2011-04-22 / Columnists


It seems that Rockaway residents are finally getting mad and refusing to take it any more. At two recent meetings, the Community Board 14 meeting that discussed the remediation of the toxic waste site at Beach 108 Street and the meeting called to talk about the plan to extend the runways at JFK Airport into Jamaica Bay, local residents got up and spoke loudly and angrily about how they want to stop the JFK expansion and how they wanted the toxic waste site cleaned the right way. Perhaps this is just another manifestation of the people’s anger at and mistrust of the government, or perhaps they are angry at being dumped upon over and over again.

With the government crisis behind them, the Rockaway Little League pulled off an opening day program that drew more than 1,000 people to Fort Tilden for a day of food, family fun, ceremonies and several hotly-contested ball games. Kudos to all the volunteers who worked hard to ensure that the kids had a good day, even with the specter of moving the venue to Aviator Sports at the last moment should the government have closed down and shuttered the park.

Speaking of the little league opening, Congressman Anthony Weiner flew from Washington, D.C. after an all-night session to keep the government operating. Weiner told CNN on Friday night that his constituents would be harmed should the government shut down, and that one of the most important groups was the Rockaway Little League, which had 800 kids ready to play on Saturday morning. City Councilman Eric Ulrich, who only had to come over the bridge to Fort Tilden, never made it. We also have to give kudos to Kevin McCabe, the CEO of Aviator Sports at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, who offered to open his facility to the little league should Fort Tilden be closed down.

Daniel Cullinan, now of Rockville Center, wrote to remind us of the St. Francis de Sales “Big Five” basketball team of the late 1930s. He said that the hall was packed with 400 fans to watch the team, which included basketball hall of famer’s Dick and Al McGuire, Joe Murphy, Bud Schramm, Paul Esposito, Bill Ryan, Gene Mann, Jim Gallagher, Jack Raphael, George Klein and Normie Ochs, Teams came from all over the region to play against the team and well-known visitors such as Bob Cousey, Carl Braun, Sherman White and Sid Tannebaum often joined in.

Today, the New York State Legislature works very slowly, if at all. That was not the case 150 years ago, when Confederate troops fired on Fort Sumter in April of 1861 – 150 years ago. On April 15, 1861, the day after Sumter surrendered to the rebels, New York State provided 11 regiments of 7,334 officers and men to defend the Union. By the way, the fort’s executive officer during the attack was Abner Doubleday, the man credited with discovering the game of Baseball.

There has been a large response to a recent letter in The Wave from a woman whose dog was hit by a car and could not afford to pay the vet to treat her pet. A number of locals want to help her pay the bill and bring the dog back to health. Those who are interested in helping out can contact her directly by email at mizdani528@aol.com.

Kingsborough Community College will soon collaborate with the Peninsula Preparatory Academy on Beach 111 Street to run a number of adult education classes. There will be an eight-session Introduction to Computers, which will run on Wednesdays from April 27 to June 15, from 4:15 to 6:15 p.m. and a Defensive Driving Course, which will run from 4:15 to 7:15 p.m. on May 18 and 19. Those interested should contact 718-368-5052 no later than May 13.

The city’s Department of Transportation is known for its bike lanes and its fuzzy math. According to the DOT, bike ridership in New York City is up 66 percent from 2007 to 2009 and the great majority of bikers now commute to work, a massive jump by any determination.

The U.S. Census, however, has statistics that show that the percentage of those commuting to work has actually gone down 14 percent during that period. In fact, the census stats show that 57 percent of all New Yorkers take mass transit, while 29.9 percent drive private cars, 10.7 percent walk and only 0.6 percent bike to work. The DOT is working mightily to “prove” that the bike lanes are worth all the time and effort – and anger.

The city is postponing this month’s police academy class to July in an attempt to save a couple of bucks. The 540-member class was already postponed from January. Now, the class will be pushed back to July, when it will join with the alreadyplanned summer class. The NYPD now has about 34,5000 members, down from 40,000 in 2001.

The New York Post has once again shown its disdain for city workers. On April 13, it did a “Tale of the Tape” comparing a unionized teacher with a unionized grocery worker. It shows that the teacher earns $107,000 a year, while the grocery worker earns only $60,000. What it does not show is that the teacher needs a degree to get his license and then a master’s degree to keep it. Of course, the teacher earns more and therefore has a larger pension, but the Post tries to show that there is something wrong with that equation.

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