Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s approval rating continues to go south at a very quick pace. According to a Quinnipiac University poll taken last week, the latest number for Bloomberg is 39 percent, his lowest number in eight years. The last poll, taken in November, showed Bloomberg with a 55 percent approval rating. Since then, the large growth in school test scores has proven to be illusionary, he has taken on the city unions, tried to do away with the civil service system, made a joke about drunk Irishmen and failed to plow the snow. “Outer-borough residents are abandoning him in droves,” one of the poll officials said.
Several parents at odds with the principals at the schools their children attend have called to say that their survey sheets were “somehow lost” by those schools. This is too widespread to be a mistake, one parent said, arguing that the principals don’t want dissident parents filling out the all-important surveys. One parent, who also works for the DOE said that any parent can get a survey form by calling 311 and demanding one.
With the word that the state AG has started a probe of State Senator Shirley Huntley for the shady non-profits run by her and her daughter, that makes three local legislators who are under investigation by various arms of the law enforcement community. Congressman Gregory Meeks is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee and by state and federal investigators. State Senator Malcolm Smith is under investigation by both state and federal authorities. All of the probes have to do with a myriad of subjects, including their role in the Aqueduct Racino, as well as shady non-profits and charities.
Staff and volunteers at the Butterflies By The Sea Eisenstadt Hospice Unit are holding a fundraiser at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Beach 90 Street on March 26. The money raised that night will go toward buying supplies and furnishing the area that holds seven new beds. That brings the total beds in the much-needed unit to 14. The unit is the only hospice unit on the peninsula and it serves not only Rockaway residents in dire need, but many from outside the peninsula as well. To purchase tickets or make a donation, email email@example.com.
A Brooklyn Assemblyman has put a bill in the hopper that would bring a moratorium on closing city schools. Under the proposed law, the city would not be able to close any schools for at least one year. The bill has more than a dozen sponsors in the Assembly, but its success in the Republican-controlled State Senate is in doubt. If the bill were passed, it would impact Beach Channel High School by stopping the phase-out process.
In the past, the bathrooms for the handicapped on the boardwalk at Beach 116 Street were kept open during daylight hours in the winter as well as the summer. This year, however, they are closed, creating a real handicap for those who need to use them.
Any city police officer will tell you that the most dangerous call that they must respond to is for a domestic dispute. Anything can happen, and often does. Witness the death of another police officer who responded to a domestic dispute call two weeks ago and was pushed to his death. Many wonder why the man who pushed him was still on the street. Over the past 25 years, he has a history of 30 arrests, including assaults on police officers, burglary, robbery and domestic violence. Over the last year, he has multiple arrests for drugs and violations of an order of protection. He has repeatedly proven that he is a menace to society, not only to his girlfriend, but to others. He should not have been free to kill the police officer.
City Comptroller John Liu issued a report that gives lie to the conventional wisdom that city workers earn more than those in the private sector. His report stated that city workers make 17 percent less, on average, than people who work at similar jobs at private and not-for-profit companies. Mayor Bloomberg and others have long demonized city workers by pointing out that they earn more and that their pension payouts are higher. That now has proven not to be true.
When St. Patrick’s Day comes around each year, the newspapers are full of Irish interest stories. One such story ran in the Daily News on March 13. Two reporters scoured the city, looking for the “Best Poured Pint of Guinness.” Turns out that the winner is right here in Rockaway. Number one was Dalton’s Seaside Grill on Beach 108 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard. Chris Dalton, who owns the pub with his brothers, was the winning bartender. The story says that locals call the restaurant (which, at one time, was owned by the McGuire family of basketball fame) “The happiest place on Earth.”
Two years ago, the State Senate’s “Gang of Four,” ruled the legislative body, taking control from the Democratic majority and stalling all the work of the Senate. Where are they now? Only Reuben Diaz is free from investigation. Hiram Monseratte was expelled from the body; Carl Kruger was recently indicted by the feds in a bribery scheme that included MediSys, the company that runs PHC; Pedro Espada faces trial in the fall.