I would like to say thank you to the 101 Precinct for all of their help on Thursday, July 20. Someone parked an uninsured car in my driveway and I could not get my car out to go to the doctor all day.
A special thank you to Police Officer Greenedge and to Miss Valarie Robinson for telling me what to do.
Thank you all again.
Correction Of A Quote
I need to correct a quote in your paper attributed to me in regards to the proposed rezoning of Rockaway Beach.
Your reporter wrote that I said "those who want to live here want it to remain the same." I never said that, nor do I feel that way.
Furthermore, I don't speak for anyone other than myself. My issue is that the current zoning has created a situation where the land is more valuable than the house on it. This has created a phenomenon where the highest price for a house is from a developer who will raze it and build the largest building allowable. If your house is adjacent to a development site there is no need for a fence because a fifty-foot wall will define your property line. I've noticed that many developers and realtors are arguing that their endeavors are responsible for Rockaway's revival. I disagree. I believe the resurgence of Rockaway is inevitable. However, I would prefer a buyer to purchase the house next to mine, restore it, and become my neighbor to a developer that will knock it down, build an ugly stack of boxes, and give me fifty neighbors.
STEPHEN O' SULLIVAN
Region 5 Does It Best
In late June the Department of Education released information on performance differentials for the school year 2004-05. Based on the contract with the Council of Supervisors and Administrators the DOE developed an incentive program developing criteria to evaluate schools and reward administrators for student improvement. Administrators whose schools improved based on the criteria are eligible for an incentive but are responsible to complete an academic project which allows others to benefit from their success or best practices. A performance differential is comparable to bonuses given in the business sector for a job well done.
Region 5 came in #1 across the city with 48% of their schools receiving performance differentials based on the measured improvements. The next closest region was Region 1 with 32% of their schools receiving performance differentials. The percentages for the other regions in the city went from a low of 10% to a high of 28%. The numbers did not bode well for the Chancellor's Empowerment schools, 5 out of 48 schools, formerly called Autonomy schools in 2004 - 2005 school year received performance differentials. That averages out to just 10% of the Empowerment schools receiving performance differentials. What was particularly impressive is the percentage Region 5 had in relationship to the other regions and the Chancellor's Empowerment Schools.
As part of this performance differential agreement CSA staff located in just two regional offices of the ten across the city are eligible to receive performance incentives. Since the agreement with the CSA came into effect Region 5 has been one of the two regional offices selected each year over the last three years.
These results speak volumes for the type of focused leadership Region 5 has had over the last three years. Dr. Kathleen M. Cashin along with her Deputy Stephen M. Mittman should be commended for their instructional leadership throughout the region. They have brought together a formidable team of educators and have provided a vision and a drive to improve the instructional programs in Region 5. The results of the performance differential confirm how successful Region 5 has been over the last three years.
A concern right now is the Chancellor's desire to reorganize the DOE once again. The chancellor talks about empowering the principal while removing supervision from the regions. Realizing how many new and inexperienced principals are in our system brings into question the reasonableness of such a plan. The educational system is quite complex. Empowering principals with added responsibilities may in reality overwhelm them and diminish their ability to focus on their primary role as the instructional leader in their school.
I recently retired from Region 5 as the Lead Instructional Technology Specialist and am proud of the educational achievements Region 5 has had on behalf of all the children in District 19, 23 and 27 which comprise the Region 5 schools. It is my hope that the current DOE reorganization plans do not negatively impact on Region 5.
Another Parking Ticket Statistic
On Friday, July 14 I became yet another statistic in the ticket blitz taking over Beach 116 Street. I pulled into a spot in front of Brown's hardware, and proceeded to get a parking receipt from the muni-meter for $.25. My starting time, shown as 3:57 p.m., was placed in my window as required. I proceeded to go to the corner to get milk and upon returning to my car, found a ticket timed 4:01 p.m. for $115.00!!!
When I questioned the traffic agent, I was told I parked in a no standing zone as indicated by the red sign on the top of the pole. I was parked before the sign, the arrow pointing toward Rockaway Beach Boulevard, away from my car!
I further advised him that neither the car in front of me or behind me was ticketed. His response was to "mind my own business:" and worry about my ticket. I was so mad I was ready to spit.
When exactly are people in Rockaway supposed to do their shopping, run errands, etc? Clearly, on Beach 116 Street, nothing is being done to make life any easier. Surely the storeowners are suffering. If the residents are unable to park in their own neighborhood, the only option is to go elsewhere, even though it is inconvenient, and not everybody has the option. I for one am so disgusted; I will go into Five Towns for my shopping needs.
Those that are supposed to be in control need to do something now! It is hard enough living in Rockaway during the summer months, but not being able to shop in our own neighborhood is outrageous. I think a boycott of the stores on Beach 116 Street may be the way to go-let's make the politicians aware we have had enough! Local parking must be made available to every person living on the peninsula.
And while I'm on a roll - who was the idiot who painted Shore Front Parkway? Nice artwork but ridiculous as driving goes! What is the point that is trying to be made?
New Drivers Get It Wrong
I am a passenger on theQ-35 bus, a former Green Bus Lines route,to meet up with the subway lines at Flatbush and Nostrand Avenues.
Prior to the Second World War, at least, the bus stop going to the Rockaways has been in front of what now is the Duane Reade Drugstore, where there is a bus stop sign posted.
From mid June, suddenly, I am seeing a number of new drivers, not so much new as new to the Q-35 run, who had worked on other Green Line runs on the mainland. They seem to disregard the published schedules, and have no idea where the bus stops are.
Case in point, a few weeks ago, while waiting for the Rockaways bound run, one of these "new" drivers drove north on Flatbush, to Glenwood Road, where he made a right, and another right onto southbound Nostrand Avenue. He was genuinely surprised to have a group of people run across the street from the bus stop on the northbound side of the street.
Today, July 25, at about 4:15 p.m., another "new" driver in bus #5861 pulled around the corner onto Nostrand, but instead of stopping in front of the Duane Reade Drugstore, where there were about 15 mostly older people waiting, it went in front of the Washington Mutual Bank, which has only been used for the "express" buses on the Q-35 going to Riis Park. When the small crowd made its way to where the driver stopped, and complained that he'd passed the first stop, he told them that he HAD stopped in the bus stop. If we wanted to wait "back there" for the bus thatDID stop there... (There is another bus stop sign which is not meant for regular Q-35 commuting)
I can tolerate the refurbished old buses that were the old buses for Jamaica, Triboro Coach, and the other formerly private lines that are now part of the MTA, some of which are so old, I think I can hear "Ralph Kramden" calling out the stops. Rudeness, however, isintolerable.
Perhapssomeone should take the "new" drivers, either in a bus, or a supervisor's vehicle, to be shown where the stops are located, prior to turning them loose and delaying the passengers trying to make their connections to other bus or subway lines, while en route to work or pleasure trips, or especially on their return trips fromthose places on a hot July day.
This will benefit everyone involved.
RICHARD C. BERGER
Ex-Lifeguard Speaks Out
I read the article by Brian Magoolaghan in your recent edition of The Wave and wanted to comment. I was a lifeguard at 97 street shack for four summers from 1987 to 1990 and went through the same testing process that was the focus of the article. First, the West 59th pool is small, and from what I remember, there was barely enough room on the pool deck for the test takers, never mind spectators. The qualifications for being assigned to a beach, especially Rockaway, were based more on strength of swimming ability rather than time. There was a cut off time for all lifeguards, and a lower one for beach lifeguards, and even lower for Rockaway due to the heavy surf conditions you could be faced with. One other part of the test involves "breakouts," which are techniques used to get yourself out of the grasp of a victim if they panic and grab you in a bearhug, disabling your ability to swim. If you can't do that properly, you fail. The other parts of the swimming part of the test were, if I remember correctly, treading water and pulling a victim from one end of the pool to the other. If someone didn't look strong in doing sidestroke pulling another test taker along, they probably wouldn't get assigned to Rockaway.
I'm not defending Stein and Sher, because they were both jerks and Sher definitely had a favoritism thing going on. I kind of remember him having a grudge against guys from Bushwick high school, but maybe that was an inside joke he had with them.
The City Council needs to review whether Stein should be able to be in charge of the lifeguards and in charge of the union. There's a natural conflict of interest there. He's been head of the supervisors union since the 1980s when I worked, and has never lost that position in elections because there were repercussions for anyone that went against him. My lieutenant for a few years was a guy named Joe McManus, who I believe has retired to Florida. He tried to go against Stein and then started running into problems.
Last summer, I ran into one of my old co-workers who still works the beach, who told me that the beach closings due to an alleged lifeguard shortage was false. This person said that each chair in their shack area had eight lifeguards assigned to it to split an eight-hour day, and when I worked we had three guards per chair splitting a 10-hour day because there was an early shift and a late shift! They said Stein closed some of the beaches so he could claim there was a shortage.
Figured I'd give you benefit of my experience with these yahoos if you're going to continue this story.
God Bless The USA!
Before you read this I ask you to please think about what it means to be an American. What words come to your mind? What characteristics do you think an American has? For me to be an American is to appreciate justice; to be willing to giveeverything for your freedom and the freedom of your fellow Americans; to love this country and to wish that other countries understood how amazing it is to live the way we do. There are so many wonderful things that people think of with just that one word: America. Or then again, do people even think of how great it is at all anymore?
Almost five years ago two buildings signifying the power of New York and this country were maliciously destroyed by terrorists. Many of our loved ones braved the unknown and dashed into these buildings just to try to save another person. Many of these men and women including some of my own loved ones died in their pursuit of saving someone else. We mourned them with funerals, memorials and throughout this peninsula people hung the American flag. Driving down these streets latelyI have to wonder, where have these flags gone?
I am not saying that our president has done no wrong, or that I even support him. I will say that I support our nation and the men and women that are fighting overseas. It wasn't all of these soldiers' choices to go into war; many of them were just trying to afford college, never knowing that they would have to go to war.
Think back to the firefighters, police officers and everyday martyrs of September 11, 2001. Did they fight their commanding officers that may or may not have told them to go into the buildings? I doubt it. They did what they were called to do either because it was their job or because they saw people suffering and couldn't bear to do nothing. Most of us supported them, so why is it so difficult for some to support our troops?
Men and women as young as 18 are fighting against guns loaded withbullets filled withhatred and terror. Everyday they are faced with death and fear. Some of you may be veterans, think of how it would feel, or how it felt risking your life and knowing that some of the people at home couldn't even fly a flag. Others may not know onesoldier or one person who died in the attacks ofSeptember 11, 2001; but everyonewas affected in oneway or another and it's timeto show support.For those of you who don't havea flaghanging, shame on you! It should be hung year round, not just on the 4th of July and Memorial Day.
Can't we take a few minutes out of our day to acknowledge them? There are so many websites that people can just send these soldiers a message. They are not asking for you to praise our president, they are just looking for someone to tell them, "come home soon, be safe, God bless, we miss you."
Can't we fly the flag that symbolizes everything that you thought of when you thought of the word America? Can't we remind the men and women that are fighting for us why they are fighting for us? Support our troops whether or not you support the politics behind us, those are our brothers, sisters, wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, but most importantly, those are our Americans.
There is a song sung by Lee Greenwood that goes, "If tomorrow all the things were gone, I'd worked for all my life.And I had to start again with just my children and my wife.I'd thank my lucky stars, to be livin here today.Cause the flag still stands for freedom, and they can't take that way.And I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free. And I won't forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.
"And I gladly stand up, next to you and defend her still today. 'Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land, God bless the USA."Think about it.
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