2006-07-14 / Letters

Letters

Open Letter To

Dayton Beach Park Shareholders

Dear Editor,

As of July 1, Dayton Beach Park shareholders have completed three years of maintenance increases totaling 24 percent hike. Now, after shareholders pumped nearly $1,700,000 more into Dayton's operating accounts, Dayton's accountants, has just informed us we will likely endure another maintenance increase of at least 18.18%, to offset an operating budget deficit that has doubled in just twelve months from $630,000 to over $1,430,000.

If this new increase is allowed by HPD to go through, Dayton's shareholders will have to endure both a fourth maintenance increase in three years and a 44% hike from just three years ago. There is no doubt another increase will devastate many of our shareholders comprised mostly of working and middle class families. Over a quarter of Dayton Beach Park residents are senior citizens; many living in Dayton since it opened over 40 years ago. They have paid the greatest cost, investing a great portion of their lives in Dayton Beach Park and the Rockaways when few would. Now they are being repaid in retirement with repeated maintenance increases burdening their fixed incomes. The most disturbing part about Dayton's crisis is this new maintenance increase threat could have been avoided.

Many shareholders have contacted the Department of Housing Preservation and Development over the past two years warning the agency of Dayton's downturn and the actions of the Board and its management. I even ran and was elected to the board for the first time in November 2005, after living in Dayton, since the age of ten (20 years) looking to make a positive change.

Almost immediately after being elected, I uncovered some of the truth about Dayton's finances, and sent HPD a 25-page appeal containing evidence of the issues I presented. I received a 5-line form letter type response, from Gary Sloman, HPD's Director of Operations. The agency has not stepped in over the past twenty months when Dayton's board failed to adopt a 2005/2006 fiscal year budget, selected the highest bidders in going out for new contracts without explanation, authorized additional spending in many expense areas, and depleted Dayton's $1,300,000 reserve since February 2006. These actions, all violations of HPD's own rules and regulations were approved by HPD officials, and are directly tied to Dayton's deficit doubling in a year and the need for another maintenance increase. Sadly this vital information is not what most Dayton shareholders are being informed of by the Board and its management.

Shareholders, our issues have been virtually ignored by city officials. It's up to us to take accountability and stand up to save our homes. The Dayton Beach Park Shareholders Association (www.dbpsa.com), which I am a member, was formed in part to organize shareholders, keeping them informed about the Board's actions.

Working with the DPBSA hasn't been easy, as we have been met with opposition based in deceit and threats that resulted in attacks to our property and reputations. Our first DBPSA meeting in February was held on a street corner due to it being cancelled from its original location after two days of continued calls and emails to its host.

All we (over 200 shareholders and growing) are trying to do is save our homes. Ask yourselves: Why the opposition to these efforts? Why the secrecy about Dayton's finances? Why another maintenance increase? We need your help to bring light to this crisis. Tell your friends and neighbors that Dayton Beach Park is looking at another huge increase. Get involved and informed on the real issues. Don't allow yourself to be shut out from the truth. We can't afford to let another fiscal crisis threaten our investments in Dayton and our homes in the process.

JENNIFER GRADY

Shore Front Parkway Disaster

Dear Editor,

I would personally like to meet the moron(s) who authorized roadway changes to Shore Front Parkway, which has started on the north side as of 6/30/06. Would not a couple of additional Stop signs, traffic lights, and perhaps "speed bumps" do?

On Sunday, July 2, 2006 at the traffic light on 94th Street, there were perhaps 15 cars waiting in the "single" lane and I had to wait for two light changes to finally cross the light. What a joke! We need more roadways in Rockaway, not less, with all the additional housing going up.The email address to contact the DOT to render an opinion regarding the above-proposed changes, provided by the Wave several weeks ago, was incorrect, as my email was "returned to sender." Who can I complain to now? Was our Community Board behind these changes? Is there no common sense any longer?

PAUL KOKKINIS

Kudos To Dora Pedroso

Dear Editor,

Whenever my husband, Jim, and I walk or ride our bikes on the boardwalk, we observe Dora Pedroso, working diligently as a Parks Department Employee. We would like to commend Dora for her work ethic and her efforts to improve the quality of life in Rockaway. Keep up the good work, Dora. You're a credit to the N.Y.C. Parks Department.

JIM AND MARY KELLY

Our Flag Is Not Safe At Dayton Towers

Dear Editor,

A patriot lives at Dayton Towers East. Her banner and flag are on display each day to remind me to thank and pray for our soldiers fighting and dying each day to keep me safe.

I request the president of Dayton Towers to call a meeting of the board of directors of Dayton Towers, to vote on terminating the one year contract with ARCO Management as per H.P.D. rules.

The bullying, harassment and the threats by any ARCO employee to any shareholder at Dayton Towers must stop.

Mr. Nardo said "safety is first." He is correct. Just ask the soldiers who are dying in Iraq and keep Mr. Nardo safe.

HUGH T. O'HARE

Time For Transparency

Dear Editor,

I read the comments in the recent Beachcomber concerning the use and abuse of "member items" by our state legislators with interest.

For those who don't yet know it, I am a candidate for State Assembly this year, challenging incumbent Democrat Audrey Pheffer who has held the Assembly seat in this District for nearly two decades. At least part of the reason she's managed to hang on for so many years, of course, besides the fact that her opponents have been few and far between, is the advantage she gains from "member items."

These "items" aresimilar to so-called "earmarks"at the Congressional level. In New York State, "member items" represent funds taken from the state budget and allocated toindividual legislators to use as they see fit. At the national level, "earmarks," also known as "pork,"get larded into the budget billsin order to fund the pet projects ofCongressmen and women. Come election time, our august Congresspersonscan thenboast about "bringingthe bacon home" to their constituents.This has led directly to overspending in Washington and is one of the reasons Americans are mad as hell at Congress today.

But here in New York Stateour "member items"include an added twist. Not only are they budget busters like Congressional "earmarks," they are done entirely in secret. That is, legislators get the money in their "member items" to divvy up as they choose within their communities but without any obligation to account for how they do it. Nor does the State legislature report how much each legislator gets for his or her own use. What we don't know, the theory seems to go, won't hurt them.

Without transparency, our legislators typically use these state moniesas a kind of slush fund, directing the cash to various constituencies, usually those able toturn out the votes come Election Day. So besides being budget busters, something we surely don't need in our already overtaxed, overspent state, these funds serve as incumbents' insurance policies! By carefully spreading the secret fundsamong groups with voting power, legislative members secure support from reliable voting blocs. This is anti-democratic in its effect since it serves to enshrine the status quo. In essence it's vote buying.

The Beachcomberdemanded transparency in how these monies are allocated and I want to second that. In fact, I raised the issue myself, first,when I initially announced my candidacy in opposition to Assemblywoman Pheffer during a meeting of the Rockaway Republicans at the Belle Harbor Yacht Club this past April. I said then, and reiterate now, that the use of“member items" as slush fundsis wrong.If we're ever to get our runaway state budget under control, we need to halt the hemorrhaging of our tax dollars in Albany. But if we can't end the practice outright, we can at least make it rational and fair here in the 23rd AD.

My proposal for this is simple. Instead of secretive funding to favored groups, our legislative representative in the State Assembly needs to establish a public advisory group from all areas of the 23rd, representing ALL constituencies and ALL interests. Any allocation of "member items" shouldbe made thereafter only in consultation with this group in an open andpublic way. Granted this proposal will tend toincrease sometensionswithin the community as various groups compete for limited dollars, but we can get past that if we approach this withfairness and evenhandedness.

Right now, as the Beachcomber noted, the spending of "member items" by ourlegislatorsoccurs in darkness. What we need is tolift the shades and let the sunlight in. When spendingoccurs in broad daylight, where everyone can see what's happening, there's less chance of abuse and more chance the money will be spent constructively and with an eye toward benefiting the entire community.

Our current State Assemblywoman should join me in calling fora return to fiscal responsibility in Albany by eliminating "member items" entirely. But, until that can happen, she should immediately set up a public advisory group to vet the decisions she makes with regard to how she allocates our tax dollars here in the 23rd.If elected to replace her, that's how I'll be doing it!

STUART W. MIRSKY

CANDIDATE FOR ASSEMBLY

Much Better Bus Service

Dear Editor,

The improved bus service to midtown Manhattan cuts off about a half hour commuting time.

This is great news and I hope that more Rockaway riders will utilize the 16 and 17 Express buses.

Added buses and fewer stops in Queens makes for a faster ride and the buses are clean and comfortable.

Many thanks to the MTA, the riders who fought hard for the change and Audrey Pheffer. A detailed bus schedule is on the MTA website.

LOIS PANNONE

At Wit's End With Noise

Dear Editor,

I'm not sure if anyone has contacted you regarding a loud, high-pitched noise in the vicinity around Beach

98 Street and the Rockaway Freeway.

We have been trying to find the source, but with no luck. We have thought it was the gate to the Bay Towers Complex or the ventilation system for Madeline's Chocolate Novelties factory.

We are nearing our wit's end. This noise is happening every few minutes on and off since Thursday. I have made a complaint with 3-1-1 when I thought it was the Bay Towers Complex and hopefully the DEP could investigate this, but this could take five days and we need relief.

Is this something you can help us investigate? Thank you in advance for any assistance you can provide.

EDDIE GRUBER

Happier Than In Years

Dear Editor,

A word about the Wounded Warriors who visited Rockaway this past weekend.

The wife of the soldier staying with me said she hadn't seen her husband (22 years old) this happy since before he got hurt in Iraq almost two years ago. And seeing him that happy, made her as happy as she's been.

For everyone who helped, out front and behind the scenes, for those who lined the parade, or simply offered a welcoming word or wave--thanks!

Go Graybeards!

KEVIN BOYLE

Express Service Increases

Dear Editor,

I would like to let the Rockaway Peninsula & Broad Channel residents know of the MTA's new and expanded bus service to Midtown Manhattan. As of July 3, 2006, the buses now go directly to Manhattan after Howard Beach and coming home the first stop is Howard Beach. The schedule is as follows:

QM16

Morning weekday departures to Midtown from Rockaway Park (Beach 116 Street and Rockaway Beach Blvd.) at 6:55 a.m., 7:15 a.m. and 7:35 a.m.

Evening weekday departures to Rockaway Park from Midtown (Third Ave. & 34 Street) at 4:40 p.m., 5 p.m. and 5:20 p.m.

QM17

Morning departures to Midtown from Far Rockaway (Beach 21 Street and Mott Avenue) at 6:30 a.m., 6:50 a.m., 7:10 a.m., 7:30 a.m. and 7:50 a.m.

Evening departures to Far Rockaway from Midtown (Third Avenue and 34 Street) at 4 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.

QM16 Bus Stops to Manhattan:

Rockaway Beach Blvd & 116 Street

Rockaway Beach Blvd & 105 Street

Rockaway Beach Blvd & 95 Street

Cross Bay Blvd & 16 Road

Cross Bay Blvd & 9 Road

Cross Bay Blvd & 163 Ave. (Howard Beach)

Cross Bay Blvd & 157 Ave. (Howard Beach)

QM17 Bus Stops to Manhattan:

Mott Ave & Beach 21 Street

Beach 20 St & Cornaga Ave.

Beach 20 St & Brookhaven Ave.

Beach 20 St & Seagirt Blvd.

Beach 20 St & Crest Rd.

Seagirt Blvd & Beach 27 St.

Beach Channel Dr. & 36 St.

Beach Channel Dr. & 44 St.

Beach Channel Dr. & 54 St.

Beach Channel Dr & 67 St.

Rockaway Beach Blvd. & 79 St.

Rockaway Beach Blvd. & 91 St.

Cross Bay Blvd. & 16 Road

Cross Bay Blvd. & 9 Road

Cross Bay Blvd. & 163 Ave (Howard Beach)

Cross Bay Blvd. & 157 Ave. (Howard Beach)

Bus Stops in Manhattan for both QM16 & QM17 are:

3rd Ave. & 34 St.

Park Ave. & 34 St.

5th Ave & 34 St.

38 St. & 6th Ave.

44 St. & 6th Ave.

51 St. & 6th Ave.

56 St. & 6th Ave.

57 St. & Madison Ave.

57 St. & 3rd Ave.

Please note that where the bus drops you off in the morning will be the same stop to pick you up in the evening. The fare is $5 each way via Metrocard or quarters. Thanks.

COLLEEN DONOHUE

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.

If you didn't see your letter this week, don't despair. The volume of letters we receive each week dictates that some be held over for the following week.

The Wave is not responsible for photos or copy left as part of announcements or stories. We will make every effort to return the photo or copy if requested but cannot take responsibility in the rare occasion when the photo or copy cannot be located. We advise readers submitting material to make copies of valuable photos.

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