2009-10-02 / Columnists

Beachcomber

In just another example of how City Councilman James Sanders Jr. treats his constituents, he asked members of the Beachside Bungalow Preservation Association to meet with him at his City Hall office rather than meeting them in Rockaway. Then, without any notice, he blew off the meeting, leaving several Rockaway people high and dry in Manhattan. Stephanie Samoy, the organization's president, told The Wave that this is the second time in recent months that Sanders has failed to show for a scheduled meeting.

Local attorney Howard Sirota has a take on the adult home controversy that sums up the position of most Rockaway residents. "The residents deserve care and a decent place to live, access to health care and not to be stigmatized and forced to live in a home run by irresponsible, greedy owners," he wrote in a letter to the editor. "The neighborhood would be a far better place for everyone if we stopped being New York City's capital of adult mental health facilities." The state has until October 15 to come up with a remedial plan to present to the federal court.

Congressman Gregory Meeks held a call-in press conference last week to discuss his meeting with Governor David Paterson, in which he reportedly told Paterson that it was time for him to retire his candidacy in the next election and let a stronger candidate pick up the ball. Meeks would not speak directly about what he and "his friend, David," discussed at the meeting. However, it is clear that the Democrats are attempting to keep their party from holding primaries, rather asking everybody to back the candidate of the party leaders. To our mind, that is anti-democratic. One White House aide told reporters, "People can't raise enough to fund [both] primaries and general elections." That is good for the party, but bad for the electorate, because it limits the choice the voters face. We asked Meeks about this during the phone conference, and he said that the party had a right to insure that it had the best candidates possible, but you can read that as the choice that the party wants to hold the seat.

Queens Democratic Party Executive Director Michael Reich thinks that incumbent City Council candidate Eric Ulrich can be beaten by his party's candidate, Frank Gulluscio. "We have every intention of taking back that seat," Reich said recently. "We lost it in a fluke, in a low-turnout special election without any party identification." Reich is wrong. The Democrats lost that election because neither of the party's two district leaders - Lew Simon or Geraldine Chapey - had the chops to pull off a win. Simon got killed in the mainland and Chapey refused to talk about the money she had taken from taxpayers over the past ten years. Reich says that there was no party identification, but both of those candidates were clearly Democratic functionaries and they lost big to the upstart Republican in a highly-Democratic area. That should tell Reich that he better get this year's candidate in gear and into Rockaway, or he will not retake the seat. While Rockaway does not control the votes, we do not believe that the Democrats can win without significant votes from the peninsula.

Speaking of elections, voters can't seem to make up their mind about reelecting Mayor Mike Bloomberg. In one recent poll, 47 percent of registered voters said that they're tired of Bloomberg (and his incessant ads) and would like to see somebody else - anybody else - in office. In the same poll, only 46 percent said that they definitely wanted him back for four more years. "When the incumbent is hovering around the 50 percent mark, that is an indication that it might well be a very interesting race," a polling executive told reporters.

A Rockaway resident who worked for the MTA's subway division for 40 years called to say that it is not feasible to fix the subway stations on the peninsula without first fixing the elevated struc ture itself. The man, who lives on Beach 70 Street near the el, says that the vibration of the crumbling foundation shakes his house. "All of the steel is gone and the concrete is falling," he said. "Fixing the stations is like putting a band aid on a major wound."

Marty Nislick. a 1962 graduate of Far Rockaway High School, has created a website, www.rockaw aymemories.com. The site is devoted to maintaining the memories of growing up in the Rockaways. One of the most popular features on the site is our FRHS Alumni page. From this page you can access a database of more than 20,000 photos of FRHS graduates, spanning six decades. Many alumni have already found not only their photos but those of other family members and long lost friends. However, he is still missing some graduating classes, and hopes that there are some Wave readers that may still have copies of Dolphins dating from the 1930s and early 1940s that they would be willing to lend for this project. He says that he will gladly reimburse anyone for the cost of shipping her/his yearbook. Everything sent will be returned promptly after it has been scanned for inclusion on the website. To make arrangements, contact Nislick at: marty@rockaway memories. com or at 718-229-0339.

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