2010-11-19 / Columnists


The state has ordered officials at the adult homes cited in a recent court decision to begin the process to move any resident who is capable out of the large homes that dot the peninsula and into what they call “assisted living” homes and apartments. The main question remaining is whether or not those assisted living units will be in Rockaway or elsewhere. While it is true that most of those in the homes originally came from other parts of the city to live in Rockaway, a large number of them have been here for many years. The major advocaty group is calling for the adult home residents to be resettled “in a community where they have lived and feel comfortable.” That sounds like Rockaway to us. The city says that decision will not be made until it knows just how many adult home residents are involved.

Mayor Bloomberg recently asked city residents for suggestions on how to improve the city and bring in more revenue. One of the ideas he got was to charge $10 for those entering Times Square on New Year’s Eve. Others were to cancel all parades in the city, with the exception of the Thanksgiving Day Parade; fold the corners on papers rather than use staples or paper clips; regulate a red light district for prostitution and gambling and let plainclothes cops ticket pet owners who do not clean up after their pets. The development wing of the Reverend Floyd Flake’s Allen AME Church, one of the largest AME churches in the nation, has always been controversial. Even when Flake was our Congressman, he was arraigned on federal charges of using public money that was earmarked for senior citizen housing for his school instead. Then, more recently, there was the case of the building that was owned by Flake’s church and then sold to a private corporation run by Flake and his business partners under a new program that allowed public buildings to be sold to private parties for a guarantee that they would remain affordable. Flake’s corporation bought the building for what the Daily News said was a price far lower than the normal. Flake, of course, was then deeply involved in the Aqueduct Racino scandal as a minor financial partner who lobbied the governor to give his group the contract to run the billion dollar gambling facility. Now, he is coming to Rockaway to build a five-story affordable senior citizen housing building on Loretta Road. We can only hope that his local project is scandal-free and gets built, because Rockaway needs that type of housing.

Those of you who were unhappy about the tiny type on the ballots in the recent election, as most older voters were, you can blame the state for the problem. Seems that the law, which was set when there were still mechanical voting machines, says that all the candidates must be listed on the same page. In an election such as this, with multiple candidates and multiple parties, that forced the type to get smaller and smaller. The city has asked the state legislature to change the law to remediate the problem before the next election.

Now that Cathleen Black has been named as the new Schools Chancellor by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, she will have to get a waiver from the State Education Department because she has no credentials for the job. The state requires all school superintendents to have at least three years teaching experience as well as graduate work in school supervision. Some say those rules are of little value to a big city like ours, but they are there for a reason, and that reason is an important one. The tenure of Chancellor Joel Klein, a lawyer who got a waiver from the state, has been a disaster for the New York City Schools. Hopefully, the state has learned it’s lesson and will not grant the waiver. That’s a long shot, however, because whatever Bloomberg wants, Bloomberg gets.

If you believe Accuweather, one of the foremost weather reporting companies in the nation, Thanksgiving week is going to be ice cold, with the possibility of a snow storm moving down from Montana the weekend before the holiday – which is this weekend. So, dig out your boots and snow blowers. Accuweather predicts that it’s going to get nasty.

The leaders of President Barak Obama’s bipartisan deficit commission have come up with a sure way to cut the deficit that the president exacerbated by bailing out the banks and automobile manufacturers. They want to reduce the annual cost-of-living increase received by Social Security recipients. Of course, there was no increase this year and there promises to be none next year, but they will resume when the cost of living rises, although the percentage may be much lower due to the deficit. It seems unfair to many that hedge fund managers get millions in bonuses while seniors on a fixed income get less to live on even while prices for many necessities rise.

If you see a group of large athleticlooking young men hanging around Beach 120 Street, don’t get nervous. They are all members of the New York Aviators hockey team, who play their games at Aviator Sports at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn but live in Rockaway. For a schedule of Aviators games, see the It’s What’s Happening column in this paper.

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