2011-08-12 / Columnists


Once again a local has died on Cross Bay Boulevard, on the stretch that runs through the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. For years, Broad Channel residents have demanded that barriers be put up along the road to prevent cars from intruding on the bike paths. In this accident, the bike rider was attempting to cross and was hit. The barriers would have dissuaded him from attempting to cross the busy road. The DOT’s answer to every problem is to reduce lanes and paint more white lines. This accident once again proves that the city’s approach does not work. Something more needs to be done, because too many people have died on Cross Bay Boulevard and white lines are not the solution.

The number of burglaries on the peninsula has been growing by leaps and bounds, particularly in the 100 Precinct, where burglaries have grown by 97 percent over the past year. Already, there have been 65 in the 100 Precinct and 55 in the 101 Precinct. Some say that they are a function of the fiscal crisis and unemployment, but many of them have been simple cases of people breaking into a garage to steal a bicycle or some lawn equipment. Crime is on the rise after several years of decline. Taking into consideration all of the FBI’s “Index Crimes,” (murder, rape, robbery, felonious assault, burglary, grand larceny and grand larceny, auto) crime in the 100 Precinct is up by 35.5 percent at the same time it’s down in the 101 Precinct by 8.06 percent.

We have received some calls and email from people who say they saw some strange lights over Belle Harbor on Saturday, July 30. While they stop short of calling the lights “UFOs,” they say that the bright, red lights were high over the beachfront “They formed a diamond pattern in the sky, moved slightly and then, in a minute or so, faded out,” one local wrote. “They didn’t look like aircraft lights, but more like red stars.” Can anybody tell us what those lights really were?

The city has finally decided to spray pesticides over the bayfront communities that are heavily impacted by mosquitoes – Bayswater, Broad Channel, Edgemere and Arverne. Previously, the Department of Health said they would only spray if West Nile Virus was found in the area. The city called our mosquitoes a “nuisance” rather than a danger, but now it says that “spraying is necessary because of the large numbers of mosquitoes in the area.” The spraying will be done by trucks, not helicopters.

Here’s how Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s buddies at the State Education Department really work. Sixteen firms bid for a $27 million contract to set up a data system that would monitor student test scores. All of a sudden, without reviewing any of the other bids, the state announced that it was giving a no-bid contract to Rupert Murdoch’s new education company, run by former city schools chancellor Joel Klein. Published reports in the New York Times and elsewhere say that Klein actually started the company, appointed somebody to run it for a short time, and then sold it to Murdoch. The state says that it has decided that Murdoch and his new company (and Klein) are the only ones who can do a proper job and that bids are not necessary.

Running for Mayor is easier when you are the City Council Speaker. Records show that more than 200 contributions to Christine Quinn’s campaign fund – totaling $126,789 – came from the top employees of non-profits slated to get member item money this year. This, on top of the revelation two years ago that Quinn ran a slush fund that was used to fund her favorite charities and that the slush fund money came from funding for non-profits that did not exist.

Records show that Mayor Michael Bloomberg spent $5.6 million of his personal fortune this year to boost his image with New York voters even though he cannot run again for Mayor. That money was spent in March and April of last year on a blitz of TV ads, polling and mailings designed to prove that he did not deserve his low approval rating.

The ads were aimed at how much he has improved the public schools and that the streets are much safer under his control.

National Geographic magazine recently did a study on the nation’s best boardwalks. Despite the recent Hipster invasion, Rockaway did not make the list. The top two were Atlantic City and Coney Island, followed by Ocean City, Maryland.

When an organization supporting nude bathing suggested that Coney Island be designated by the city for nude bathers, there was a furor that made the point that Coney Island was too crowded and too dangerous for nudes. Several of those who opposed the designation of the Coney Island beach but supported nude bathing then pointed to either Riis Park or Fort Tilden beach instead. Several beachgoers said they did not need the formal designation, that they already have doffed their bathing suits at both Riis Park and Fort Tilden without any problems.

In the wake of the tragic murder of Lieby Kletsky, many parents have asked Mayor Mike Bloomberg to lift the school cell phone ban so that they can better keep track of their kids through GPS tracking. Bloomberg refused, stating, “Mobile devices are a major distraction that prevent all the other students in the classroom from learning.”

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