst in the nation, and until Senator Smith and his fellow Albany lawmakers understand they must make a radical break from the past to undue this rogue wave that is sinking our Poseidon, no amount of bureaucratic project and program re-structuring will stem this tide.

In our next election, I urge my fellow Wave readers to please follow the pronouncements and proposals of our candidates...will they be campaigning to cut taxes; cut wasteful, useless, out-of-control and fraudulently-abused state spending, or will they be promising you and me sugar plums, rose gardens and other pipe dreams?


FAA Program

'A Deceptive Disaster'

The following was sent as a press release from SAFE (Sane Aviation For Everyone, Inc.).

The FAA website states that the "FAA's Eastern Region Air Traffic Division is redesigning the airspace in the New York/New Jersey/Philadelphia Metropolitan area to reduce delays in the area...The current airspace environment is inefficient for aviation users and FAA."

While emphasizing reduction of delays and increasing efficiency the FAA is deceiving the metro New York and Philadelphia region by not explicitly mentioning the FAA Administrator's May 2005 announcement of the Next Generation Initiative of tripling aviation capacity.

Why is tripling aviation capacity a social, economic and ecological disaster?

It is an economic disaster because it further degrades an integrated transportation system where surface transportation is to be given a preference, particularly for short distances, because aviation is a premium mode of transportation with the highest costs in energy per passenger mile traveled. Moreover, most of the projected increase is in corporate travel that contributes less to the economy than high-speed rail for the general population.

It is a social disaster because the burdens of increased operations will be mostly shared by airport communities whose health and quality of life will be further decreased by the increased noise and air pollution. It also places more burdens than benefits on the general population.

It is an ecological disaster because aviation worldwide and particularly in the USA will contribute more to global warming and dimming than all other modes of transportation combined in the next couple of decades on account of its exemptions and privileged position.


'Wall To Wall Houses'

In Rockaway

Dear Editor,

I think Mr. Molloy summed it up in regards to the new housing. I live in the same location as Mr. Molloy. We have nothing here and there are many elders who have no way to go up by C-Town and can't even get a quart of milk. So far it's wall-to-wall houses. A friend of mine spoke with one of the workers and he said these houses wouldn't withstand a bad storm. Right now I'm surprised that "squatters" have not been in some of those houses. Where are our public officials who are supposed to help with these situations? They don't do anything!

And forget about getting anywhere quickly. I go to the doctor in a van and the other day it took over an hour to get to Far Rockaway. There were all kinds of detours, etc.

We needed some housing; however, we didn't need wall-to-wall houses and mind my word, there's going to be big problems with facilities and traffic. All these builders are here to make a fortune- they don't care about the people who have lived here most of their lives. I wish one of our public officials would have the gumption to do what is right.


Classes On Sundays Deny Human Rights

The following letter was sent to Wilson Ortiz of the New York State Department of Human Rights in Manhattan.

Dear Wilson Ortiz,

On March 26, 2006, I was denied the freedom to profess and practice my religion. It is clearly identified in the 1948 Declaration of Human Rights that what I was being denied by at Touro College (CITE) was not a legal practice. Touro (CITE) is denying me this birth-given right. Article 18 of the Declaration states that a person can practice their religion alone or with a community, in private to manifest his/her religious beliefs. Every time that I attend a course at Touro College I am being denied this right. The classes are only offered on Sunday. I am a Christian, Baptist who practices her faith on Sundays. This master's program is required of me because I am an NYC teacher and the fall year of 2006 all teachers must have their masters or they can't teach. To remedy this I tried looking at other schools. They would either not accept any or half of the credits I already earned from Touro. This is a formal complaint at Touro College as the respondents of discrimination and harassment based on religion.

Every person has the right to freedom from discrimination in the areas of services, goods and facilities (schools). Harassment is another form of discrimination that was brought against me by a worker of Touro College. Dr. Dougherty tried to bring down my religion and belittle me as an individual. His overall manner was crude, obnoxious and unprofessional. His volume was a bit high due to the nature of the situation. I acknowledge his behavior (tone of voice, mannerism and facial expression) and comments both as unwelcome.

On March 26, 2006, I approached Dr. Dougherty outside of the classroom in Cobble Hill High School, located at 347 Baltic Street, Brooklyn. Also present was my professor, Ronald Black (teaching course EdSe 603). I asked Dr. Dougherty, "How come your classes are only held on Sundays?" He stated, "The school was founded with that principle. We are not going to change it for one person. You have been going on Sundays and you will continue to go on Sundays." I counteracted by stating, "This is not my right and I will not continue to take the Sunday courses." I then proceeded to go back to my seat in the classroom.

There are many steps I am trying to take to remedy this situation. I contacted several lawyers. I was told by all three lawyers to write a complaint letter to the Department of Human Rights and then proceed to obtain a lawyer. I also contacted 311 and tried to make a formal complaint but they claim that they do not handle this type of case. They did refer to me to the DHR, Legal Referral Services and www.highered.nysed.gov/ocue. This is where I am currently now.

Additionally I've contacted 7 On Your Side and I am still waiting on a response. I left a message with their answering machine. I will leave additional messages, write a formal letter or go as far as go up there. I will also see if my local newspaper, The Wave, will hear my story and write an article about my dilemma. If I could also reach a spokesperson from an affluent political party such as Al Sharpton, Senator Malcolm Smith and Councilmember James Sanders to help me with my plight.

Due to this traumatic experience I have suffered both loss of dignity and emotional suffering as a direct result of this violation.


Taking Jobs

In The Dark Of Night

Dear Editor,

So, the illegal swine now has come full throttle to The Rockaway area.

They are allowed to sneak into residential buildings by conspiracy of Alma Realty in the dark of the night and take American Union jobs at peon wages.

The cowboy in the White House has no conception of how these lowlifes are attempting to destroy the infrastructure of thework force of this great country.

The residents of 107-10,106-20 and 1 Beach 105th Street, hopefully will somehow unite and stand by their guns in relation to this problem. If not, then use the guns for a better purpose.

Union workers are the backbone of this country's work force. Let us not have a few jobs be lostnow or soon it will beyourJOB!


DOT Overkill

Dear Editor,

I often sit and wonder what the Department of Transportation is thinking when it comes up with plans to better Rockaway. Certainly, the fiasco on Beach 116 Street that is still not straightened out six months after the work was completed, is only one example of what that agency can do to foul a neighborhood. It seems that the DOT favors overkill. Witness the Shore Front Parkway plan. There were two fatal accidents, each the "fault" of the drivers involved, not the number of traffic lights nor the configuration of the roadway. Making the road one way in each direction is just more overkill on the part of the DOT. We are a growing community that needs more roads and reducing lanes on existing roads is not the answer.


Peninsula 'Is An Asset To The Community'

Dear Editor,

I am writing this letter to publicly acknowledge and thank the wonderful staff of Peninsula Hospital.

I recently had surgery at Peninsula Hospital to repair an umbilical hernia. The surgery was most successful, and my overnight stay at Peninsula proved to be as pleasant as any stay in a hospital could ever have been. The staff was professional, competent, attentive, dedicated, compassionate and cheerful. My patient satisfaction level was a 10 out of 10.

Consequently, I am extending my thanks for the quality of care that I received at Peninsula Hospital. Sometimes, a smaller, local and more intimate hospital is just what the doctor ordered, and Peninsula Hospital is, indeed, an asset to the community it serves.


Alarming Disregard

For Flashing Lights

I am writing as an educator for more than 30 years and as a father and concerned citizen.

There has been an alarming disregard as of late for the STOP sign/flashing lights of a school bus. We experience this with buses coming to us on Beach 19 Street, but parents and drivers report to me that this is happening throughout the area, from the peninsula into the 5 Towns.

In turn, I have called our local precinct's community affairs department to request their continued and increased diligence in enforcing the laws.

The problem is exacerbated by drivers of buses who needlessly flash their lights and distract law-abiding commuters. I believe people get impatient, and this carries over to those times when patience and adherence to the law is called for.

In essence, this is a plea to the community at large to protect our precious children. I wish there was no need for my letter, but in my estimation, there is.




Kudos To 'The Women'

Dear Editor,

Kudos to co-director/actress Peggy Page and the all-star cast Rockaway Theatre Company assembled to perform in Clare Booth Luce's comedy classic, "The Women."

It's a shame that anyone would miss thishilarious all female production thatends withan amazing curtain call.

One will be hard pressed not to be 'junglered' with envy for not being part of this talented and beautiful cast of women. Congratulations to all,including Peggy Vivino, forthe role she played in the costume designs.


SFP Plan A Bad Idea

Dear Editor,

I hope I'mstatingthe obvious when I say thatremoving one lane in each direction on Shore Front Parkway from Beach 73 Street to Beach 108 Streetisjust abad idea. 

Somehow, what began as the community board'srequest for another traffic light has morphed intothe plan from hell.The most disappointing part is that our many of our community representativesare standing idly by (with others actually encouraging this debacle) while the DOT makes another bad decision that Rockawaywill have to live with for years.

There is no evidence of higher-than-average accident rates for Shore Front Parkway. Indeed, it seems safer than most roads.

The two fatal accidentsthatare being used as theexcuse to remove these laneshad nothing to do with a bad road design.Instead, reckless driving appears tobe the cause ofthe first incident that occurredon July 19, 2005,when a man diedas a result of a drag race related crash.

In the secondincident,on Sept. 24, 2005,a 14-year-oldbike rider was tragically killed when hit from the rear by an SUV.Sincethere were no witnesses to this accident, it is uncertain what exactly happened, butin both cases, it is clear that these fatalities were caused by the participants,not by the road. It's an unfortunate, but in today's society, we seem to beunwilling to assign(or accept)individual responsibility for anything. Someone else or something else is always to blame.

DOT's proposal,rather "decision,"to halve the capacity ofSFP shouldn't come as any surprise to anyone who has witnessed their track record in Rockaway thathasseverely impacted our ability totravelfrom one end of the peninsulato the other.That long, slow, painful process is about to get worse.We are now stuck with just three, one-lane,east - west roads just as we are on the verge of a population explosion. Rockaway Beach Blvd. /Edgemere Ave. isjust one lane withthe traffic lights timed so thatyou catch each one. Not that longagoone lane in each direction was eliminatedfrom the entire length of Rockaway Freeway. Somepeople point to the reduced number of accidents since then, but it was incompetent drivers combined withinadequateleft turn and cross street controlsthatwere responsible,nottwo lanes.More recently, several blocks of Rockaway Freeway (west of Beach 73 Street) were permanently eliminatedand will be used for parking.It's difficult to tell whether these decisions aretheresult of some diabolical plan, simple incompetence or the work of a practical jokester.

Mymoney's onnumber two.

On May 9, Iattended thecommunity board meeting where Maura McCarthy, DOT Borough Commissioner,presented Traffic'smisguided plan.I thenwatched in horror as not oneCB 14 member voiced any fundamental objections. 

Instead, most of the discussion seemed to focus on the plan's details and implementationand on theperceived need for more traffic lights. Ironically,oneeast-end board member demanded to know when theDOT was going to follow though on theirpromise to restore Beach Channel Drive back to two lanes in the Beach 30s. Apparently she was referr ing to a failed experimentthat soundedeerilysimilarto what DOT was telling us they would soondo toSFP. Was I the only one in the room connecting the dots? 

Interestingly, the chairperson was quoted as saying that the boardwould not officially weigh in with the DOT on the SFP lane closure because we're "not safety experts." Yet,on anotherissue, that apparently did notrequire aboard vote,the board decidedthat theyknew enough about safety to officially object to the plannedbike lane for Beach Channel Drive.You can't have it both ways!

When themeeting ended,I had informal conversations with several community board members, officers, and political aids. Everyone had some concerns about the plan, some more than others,so why then didn't anyone object? My guess is that many wanted to be politically correct.  I think the reasoning goes like this...if you stand up against one lane, then you must be fortraffic fatalities. Sincewe cannot rely on community board members to stand up and say that ideas like this are thestupidest thing they ever heard, then I'm afraid thatwe all need to attend more meetings so we cansay it ourselves.

If you are a driver who believes that Rockaway needs more roads, not less, send an e-mail to Maura McCarthy, DOT Borough Commissioner at: mmcarthy@dot.nyc.gov and let her know what you think. Since she predicted that theline painting trucks would show up in Rockaway within the next month or two, you'd better write fast!


Two-Hour Commutes

The following letter was sent to Norman Silverman of the MTA.

Dear Mr. Silverman,

Thank you for meeting with the Rockaway community Thursday at Democratic District Leader Lew M. Simon's office. Your presence was absolutely needed in a community where one and one-half hour to two hour daily commutes, or longer, in one direction to Northern Queens and New York City must change! As we discussed, I ask the MTA to discontinue all newly added local bus stops along the Q53 Limited Bus route. Instead, to increase ridership, you should place these stops on the Q21 and perhaps bring back the Q21A (same as Q21, but starts and ends in Far Rockaway and continues over the Cross Bay Bridge). There was nothing wrong with the Q53 Limited having limited bus stops, since the route is almost 18 miles long. The reason why ridership was down was because the buses were breaking down, running out of fuel and incorrectly scheduled.

Ridership will increase on all bus lines due to the Rockaway boom in building. The local stops on the Q53 Limited have added at minimum 20 minutes to the route in each direction. The Q21 and Q21A should be making those stops supporting our community. The Q53 Limited is a crossroads bus giving riders the connection activities to The Long Island Railroad, LaGuardia Airport, Subway, other buses and express buses (since we only have a few and they don't run on weekends) and reaching State and City offices, Courts, etc. in Northern Queens. My point is the Q53 has to be the quick workhorse, because our travel is yet to be complete after the ride. What is probably best is for you to ride the Q53 yourself both northbound and southbound.

The QM16/QM17 Expresses must be reviewed. The bus stops in general are too many. The main goal should be to haul Rockawayites directly to the city for the $5 they pay. The mainland definitely has their own supportive commuting system. We should not be involved at all. We are not asking the Q11 to come to Broad Channel and the Rockaways, which is just plain stupid.

But why are you expecting Rockaway commuters to endure the same ride as the mainlanders by stopping at the very same bus stops? I have to agree with the express bus southbound riders, if the express bus (such as the QM15) is going to end up at the bus depot in Rockaway, why can't riders take the ride over the Cross Bay Bridge? This should be looked in to. "Q15 Last Stop Rockaway" spoken by a driver, seems simple enough to me, and generous to the Rockaway ridership.

The Q35 service to and from Brooklyn has to be increased to every 15 minutes. Students connect with the B3 and B41 as well as the junction.

People shop at Kings Plaza or visit doctors. The junction has always been a welcomed selection to our area. Why do you make is so difficult for us to believe that this route is even in existence?

The Q22 supports the Q21, Q53, Q35, why are there four buses one minute apart, when the next is 20 minutes in separation. Scheduling and MTA scheduling checkers need to be along this route!

As I mentioned at the meeting a Rockaway transportation committee should be created by you and a town hall meeting should be hosted to hear again from additional Rockaway residents riding your failing bus routes. I hope you will consider the points above and immediately adjust some of your thoughts and views to the Rockaway ridership.

Once again I thank you for coming to the meeting created by Senator Malcolm Smith and hosted by Democratic District Leader Lew Simon.


A Turn For The Worse

Dear Editor,

It appears that the "Its My Turn" column in last week's May 19 edition has taken a turn for the worse.

In an attempt to belittle and demean Beverly Baxter, Linda Ruscillo uses her debut column to criticize one of Rockaway's brightest journalists. As a columnist myself, I know that the pen should never be transformed into a sword. Columns are not supposed to be avenues for bully pulpits. Nor should they be used for character assassination or to attack a person's integrity. Linda is guilty as charged. I found her piece to be both unprofessional and mean spirited on many levels. How insulting it is to have an entire column in a neighborhood newspaper dedicated to the denigrating of another community activist. Maybe it says more about Linda as a person than it does about Beverly Baxter. To add insult to injury, Linda has made the terrible mistake of printing hearsay. "I have been informed by some Rockaway residents that Beverly Baxter does not live in Rockaway," Linda said. This is what we call in journalism an unfounded claim. Perhaps Linda might name her sources or maybe she already did when she lauded Lew Simon as someone who "lives for Rockaway." I can personally tell you that Beverly does indeed live in Rockaway. In fact, I have been to her home on a number of occasions. This would certainly qualify her seat on the Board of Directors of the Rockaway Park Homeowners and Residents Association. I am equally shocked that The Wave would print such accusations when I am sure the editorial board knows them to be false. Thankfully, most people who read the Wave are intelligent enough to read between the lines and are able to distinguish accuracy from propaganda.

As for Linda, I wish you success in the future as you endeavor into the world of journalism. However, be careful not to continue bad writing habits. They normally do more harm than good and they are definitely not nice.


All letters submitted to The Wave, including those sent via e-mail, must contain names, addresses and phone numbers. All letters are subject to editing and publication at the discretion of the editors. The Wave will no longer publish letters in which the name is withheld, unless, in the opinion of the editorial board, there is a compelling public interest to do so.

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