2009-09-25 / Columnists

Beachcomber

The turnout for the primary election on September 15 was, by all accounts, lower than expected. One Wave editor went to his west end polling place at 7 a.m. and was the number one voter for his election district. When he went back to the same polling place with his daughter at about 7:30 p.m. that same night, she was given number 41. That means only 40 people voted at that ED in the intervening 12 hours. Not much of a turnout, even for a primary. We wonder how many voters will turn out for the citywide runoff election on September 29.

Speaking about the election, at least three veteran City Council members who voted with the mayor to extend term limits were turned out of office on primary day. James Sanders Jr., who represents much of the east end of the peninsula, won the primary with a little over 40 percent of the vote against four challengers. Sanders told us that he expected to get more than 75 percent of the vote, but backing the mayor in the critical term limits vote seems to have impacted his candidacy. Perhaps his Republican challenger in the November 3 election will find that Sanders is vulnerable when the election is one on one.

The NYPD opened it state-of-theart Transit District 23 headquarters on Beach 116 Street last Tuesday. Lots of dignitaries, including Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, were on hand for the official opening. Kelly lauded all of Rockaway's cops, and especially those who patrol the subway, for a large drop in crime over the past few years. Transit District 23 covers all of the city's transit facilities from Far Rockaway to Rockaway Boulevard in Ozone Park.

Mark your calendars for October 25 and the 100 Precinct Community Council's Oktoberfest at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Beach 90 Street. This year, the organization will honor John Lepore, local insurance broker and long-time president of the Rockaway Chamber of Commerce. The breakfast will run from 10 a.m. to noon.

John Liu, who is in the runoff election for comptroller dropped into The Wave two weeks ago for a wide-ranging discussion of Rockaway's problems and possible solutions for those problems. The members of the paper's editorial board were impressed by Liu and his candor.

You may have wondered what Mayor Mike Bloomberg would come up with next to bedevil city dwellers. Well, wonder no longer. His latest blast is to ban smoking in city parks, including Rockaway's beaches. After he was blasted for his plan, he stepped back a bit, saying that he wanted the smoking ban "only for certain areas, where smoking can be restricted." The mayor also admitted that it would really be tough to enforce any ban on smoking on the beach, because his parks enforcement police "have other things to do," but that he wanted to protect everybody's health. "If somebody wants to kill themselves [by smoking], that's ok, but I want to keep them away from youngsters and those who don't want to smoke," the mayor said.

The City Council has once again made it more difficult to do business in New York City. The council recently voted to require translation services at city pharmacies with four or more stores in the city. Those pharmacies will have to provide a person who can translate for residents who are not proficient in English. That sounds fine on the surface, but means that the pharmacies will have to hire several people fluent in other languages to sit around and wait for somebody who can't speak English to come in and ask for help. Who is going to pay for those translators? Their cost will be built into the prices that everybody who uses the pharmacy pays.

Former Rockaway resident Jay Walder, whose father Bernie was once the managing editor of The Wave, has been approved by the New York State Senate as the new chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). Walder grew up in Arverne, and often rode the A Train to work in Manhattan when he worked for the MTA years ago. He most recently ran the London (England) Transit Authority. He will begin his tenure in early August, reports say.

Here's the deal if you are a city traffic enforcement agent. The more tickets you write, the more money you make. In addition, those who write the most tickets get assigned more overtime, so they can earn even more money. They also get their choice of tours, so that they probably will not have to work during the weekend period. That's called an "incentive." All agents have "productivity goals," that they have to meet to keep their jobs. It has become a sick joke in this city that every motorist has received at least one ticket in the past year, and many have received more than one. Just last week, we spotted a TEA giving to ticket to a United Parcel Service driver who was delivering a package to the Wave office. The driver says he gets several each day.

Many parents are reacting with incredulity about the school report cards recently handed out by the DOE. They know better than anybody the quality of their children's school and they look at the report cards as just another propaganda message from candidate Michael Bloomberg.

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