2009-01-30 / Columnists

Beachcomber

The Wave receives numerous photographs each week from individuals, organizations and schools. Unfortunately, many of them are unusable for publication. Photographs submitted for use must be at least 300 dots-perinch (DPI) and be at least three by five inches. In addition, photos that are submitted as jpeg attachments work best for us. Please do not imbed your photos in a word document. We appreciate your cooperation.

A federal district court judge has dismissed a challenge to the City Council's passage of a local law that extended term limits for city officials, allowing them to run for one more term. We always suspected that it was legal for the council to extend term limits, even though the public had voted not once, but twice, to keep the limit at eight years. We just didn't believe that it was moral for the 29 council members who voted for the extension to do so against the voters' expressed will.

The city's Parks Department is looking for a new mascot for its parks, beaches and programs. The agency is asking city residents to respond with a favored mascot and wants you to go to their website with your most creative choice. One suggestion is that the mascot should be a leaf. Another, put forth by the New York Post, is for Cullen the Cardinal to become the agency's mascot. Perhaps a seagull might make a good parks mascot, or a polar bear in honor of those who make the winter plunge. You can reach the agency online at www.nyc.gov.

Congressman Anthony Weiner doesn't much like the fact that the city has stopped the plan for a new Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department firehouse. He recently called on the mayor and the Department of Transportation to cut the red tape and get the job done. It is clear, however, that neither the DOT, the fire department nor the mayor wants the project to go forward. Weiner, who got an allocation for the original funding along with Senator Hillary Clinton, now says that he will look for an alternate funding source if the present federal money dries up.

On page 8 of last week's issue, we identified a man being arrested in a 2006 file photo as Robert Ellis. In fact, it is not Robert Ellis, but a man not connected at all to the cases of those who killed Police Officer Russell Timoshenko. We apologize for our error and hope that it did not cause anybody any embarrassment.

The day before Caroline Kennedy pulled her name out of contention for the Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton when she became Secretary of State, Mayor Michael Bloomberg was still extolling her virtues and he made a statement that made clearer the fact that our mayor sees everything through the prism of his business experience. "The Senate seat is basically a marketing position," he said. "We need somebody to stand up in the Senate and market New York State. We need somebody who will stand up and everybody will say, she's New York." Did the mayor forget that the prime role of a Senator is to make laws and to represent his or her constituency? If it were just a marketing position, we could put Tom Cruise or Madonna in the slot and forget about it.

A trip through the New York City subway system begins with a single stop, and that stop is always in Rockaway. Two men described as math whizzes will soon take on the 468 miles of the subway system, stepping off the train at every stop in the system in less than 24 hours, hoping for the glory of a note in the Guinness Book of World Records. Their trip, which requires them to stay away from express trains, will begin at the Far Rockaway Mott Avenue station and end at the Canarsie- Rockaway Parkway station. Somewhere along the way, they'll step off at every station on the peninsula, including Beach 116 Street.

The city will soon begin an experiment in Coney Island by replacing the rotting wooden boardwalk with a new plastic look-alike. The plastic planks, the city says, will last longer than wood, are more resilient and need far fewer repairs. With Coney Island into the plastics program, can Rockaway be far behind? For years, locals have argued the merits of a wooden boardwalk versus a concrete boardwalk. Now, there's a new material in the mix and it may prove to be the wave of the future.

The Princeton Review has ranked Queens College as one of the country's 50 "Best Value" public universities in the nation. The publication says that the school "provides a top-rate education at a bargain-basement rate."

The credit crisis continues to wreak havoc on the housing market, but Rockaway seems to be suffering less than other areas of Queens. While home prices are down 45 percent in the borough as a whole, the peninsula seems to be relatively isolated from the fall. A report in Crain's New York says that Northwest Queens, which includes Long Island City, showed the largest drop at 20.3 percent. Prices in the southern portion of the borough, excluding Rockaway, fell by 14 percent. The drop in home prices in Rockaway during the same period, however, was only 7.1 percent.

For years, the Port Authority used cannon shots to scare away the birds at JFK Airport, keeping the residents of Bayswater awake on many nights, but doing little to the large birds. Now, in the wake of the recent bird-strike crash that left a jetliner in the Hudson River, state legislators are calling on that agency to "completely eradicate the threat of geese at local airports." That's easier said than done unless you are willing to eradicate the geese along with the threat.

We have been notified by a family member that Charles Howard is not the sole owner of Call-A-Head, as we said last week. His brother, Ken Howard is also an owner. We apologize for the error and hope that it did not cause anybody in the Howard family any embarrassment.

The latest New York 1 Poll shows that Congressman Anthony Weiner is catching up to Mayor Mike Bloomberg in the coming mayoral race. The margin is now 7 points. The last poll, taken before the term limits law change, had Bloomberg up by more than 13 points and growing.

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