2007-03-02 / Columnists

Beachcomber

We were glad to see that parole was once again denied for Russell Carroll, who was involved in 1980 robbery that led to the tragic shooting death of Police Officer Robert Sorrentino. On April 10, 1980, Carroll and three of his friends held up an illegal gambling club in Edgemere and fled to Far Rockaway. PO Sorrentino was one of those officers chasing the four. He was shot multiple times by Marcel Marable, another of the four men and died two weeks later. All four were charged with murder and multiple counts of robbery and were convicted of all charges in 1981 and sentenced to 25 years to life. At the time of the shooting, Marable was out on parole after spending fifteen years in jail on a earlier bank robbery charge. Carroll was being sought by police for jumping bail on an earlier robbery charge. Russell is the only one of the four still alive 25 years later. He deserves to remain in jail for the rest of his life, although he will be eligible for parole in February of 2009.

This year, Daylight Savings Time will begin three weeks earlier - on March 11 instead of the traditional April 1. The extra daylight will probably mean some savings in power usage and will give the kids more time to play outside after school when the weather moderates. On the other hand, the change will leave kids in the dark awaiting bus connections early in the morning. Experts say that there is usually a drop in crime during Daylight Savings times, but that remains to be seen. Remember, spring ahead, fall back.

There may be snow on the ground, but the city has begun its search for summer lifeguards to work on Rockaway beaches. The city's Parks Department says that it needs to recruit 1,200 lifeguards to staff the city's nearly 14 miles of beach and 53 public pools this summer. While the city says it recruited a record number of lifeguards, nearly 1,150 for last summer, many Rockaway beaches remained closed for long periods of time and the agency's recruitment and testing programs have come under fire from locals for being secretive and flawed. So far, the city has failed to turn over records reflecting those programs as requested by Community Board 14, which is investigating the entire process.

As if you needed to be told this, the word is that the Big Apple's tax bite is the worst of any major city in the United States - by far. The Independent Budget Office studied nine major cities and found that the combined city-state tax hit for New York City residents and businesses was $9.02 for every $100 in taxable resources - the measure it uses to compare the tax hit. That was 47 percent higher than the average of the other eight cities in the study. Some other cities: Philadelphia was second with a $7.16 tax hit. The two major Texas cities - Dallas and Houston - averaged about $5.40. By the way, the mayor says that you deserve to be taxed at a higher rate because you get more services than residents of any of those other cities in the survey.

The Supreme Court has decided not to review a New York City policy that bans public school displays of Nativity scenes but allows Santa Claus, reindeer, Christmas Trees and symbols of other religions such as a Menorah and a Crescent. The high court refused to review a lower court decision in the 2002 case filed by a Brooklyn woman who claimed that the schools promoted Jewish and Moslem religious practices and conveyed a message of disapproval against Christianity. That court ruled that it was proper to use the holiday symbols to encourage respect for the city's diverse cultural traditions.

The Rockaway St. Patrick's Day Parade steps off tomorrow (Saturday, March 3) at 1 p.m. from Beach 129 Street and Newport Avenue. This is expected to be one of the largest parades in Rockaway history, so give it a look. The parade route goes east on Newport Avenue to Beach 116 Street, then south to Rockaway Beach Boulevard and east once again on the boulevard to Beach 90 Street. Watch next week's Wave for photographs.

The Department of Education continues to staff its headquarters at Tweed Courthouse with people dedicated to destroying public education. A few months ago, Chancellor Joel Klein hired Chris Cerf, the former president of Edison Schools. It turned out that Cerf still held stock in the for-profit company that ran schools (mostly into the ground) all over the nation. He gave up his stock the day before a meeting was to be held about the impropriety of his holdings. He said that the meeting that he no longer held the stock, but did not say that he got rid of it the day prior to the meeting. Now, Cerf has hired as his chief of staff a former Edison official, Joel Rose, who ran a tutoring program that investigators say "used questionable practices" to entice students to enter the program, including bribing their parents. When Rose was told to stop and desist from those practices, he basically ignored the DOE and kept on trucking. Now, he is a high DOE official earning $149,000 a year. And you wonder why the schools remain in turmoil.

Should City Councilman Joe Addabbo challenge State Senator Serf Maltese for his senate seat a year from November, the city council seat that represents the west end of Rockaway would be wide open. We suspect that the usual suspects will jump in on the Democratic side. Both Geraldine Chapey and Lew Simon have been waiting with baited breath for a political opening that does not include challenging an incumbent. Republican Stu Mirsky said that he would never run for office again but, as the old song says, "Never Say Never Again, Again." Then, there's Jerry Cronin, the right to life candidate who challenged Congressman Anthony Wiener the last time around and some others who have been in past races. It should be interesting, but we'd personally like to see some new blood injected into the race.

Although it's way to early to start talking about the 2009 mayoral race, lots of politicians, including City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Comptroller Bill Thompson have already begun to raise funds for the race. Just this week, Anthony Weiner set up a committee to raise funds for his run. We think that Weiner might have taken it all against Bloomberg in 2005 if he had not acquiesced to party demands that he step down for the eventual loser.

There are probably not a large group of lacrosse fans in Rockaway, but the sport is big on Long Island and elsewhere. It is an interesting sport, sort of a cross between hockey and soccer. It can get violent. One cop watching the action recently said that he probably could have made several assault arrests on the field during a game. There is now a professional lacrosse team that shares playing time at Madison Square Garden and the Nassau Coliseum, and they are fun to watch. The New York Titans feature lots of top-notch college players and some all-Americans. The team's next game at the Coliseum is on March 24, and it's worth the trip with your kids to see the game. Ticket prices begin at $10, with the most expensive ticket in the house going for $50.

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