The 2009 City Council election has begun. Frank Gulluscio, the District Manager for Community Board 6 and a former staffer for Councilman Joe Addabbo, has announced for the position and has quickly been endorsed by both his former boss and the South Queens Democratic Club, one of the most powerful clubs in the area. At the same time, Republican District Leader, Erich Ulrich has announced for the Republican nod. We hear that Gulluscio has the nomination sewed up as far as the party leaders are concerned, but locals who may be interested in the post say that is not true. Both Lew Simon and Geraldine M. Chapey have shown interest in the post in the past. The fact is, we may not have to wait until 2009 to vote for our councilmember. Should Addabbo challenge Serph Maltese for the State Senate and win, that would set up a special election with all its own rules and constrictions. Add to the fact that Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer is going to vacate her seat to run for Queens Borough President, and you have all sorts of interesting options.
First, there were new tests for those who want to become public school principals. Now, they are going to insist that prospective teachers be able to write an essay in English. English! Will wonders never cease? Next, they might even demand that teachers be able to speak standard English. Wouldn't that be something? The UFT has already come out in favor of the proposal, as well they should. What comes after that, a rebirth of the late and unlamented Board of Examiners? The DOE talks a good game of setting and maintaining standards, but those who work for the public school system know that standards for all the stakeholders - administrators, teachers and pupils - went down the drain as soon as the mayor took control and he "empowered" superintendents to hire administrators without restriction and then allowed those principals to chose their own staff regardless of qualifications or expertise.
The Caring and Community Committee at West End Temple in Neponsit is asking for winter clothing and toiletry items to help the needy this winter. Sweaters, warm coats and clothing, men's shoes and toiletries such as toothbrushes, soap and combs. There is a drop-off box in front of the synagogue, at 147-02 Newport Avenue. The distribution will be done on February 18, when everything is brought to the HUC-JIR Soup Kitchen.
"Quick-Match," the home sharing database can immediately pair participants of all ages, helping New Yorkers find perfect housemates and affordable housing. At least, that's the claim of its staff. Look for Home Sharing on the web.
Looking for an unusual Valentine's Day gift? How about adopting a whale, a seal, a dolphin or a sea turtle? Visit the Riverhead Foundation Website for more information. You can access it at www.riverheadfoundation.org.
The city's Parks Department has launched its annual lifeguard search. The agency says that it has to hire 1,000 expert swimmers to man (and woman) the city's beaches. They usually fall short of their goal, and that makes for unhappy Rockaway beachgoers come June and July, when many beaches are "red-flagged," meaning that they are closed to the public. We can only wonder if the monolithic union and the agency can reform long enough to give Rockaway teens and young adults a fair chance to make the grade. Up to know, it has been largely a process full of cronyism and secrecy.
Two weeks ago, there was a long story in the New York Times arguing that the treatment for high cholesterol was probably not very effective, and, in fact, high cholesterol was not all that bad to begin with and certainly did not predict a heart attack. Last week, that was followed by a front-page story that said that our entire diabetes treatment plan might by faulty. In fact, a recent study found that lowering blood sugar in type II diabetics to normal range might cause more harm than good. It makes you wonder about what the doctors do know.
A federal appeals court has allowed a school district in Michigan to challenge the No Child Left Behind Law on the grounds that it sets up many unfunded mandates over which the district has no control, but must pay for. The federal Secretary of Education is challenging the ruling, which could make the entire act crumble like the house of cards it is should the feds not provide money to pay for all the testing and other bells and whistles in the act.
The Wave misidentified the DOA who was found under the subway platform on Beach 44 Street on January 14. While police sources identified him as Radgas Binea, the Chief Medical Examiner said last week that the proper spelling of his name is Rajesh Binda. The CME says that his cause of death is still pending further investigation.
It is the age of computers, but the city recently issued a $982,000 contract for manual and electric typewriter repair and for supplies such as typewriter ribbons. It seems that typewriters are still used by the police department and in jails, where inmates are not allowed to use computers. The NYPD uses them to fill out multi-part forms, something that a computer printer cannot do.