2009-01-16 / Columnists


The race for Joseph Addabbo Jr.'s City Council seat is heating up. Mainland papers say that Geraldine Chapey is now an official candidate, but she still does not show up on the Board of Election's website and she hasn't spoken to The Wave since our report about the million bucks her organization has received from the city over the past decade. Chapey has been invited to participate at our candidates forum at the West End Temple (147-02 Newport Avenue) on February 9 at 7 p.m. We hope she attends. Mainland papers also say that there is a seventh candidate also in the mix - Sam DiBernardo, who is identified as a former teacher and real estate executive. By the way, Waldbaum's on Beach Channel Drive has become a battleground for the candidates. Lew Simon took the microphone there two weeks ago to urge people to come and sign his petition and to vote for him. He also reportedly told representatives of other candidates that Waldbaum's was "his" and that they could not stand there. We've been told he got the manager to make them move away from the front of the supermarket. Candidates had to have petitions with 1,500 signatures to the Board of Elections by midnight last night (January 15) to get his or her name on the ballot.

The City Council is looking to pass a resolution that might well make Rockaway kids happy. It seeks to add more holidays to the school calendar, Eid Ul-Fitr (a three-day holiday in October) and Eid-Ul- Adha (a two-day holiday in December). Proponents of the resolution say that they want to be more even-handed by adding the Muslim holidays to the Christian and Jewish holidays that already dot the calendar. "Ultimately, Muslim students should not have to choose between school, which would ruin their attendance record and possibly set them behind in school work, and practicing their religious faith," said Councilman Tony Avella in announcing his support. "It is extremely ironic that one city agency, the Department of Transportation, acknowledges these holidays by suspending alternate side parking, yet the DOE does not."

In last week's Wave, we ran the second "Kids Korner" column, written by elementary and middle school kids who have something to say about their favorite sports team or player. We want to expand that column to include subjects in addition to sports, and to run the column as a monthly feature. We're looking for comment and stories about anything that interests you, kids, so get busy and send your work to editor@rockawave.com. We look forward to hearing from you.

Mike Ricatto, the mainland business man who is running for the City Council seat vacated by Joseph P. Addabbo Jr., is thinking about dropping out of the race after a tragic accident on January 6 when his campaign bus struck and killed a nine-year-old Ozone Park Indian boy. Ricatto added an interesting dimension to the race because he was the wealthy unknown candidate in a field of other candidates who are mostly well-known, at least to Rockaway voters. The total of candidates entered in the race as of press time seems to seven and counting. Would-be politicians see this as the big chance because there is no incumbent, and it gives the winner a year-long leg up on the competition.

There's good news and bad news for Rockaway motorists who drive to Manhattan. Those hatched-line boxes at Manhattan intersections that warn motorists not to "block the box" will now have new meaning. The good news is that a summons for blocking the box will no longer be a moving violation. The bad news is that by moving the violation from one category to another, the summons can now be handed out by traffic enforcement officers as well as police officers, making it much more likely that people who block the box, even inadvertently, will get a ticket. As with many other things in this city, the policy of keeping intersections clear to move traffic has gone from a deterrent to a revenue stream.

You would think that a feature article in the New York Times about a surfer who comes to Rockaway during the winter would be positive. It wasn't. The piece, written by Times staffer David Lee, says that he found a post on a surfing website (www.wanasurf.com) that says, "{Rockaway is] by far the ugliest place I've ever surfed (imagine East Berlin circa '79). All this place is missing are the guard towers and rolls of razor wire in the sand." Lee writes about two other posts: "Don't swallow the water. Barrels off the jetty. Localism is fierce," and "Wouldn't suggest you surf there. Your car will be broken into and you'll stand out like a sore thumb." Lee takes a trip to Rockaway on the A Train and writes of his experience, "This is no South Beach. The bleak architecture doesn't care one bit if you're here to see the sea. No surf shops or smoothie bars here. No hippies or cruiser bikes. Just a smattering of clapboard houses and bungalows overshadowed by housing projects."

We want to apologize to Rockaway resident Nellie Washington, whose car was damaged on Beach 32 Street and Seagirt Boulevard last week. The initial report from police sources said that the male driver of the automobile had run away after the accident and the owner pulled up in a car service vehicle and said that she had no idea who was in the car. That report was erroneous, the result of mixing up two accidents in the same general vicinity on the same day. In fact, Washington, who was not named in the original story, was the passenger in the car driven by her friend, Jeffrey Frey. Her car, she says, was sideswiped by another car, forcing her to hit two parked cars. We hope our initial report did not cause any embarrassment.

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