2011-09-02 / Columnists

Beachcomber

The news from Peninsula Hospital that the vital institution has received a two-week reprieve has some of its board members working harder than ever to nail down a more permanent solution to the fiscal problems the hospital faces. The first is to begin bankruptcy proceedings and the second is to find a new partner. Many insiders believed from the beginning that MediSys was never a good fit and events have proven that to be true.

More people were bemused than they were terrorized by the 5.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Rockaway and much of the east coast on August 23. There was no damage done in Rockaway, with the exception of some broken crockery and some pictures that fell from walls. Lots of people ran out into the street to see what was going on, and you could see people who live in the high-rise buildings along the oceanfront out on their terraces looking out to sea.

With the special elections only two weeks away, things are heating up on the campaign trail. What it will come down to, as it does with all special elections, is who can turn out their constituency to come to the polls. While Turner and Deacy will run big in Breezy Point and the west end of Rockaway, the Republicans are really going to have to pull the mainland voters to the polls. On the Democratic side, both candidates are Orthodox Jews, and that community tends to come out in large numbers and vote as a block. In addition, former Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer remains an icon in the senior citizens buildings on the oceanfront in Far Rockaway and in Bayswater, and people will come out to vote for Goldfeder based on her endorsement. It could well be a close race either way, depending on who can get out the vote.

We have to wonder why the officials at Gateway National Recreation Area invited a Nassau County firm to hold a crafts fair at Riis Park when they know that there is a Rockaway group that ran highly-successful arts and crafts fairs at the park for more than 25 years. It seems to many in Rockaway that the new craft and gifts fair that was scheduled for last weekend, but knocked out by Hurricane Irene, was just another slap in the face to the Rockaway community.

It is what we have come to expect from our politicians, but it still was disquieting news that Republican Congressional candidate Bob Turner, who says that he wants no new taxes on those earning more than $500,000 a year and who supports the tax cuts now providing windfall profits for the oil companies to be retained, owns $724,166 in oil and energy company stock. We understand that everybody votes his or her self-interest, but we expect more from our political leaders. Lots of west end residents got a laugh from the New York Post story about the rise in crime statistics and the implication that the 100 Precinct neighborhood had become a dangerous one. The story pointed out that some of the index crimes have gone up by more than 100 percent. When you only had one crime last year, and this year you have two, then that’s a 100 percent rise. Statistics can certainly be misleading if you don’t know the raw numbers that make up the percentage.

For a weekly paper such as The Wave, covering a story such as the pending closure of Peninsula Hospital Center can be daunting, with the story changing two or three times each day, leading up to a hard deadline with lots of details still up in the air. A daily newspaper can usually repair its mistakes the next day. A weekly has no such options.

The coming firefighter test has turned out to be the most expensive city civil service tests ever given. The new test, ordered by Judge Nicholas Garaufis, who earlier ruled that past tests were racist per se because not enough minorities passed, is expected to cost the cash-strapped city $3.3 million to develop and administer. The cost of the last civil service test for firefighters cost a paltry $1.3 million compared to the new FDNY test. “The court has forced some pretty expensive mandates on the city,” said one official. The city was forced to hire an outside consultant to make up the test. The test will be given on a computer rather than with pencil and paper as with past tests, and will be overseen by a number of monitors appointed by the judge. The city has so far paid the outside consultant more than $500,000 to develop the test, and it has yet to be approved by the judge. City officials argued that test is necessary, but that the extra cost demanded by Garaufis is not.

While the accident at Newport Avenue and Beach 128 Street on August 20 was thankfully not a deadly crash, it once again points out the stupidity of speeding on the bumpy east-west streets in Rockaway. Eyewitnesses say that the teen driver was speeding west on Newport Avenue when she hit a bump in the road, causing the car to go airborne. When the car came down, the force of the impact snapped the car’s axle, causing the right front wheel to spin away from the car. It then skidded sideways, hit a brick wall and flipped over on its roof. That none of the three teens in the car was killed was a miracle. They were, however, all badly hurt. By the way, we have been told by one of the EMT’s that responded to the accident in Rockaway that the three victims were transported to Brookdale Hospital in Brooklyn not because the Peninsula Hospital Center was in diversion, but because Brookdale was the nearest hospital with a trauma center.

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