2007-11-02 / Community

Beachcomber

The Governor has changed his mind about issuing regular driver's licenses to illegal aliens and is working with the Department of Homeland Security to pilot a three-tiered system. The top of the line license will be the Enhanced Driver's License," which would be as good as a passport for passing into Canada and Mexico. That license would meet the 2013 requirements set by the Real ID Act passed by Congress last year. The second tier license would be issued only to citizens and legal aliens. The new license for undocumented aliens would be marked as such in large block letters and would not be good for identification purposes. Immigration groups plan to fight the new licensing plan, but they don't have much to stand on, with the exception of some political clout.

In the article 'Rockaway's Residents Join In The Fight Against Breast Cancer', in the October 26 issue, Helen Lee - an employee of Peninsula Hospital Center - was misidentified as a member of a Peninsula Hospital Team that walked in the Avon Walk For Breast Cancer New York last month. Lee called The Wave to tell us that PHC did not have a team in the walk. "Peninsula Hospital didn't have anything to do with it," she said. Lee, a breast cancer survivor, did say that she and her friend Kathy Zimmer, who also works at PHC, together raised more than $5,000 and were aided by individual donations from fellow workers at the hospital. We regret any inconvenience the error may have caused.

The Department of Education will soon announce the first 200 schools in which teachers can receive cash bonuses for raising test scores. The deal is contingent on the State Legislature changing the pension rules allowing teachers to retire at 55 years-of-age with 25 years of service, the vaunted 25/55 that only Tier One teachers had up to this point. Here's how it would work: The school that increases test scores by the target amount would get an aggregate of $3,000 per teacher. Then, a committee made up of two teachers, the principal and two people appointed by the principal will decide who gets the money and who does not. For example, at an extreme that will probably never happen, the committee could vote to give all the money to one teacher, or to a small group of teachers, leaving the others out in the cold. Detractors worry that the new plan will force teachers to "teach to the test" even more than they do now, knowing that increased test scores can bring increased pay. They also worry that the "compensation committee" would be driven more by cronyism than by results.

The local OTB Parlor may soon go the way of Jamaica Racetrack and other gambling meccas of the past. Mayor Mike Bloomberg recently announced that he may shut down the parlors, including the one at The Irish Circle at Beach 102 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard. It's not that the parlors are losing money, Bloomberg said, but that the money is going to the state rather than the city. "The state uses [OTB} as a cash cow," the Mayor told reporters. "The city has been subsidizing the state, and we are not going to continue doing that, I can tell you."

The plan to put a Dunkin Donuts on Beach 129 Street, in the building now housing "Irena's House of Beauty," has drawn complaints from a variety of residents and businesses in the area of the small, one-block shopping street. The major complaints fall into two areas, the first being that a Dunkin Donuts would further impact parking on the street where there is little parking to be found in the best of circumstances and where drivers regularly double park to run into one of the existing mom and pop shops. The second area of complaint is that the national firm will run out of business some of the long-time stores on the street, especially those that sell similar wares, such as the bagel shop, the 29 Deli and the bakery.

The mayor based his new strategy for dealing with congestion in Manhattan on statistics that are at least seven years old, an expert said recently. The expert called Bloomberg's numbers "an educated guess." In addition, Bloomberg said that his plan, which would tax motorists traveling in and out of the central business district, would raise $390 million a year for mass transit, a promise that most transportation experts believe is overblown. "The expected profit could easily dissipate for the slightest reason," one transportation expert told reporters. "The profit depends on how many people actually use EZ-Pass, how much it costs to identify and charge each car [coming into the CBD and how many times each day a car will be identified by a sensor." In London (England), where the plan has been in place for more than a year, the costs of running the program nearly doubled and the fees collected have been cut in half. The Mayor says that won't happen in New York City, but how can he be sure at this juncture?

The sixth anniversary of the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 will be on Monday, November 12, and The Wave has yet to find out whether or not the city will host a major ceremony at the Beach 116 Street memorial this year. The Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs, which coordinates the event, has traditionally been secretive about the ceremony until a day or two prior to its scheduled happening. This year, we hoped for a longer warning period, but it appears that it is not to be. There was a clue last week, however, when a group of men and women in suits and ties joined Department of Parks officials and local cops in surveying the Beach 116 Street memorial. That means that the large ceremony, mayor and all, will probably happen again this November 12, closing off the shopping street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard for a few hours on a Monday morning.

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The fact tha we are trying to give legal documents to ILLEGAL people and it gets the backing of a state goverment completly baffles me.


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