2011-01-21 / Columnists

Beachcomber

The mayor’s plan to do away with the Civil Service Commission and to allow the city to hire and fire workers at its discretion is chilling. Knowing this mayor, he might well fire anybody who smokes or eats foods with transfat because they use too much healthcare. The law was first put into the hopper by State Assemblyman Theodore Roosevelt in 1883 because of all the corruption in hiring cronies and political appointments in government. The idea of using merit and testing to hire employees is just as valid today as it was then. Bloomberg says that doing away with the tests and the seniority rules would be good for both workers and the city. Once again, he is wrong.

The Rockaway Rotary Club is the lead organization in hosting teenager Lovely Ajuste, a Haitian youth who is being treated for a hole in her heart at the Montefiore Hospital Center in the Bronx. She was brought to the United States for treatment under the Rotary International “Gift of Life” program.

How the mighty have fallen. Our representative in the State Senate, Malcolm Smith, was once the second most-powerful Democrat in the Senate, the majority leader. Now that the Democrats no longer have control of the Senate, Smith’s party in the minority, but he has not been named to the leadership. Instead, he is the new Secretary of the Democratic Conference, about 10 steps below the leadership.

The federal government has accused New York City with cheating on its Medicaid reimbursements by “improperly approving 24-hour home care of thousands of patients who did not qualify for the care. According to the feds, city agencies approved the full care program because that is paid for by the feds rather than the city. Had the city approved a lesser-care regimen, the city would have been responsible for paying. The feds cited one case where a mentally-deranged woman who kept trying to jump out of her apartment window and punched her caregivers was kept at home, where the feds paid the bill, rather than being placed in a psychiatric setting, where the city would have had to foot the bill.

In 1971, the year that the NYPD began collecting statistics on police-involved shootings, cops shot and killed 93 people. The department considered that to be just about average for a year in which drugs and crime were king. In 2010, the cops shot and killed just eight people, fewer than in any year since 1971. During the years that Ray Kelly has been police commissioner, the cops have averaged about 24 fatal police shootings a year. Kelly says that the change is due to better tactics and training, especially on the part of the anti-crime units throughout the city. “Good tactics can put you in a place where you don’t have to shoot,” Kelly said. “Bad tactics can put you in a place where you have to shoot.”

On February 5 hundreds of plungers will hit the surf to fundraise for Cystic Fibrosis. The plunge will take place at 2 p.m. on the beachfront of Beach 99 Street. Once again, the registration and after-party will be held at Springman Hall at St. Camillus Church. The after-party, officials say, will take place at 2:01 p.m.

First came red light cameras that snapped you if you went through a yellow light. Then came bus lane cameras that shot you if you entered a Manhattan bus lane. Both of those created lots of revenue for the city at $50 bucks a pop. Now, comes the possibility of speed cameras that would figure out if you are breaking the 30 mile per hour speed limit on city streets and, if you are, it would shoot your picture so that the city can send you a $110 ticket. While the city says that the new cameras are for “safety” reasons, most everybody understands that it is just another way to get revenue from city residents.

The State Department announced recently that it would remove the words “Mother” and “Father” from its passport applications, replacing them with the works “Parent 1” and “Parent 2” in an apparent move to be more politically correct in a world where many children have two mommies or two daddies. The department’s website said that the changes were “in recognition of different kinds of families.” There was such a hue and cry over the change, however, that the State Department pulled back and created a compromise. The applications will now say, “Mother or Parent 1” and “Father or Parent 2.” We’re sure that somebody out there will question why “Father” is not “Parent 1.”

The Department of Education has started kindergarten registration for those entering the public school in September of this year. Families who want to register students should go to their zoned school between now and March 4. Schools will notify parents about assignment offers beginning March 21. Parents must then go to the school to which the child is accepted and register prior to April 15. Parents much bring two of the following: proof of residence (utility or cable bill); an original lease agreement or mortgage statement; a current property tax bill; a water bill; or a payroll document. In addition, the child’s birth certificate or passport must be shown as well as the child’s immunization record and the names of any siblings already at the school.

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