Some further information about the future of the Far Rockaway High School building was presented at the Community Board 14 meeting last week. Barbara Morgan, a spokesperson for the Department of Education, which has announced that the school would be closed in September and reorganized into several small schools, said that it was "a very difficult decision" to close the 110-year-old school and that the building will house four vocational-type schools focusing on medical sciences, arts and media, career and technical education and a school for English language learners. CB members were skeptical of the plan, which will be finalized by February and will begin in September. "Our number one priority is that we want Far Rockaway kids to stay in the community for school and have a better school to attend in the future," Morgan said. A movement to keep the school name has begun, and alumni groups are marshaling their forces to fight the DOE edict, which had no community input whatsoever.
City Councilman James Sanders charges that the Mayor and his administration have a "Manhattan-centered" focus that has hurt Rockaway. Sanders said that the city government has cut funding for Rockaway's antigang initiative while increasing similar
funding to Manhattan neighborhoods. "They're willing to pay for whatever we've already done," Sanders said, "but they cut all of our future funding. They've cheated us out of what they promised us." Will the promised funding ever come back to Rockaway? Sanders said that he spoke with representatives from the Mayor's office as well as Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and he has some hope that a portion of the initiative will be funded. "The police statistics show the problem here in Far Rockaway," Sanders said. "The funding should follow those statistics."
The Rockaway Seafood Company restaurant and raw bar is open on Beach 129 Street for business, and one Wave staffer who ate dinner there with his wife brought back rave reviews. He claims that they had the "best New England clam chowder" they ever tasted, including some they had in Maine. The Wave staffer said that the ambiance is perfect, especially the fireplace in the dining room, that the food was excellent and the food service impeccable. It's well worth a visit and it's important to support Rockaway businesses and restaurants.
We usually don't read Cindy Adams' column in the New York Post, but somebody called to our attention the fact that she derided Rockaway in a recent column, so we took a look. What Adams said was that she recently visited places such as downtown Bora Bora, Moorea and Taha'a Raiatea. "We are not talking about Far Rockaway here," Adams added, in a gratuitous knock at New York City's Riviera. We want to invite Adams to come to Rockaway. We'll show her some beaches and some sunsets that will keep her talking long into the next decade. We may not be Bora Bora, but we're the best that this city has to offer when it comes to beaches.
The rumors were swirling last week that Beach Channel High School was soon going to join the list of the Department of Education's closed schools. Perhaps the fact that the school was recently put on the DOE's Impact Schools List, had something to do with it. A spokesperson for the DOE, however, told The Wave, "We're done with school closures for this year." She declined to comment on next year's closings, however.
The political silly season is heating up and people are once again becoming interested in the primary elections. We have to say that Iowa and New Hampshire whetted a lot of political appetites. Next up is Michigan - a GOP only event on January 15. Nevada comes next on January 19, then South Carolina on January 26 (for Democrats only), Florida on January 29 (Rudi's comeback?) and then Super Tuesday on February 5, when 28 states, including Florida and California, vote for their favorites. By then, the fat lady might have sung her aria and it will be all over.
Mayor Mike Bloomberg says that he's not running for president, but his assistants are still out there, testing the waters. We believe that he will run if Super Tuesday, February 5 shows that there is no clear winner for either party. Then, a third-party run by a guy who can finance his own campaign could well become a reality. What happens if he runs? Should Bloomberg leave office to make the run, Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum would take over the vacant seat. The law requires that she call a special election within 60 days of the day Bloomberg leaves. That could well be sometime in April or May. Anybody who wants to run for the office would need to get 7,500 petition signatures, something that would take a pro about two days to complete in New York City. Experts say that the low number of signatures could well set off a stampede to run for the office. There is no runoff in the special election. The winner could well have a 15 percent plurality and take the office. What fun that would be.
New York City is holding public hearings to solicit feedback from subscribers in relation to Time Warner Cable's application to renew its franchise. The only Queens hearing will be held on January 22, between 3 and 7 p.m., at LaGuardia Community College, main stage theater, E-building, 47 Avenue and Van Dam Street in Long Island City. If you want your voice heard, that is the time to do it.