2008-12-12 / Columnists

Beachcomber

We have received a lot of criticism for not running a story about Barak Obama's election win on the front page. The Wave is, and will always remain, a hyper-local paper. There is a joke that it if an event doesn't happen in Rockaway or Broad Channel, we don't want to know about it unless it directly impacts our residents. That is more truth than joke. We wonder if there was anybody in Rockaway who didn't know that Obama won the presidency by Wednesday morning, two days before the paper came out. A story in The Wave about his win would have been redundant on Friday, when everybody on the peninsula already knew about his historic win. We will run the local results, how Obama did in Rockaway's precincts, as soon as that information is released by the city's Board of Elections. Believe it or not, that information, broken down by election districts, is not available a month after the election. For those who believe that we did not run the page one story for racial reasons, remember that we endorsed Obama a week prior to the election.

The campaign manager for Jacques Leandre called to say we failed to mention her candidate in our November 28 article "Challengers Stay In Race For Council Seat," about those who are opposing Councilman James Sanders Jr. for his 31st Councilmanic seat next year. While that story was about those who had already entered the race before the term limit law was changed by the City Council and the Mayor, we should have included newcomer Leandre. A recent check of the New York City Campaign Finance Board website for those running for citywide office in 2009 shows, as of December 2, that there are two other declared candidates for the council seat - Jerwaine Gorman and Michael Duncan, who is currently Sanders' chief-of-staff. It's tough to keep track of the candidates when would-be politicians smell the blood in the water over Sanders' vulnerability due to his yes vote in the term limits war.

Mayor Mike Bloomberg continues to spin the effectiveness of his administration. The consummate businessman knows that advertising pays because it tells the advertiser's story about the product, which usually spins reality and puffs up the product. He has taken those business practices into the public sector, especially with pumping up his achievements in education. A recent press release from the mayor's office touted the fact that a recent survey completed by the office of Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum showed that more than 85 percent of city residents who responded to the poll said that they were really happy with the way the mayor was running the city. That sounded kind of strange to our ears, considering the way people feel about city agencies such as the DOT and the NYPD's traffic enforcement officers. We studied the poll a bit and found out that respondents were given four choices, rating specific services as either "excellent," "good," "fair" or "poor." The city then put all the responses in the first three categories together to come up with the reported totals. So, for example, if 15 percent of the people reported a service as excellent and 10 percent as good, added to 65 percent who said the service was fair, that gives the mayor a 90 percent total of those who think he's doing great. What a sham!

Frederick Haynes, a new resident at Arverne By The Sea, has been trying for more than a year to get a Stop sign on the corner of Beach Channel Drive and Beach 80 Street, right around the corner from PS 183 and a slew of new homes. Haynes contacted the Department of Traffic, City Councilman James Sanders and the mayor, to no avail. Recently, he got a letter from the DOT's Queens Borough Commissioner, Maura McCarthy, stating that her experts did a study and the corner did not rate a traffic control signal. Not only that, the letter said that a new request could not be filed for 18 months. There was a bad accident on that corner two weeks ago, and Haynes told us that there had been several near-accidents as well. We hope that the DOT is not waiting for a fatal accident to occur for them to do something about the dangerous intersection.

How many times have you pulled up to a parking meter only to find that it is inoperative? Do you leave your car at the broken meter, hoping the traffic enforcement agent will realize that it is broken and leave you alone? Do you move your car to a working meter? Now, your options are a little clearer, thanks to a new bill signed into law by Mayor Bloomberg last week. It allows a person to park at a missing or broken meter, or on a block with missing or broken muni-meters, for the maximum allowable time otherwise lawfully permitted at that meter. So, if you get to Beach 116 Street and find that the muni-meters on the median are not working, you can park there for up to two hours. Remember, however, that the meters on the curbside of the street allow only one hour parking.

Even with the housing resale market tanking in most places, that market in Rockaway seems to be more stable. Once again, however, it's location, location, location, when it comes to home prices. For example, according to the Daily News, a two-bedroom home on the 500 block in Arverne is going this week for $290,000, while a twobedroom home on the 400 block of Beach 124 Street in Rockaway Park is going for $640,000. In addition, a two-bedroom home in Broad Channel is selling for $272,000, while a two-bedroom in Belle Harbor is going for $650,000. While all the two-bedroom homes might not be the same, it is clear that location remains high on a list of criteria for buying a home.

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