2009-05-15 / Columnists

Beachcomber

If you think the fact that more than 16,000 parking tickets were issued in 2008 to a population of 120,000, just wait. Rockaway is on track for a record parking ticket year because, if you extrapolate from the first four months of this year and last year's experience, it looks as if we will top 8,500 tickets this year. Add the fact that Bloomberg plans to lay off several thousand city workers at the same time he hires hundreds of traffic enforcement agents, and you can bet on a growing curve of parking tickets, and we would bet the farm on a total of more than 9,000 tickets in 2010. This is your mayor at work.

The New York Post takes a shot at Congressman Anthony Weiner every chance it gets, probably because Weiner dares to run against the paper's favorite politician, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who can do no wrong in the eyes of Murdoch's paper. It rose to new heights last week, however, with a headline that blared "Weiner's A Pucking Goof Off," arguing that he had missed several votes in the House to play goalie for his pick-up hockey team. The fact is, according to the House of Representative's own website, Weiner has one of the best attendance records in the House, somewhere in the 95 percent range. The fact that he missed such "critical" votes as the one acknowledging the descendents of the trans-Atlantic slave trade or the one supporting a national weekend of prayer for Darfur does not diminish that fact.

Speaking of Weiner, our Representative has said that he won't decide if he's running for mayor until the end of this month. If you believe what he said in a recent New York magazine posting, he's out of the race for good. "[The bid for Mayor] just didn't feel right," Weiner said. "It isn't that I don't have the stomach for the race, I know that I can run the city better than the current mayor. I know it. But, sometimes, there are walls even your ambition can't push through."

A new law will allow veterans to give a hand salute during the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag rather than placing the hand over the heart. The law states, "Members of the armed forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the salute." Veteran groups have been fighting for this change for years. Vets can also now salute during the Star Spangled Banner as well. By the way, the United States Code requires that civilians place their right hand over their heart during the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.

The MTA warns that one lane in each direction may be closed on the Marine Parkway - Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to allow for construction activity. The bridge connects Rockaway with Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn.

The visitor parking lots at the Joseph P. Addabbo Bridge off Cross Bay Boulevard in Howard Beach have always been open 24-hours-a-day for people to stop, park and picnic. Beginning May 14, however, the National Park Service, which controls the area as part of Gateway National Recreation Area, will close the parking lots, the picnic areas and the shoreline from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. NPS officials say that the new rules are an effort to increase visitor safety, protect the area's natural resources and to cut down on the refuse that's left in the area by late night visitors. The federal agency, which has its own police force monitoring the park, says that anybody entering the area during the closed period will be subject to summons or arrest. The area has traditionally been utilized during the late night period by lovers and by mainland groups performing religious rituals.

The Friends of Beverly Baxter, a new local group, is urging everybody who knew Baxter to participate in a petition urging that a portion of Rockaway Beach Boulevard, from Beach 108 Street to Beach 116 Street be renamed in her honor. Baxter was a community icon who participated in many local cultural groups and activities. To sign the petition, go to www.friendsofbeverlybaxter.com. The City Council will soon take up legislation aimed at regulating the installation of cell antennas on city streets. Introduced by Peter Vallone, the legislation will direct the city's Buildings Commissioner to promulgate rules that include community notification, proof of efforts to place the antenna in a non-residential area and other "long-awaited improvements." The problem for Rockaway is that most of the new cell antennas being placed on the peninsula are for the city's Department of Information Technology.

The Department of Motor Vehicles is having problems with its 2010 inspection and registration stickers. In fact, some are falling right off car windows. The DMV admits the problem and says that those who lose the valuable stickers can get replacements for free by going to the agency's website at www. nysdmv.com/ vehsafe. htm.

The city has changed the 911 emergency response system to provide a faster response to fire emergencies. In the past, if you called 911 for a fire or hazmat emergency, you first got the 911 police operator, who took the information and passed you on to a fire dispatcher, who took the information again. Beginning this month, the police dispatchers will handle both police and fire emergencies, which should cut down on response time, officials say.

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