Remembering Bernie Blum
I was saddened to hear on Sunday that my good friend, Bernard Blum had died on Saturday. Rockaway has lost one of its greatest guardians. Unfortunately I heard of his death too late to attend his funeral.
Friends of Rockaway President Bernie Blum, and other Friends of Rockaway members, such as John Baxter and Steven Wohl, were in the vanguard to protect Rockaway from despoilment by "development" that is more about profits for insiders than what's good for Rockaway.
Some of the victories of this odd group of Orthodox Jews and Irish Christians included stopping the "done deal" of the monster Arverne housing project in the 1990's and the closing of the Edgemere Landfill. Another major victory was stopping the creation of the giant, garbage transfer station that would have brought Long Island's garbage, including infectious waste, to be processed at an illegally filled-in area near Beach 80 Street. This site is the first thing beach goers see when they travel to Rockaway by the A train!!!
Although the transfer station was stopped, the site is still there waiting for the next scheme by the enemies of Rockaway.
As a former N.Y. City firefighter I was most impressed by Bernie's courage when standing up to what many times was obviously a coalition of organized crime and local politicians out to literally dump on Rockaway for personal gain.
Bernie and I were closer than just fellow environmentalists. He was my close friend. Bernie used to go with me to visit my father in his nursing home and he helped me through his death and funeral.
Although I no longer live in Rockaway I am still webmaster for the Friends of Rockaway's web site. I was happy to see that many people want to continue Bernie's work of protecting Jamaica Bay and Rockaway by keeping Friends of Rockaway alive. I can't think of a better tribute to my friend. I am with you.
Wake Up Rockaway!
Occasionally I come across things in Rockapoco that just don't make sense. However, this does make cent$ for certain individuals, need I say more?
I'm not sure if you remember the letter I wrote several years ago questioning the development of a "Catering Hall" on the property on Beach 102nd Street lot adjacent to the Sewerage Plant. After my letter was published in the Wave the construction of the "Catering Hall" was quickly discontinued.
If I'm not mistaken it looks as if one of Rockaway's Mail Order Developers is now building homes on this same lot right next to Rockaway's beautiful Sewerage Plant. Actually, the Sewerage Plant is probably their back yard. Everyone in the pool!
First, I cannot understand how the buildings department can approve such construction. As a matter of fact, any construction on this site should be an expansion of our present Sewerage Plant due to the increased amount of waste from all the "new construction" in Rockaway.
Secondly, Who the hell would buy a house in that location? You and I both know there is one city agency that would be very interested in this housing.
Is this a builder's dream come true.............tax loss.
All this building has got to stop!!!! Wake Up Rockaway. We are becoming a dumping ground. Audrey, Joe or Community Board 14 where are you?
Don't Trust The Board
Where are our Board of Directors? Since the circulation of an unofficial notice snuck under our doors on the early morning hours of July 26, 2006, urging shareholders in the Mitchell-Lama co-op to go private, that same morning The Board of Directors sent out their own circulars. It read,
"Attention!! Attention!!! Attention!!! Neither the Board of Directors nor Phipps Houses Services Inc. is in any way affiliated with following groups or websites: Dayton Beach Shareholders Association, Dayton Beach Privatization Committee. Any correspondence received from these groups does not reflect the opinion of the Board of Directors or Phipps Houses Services Inc."
They lied about not being affiliated with the Dayton Beach Privatization Committee when two of their own are declared members of that committee. Those two board members should resign or be voted out.
To all shareholders, I urge you to write to The Wave in support of affordable houses and Bruce Jacobs, the only board member on our side (so far). Remember this when you vote for new board members on election day.
And to all shareholders, when you vote for whatever you vote for, please mail in your votes, use the envelopes they give you, and mail in your votes. Don't trust the board.
Vote Yes For Dayton Board Member Removal
We have read many letters and articles in The Wave recently in regards to the affairs of Dayton Beach Park #1 Corp. The accusations of mismanagement of money and overspending by the majority of the board are slanderous and untrue, unless of course the finger is pointed at Dayton's prior management company, accountants and board.
To address Ms. Grady and Mrs. McClean's letter published in The Wave on Friday, September 29, 2006, for the 11 months that these women have been on the board, they have never once brought anything to the table except accusations, slander and hateful vengeance. Not one drop of information that they have passed to shareholders has been the full truth. They present themselves as altruistic and servants of the people, which can't be further from the truth. They wrote about board members making up a part of the arrears when in fact not one sitting current board member is in arrears, a fact that was confirmed this morning (10/2/06).
It is true the co-op works within a deficit. This has to do with the increased debt service that the prior board obligated Dayton into by taking a 37.5 million dollar mortgage for capital improvements to our buildings. This debt service was to be covered by a 33 percent increase over three years in our carrying charges. HPD lessened that increase to a 24 percent, thereby decreasing revenue. Additionally, the increase in union benefits, insurance and especially fuel (which is costing close to one million dollars a year) on top of the increased mortgage payment (upwards of one million dollars a year) caused a situation where we need to take, at times, from the surplus to cover expenses as 84 percent of Dayton's monthly operating expenses are the aforementioned three items.
The co-op is operating in a deficit, as most co-ops do who are faced with the same financial obligations as Dayton, but there has been no discussion, motion or application to increase carrying charges. The majority of the board is investigating alternative options such as the program to increase the equity on first sale apartments by 50 percent (which was stated as 100 percent in Ms. Grady and Mrs. McClean's letter). This program was designed by HPD to increase revenue for Mitchell Lama Co-ops. What Ms. Grady and Mrs. McClean forget is that the board members are shareholders first and foremost, most of which have children who are beginning to start their adult lives as shareholders as well and they do not want an increase either. Regardless of these women's quest for distraction, we will continue to work diligently to keep Dayton affordable for everyone.
There have been dozens of letters written by board members in regards to the harassment by these two women of the members of the board who VOLUNTEER their time. It was at the suggestion of city officials to motion the board to have their removal placed on the ballot for this year's election. It was a step Ms. Smith owed to herself and our fellow shareholders who have constantly asked to remove them as they are a detriment to the co-op. They mention that they were granted support of 50 percent of the shareholder vote, but neglected to say that they knocked on doors, asking shareholders to turn the proxy over to them so they could vote them for themselves, a practice which is very suspect.
Mrs. McClean also neglects to mention that she is a founding member of the Your Voice, Your Choice movement and that she sought Ms. Smith out to be a part of it. Up until 11 months ago, Smith supported her and Ms. Grady because they had what was thought to be the same ideals and goals which were to put in place a board that worked for the benefit of the shareholders. A board that may not agree on everything, but brought different opinions and ideas to the table. We also [do not think] they have the ability to share different opinions or to honor the common goal which is and has always been the betterment of the place we call home, which is why we are asking the shareholders to vote yes to their removal on October 19.
JOANNE SMITH, PRESIDENT, DAYTON BEACH #1 CORP
ANNE LYONS, VP
LEYLA MCAULEY, TREASURER
MICHAEL O'CONNOR, ASST. TREASURER
JEAN FEARON, SECRETARY
Take Another Look
At DOT Plan
At the risk of having my head handed to me on a platter I have decided to add my voice to the silent few that are in favor of the DOT attempt to improve safety by eliminating some of the passing lanes in the Rockaways.
Let me first say that I was initially upset when DOT changed Shore Front Parkway into a zebra stripe gallery. This later turned to outrage when they had the nerve to eliminate parking along the median on Beach 73 Street where I live.
My first instinct was to mobilize, so I drafted a petition letter and geared up to hit the streets. The mission, defeat the invaders, DOT and its gang of geometric graffiti artists. The question I then asked myself was, what are the pros and cons of stopping this threat to our community and is there enough community outcry? The answer came to me not too long after driving on Beach Channel Drive and on Shore front Parkway viewing the makeshift memorials.
I heard the outcry of the dead. I felt the fear of the children as I looked upon the lonely bikes and pictures of the innocent faces, testaments to our failures. Lives lost because some idiot ignores the fact that this is a residential neighborhood. I feel the pain of the families and friends that continually place flowers at these memorials. It is time to make a change. Like it or not the new system is working. It has drastically reduced speeding.
The new residents moving into the Rockaways are young and active and may be willing to take chances. These folks may need to be tempered into slowing down, and obey the rules and regulations. The zebra stripes help to do that. It helps to eliminate unnecessary cars on the streets and at the same time gives more access to pedestrians. The new system is friendly to bikers, skaters and people in mobile chairs. In general it has given us back our streets. I now feel safer walking on Rockaway Beach Blvd. between Beach 74 Street and Beach 67 Street subway station, especially on rainy days. Before the zebra stripes the cars zoomed by in both lanes without consideration and heaven help us if we are standing close to a puddle, get ready for a bath. Now they are forced to travel in one lane.
The new system has its faults. It has unnecessary eliminated precious parking in some areas. But it is doing what it was designed to do and that is to slow traffic down. Some say that it creates a false sense of security because some drivers overpass slower cars and thus create a dangerous situation. The fact is there are some drivers that always find a way to break the rules even in the best of conditions.
Others say that reducing multiple lanes into one inhibits quick exit off the peninsula in an emergency. The fact is the authorities would encourage use of the restricted lanes for such an emergency.
Still others say that the bike lanes are too close to the parked cars and create dangerous conditions in case of opening doors and moving parked cars.
Have we reached to the stage where we are unable to extend reasonable level of concern and courtesy to our fellow neighbors?
It does not take much to do a brief check before you open a car door or moved out of a parked position.
Some say the new system eliminates parking for people using the beach. My answer to that is if you are a resident buy a bike and rediscover your community. Get to know your neighborhood police officer so the next time you are caught parked on the stripes next to the boardwalk the officer would be aware that you are just picking up junior from surfing practice. If you are a nonresident, park your vehicle at Reis Park and take the bus or do what many of us do five days a week, take the A train.
Frankly, I believe the south side of Shore Front parkway should be redesigned to accommodate a mobile path that extends east from Beach 108 Street, through the new developments of Arverne, all the way to the end of the boardwalk in Far Rockaway. That would provide recreation for skaters and bikers without fear of vehicles wandering over the restricted lines, and it would free up the boardwalk from excess bike traffic.
Matthew Gordon a representative from the mayor's office recently informed the attendees at the 100-precinct meeting that the DOT plan is subject to change. He also said installing traffic lights falls under the responsibility of the Federal Government and certain procedures must be followed before lights can be installed. I strongly believe that we should continue to fight for traffic lights at all dangerous intersections but we should also incorporate the redesign of the streets.
Many of the people I have talked to that oppose the zebra stripe do not have young children. I am appealing to those folks to give this system a chance.
We have the power to change it if it does not work. Let us give our young children a chance to ride in the streets knowing that we the adults have done all that we can to make it safe for them.
Let us relieve the anxiety of parents that run to the window when they hear the sound of brakes outside their homes. Let us take our streets back from the motorist that has gone wild. Let us all share and enjoy the Rockaways our little paradise, give the zebra stripes a chance.
Simon Works To Fix
Broken Street Light
For a week part of our block was darkened because of a broken street light. I made one phone call to Lew Simon and he quickly arranged to have that light repaired. While we slept, at 1:30 a.m. it was accomplished and we send Simon sincere thanks for his quick response.
SHIRLEY GOLUB 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.