2010-07-30 / Columnists

Beachcomber

The demands for the investigation of Congressman Gregory Meeks grow each week. Two weeks ago, it was the Committee for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington demanding an investigation of his ties to a local realtor who loaned him $55,000 with no plans for him to pay the money back. This week, it’s the National Legal and Policy Center, which is demanding an investigation not only into the loans, but into his ties to criminal financier Allen Stanford, who financed more than a dozen trips for Meeks and other legislators at the same time Sanford was running one of the largest Ponzi schemes in history. In addition, the demand alleges that Meeks interceded with the president of Venezuela on the behalf of Stanford, who wanted a snitch sent to prison. Meeks met with the president, and the man did go to prison.

Residents who live in the vicinity of the elevated structure on Beach 68 Street say that their homes are being put in danger by the pile driver working at that location. They say that the driver works all day long and into the evening, shaking their homes so badly that things fall off shelves and the walls are beginning to crack. So far, they have received no relief from anybody in government, although they say they have contacted everybody they could think of.

It has been many years since the feds cut off the garbage dumping ground in the ocean off Rockaway and since medical waste has invaded our shores. That happened once again on July 19, however, with syringes, medical waste and other detritus scattered along the shoreline from Beach 84 Street west to Riis Park. The Parks Department quickly cleaned the waste material and the beaches were closed for only an hour, but officials say they have no idea where the waste came from. One official conjectured that a doctor who didn’t want to pay for disposing of his medical waste simply dropped it off his boat.

Just last week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg broke ground in Staten Island for a $70 million sports facility. The Staten Island park will include an indoor track and field facility. All that, and the mayor still has not signed the waiver to allow Rockaway to build its much less opulent facility, which has no track and field facility.

Word is that the Democratic State Campaign Committee has targeted State Senator Shirley Huntley as one of the key races in the upcoming election and the race to retain power in the Senate. The committee has begun pumping money into Huntley’s campaign, even though she has long been considered to have a “safe seat.”

The partial collapse of the boardwalk at two spots about 10 blocks apart has restarted the debate about whether or not trucks or emergency vehicles should be allowed to ride on the shaky edifice. The boardwalk is in disrepair in many places, and some locals blame it on the Parks Department, Police Department, ambulances and repair trucks that regularly ride on the boardwalk. In this case, a Welsbach Electric truck was the culprit. Perhaps it is time that all trucks be banned from the boardwalk except when somebody’s life is in danger.

With only a month to go before school begins anew, only 50 students have registered for the freshman class at Beach Channel High School, thanks largely to the mayor’s efforts to shut the school down. That will impact both the staff and the remaining students at the school. As Bloomberg said recently, if the school doesn’t have the students, it’s not going to have the staff or the level of funding that it had previously. Matt Green is on Day 125 of his walk across America. Green started at Rockaway Beach more than four months ago in his walk, which will end one day in Rockaway Beach, Oregon. Presently, he is in Montana and says that he is doing well. “I had this idea to experience a walk across the country a few years ago,” Green told a Montana newspaper. “I just wanted a big adventure, to meet people along the way and share experiences. Some people think I’m crazy, but others think it’s cool.”

Beware! Some locals have recently received a letter from the Alliance Financial Group in Manhattan. The letter announces the recipient as the winner in the “consumer promotion drawing and Smartedge Sweepstakes.” Along with the letter is a check for $3,870, supposedly drawn in your name from the Cargo Transportation International in Inwood. The letter advises you to cash the check and send a personal check of your own to the financial group. By the time you find out that their check is a phony, they will have your good check deposited and will be gone. The proper authorities have been told of the scam, and we hope they close it down quickly. Meanwhile, never send your own funds to cover a deposited check that you receive in the mail.

While the MTA cries poverty and cuts service, including our resident rebate program for the Cross Bay Bridge, only a handful of the top six-figure executives at the agency will lose their jobs. More than 200 staffers at MTA headquarters earn between $100,000 and $350,000. It seems that they should be the first to go before services and programs that impact riders are cut.

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