2009-12-25 / Columnists

Beachcomber

Donovan Richards, the acting chief of staff (he’s been acting for several years now) of City Council man James Sanders Jr., was honored earlier in the month by the Far Rockaway branch of the NAACP. The Wave wonders why Sanders didn’t show up for the award luncheon. It seems strange that the councilman did not show up for an honor to a man who has helped him in more ways than one over the years. Perhaps he was just too busy looking for a site for the trade school that Mayor Mike Bloomberg promised him in return for Sanders’ vote to overturn the term limits rule.

 

Are you ready for yet another area code in Queens? Well, ready of not, here it comes. No one is sure what the new area code will be, but the borough’s two present area codes, 718 and 347, are on pace to run out of numbers by mid-2012, telephone officials say. The company has no more numbers available in the 718 area code, even though each area code has about 8 million available numbers. There are only 1.97 million numbers left in the 347 area code. Officials say that nobody who presently has a number will be impacted by the change, but that new users will have to live with the third area code. Officials say that the proliferation of cell phones has increased the pace at which the numbers are utilized.

As required by the state’s new school governance law, The Educational Priorities Panel, an organization firmly under the thumb of Mayor Michael Bloom berg, will hold a forum at the school to address the phase-out and closing of Beach Channel High School. Those locals who have something to say can tell the three members of the panel all about it, but they cannot ask questions and the members of the panel will not respond to the comments. The meeting will be held on January 6 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. If you are concerned about the closing of the only comprehensive high school left on the peninsula, you should plan to go and make yourself heard.

There are those who believe that the plan to do away with student reduced fare bus and subway passes is a straw man set up by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to restore the idea of a congestion pricing plan in Manhattan. You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to see how it works. Bloomberg’s henchmen at MTA propose draconian cuts and then the mayor comes along and saves the day by putting tolls on the East River bridges and by charging motorists to drive in lower Manhattan. What a wonderful guy! Stay tuned!

The Wave was honored for the second time in recent months by being named by “New York” magazine as one of the top reasons for loving New York City. The piece, penned by Alex French (who did the piece on gangster surfer Bobby Vaughn for the magazine), caught the essence of the paper.

Insiders tell us that the plan to build a man-made island 15 miles from Rockaway beaches and use that island to dock massive Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) tankers is effectively dead, killed by the present economy, the glut of LNG already available and the recent statements by the new New Jersey governor that he’d veto the plan.

State Senator Malcolm Smith says that free transportation for students can be maintained if everybody chips in. He told The Wave last week that 1/3 of the cost should be born by the state, 1/3 by the Department of Education and the other third by the MTA. Smith promises that he will work to keep the students from having to pay full fare for transportation to and from school.

At first, we though it was a “Saturday Night Live” skit, but it turns out to be real. The New York City Department of Health (DOH) put out a press release on December 15 announcing a contest for New Yorkers to design a special, limited-edition condom. You have to be 17-years-of-age to submit a design and you can do so on line at the agency website. “We want people to be excited about the brand, because we know that condoms promote health,” the agency’s head said, adding that the city gives out 40 million condoms a year – up from three million in 2002. Some question how this city can plant a million trees at $1,000 a pop and provide 40 million condoms, but can’t provide free transportation for students who want to go to school.

The city’s infrastructure and services are rapidly deteriorating; the city’s own website shows. The latest report card shows 243 key indicators improved and 208 declined in recent months. That’s the worst showing for the city since the citywide reporting system was instituted in 2007. Indicators are provided for every city agency and many of them are not making their required marks. Officials say that they did so well last year that things look down when they are really better than they were two years ago. Others say that they have to do more with less, but the fact is the city agencies are no longer keeping up with where they need to be. For example, the city’s Department of Buildings is not making its required inspections and is way behind in areas such as vetting permits and checking up on construction projects.

The Wave wants to wish all of our advertisers and readers a very happy and healthy new year.

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