2010-11-12 / Columnists

Beachcomber

Richard Brodsky ran in the Democratic primary for Attorney General and lost. The former naval aviator and battle group commander made a cogent point in an op-ed piece in the Daily News that should resonate with all of us. “New York’s political, business and cultural leaders are out of touch with the realities of daily life,” he wrote. “Travel to Jackson Heights or Binghamton and you’ll see families struggling to address the most basic concerns: how to educate my kids, what kinds of jobs will they have, can I retire, how will I pay my taxes, the doctor, tuition? And, yet, elites foam at the mouth and fuss about issues – gay marriage, redistricting, mosques, and left versus right— largely removed from such struggles and offer little that actually addresses them.”

 

Some more proof that the city’s parking rules are more about raising money than they are about the enforcement of rules that are needed for the good of the public. A Manhattan city councilman has proposed a bill that would allow motorists to park in areas with alternate-side parking as soon as the street sweeper makes its pass. “People wait in their cars, sometimes more than an hour after the truck cleans the street,” said Councilman Ydanis Rodriquez. “We’re talking about working-class people that have to be taking care of their families. They have to go to work. After the sweeper passes by, they should be able to park.” The city, however, says that the new rule would not be good for the agency. “Our enforcement people don’t know whether or not the sweeper has gone by when they give the tickets,” a representative said, adding, “sometimes streets need to be swept more than once.” Want to bet that the mayor will veto the bill if it is ever passed by the Council?

The high school report cards are out, but only three of Rockaway’s eight high school programs were rated – the others are considered to be too new to rate by the city’s Department of Education. You knew in advance that Beach Channel High School was going to get an F, because both the mayor and the chancellor want it closed down to make room for State Senator Malcolm Smith’s charter high school. Last year, B C H rating, with 38.2 points out of 100. This year, it got an F rating with 37.8 points out of 100. If you can tell me how 0.5 points moves a school from a C to an F, raise your hand and go to the head of the class. The high school component at Scholars’ Academy was one of those that was not rated because it is too new, as was the case with the Rockaway Park High School for Environmental Sustainability and the Queens High School for Information, Research and Technology (Don’t you just love the names). The high school component of the Channel View School for Research got an A rating. The Frederick Douglass Academy VI, which operates in Far Rockaway High School , got a C rating. By the way, don’t call Far Rockaway High School. Its phone has been disconnected by the DOE because it no longer exists – at least in the agency’s mind. As a point of reference, Brooklyn Technical High School, long one of the city’s big four, got a B rating this year. The process to phase out and close Beach Channel High School has already begun. A DOE spokesperson said that he expects the process, which requires four meetings, including one public meeting, will be over by late November.

The National Park Service is looking for some help with the new management plan for Gateway National Recreation Area, the first national park specifically dedicated to an urban environment. In the wake of several meetings held locally in the past few months, the NPS has scheduled nine new meetings, two of them in the local area. One of them comes today, November 12, at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn at noon until 6 p.m. The other, to be held on Wednesday, November 17, from 2 to 8 p.m., will be held at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, just north of Broad Channel on Cross Bay Boulevard.

Those Rockaway residents who are subscribers to Time Warner Cable and use its digital phone system can now do some unusual things with their phone and computer. They can now view a list of voicemail messages, listen to them on the computer and save or delete them. In addition, subscribers can set distinctive ringtones on their home phones just as they can on their cell phones and also can block or reject calls from specific numbers. The program is called VoiceZone, and subscribers can set it up on their computer.

Seagirt Boulevard, between Beach 19 and Beach 20 Streets, has become a danger zone for senior citizens, many of whom live in the high-rise buildings in the area. The problem is, the buildings are all on the south side of Seagirt Boulevard, while the stores and the hospital are on the north side. Some motorists use the boulevard as a speed area, and a number of seniors have been injured and even killed while trying to cross the street. Perhaps the timing of the traffic signals in the area should be increased to allow the slower seniors to safely cross.

The Rockaway Rotary Club will host its annual food drive in front of Waldbaum’s on Beach Channel Drive at Beach 112 Street on Saturday, November 13, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. In addition, a Bloodmobile will be on site from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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