2006-06-02 / Columnists

Beachcomber

Many of the Surfside tenants who took part in the demonstration against Steve Valiotis and Alma Realty last week were angered by the fact that City Councilman Joseph Addabbo, who represents them in the council, did not show up, although Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, Congressman Gregory Meeks and at least two Democratic District Leaders - Lew Simon and Geraldine M. Chapey (who lives in the buildings) were present. Those politicians who were present all verbally supported the union workers in their quest for a fair contract and health benefits. When we questioned Addabbo, he told us that he had a compelling family matter that had to be addressed that day and that he was working behind the scenes to bring the two sides together.

Anybody who has ever received an undeserved parking ticket from a traffic enforcement agent enjoyed the story that broke last week about a traffic agent in Long Island City who issued two dozen parking tickets at several Queens locations without ever leaving her car, which was parked in a parking lot. Published reports said that the traffic agent thought that it was easier to make up tickets for cars that were parked legally in the parking lot than go out and look for illegally parked cars. Some experts claim that the pressure of meeting a ticket quota forces TEA's to go out and ticket legally parked cars when they can't find a sufficient number of illegal parkers, but even in the face of this case, Mayor Bloomberg denies that there is a quota, preferring instead to talk of "productivity goals."

One of Rockaway's premier events will take place at Beach Channel High School next Saturday and Sunday, June 10 and 11. The Cancer Society's Relay For Life has grown over past years to include hundreds of participants who share the "burden" of walking the school's track all night long to raise money that will be used for research to fight the dreaded disease. The highlight of the evening comes just after dark, when hundreds of luminary candles are lit, dedicated to those who have died from the disease as well as those who have survived.

Jonathan Greenspun has resigned as the head Mayor Bloomberg's Community Assistance Unit (CAU). When last seen in Rockaway, Greenspun and other city officials were secretly skulking around the peninsula, looking for a place to put the memorial to American Airlines Flight 587. When they were discovered and photographed by a Wave editor, Greenspun complained that it was a private fact-finding mission. A Parks Department official (who is no longer with the city agency) was even angrier, stating that he should have punched the editor in the nose for intruding. In his statement on Greenspun's resignation, Bloomberg said of him, "He forged a partnership in the Rockaways that will allow for the building of a memorial for Flight 587." Some partnership. Only one local, Chamber President John Lepore, had a vote in the siting and plan for the memorial. All the decisions were held by the family members and by the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs, an agency that held a number of "No Press Allowed" meetings in Rockaway.

The Wounded Warrior project, hosted by the Graybeards, will be back in Rockaway on the Weekend of July 6 to July 9. There are lots of water-related activities planned for the military men and women who have been severely injured in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Look to future issues of The Wave for details of the public activities.

It's amazing how easy it is to take even a large daily paper in with a story that proves to be a fabrication. Two weeks ago, the New York Post ran a front-page headline that blared "Fourth Reich." The accompanying story said that Iran was soon going to force minorities such as Jews and Christians to wear identifying marks on their clothing. The story was false, taken from the pages of the National Post, a Canadian newspaper that got the story from a column written by Amir Taheri, an Iranian author and journalist who lives in Canada. Many newspapers ran the story inside, but some refused to run it without some sort of confirmation.

The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a measure sponsored by Congressman Anthony Weiner last week that would effectively kick the Palestinian United Nations delegation out of the United States. The bill would designate the Palestinian Authority, now headed by Hamas, to be a terrorist organization and force it to leave the country. A spokesperson for the State Department said that the measure should not be passed, but Weiner says that it is up to Congress to decide and that "anything less than booting the Palestinians would go against the will of most Americans and New Yorkers in particular."

When it comes to selling illegal cigarettes to underage children, the large drugstore chains lead the charge, according to a recent report by the city's Department of Consumer Affairs. Investigators for the city agency found 25 Duane Reade stores that sold to under-18's. In addition, under-ages teens were able to buy cigarettes at 18 Rite Aid outlets, 16 CVS stores ands five Eckerd stores. All in all, there were 13,034 inspections with nearly 3,000 violations issued.

A disk jockey who was fired in a racial flap when she reported on-air that she "had a problem with white people," was chosen by the Department of Education to serve as the "Principal For A Day," at a Brooklyn school. Hot 97 DJ Raqiyah Mays, who was fired from Power 105.1 for ranting about interracial dating, spent the day at a second-chance program for at-rise teens. A reporter who questioned the DOE personnel about their choice of a "role model," was escorted out of the building for asking an "inappropriate question."

Beach Channel High School is in the early stages of planning for a reorganization of the school that would move it towards the same kind of organization that Far Rockaway High School went to this year. The plan would put students in grades 10 to 12 into "learning communities" built around a theme. The four learning communities would center around "Math/Science," "Business and CTE Programs," "The Arts and World Language" and "Communication Arts/Social Sciences." The latter would include print and television journalism. We wonder why the wonderful Oceanography magnet will not be brought back to the school on the bay.

We would be remiss if we published this week's paper without wishing good luck to CBS-TV reporter Kim

dozier, who was critically injured by a car bomb in the streets of Iraq. The same bomb killed her camerman, sound man and interperter and our hearts and condolences go out to their families as well. The terrible event once again points out how dangerous it can be to bring new to your home.

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