2008-06-13 / Columnists

Beachcomber

The Wave misspoke in last week's edition in the front-page story about the borough president's recommendations on the R-7 zone for Beach 116 Street. In the article, Wave editor Howard Schwach wrote that Jonathan Gaska, the district manager of Community Board 14 joined his board in preferring an R-5 zone for the street. In fact, Gaska takes no side on any issue before the board, nor did he on this issue. A number of members of his board as well as the civic association, however, prefer an R-5 zone, which allows for fourstory buildings. We apologize to Gaska for any misunderstandings or embarrassment that our mistake caused him. He is one of those who works hard each day to make Rockaway a better place in which to live.

Community Board 14 has notified us that it will not accept requests for Street Activity Permits after June 20 for street closings and events through September 1. The board urges all block party organizers to apply for their permits as soon as possible.

The phones at The Wave lit up on June 2 when the awful smell from the city's water treatment plant began to permeate the neighborhood from Beach 111 Street to Beach 95 Street, from the ocean to the bay. For some time that afternoon, the smell was intolerable. Department of Environmental officials told us that the problem was an electrical switch that failed, allowing the wastewater in the holding tanks to become stagnant. Add the heat to the stagnant water, and the terrible smell is what you get. Officials say the smell dissipated when the tanks were cleaned. Could it happen again? You bet it could. What with the cutbacks in staff and the increase in housing throughout the peninsula, it is a good bet that there will be other problems during the summer months.

Mayor Mike Bloomberg has reportedly decided not to simply fade away into his next life as a philanthropist. The press is reporting that he is looking to overturn the term limits so that he can run for a third term as mayor. Failing that, he says, he may well run for governor of New York State the next time around. The voters have spoken twice on term limits, and both times they have overwhelmingly voted to keep the limits in place. The Mayor, working with the City Council, whose members are termlimited as well, may try to overturn the law legislatively, but any politician who votes to overturn the limits should be immediately voted out of office.

The State Legislature has renamed the Triborough Bridge in honor of the late Senator, Robert F. Kennedy. From now on, the bridge will be called the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge. Of course, all New Yorkers will continue to call it "The Triborough," just as the Jackie Robinson Parkway remains the Interboro

and the Joe DiMaggio Highway remains the West Side Highway. How many locals continue to call the bridge to Brooklyn the Marine Parkway Bridge rather than the Marine Parkway Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge and continue to call Route 878, which separates Rockaway from Nassau County, "the new road?"

There is an interesting political race this election year. Donovan Richards is executive assistant to City Councilman James Sanders, Jr., but he has been going his own way recently. Now, we know why. We thought that he was planning on running for Sander's seat when the councilman is term limited in 2009. Instead, he had announced he will run in the Democratic primary later this year to unseat Assemblywoman Michelle Titus, who has been a non-entity in the community since taking the seat in a special election upon the death of Pauline Rodd-Cummings. Titus has brought some money to the Far Rockaway community, but that is money that every state legislator gets to seed around in order to win reelection. In all other issues, including the spate of shootings in her community, she has remained silent while Richard and his boss took a leadership role.

Last week, a mailbox that is usually stationed at the shopping center in Breezy Point disappeared for several hours. Breezy Point security found the box several hours later on 12 Avenue, with all of its mail intact. Federal officials are investigating, but it seems to be just a prank perpetrated by some teens who had little else to do but get in trouble.

New York taxpayers are shelling out $500 thousand to ask a cross section of residents how well the city is doing its job. Seems to us that there are better ways to spend the money, considering the DOE is laying off teachers, the NYPD is well below its manpower quota because of budget cuts and the city can't place an ambulance on our beachfront to handle drownings and other summertime problems because it doesn't have either the money or the manpower. Want to bet that the mayor hires a consultant from France or Germany to do the job? We wouldn't be surprised.

It's enough to make you stop smoking, and that's the general idea. New York State's excise tax on a pack of cigarettes just went up by about 83 percent. The combined city and state excise tax on a pack is now $4.25, the highest in the nation. Add about $1.50 a pack for sales tax on top of that, and cigarettes could soon be selling for more than $10 a pack in local stores.

The Daily News recently did a two-page spread on the best beaches for specific activities, such as sunbathing, partying, eating and drinking, etc. The beach rated tops for peace and quiet is "Fort Tilden State Park." Of course, we all know that Fort Tilden is part of Gateway National Recreation Area, a federal park. The story describes the park as "140 acres of unspoiled grassy wilderness, with a wide sand beach less than two hours from Manhattan. The top spot for sports is Rockaway Beach, the "cult New York destination for surfers since 1912." At least, the News knows that the peninsula exists, even though the story does not mention the two dedicated surfing beaches on the peninsula.

As if an increased cigarette price is not enough, the cost to locals who fail to scoop up their pet's poop will rise to $250, up from $100 under the current law. The legislation to raise the fine passed recently in the State Senate by a 59-1 vote.

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