2009-03-27 / Columnists


Lew Simon called to remind everybody that he asked for a hiatus from working for State Senator Malcolm Smith during his recent election campaign, and that he is back with the Senator as his local representative now that the election is over.

Community Board 14 District Manager Jonathan Gaska reminds all Rockaway residents that it is illegal to have an unlicensed or unregistered car or truck in a driveway, on the street, or anyplace else on your property. Residents, he says, are encouraged to call the community board at 718-471-7300 to report residents who break those rules.

There is a new online system for sending fax messages to let your elected officials know how you feel on an issue. The site www.lobbybyfax. com/lobby/selectstate.asp?alertid= 43. can be used to send messages to state legislators, Governor David Paterson and City Council members. Go to the site above and choose New York from the drop-down box. You can then chose the appropriate legislator, type in their message and click.

Congressman Anthony Weiner, who represents parts of Rockaway in the House of Representatives, seems to be backing off his mayoral run now that Mayor Bloomberg has all but won the term limits battle. Last week, he announced that he was so busy with the economic crisis that he would suspend all campaign activities for the time being, adding that he would make a decision in August as to whether he would get back into the race. This week, Weiner returned more than $60 thousand in campaign contributions that had come to him after the city announced a ban on contributions from limited liability corporations and partnerships. While Weiner returned the money to remain within both the spirit and the letter of the law, it seems clear to many local political observers that he is out of the race for good. That would leave Democrat William Thompson, the present city comptroller, as the main opponent for Bloomberg in November.

When the NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly announced the rules for the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Manhattan, he said that alcohol consumption during the parade is prohibited and that police officers would summons or arrest anybody found with alcoholic beverages. The same is true, the PC said of many venues around the city, including the Port Authority Bus Terminal and Central Park. We wonder why the police don't have the same rules for the Rockaway parade. Perhaps that would have forestalled all the foolishness after the parade.

At one time, complaints about moving companies and home repair companies topped the list of complaints to the state about small businesses. Now, the top complaint to city and state agencies concerns collection agencies. Many complain that the collection agency is trying to collect money that was never owed. Others say that over-aggressive collection agents are destroying their quality of life. To combat the growing unease, the City Council has passed a law that was signed by Mayor Bloomberg on Wednesday. Debt collection agencies will have to tell the debtor who is calling and from what agency, the name of the original creditor, the amount they owe and the name and telephone number of a live person that they can call back. Companies will also have to supply written documentation regarding the status and the history of the debt. Collection agencies will now have to "adhere to common sense guidelines when interacting with New York City residents," the mayor said upon signing the bill.

We said two weeks ago that we believed that a photo of newlyelected City Councilman Eric Ulrich meeting the late Pope was photoshopped, and that it was unlikely that Ulrich, 24, had met the Pope here in New York City. Turns out, we were right and we were wrong. Ulrich said that he met the Pope at the Vatican in January of 2004, but that the photo was photoshopped "to remove the nun in the background." He said that the Pope presented him with a set of rosary beads in a red case. Reports are that Ulrich will soon open a Rockaway office on Rockaway Beach Boulevard, in the office once occupied by his predecessor, Joseph P. Addabbo Jr.

If you are waiting for the redesign of Shore Front Parkway to begin, don't hold your breath. The city says that the design process that will lead to the reconfiguration to align the openings in the median with the entrances to the high-rise buildings on the road will begin next year at this time and construction will begin in July of 2012 and last until July of 2014.

While Beach 116 Street still has a long way to go to become the shopping street that we all want it to be, there seems to be some movement in strengthening the business on the vital street. A new surf shop and clothing store named FTW will open shortly, as will a new pet grooming emporium. In addition, specialty shop Blue Bungalow will be moving from Rockaway Beach Boulevard to Beach 116 Street. They will all replace closed businesses, and that is a positive sign.

The NYPD cracked down on motorists who were using their cell phones while driving during a 24-hour period two weeks ago. The cops handed out more than $1 million in tickets over that oneday period. That's more than 9,000 tickets at $120 a pop. Must have made the mayor happy, all that extra money, but Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said that it had nothing to do with money, that it was all about safety. Sure!

In last week's issue, we inadvertently listed Robert Sarnoff as the cartoonist who penned the editorial cartoon on page 4. In fact, the cartoonist last week was Far Rockaway native Elgin Bojling.

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