2007-08-24 / Community

Beachcomber

The city council plans to get even more intrusive into our personal lives. We agree that smoking is bad for a person's health and that smoking with kids around is even worse, but that does not mean that we believe the city should regulate that behavior. There is a proposed bill that would crack down on people who smoke when there are kids in their car. The bill provides a ticket for anybody who smokes, whether it is the driver or a passenger, when there is a person 17- years-of-age or younger in the car. What next? Ban smoking on the beach? Ban smoking in any household where a kid is present? Crawling "nannyism" is a terrible thing to behold.

Those who believe that the former site of the Rockaway Sunset Diner will never become an HSBC Bank because of the long delay in beginning construction are wrong. The banking corporation recently received permission from the city to begin construction and we should see a new bank, with some drve-in windows and walk-up ATM's, in short order.

The ongoing saga of the mutilation murder case continues to get more bizarre with each passing week. You probably know the basic facts. On July 28, Eric Goodridge, 55, was found dead in his stepdaughter's Far Rockaway apartment. He had been strangled and his penis had been cut off and left at the scene. Detectives quickly focused on the stepdaughter, Brigitte Harris, 26, but she was nowhere to be found. The next day, however, she was found at a Staten Island mental health facility, where she had voluntarily checked in, saying that she was a victim of long-term sexual abuse on the part of her stepfather. Investigators found that she had posted some strange photos and information on her personal web pages and that she had ordered scalpels from e-bay. Her sister chimed in, corroborating Harris' story and adding that her father had abused her, as well. Now, it turns out that Harris had rated "Hard Candy," a movie about revenge for sexual assault, "thumbs up," meaning she enjoyed the movie. In her review, Harris called it "The perfect Revenge Movie." The trail she left on the Internet will make it easier for prosecutors to prove their case against her, experts tell The Wave. She was arraigned last week and will now be set for trial, but her lawyer will attempt to have her committed to a mental health facility where it will be difficult for investigators to get to her.

Queens College got a significant accolade last week. It was named by the 2008 Kaplan/Newsweek "How To Get Into College" guide as one of the 25 "hottest schools in America." The school was given that award for being the "hottest for first-generation students." Congressman Anthony Weiner, who will probably run for mayor in the next election, likes the idea that the federal government will pour money into New York City to come up with a way to end congestion in Manhattan, but he hates the Mayor's plan for "congestion pricing." That plan would tax each driver who came into a designated zone in Manhattan on weekdays during the peak traffic times. "This is good news for the city," Weiner said. "There are a lot of good things we can do with the funding without congestion pricing, such as my proposals to reduce truck traffic and dramatically increase bus rapid transit and ferry service. Congestion pricing is simply a bad idea that will create a giant, expensive bureaucracy, hand too much authority to state agencies, and give many suburbanites a free ride at the expense of New York City residents."

What can we say about Phil Rizzuto that hasn't already been said? The Hall of Fame shortstop for all of those New York Yankee World Series champs and the broadcaster for the team for nearly 40 years died last week at the age of 89. He played for the team from 1941 to 1956, taking off a few years to fight in the Navy during World War II. The Yankees won seven world championships during his years at shortstop. He will be missed. What can we say about Rizzuto's life? The only thing to say is "Holy Cow!" All the talk about massive and draconian cuts at the New York City Housing Authority have gone by the boards, with the approval of a fairer way to provide money for the beleaguered agency. Under the current system, "shelter allowances" are provided to about 20 percent of the 400,000 residents who live in public housing. A typical family of four in a two-bedroom public housing apartment gets an allowance applied to their rent that comes to about $157 a month. The same family living in a private two-bedroom apartment or house gets a shelter allowance of $450 a month. The difference will now be provided to the NYCHA, which should go a long way to wiping out its deficit.

Congressman Gregory Meeks, who represents the eastern end of Rockaway in the House of Representatives, has a problem that is both domestic and political. Meeks has made it clear that he is backing his congressional aide, Brian Simon, for the City Council seat that will be left vacant by Councilman Leroy Comrie due to term limits. The problem is that Meeks' wife, Simone-Marie Meeks, has decided to run for the seat as well. Meeks said that "there was tension" when she announced her desire to run, but that they both understand each other and will make it through. What is that old saying? "He who troubles his own house will inherit the wind." Meeks should remember that.

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