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.
Eyes Open In Europe
Dear editor and readers still awake,
George W. Bush is abhorred in Europe because the Europeans have seen fascism before, and they recognize a fascist.
Thanks To Supporters
Of Memorial Day Parade
The membership of the Daniel M. O'Connell Post 272 of the American Legion would like to thank those individuals and groups who participated in the 2007 Memorial Day Parade in the Rockaways. We would also like to thank the large crowds who lined the parade route to cheer on the marchers. It is most appreciated that the solemnity of the day was observed by all.
A Note From The Beach
Just a note from the front lines.
My wife and I were down at the beach on Beach 128 Street today from 11 a.m. until around 2 p.m.
There was an orange umbrella with a lifeguard at Beach 127 Street, and a few more interspersed as you looked east beyond Beach 116th Street.
Looking toward the west, however, there were no open beaches. My guess would be not until an open beach in the high Beach 130's, and I could not see others beyond that.
This is totally unacceptable. The city has simply violated any covenant that have with people in this community. Yet they can provide Parks enforcement people, and their ticket books, who rudely whistle to get out of the water and walk a mile to where there is a lifeguard.
I know it's early and all the high schools are not out yet, but every college is finished and it is Saturday.
Just thought you'd want to know what we're seeing.
Shame On The MTA
Dear Mr. Sander,
This letter was originally sent to Elliot Sander, the MTA Commissioner, from Councilman James Sanders.
First and foremost, I am writing to congratulate you on your new position as Chairman of the Metropolitan Transit Authority. As you already know, New York City has the largest transportation system in the world, and anyone who is appointed to oversee such an operation in my opinion is not only intelligent, but also courageous.
As the City Council Member of District 31 in Queens, I represent Rosedale, Laurelton, Springfield Gardens, and the Rockaways. My district is geographically the largest in New York City and due to the distance from Manhattan, my constituents rely heavily on the train and bus, especially in the Rockaways.
In the past, I have called on the MTA to improve the subway system in the Rockaways, but the conditions have remained the same. My constituents often complain about the less than stellar commute to and from Manhattan. Nevertheless, since I travel by train as well, I can testify about the poor service my neighbors have to endure as well. While statistics show that two-thirds of the people travel south of Rockaway Boulevard to get to Rockaway by train and one-third travel to Lefferts Boulevard, I find it astonishing that the majority of trains run to Lefferts Boulevard and not to Rockaway.
I was told by MTA officials that the majority of A train service would remain direct to Lefferts Boulevard in order to not disservice that community. Yet, more people are traveling to Rockaway?
Secondly, in my district, I am writing in regards to the lack of handicap accessibility in all train stations in Rockaway. I find it despicable that not one train station in my district is accessible for my seniors and handicapped constituents. Most of these individuals have to either take a cab or the bus to travel to the Beach 116 subway station to get on the train. May I remind the MTA that the 1984 Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination in programs run by public entities such as state and local governments or agencies, including public transportation.
This includes making sure that all such buildings, new and existing, are accessible to individuals with disabilities. I was informed by the MTA that in 2011 some subway stations would be handicap accessible in Rockaway. However, that would put us 27 years out of compliance with the 1984 Americans with Disabilities Act. Therefore I am urging the MTA to start construction no later than 2008.
Lastly, I am requesting the MTA to include the Rockaways in the LIRR City Ticket Weekend Fare Plan . I was informed by the MTA that Rockaway was not included in this plan because of fear that Nassau County residents would drive to Rockaway to take advantage of the fare. I propose the MTA provide a coupon to Rockaway residents, which they could hold on to until the end of the year. They then would have to submit the coupon with proof of address at the end of every year in order to receive reimbursement for the fare that they spent. I believe this is the easiest way to ensure Rockaway receives fair treatment in this process. My district, I believe, is part of New York City. Please either change the name of your program or end this injustice.
I am requesting a meeting with you on the issues I addressed in this letter. I thank you in advance for looking into these matters.
COUNCILMAN JAMES SANDERS
What's Up With
We are three weeks into the official beach season. Here are some questions for the leadership of NYC Parks and Government that should be a concern of all beach goers:
Why are popular beaches being red flagged/closed on a Saturday?
Who are these so-called Parks "security" people? What is their purpose besides sitting under umbrellas and "shooing" people away as they did to some children digging and building a sandcastle near the water (not in the water) Saturday?
This just in. I heard a Parks ATV hit a 2 year old on Beach 83 Street. Why are these mostly young Parks people riding ATV's around the busy beaches? What are they looking for? I personally saw one ride right behind the beach park on Beach 103 Street as children were playing and running by.
Were any Parks security officers present for the Beach 116 Street fight?
How much training, if any, do they receive for handling emergencies, lost children or other situations?
Do they handle people who dump garbage on the beach?
If someone was in trouble in the water, what would they do? Ask a local Rockaway person to save them?
Speaking of garbage - how do we get more garbage cans on the beach? On a busy weekend, the cans overflow quickly.
Is this private security you call the Parks Enforcement Police all for show?
Properly trained lifeguards in the past have done a pretty good job of these tasks. Hire the lifeguards already, train them. Get these popular beaches open. Stop bothering our kids and us.
I'm writing to thank you for protecting my identity and my rights under the first Amendment. I wholeheartedly agreed with your opinion column in this week's Wave reinforcing everyone's right to address his or her problems in the public forum, despite the complaints of immature and belligerent parents. Whoever said they were going to 'get' me needs to go back to their high school Civics and Government class and learn some tact.
Additionally, the original reason I wrote the letter was because whenever my schoolmates or I made a suggestion to better our school our ideas always fell on deaf ears. Also, I find it ludicrous that at a time when our very democracy is at stake, people have the audacity to assault the very ideals that made this country great. I'm grateful that the persons who had the chutzpah to try and stifle me do not wield great power, for if they did we would inhabit a much different world. There is no monopoly on opinions and I'm not saying mine is the only reasonable one. However, I think if someone disagrees with me or anybody else it is incumbent on them to express their dissension respectfully and not utter hollow threats and snide remarks. I think that if we suppress opinions different from our own we are no better than the fascist governments of Nazi Germany and Mussolini's Italy.
Journalism occupies an important niche in our society. Since its inception its purpose has been to uncover the truth and hold people accountable for their actions. In order to accomplish this goal journalists and newspapers must be able to explore an issue from all angles and perspectives. When they are constrained from doing that and coverage is one-sided, journalism becomes propaganda, which then sets the stage for totalitarianism. Propaganda has no place in an open and free society, which is why when gauging MS 323's success (or lack of) all perspectives and opinions must be explored to uncover the full truth.
The Wave is and continues to be an excellent newspaper, which is only reinforced by the way they acted in this situation. Where many papers may have succumbed to the torrent of complaints and gave in to the pressure, the Wave exhibited the conduct of good journalism and held firm. Its actions provide a shining example for newspapers everywhere.
Answers Student's Letter
Although I am impressed by the writing of this student, I am disturbed by the accusations. I speak as a parent who has always been jealous of the familiarity that PA or PTA "high ups" have with employees of the school building, although I have always felt this familiarity was deserved. With regard to the 'high ups' on the PTA at Scholars Academy, I have only witnessed their concern for all of the children at Scholars. This past December, I volunteered for an opening on the Executive Board of Scholars PTA. As a first time member of an executive board, I am amazed at the quantity of work these parents do; much of it grunt work - i.e. running to stores to pick up water, candy etc., selling ice cream in the lunch room, cleaning up after school events, assisting on picture taking days etc. etc. I was pleased and relieved to see Principal O'Connell present flowers to Lee Ann Carmody and Fran Benjamin upon leaving their positions as PTA Presidents.
I met one of the new presidents because of her tremendous involvement on the executive board this past year. I met the other one on a class trip. In addition to being extremely impressed by the obvious intelligence of the students, I was impressed with the parent - one of our new PTA Presidents - who put me to shame by giving treats to all of the children on the school bus. During our chit chat, she spoke of her previous involvement in the PTA at PS 114. I asked her to consider being President because there was nobody else interested. Perhaps the parents of any student believing that a 'spoils system' is in effect at Scholars should investigate their child's hypothesis by joining the PTA Executive Board as there are still open positions.
You will also learn about the extra things brought into the school due to their efforts. I want to extend my sincere thanks to the Executive Board, especially Fran Benjamin and Lee Ann Carmody, for encouraging and welcoming this stranger whose child did not previously attend PS 114. Furthermore, I apologize for not doing as much as the rest of the Executive Board and I apologize in advance to our new Presidents for not doing as much next year. Oh, and by the way, all of the Executive Board members of Scholars hold paid jobs and/or have at least two children.
SCHOLARS' ACADEMY PTA
The Wave Again
I think the reporting of the terrible tragedy that has followed the Bain family since the event causing the death of Donna Bain has been the most insensitive and uncaring thing I have ever read.
I have been a resident of Rockaway for more than 40 years and have always felt blessed that our family found this very special place to live. Rockaway has always been a tight and caring neighborhood.
Marie Bain was my friend of many years. She passed away a few months ago and I was glad she is not here to read any more of the terrible accounts written in The Wave.
Hasn't that child suffered enough? What were you thinking? How do you think he can possibly feel for the whole community to know the very personal and tragic details of his life. What amount of therapy or counseling can erase what he read in black and white?
Does anyone have something in his life that he is grateful was not spread in detail in our only local paper?
I understand the situation fully and have no answers about how justice can be served, what I am protesting vehemently is how it is reported, and what it means to the families who have already suffered so. Edward Bain had a disease that needs to be treated that has resulted in the worst possible end that can be imagined.
I don't have any special clout in the community, though I work hard at helping whenever I can to do whatever I can to keep Rockaway the special place that it is, but I will never buy The Wave again. I know that won't put you out of business but in my opinion The Wave has become no more than another "rag" read.
So friends, tell me please about your organization's community events, because I will not know about them from the only show in town.
No Longer Responsible
For Bayswater Point Park
We would like to respond to an item embedded in your Beachcomber article in the June 8 issue of The Wave in which you described the deplorable conditions in and around the Bayswater Point State Park at the north end of Mott Avenue.
While we agree with your observations that the New York State Department of Parks and Recreation has never fully addressed the problem of severe flooding at the entrance gate and the lack of sanitary facilities at the park, we must correct a significant error regarding your assessment of the role of the New York City Audubon Society and "its local representatives" in the obvious inadequacies at the park. You should recall that when Parks assumed ownership of those 11 acres in the late 1980's, it was a demolition site strewn with the burned-out remains of a former mansion on Heinsheimer Estate.
Parks declared that it would allow the territory to develop on its own, behind locked gates, as an undeveloped wildlife preserve. The New York City Audubon Society offered to assume management of the area so that it could function as a passive preserve, open to the public. Audubon's stewardship commenced early in 1991 and continued through 1999. During that time the Audubon Society oversaw the complete demolition and removal of the remaining wreckage, the disposal of dozens of discarded automobile tires, several abandoned cars and two school buses. The Society commissioned an in-depth study of nesting birds in the area, and a botanical survey, both of which were published as learned reports. It also composed an extensive management plan, indicating specific recommendations for a proper fishing platform, remediation of the flooding at the entrance gate, and the refurbishment of the Greenridge Estate, Sunset Lodge, on an adjacent five-acre New York State Park property.
To date, none of those plans have been addressed by Parks.
We agree with your final conclusion, that State Parks should take care of its property; however, you should know that Audubon's involvement in that project ended in disappointment and desperation over eight years ago.
BARBARA & MICKEY COHEN