2009-01-23 / Columnists


If all seven candidates for the City Council seat vacated by State Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. show up for the candidate forum to be hosted on February 9 by The Wave at West End Temple, it should be a banner evening and a chance for voters to hear firsthand what each of the candidates stands for on the vital issues that face us in 2009 and beyond. Of the seven, three are Rockaway residents: Geraldine Chapey, Lew Simon and Glenn DiResto. Two of the names are familiar because they are our local Democratic district leaders. DiResto, a retired NYPD Lieutenant, is the one local newcomer. The four mainland candidates are Sam DiBernardo, Frank Gulluscio, Mike Ricatto and Eric Ulrich. All of the candidates have been invited both by telephone and email. We certainly hope they all show up for our forum, but we would not be surprised if some did not want to be questioned about their activities or their candidacy. Remember that every vote counts. In an election with seven candidates sharing perhaps 5,000 or 6,000 votes, anything can happen.

It's sometimes hard to understand our politicians and the statements they make. State Senator Malcolm Smith is now the Senate Majority Leader, and he has been representing Rockaway for many years. When a Rockaway man was recently shot and killed in front of the Jamaica Houses, however, he issued a statement that calls for increased police patrols around the public housing complex and wondered aloud how three men could be shot in full daylight on a busy street with no eyewitnesses. Smith should know that the credo in this community is that you don't speak to police officers and you keep your mouth shut about crime. When a young girl was shot at the Redfern Houses last year, it took cops a long time to find the shooter even though a number of people knew who did it, but refused to speak with detectives. Also, people are afraid to speak out because they fear that they will be the shooter's next target. Smith should know that it is the norm for eyewitnesses to remain mum, rather than the exception.

Senator Shirley Huntley, who represents Broad Channel in the State Senate, has been appointed to a number of high-visibility committees. She was appointed by Senator Malcolm Smith to chair the Health Committee. In addition, she has been appointed as a member of the education, higher education and children and family services committee.

Anybody who has ever parked on Beach 116 Street has seen traffic enforcement agents standing by a parked car, looking at their watch, just waiting for the parking slip on the front window to expire before the motorist comes back to his or her car. Two city councilmembers (not any who represent Rockaway, of course) have proposed a bill that would allow a fiveminute grace period after the slip expires before a TEA can write a ticket. The law would apply to no-parking zones, alternate side parking and muni-meters as well as regular street meters. Mayor Bloomberg, of course, does not like the idea of giving taxpayers a break and he promises to veto the bill should it cross his desk. "If you change the time, people would wait another five minutes and then ask for another grace period," he said. "Pretty soon, you'd have no ability to collect parking meter payments."

The New York Times recently did a full-page spread on the changes that various neighborhood's have seen since 2000. Some of Rockaway's changes from 2000 to 2008 are enlightening. There are now 19 percent more females in Rockaway and Broad Channel and 17 percent more residents between the ages of 25 and 34. In addition, the population has grown by 14 percent. What does that tell us? It looks as if Rockaway is growing at a record clip, and that the majority of those who are moving here are younger females. What does that portend for us if the trend continues? Who knows?

In the November 21, 2008 issue of The Wave, we published a list of the registered sex offenders who live in Rockaway. In that report, we erred by printing that Bruce McCoy had been convicted of first degree sexual assault of an eight-year-old, when in fact that conviction was for the sexual assault of a 28-year-old. We apologize for our typographical error and hope that it did not cause McCoy or his family any embarrassment.

The people who live in the house at 120-07 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, identified in last week's paper as the domicile of an emotionally disturbed man who held police at bay, emailed us to say that we had the wrong house, that it was the house next door at 120-09 Rockaway Beach Boulevard where all the action took place. A quick check on a Photoshop program to blow up the address sign on the home shows that they are right. The photo is indeed of 120- 07 rather than 120-09, and we regret any inconvenience or embarrassment we caused the homeowners at 120-07 Rockaway Beach Boulevard.

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