2011-05-06 / Columnists

Beachcomber

Mark your calendar for a unique show that will take place at the West End Temple on May 15. We’ve seen lots of stand-up comedy in Rockaway (some of it even intentional), but we’ve never seen a rabbi do stand-up before. Rabbi Bob Alper, billed as “hilarious, clean and gentile-friendly” will appear at the local temple, located at 147-02 Newport Avenue in Neponsit, at 10 a.m. for one show only. Tickets are available at the temple office.

The recent spate of car vandalism on the west end once again points out the need for something for restless teens to do in the evening rather than hanging out on church steps or in front of stores on Beach 129 Street. Sources say that the incidents in which car mirrors were ripped off the cars and left in the driveways and car doors were kicked in was the act of teens who had perhaps imbibed a few beers and were looking for something to do. Perhaps we should ramp up the punishment for buying beer for minors. Perhaps we should explain once again to parents that they should know what their kids are up to when they are “hanging out” with their friends on public streets, the beach and at public buildings. In any case, something needs to be done to address the long-standing problem that we seem to discuss only around St. Patrick’s Day and Halloween.

The Dayton Beach Park controversy that pits middle-class residents against blue collar union workers is a microcosm of what is happening all over the nation on a larger scale. The shareholders’ organization says that it can no longer afford union workers who earn double what the shareholders earn each year and who get union benefits, such as paid vacation, sick leave and pensions. The union says that the shareholders, many of whom grew up in union homes, should be ashamed of themselves for firing the union workers and using non-union labor that is far less expensive. The union plans a demonstration at the Shore Front Parkway five-building complex sometime in the next few weeks. All of the buildings are on Shore Front Parkway, between Beach 81 and Beach 90 Streets.

Sometimes, political correctness goes too far. Such is the case of a recent ruling that says public computers in libraries can be used for accessing porn sites and perusing those sites at the library. Officials at the library say that their hands are tied, that the ruling comes under the heading of “free speech.” Think about it. Lots of teens use the library after school to do their homework and hang out. It has become a haven for some teens who have no adults at home until later in the evening. Should they have to share the space with some pervert watching a hardcore porn movie? We don’t think so, and probably you’d agree.

City workers are not allowed to collect a city paycheck and a city pension check at the same time, but Parks Department’s Adrian Benepe wants to end that. Rather than laying off workers, Benepe wants those who are eligible to retire and come back to work for Parks part time. This could have some resonance for lifeguards. How about bringing on board the retired firefighters and police officers who would love to augment their pensions by guarding Rockaway beaches for the summer? Good idea, so it probably would not be allowed.

The DOT has done it again. On Shore Front Parkway, from Beach 102 Street to Beach 73 Street, there are street cleaning restrictions and the signs read “No Parking, Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.” All, except for one sign in front of 8800 Shore Front Parkway, which says “No Parking, Tuesday, 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.” That sign and the parking spaces in front of it have become a “favorite” for local cops and traffic agents, who ticket cars that park on Tuesdays, the drivers believing that parking is allowed after seeing all the other “Thursday” signs. Perhaps the DOT should change the sign.

The budget cuts proposed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg will bring the number of our uniformed first responders to its lowest in nearly 20 years. If Bloomberg gets his way (doesn’t he always), there will be only 34,413 cops on the payroll, down from more than 40,000 in 2001. On the firefighting scene, a number of firehouses will be closed or truncated. There will be 10,282 firefighters on payroll, down from nearly 12,000 in 1980. At the same time, the city is still spending millions on bike lanes and new trees.

Next year, under the austerity budget, the Department of Education plans to spend $139 million more on charter schools and $207 million less on traditional public schools, according to the watchdog Independent Budget Office. Per-student spending for students in charter schools will rise, as will the amount of private support for those schools, the report says. Local school staff have reported to The Wave that this situation exists in Rockaway as well as in other parts of the city. Some of the new, small schools and the charters seem to get many more resources than the traditional public schools.

This year, we are going to experience four unusual dates: 1/1/11, 1/11/11, 11/1/11 and 11/11/11. That’s not all, an email message on the web says. Take the last two digits of your birth year. Now add the age you will be on your birthday this year and the result will be 111. This year, October will have five Sundays, five Mondays and five Saturdays. That happens only one in every 823 years.

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