2009-04-17 / Columnists

Beachcomber

When City Councilman James Sanders Jr. defied the will of the people and voted to extend term limits for both himself and the mayor, he said that he did it because he wanted a new technical school for Rockaway and the mayor had promised him it would be done. We asked Sanders a few times about the school, and he evaded the issue. Last week, however, Mayor Bloomberg hosted a private fundraiser for Sanders at the Mayor's Manhattan townhouse. We have to wonder if the private shindig was part of the mayor's payoff for Sanders' vote. We certainly hope that the muchneeded technical school is also included in that payoff. If construction on the promised school does not begin by election time, the voters should turn Sanders out of office.

Speaking of Sanders, the City Councilman has been fighting to stop what he terms a "hot-sheet" motel from opening in Springfield Gardens, another portion of his district. Sanders told reporters that he would use his discretionary funds to buy the site to use as "a meeting site for youths and seniors." Funny, but we never heard Sanders offer his discretionary funds for a new YMCA in Rockaway, which would also become a meeting place for youth and seniors from his district.

The Wave's online edition now has a new feature. By clicking on the "Page by Page" button on the left of the screen, readers can now choose to view the paper just as they would in the print edition, rather than as digital stories. The Wave's website is at www.rockawave. com. The Page by Page feature, as with our current papers, is free after the edition has been out for two weeks. To access the current two week's papers, a person must have an online subscription to the paper.

Many Rockaway residents rely on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to get to work each day. That is true whether they take the A Train, the express bus service or the bridges and tunnels. The MTA has now revealed its timetable for the draconian service cuts and fare increases that are planned should the politicians not come through with a rescue plan. In late June, several local bus routes throughout the city will be axed and weekend service on most subway lines will be reduced. It is not yet clear whether any routes involving Rockaway riders will be involved in those cuts. In late July, all roving station agents will be cut and a total of 29 token booths will be closed. Four subway stations will be shuttered overnight, and although the MTA declined to name the stations, the Beach 105 Street station is the leastused in the system and is a good bet to be closed. In early September, some express bus routes will be cut and there will be a longer wait time between buses. There are two upcoming meetings that are important to the future well-being of Rockaway residents. One meeting, to address the construction of a liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal off the shore of the peninsula, will be held at PS 114, Beach 135 Street and Cronston Avenue, at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 19. The other, to discuss the housing component for Arverne East, will be held at the Peninsula Hospital Center, 51-15 Beach Channel Drive, at 7 p.m. on April 16.

Senator Charles Schumer, who once represented Rockaway in the House of Representatives, has joined locals in the Cross Bay Bridge toll fight. Schumer issued a statement last week, stating, "Rockaway residents have the longest, most difficult and expensive commutes anywhere, and I will fight tooth and nail to make sure they maintain the well-deserved residency discounts that defray exorbitant bridge tolls." Now, if we could only get Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith, who has apparently forgotten that he still represents Rockaway, to say the same thing and to act on his words.

There will once again be a Rockaway team in the May 2 Revlon Run Walk for Women in Manhattan. In 2008, the team raised more than $15 thousand for the cause. If you are interested in joining the local team, call Fern at 917-821- 8521. Or, you can go to www. rev lonrunwalk.com for registration details. Donations can be sent to Fern at 174 Beach 133 Street in Belle Harbor. Checks should be made out to "EIF Run/Walk For Women."

The store owners who reacted to closing Beach 116 Street to parking over the weekend before the Easter and Passover holidays were generally not angry about the television production team who came to town to shoot a pilot called "Back," but rather against the city agency that approved the project and then did not notify locals until the day before the parking was shut down. "The production team was very cooperative," said one local owner. "They did all they could to soften the blow, but the people who approved this without any community input should be fired." Some of the owners, including one who was to have a grand opening on the Saturday that the curb was shut down, were given some compensation by CBS for their troubles, but others, who lost lots of business because there was no place to park, were not.

The Daily News reported last week that a number of people who worked for City Council candidate Geraldine Chapey have yet to be paid. Of course, The Wave did the same story a few weeks ago. News staffer Brendan Brosh, who wrote the story, says that Chapey is "believed to be off sunning herself" while unpaid staffers wonder what has happened to the $115,844 that her campaign raised.

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