2008-04-25 / Columnists

Beachcomber

A drug bust at Beach 69 Street. A gun bust on Beach 56 Street. The granny basher nabbed by cops. The robbery of a Chinese restaurant on Beach 43 Street. Ashooting in the shopping center parking lot at Beach 86 Street. A shoot out with police at the Ocean Bay Houses on Beach 54 Street. A group of white kids attacked by black teens on Beach 84 Street. A man and a woman assaulted in continuing dispute at Beach 108 Street. All of those incidents were on the budget for last week's paper. The beginning of spring usually brings with it more crime because more people are outdoors for a longer period of time, but that was too much, even for Rockaway. We hope that last week was not a harbinger of worse weeks to come.

Judge Arthur Cooperman will rule today on the guilt or innocence of the three police officers accused of wrongdoing in the Sean Bell case. The road to justice is slow and tortuous, particularly so in this racially-sensitive case. It doesn't help when community leaders such as City Councilman James Sanders says that there can be no justice in this case unless the cops are found guilty and adds that he will call for "law-abiding but militant demonstration" should they be found not guilty. The problem with that is, when leaders put people out on the streets for a militant demonstration, they often lose control and destroy their own communities. It has happened before many times and it could easily happen today. We have to wonder why an elected official such as Sanders would want to undermine the justice system by declaring that any decision he does not agree with is therefore both wrong and racist. Should Cooperman find the three detectives guilty, you will not find Addabbo or any other elected official who believe that they are innocent of criminal wrongdoing to call for a "militant" demonstration to overturn the decision.

It would be a shame if the Brooklyn Diocese shuts down the St. Virgilius parish in Broad Channel. We have expected that move ever since the diocese closed the school more than a year ago. In a sense, it was like waiting for the other shoe to drop and it finally did. The parish will be "merged" with Rockaway's St. Camillus Church on Beach 101 Street. There are still many questions on what that means for the St. Virgilus parishioners and church officials were too busy with the Pope's visit to provide much information. However, it seems clear that this merger is the beginning of the end for the century-old parish. Some say they plan to fight the move because they have to travel over a toll bridge to get to their new parish, but the Church has so far resisted any moves to keep open parishes they have deemed expendable. There are even some who voice the opinion that the diocese wants to close the parish not because it needs to, but because the land on which its buildings stand have become too valuable to real estate developers.

The MTAhas a great idea. The agency, which claims to be so broke that it has to constantly increase fares and reduce service, is going to become "green." The agency plans to build a garden atop the Mott Avenue A Train Station and place wind-driven turbines at the Rockaway bus depot to produce some of the electricity used by the site. Agency officials say that they want to produce about seven percent of the energy it uses from solar, wind and other renewable sources. A laudable goal. Call us in ten years and let us know how it worked out. We'll be trying to find an express bus to Manhattan.

More than 300 people attended the fundraiser for Frank Gulluscio, who is making a bid to replace Joseph Addabbo as one of Rockaway's City Councilmembers in the 2009 election. Gulluscio, who once worked for Addabbo here in Rockaway and is now the District Manager for Community Board 6, is the first to formally announce for Addabbo's term-limited seat, but he most likely will not be the last. We like Gulluscio, and he is clearly the Democratic Party's choice for the slot, but we wish that some viable Rockaway candidate would show up and make it a race. Please, no worn and tired candidates such as Lew Simon and Geraldine Chapey need apply. We need a fresh Rockaway face with some fresh ideas, not an old Democratic Party political hack who will toe the party line for another eight years.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn admits that she has not "done the job perfectly." In fact, each day brings more evidence that she did the job just the way it was done by all the Democratic political operatives before her. The mantra was "bury the money and then give it to friends and supporters to insure reelection." She played that game very well, as did her predecessors, and if you believe that she did not know what was going on in her own office, with her own aides, then I have a bridge you might want to buy. By her own admission, she is either dumb and blind or a liar. We don't know yet which Quinn might be, but neither is good for a politician seeking to become mayor.

We usually ignore emails about computer viruses, but a recent warning seems to be legitimate. It says that you may receive an innocuous message entitled, "Mail Server Report." If you open that message, however, the report says, a message will appear that says, "It is too late now. You're life is no longer beautiful," and it will wipe out everything on your hard drive. Be careful out there, it's a dangerous world.

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