2006-09-22 / Editorial/Opinion

From The Editor's Desk

Nobody Asked Me, But ...

Nobody Asked Me, But ...Now that the housing boom has slowed down in a number of areas in Rockaway, can the rental market be far behind. I am worried about what will happen when all of those new homeowners who got mortgages predicated on the fact that they could rent their apartments for more than $1,000 a month find out that they can't find anybody who wants those apartments. What that means is lots of defaults and the banks taking over the homes. We all know what happens then. Speculators take over the homes, split them up and rent them at lower prices to those on government subsidies. We need to keep both our home ownership and rental markets strong if we are to realize the revitalization that has already begun.

... Civic Education is officially dead. The Department of Education will tell you that it is alive and well and built right into the new core curriculum, but I can tell you that, in reality the DOE has disinvested the system with all traces of what we used to call "Civics" or "Citizenship" when we went to school. New York City students are supposed to get American History in grade four and then again as a two-year course in the seventh and eight grades. There is a unit on the Constitution right after students learn about the Revolutionary war and the Articles of Confederation. In the eighth grade, there is a five-month unit on government mandated in the curriculum. Yet, in a recent poll, only six percent of eighth-graders could tell why a Constitution such as ours is important and fewer than that could even name the three branches of government, nonetheless tell what they do. That should be unacceptable to those who understand that those thirteen and fourteen year old students will become voters in only four or five years. How can they be voters if they have no understanding of how our government works and of its checks and balances? Why is government no longer addressed? Because there is no high-stakes standardized test that measures Social Studies and so the DOE has pushed it aside for more "lucrative" subjects as test-taking skills, reading and mathematics, those areas where there are high-stakes for every school principal and regional superintendent.

... There is no way that the "All Stars Project" deserves any kind of support from public funds. The organization, run by Lenora Fulani and Fed Newman, old-line Marxists, runs a series of programs for school children. In one production last year, All Stars made the clear assertion that the 1991 Crown Heights riots were the fault of the Jewish community, not the blacks who actually rioted.

At the time, Fulani said that the riots were a "clear exercise of power by black leadership against right-wing Zionists."

Fulani has called Jews "mass murders of people of color."

Fulani is infamous for being anti-Semitic and yet she became a major ally of Mike Bloomberg when she ran the Independence Party and he needed her votes to put him over the top. She has since been thrown out of the party for her comments against Jews and other groups. Yet, Bloomberg's reps on the Economic Development Corporation just voted to grant All Stars a $12.75 million tax-exempt bond-financing program that would extend the life of the racist community organization. Even the organization's own officials say that its purpose is "first and foremost revolutionary, not aesthetic." I have to wonder why Bloomberg, who no longer needs her votes, keeps funding her racist ways with public money.

... Schermiela Palmer died on the track at Beach Channel High School last week because she had a heart defect that nobody knew about, including her parents and her sister. There are those, however, who believe that a contributing factor to her death is that the school forced her to run 220 yards in under three minutes and ten seconds, something she could not do last year that reportedly caused her to receive a failing grade for her gym class. She was determined to complete that run this year, and she did - just before she collapsed and died on the track. The Department of Education called early this week to say that there is no such requirement either on the part of the DOE or BCHS. Yet reports from students as well as the girl's parents persist that the run was a requirement for passing in Physical Education. My question is, should a student who is really trying to make the grade and cannot do it physically be failed for falling below some arbitrary standard?

...Syria, North Korea and more than 100 other nonaligned nations are asking the United Nations to expand its definition of "terrorism" to include the United States occupation of Iraq and the Israeli invasion of Lebanon as terrorist acts. The nations are angry that "the United States and Israel decide on who terrorists are but fact no action for their own acts of terrorism." Knowing that august body, those non-aligned nations will probably get their way. Making no mention of Hezbollah or its attacks on Israel, the draft resolution by the nonaligned nations, made recently in Cuba, hail the "Lebanese people's heroic resistance to the Israeli aggression." So, what else is new? Perhaps we should stop funding the UN and tell it to find someplace else to hold its meetings from now on.

... I was glad to see that St. Rose of Lima fired its new church organist, who faces charges of groping girls and having sex with a 16-year-old girl in other school and church venues. It is hard to understand why he was hired in the first place under the circumstances. The indictments and charges against him were well documented on the Internet and in other places and he reportedly was no stranger to the parish. After all the churches have been through, you would think that they would vet new people, even those not working directly with kids, more carefully.

... There are those who say that our front-page story last week about the major drug sweeps that brought 96 arrests was a "disservice to the community." Some of those who called and emailed said that we have just made it harder to sell homes in Rockaway by running that story. Our answer, of course, is that the Wave is a newspaper and the drug busts were big news. No newspaper worth the name is a cheerleader for the community it serves. We tell you what happened each week in Rockaway and Broad Channel, whether or not that particular piece of news is welcome or even difficult to deal with.

That is what we do.

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