2008-10-03 / Columnists


Those who worry about the proposed waste transfer station that was planned for the area behind the new dog park on Beach 78 Street and Beach Channel Drive should worry no more. The plan has been killed due to community ire.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is a businessman and, as we have seen the last two weeks, businessmen reward their friends. The problem is, Bloomberg did it with your money. Bloomberg used a secret fund to reward city council members who voted his way or who supported him in his reelection bid to the tune of $20 million in tax money. A spokesperson for Bloomberg defended the payouts, saying; "People who have taken tough stands and helped us make politically unpopular decisions, sometimes at their own peril [deserve to be rewarded]." The two council members who got the most were Simcha Felder, who got $5.7 million to use for his constituents and Domenic Recchia, who got $2.2 million. Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, who crossed party lines to back Bloomberg, got $2.6 million, which he reportedly immediately put into a nonprofit called "Best of Brooklyn, Inc.", an organization that he controls. Sure, we need more businessmen in politics.

The four water treatment plants that surround Jamaica Bay pump a combined total of more than 35,000 tons of nitrogen into the bay each day. That is why, experts agree, the bay is in real ecological trouble. The Department of Environmental Protection, which controls the plants, says that it doesn't have the money to upgrade the plants. That is also the excuse given when locals ask why the DEP can't stop the stench that emanates often from the Rockaway plant. People wonder why there is no money, because huge fees are charged for water use in the city, and that money is supposed to go for infrastructure upgrades and repairs. Now, we find out that the Bloomberg administration has been taking money from the water payments to use for the general fund, up to $76 million that could have been used to fix the water treatment plants. Bloomberg is always talking a good game about a "green city," but his actions with the money from the DEP fund clearly shows he has other priorities.

There are rumors bouncing around that there will soon be a new candidate running for City Council in the west end of Rockaway. While it is tough to pin down the story, there seems to be a relatively young retired city servant getting some money and support together to challenge for the Democratic Party nod for Joe Addabbo's seat. Addabbo is termlimited, but is also running for the mainland State Senate seat now held by Republican Serph Maltese. The Wave has long called for a fresh face on the political scene, and this may be him, or her, as the case may be.

Eleni O. Marvdis is an interfaith minister with a long Rockaway history. While she has no congregation, she really wants to help Rockaway seniors who are at-risk in today's economy and with the dreaded "Donut Hole" staring them in the face. She is looking to form a group of Rockaway residents who would be willing to support a single senior citizen both emotionally and financially. "There are many seniors in Rockaway who need some human contact, meals or medication," she says. "They made up our greatest generation, and now they are in trouble." The problem is, Marvdis is not sure how to achieve her aim and is asking Rockaway residents to suggest methods for achieving that goal. If you have an idea, pass it on to The Wave at editor@ rockawave.com and we'll pass it along.

Stephen Pekar grew up in Rockaway and now teaches geology at Queens College. He is off on an adventure that will take him, two students and a dozen other enthusiasts to the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica to study how sedimentary rock may help us to better understand climate history. This is Peker's third trip to the frozen south.

Governor David Paterson talks a lot about a hiring freeze for state agencies and how everybody has to share in the pain brought on by the Wall Street crisis, but it seems that, as usual, politicians are exempt from the vagaries of smaller budgets and layoffs. Despite enacting the freeze, the Paterson administration has created a $140,000 a year job for recently retired assemblyman who supported Paterson. Ivan Lafayette, 78, was named deputy superintendent for community affairs at the state's Insurance Department. A spokesperson for Paterson said that the new job was "critical" to the smooth operation of the insurance agency. Sure!

The New York Times ran a small piece on a poll that asked respondents to answer a question about which professions they thought had "great prestige." The results are in. Firefighters came out on top with 57 percent reported that they were held in great esteem. Scientists were next (56 percent) followed by doctors (53), nurses (52), teachers (52), military officers (46), clergy (40) congressmen (28), lawyers (24), athletes (20) journalists (18) and actors (16). It's good to know where you stand with the public.

The NYPD has issued a statistic that is undeniable, but that the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) will probably not like very much. Black New Yorkers are 13 times more likely to be murdered - or arrested for murder— than whites. Blacks and Hispanics dominated tallies of both suspects and victims, according to an NYPD breakdown of crimes requested by the Daily News. Of the 244 murders between January 1 and June 30 of this year, 64.8 percent of the victims were black, records show. Hispanics accounted for 23.4 percent of the victims, whites, 7.4 percent and Asians 4.5 percent. Among the murder arrests, blacks accounted for 64.9 percent, Hispanics, 27.2 percent, whites, 7.3 percent and Asians, less than 1 percent.

Now that Ron Lauder has stated that he will not use his millions to fight an extension of the term limit law to twelve from eight years, that opens the field to Mayor Mike Bloomberg to use his millions to entice the City Council into passing a law that would facilitate the change.

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