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.
Asks The Mayor's Help
The following letter was sent by a Rockaway resident to Mayor Michael Bloomberg:
Dear Mayor Bloomberg,
It has often been difficult for me to understand how New York City's municipal agencies keep up with their own rules and regulations. The most enigmatic of all among these agencies is the Department of Buildings (DOB). The activities that have been taking place since the summer 2006 at 140 Beach 94 Street, a large piece of property located in Rockaway Beach, Queens, seem to exemplify the mystery.
Located across the street from my house, 140 Beach 94 Street encompasses six plots (9306 Shore Front Parkway, 127 Beach 93 Street, 135 Beach 93 Street, 130 Beach 94 Street and 140 Beach 94 Street), which were purchased by a developer from 2004 to 2006.
The developer, Philip Sansone, (from Landmark Developers according to DOB's website, Frame Group Developers according to the information posted here), is to erect a six-story building on this location according to the grapevine. The area "as of right" is currently in the process of being rezoned to two and three story houses. I understand that such project as the one that Landmark is undertaking must be grandfathered if started prior to final approval of the change by the borough president, the city council and the mayor.
During the heat wave of the summer 2006, with temperatures in the upper 90s and low 100s, Landmark demolished the three houses still standing on its property, with a permit allowing action on only one structure according to DOB's website. The wind blowing caused all vegetation, houses and parked cars in the neighborhood to be coated with white dust. According to some of my neighbors whose families have been living in the neighborhood since the 1920's, the house located across the street from mine on Beach 93 Street might have originally been sided in asbestos tiles on top of which tar tiles were applied later during the 20th Century. During that week calls were made to no avail, daily, to 311. A few days after the demolition took place, the appropriate permits were posted on the Beach 94 Street side of the property.
Following the demolition, some plywood sheets were installed around the property, on the edge of the street blocking access to the sidewalk. Some of the sheets were snatched off during a storm hanging out dangerously in the wind. The day after the storm some people contacted Landmark's office located at another location in Rockaway Beach, which it is currently developing. Unfortunately, no action was taken until several residents call 311 to complaint. As a result a panel was posted informing the population to call 311 "if unsafe conditions…."
Then, in the fall of 2006, the terracing work started. Heavy pounding equipment was at work at any hour of the day and evening, sporadically, seven days a week. Now, for the past couple of weeks, some tubing is being embedded in the sand. Still, people work there at any time and on any day of the week. This has also caused
neighbors to call 311 numerous times because Landmark does not have a permit allowing work after hours and during the weekend….and people would like to enjoy peace and quiet at home after work and during the weekend.
I have visited DOB's website several times and found out that some of our complaints have been registered; a few even investigated. However despite several visits reported lately by Mr. Paluch Zbigniew, a DOB employee whose badge number is 1883, Landmark and its employees are still operating on weekends and after hours without a permit, which would allow them to do so.
I am not trying to interfere with Mr. Sansone's efforts "to make Rockaway Beach a better place" and to try "to beat the clock" in regard to the zoning change. But I am wondering how useful it is to make complaints since some of them are never investigated. They don't even appear on the DOB website.
The few complaints that are investigated are so-called "resolved" (?) according to DOB, but no one except DOB knows what that means since Mr. Sansone and his people just work whenever they want to this day.
The DOB inspectors are civil servants paid by the tax payers, but it is unclear who they are working for; as for Mr. Zbigniew specifically, who may be the inspector in charge of the area, it is unclear whether or not he has really taken a look at the facts (re: DOB's record for 140 Beach 94 Street).
I am sending this letter to you because in addition to being bewildering, DOB is a place where questions are never answered. Hopefully, you will be able to help me. Thank you.
Hold The Meeting
Nowhere in New York State are sound Costal Zone Management principles being more flagrantly violated that on the Rockaway peninsula.
A meeting in Rochester, New York, hundreds of miles and many travel hours from the Atlantic Ocean, does not fulfill the requirement for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) at least once every three years to review coastal zone practices and government money expenditures in this state.
They should schedule a review meeting in the Rockaways, therefore enabling first-hand witnesses to testify and contribute.
For The Fishermen
Fishing piers are provided in other areas of New York City, but there are none in Rockaway, despite the fact that we are surrounded by water.
Here is what Rockaway does have:
The skateboarders have a park at Beach 91 Street.
The Surfers have a beach at Beach 97 Street.
The children have a park in the sand at Beach 102 Street.
The hockey players have a rink at Beach 108 Street.
There are basketball courts for the basketball players and handball courts for the handball players all along Shore Front Parkway.
There are playgrounds all over the peninsula.
And, recently, a proposal for a dog park was put into the works.
Three years ago, fishermen were told by an elected officials who was then on the Parks Committee that there was "something in the work for fishermen."
When will we receive our pier?
Let A Little Sunshine In
I am happy Community Board members and local elected officials are sitting down with city officials to discuss the abuses in the management of the Parks Dept lifeguard corps. However the members of the city council, the Parks Dept., the Community Board and most importantly The Wave should know there are no invitation only meetings with any government body or agency in New York State. New York State law mandates that all government meetings where the business of the people is discussed are open to the Public.
This law is known as the Sunshine Law. Reporters for The Wave should get a copy of this law and keep it in their pockets to show government officials when necessary. Secret meetings lead to problems and are illegal. If the abuses and problems in lifeguard management are to be corrected they first must come to light. To accomplish this we will need to shine a little sunshine on them. We depend on our un-intimidated local press to keep the citizens informed and shine needed light.
Does Not Absolve One
When a person takes an oath of citizenship, he or she is required to say, "I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic," with no reference whatsoever to the President. Likewise, inductees into Congress, the courts and federal or state elected office.
Of course, inductees into the structured, disciplined environment of the military agree to take legal orders from officers in a line of command, including sergeants, captains, generals and the president, but at the absolute top of that line - and the only entity to which they "bear true faith and allegiance - is the Constitution.
In fact, when they swear or affirm to defend our Constitution against all domestic enemies, military personnel are obligating themselves to resist the current Torturer in Chief, who orders, without warrants, wholesale interception of our American telephone calls and our American mail in explicit violation of the law.
The perverse allegiance that the Watergate burglars bore to Richard Nixon did not prevent the burglars from being sent to jail. We could never impeach a President if he stood higher than the Constitution.
The last time fascism - ie. The end game of monopoly, in which we arrive at government by the private super-corporations - the last time fascism seized control of a world power and that power went on an invading and killing rampage, we put on a train at Nuremburg in Germany and hung by the neck until dead those murdering participants who pleased that they were "just following orders."
More PO Complaints
It is most interesting to know that someone is looking out for the citizens whose mail goes to the Far Rockaway Post Office.
Now I hope they do the same with the Rockaway Beach Branch on Rockaway Beach Blvd.
For years I have complained to the Rockaway Beach Branch how negligent the carriers are with mail that has no apartment number on it or they cannot locate the proper box for the name.
They either leave the undelivered mail lying on the counter in the mail room or slip it into an incorrect mailbox.
When complaining in person, I have been given answers like " well they are substitute mail carriers".
I have also packed up mail found lying in the mailroom for days and sent it directly to the Postmaster General. At that point there was a turnabout at the Rockaway Beach Branch but lately, deliveries have become sloppy again!!
What are these people getting paid for? Substitute carrier or not, our mail should be handled with better care and properly delivered!!
I hope other citizens will come forth and lodge complaints with the Postmaster General.
PATRICIA D. KANTOR
Make Cops Safer And Surer
Now that Council salaries have been boosted 25 percent, it may be time for our reps to go beyond protecting the elephants from The Ringling Brothers and regulating Mister Softee trucks, to more substantive issues, such as fighting crime.
Since the city's top crime fighter is unelected but appointed, and serves exclusively at the pleasure of the Mayor, maybe crime fighting should rather fall under the purview of our democratically elected assembly. Our reps could then debate NYPD's assorted crime-fighting techniques and over-all strategy.
Immediately, squads and precincts could be repositioned to lower crime areas to keep our brave police officers safer and surer. Internally, the force could better reflect the faces of all New Yorkers and each precinct house could be guaranteed to be a carbon-free environment Externally, special tactics, such as undercover buy and busts, could be re-analyzed and evaluated. Future undercover op's could be published beforehand in the local press, and then measured for effectiveness. If no reduction in drug peddling and use is established by certain dates, such as March 2008, tactics could be totally re-evaluated and possibly disbanded.
Further, and most importantly, Speaker Quinn could serve as emissary to personally reconnoiter with one of NY's chief menaces, our crime gangs. She could meet with the Latin Kings in Coney Island, the Bloods and Crips in Harlem and the Born To Kill in the Rockaways. Speaker Quinn could make the point that NYC will just not tolerate violent crime and drug pedaling...pointing out that brutal beatings and vicious killings in cold blood are just not a good thing for our great city. With the cameras flashing and klieg lights bleeding brightly, undoubtedly these crime figures will be cowered into compliance.
Facing a more green and less blue police corps, with dialogue up and confrontation down, the city's criminal element will simply dissolve into the mainstream. The Rockaways and all of New York - no doubt - will be safer and securer than ever
Call A Racist What He Is
I have no intention of defending Don Imus, since the things he said are not in line with my way of thinking and behaving toward people that are different from me. Imus must be sanctioned for his intolerance toward others.
What galls me is who the critics are. Rev. Sharpton an instigator of racial discord and a bigot in his own right. Did we forget the Tawana Brawley case with all its racial implications? Not to forget the fatal deliberately set fire in a white owned store in Harlem, the instigator on that site was no other than Rev. Al Sharpton who made references to white interlopers in Harlem. There are many instances of racial antics of Reverend Sharpton, amongst them the Korean stores boycott. How racist does one have to be before it is politically correct to call a racist a racist?
As for Reverend Jesse Jackson, I have one question I would like to ask him.
Assuming Don Imus would refer to Harlem as "N" town, would that make him a racist?