2011-10-07 / Columnists


The final Rockaway Task Force report addressed many of the peninsula’s problems. Let’s hope that the report goes up the ladder to the city and some of those concerns actually cause remedial action. The most interesting recommendation was the one that called for the end to a plan for housing in the Arverne East area and to use it for retail purposes instead. The Wave has, for many years, called for a Tanger Mall-type retail mall or off-price mall that would bring both stores and jobs to Rockaway.

Parents who want to use the latest rounds of school report cards to decide on a school for their child should beware. The fact is, the final scores achieved by the school has little relation to reality and is skewed to reward progress above achievement. Parents shopping for a school should speak with the school staff and current parents to really get a feel for what is happening. The report card grades are largely meaningless for the purpose of comparing schools.

In 2004, we walked the streets of Broad Channel with Hillary Clinton, who was then our Senator. Clinton, who was there to memorialize the Korean War, was taken with the community and the fact that the volunteer firefighters played such a vital part in community life. Looking at the dilapidated firehouse on Noel Road, then almost 100 years old, she promised the volies a new firehouse. Over the next few years, Clinton and then-Representative Anthony Weiner worked to find the money. A rider to the Omnibus Transportation Bill in 2008 gave the volies the money, but the city refused to sponsor the construction, something that was necessary before the project could go forward. The bottom line was that the city’s fire department squashed the deal, basically saying that the volies were not necessary and that the money for a new firehouse would be wasted. Audrey Pheffer finally got the state’s dormitory authority to sponsor the group, and now the project is on track for community review. Let’s hope the long road is finally coming to an end.

In a recent CNN poll asking whether or not the United States should support a Palestinian state in the Middle East, with more than 10,000 votes cast, 91.7 percent said no, 7.64 percent said yes and the rest said they were not sure.

Speaking of polls, a recent NY1- Marist poll found that 48 percent of registered voters said that they would be less likely to vote for a mayoral candidate if that candidate were backed by the present mayor, Michael Bloomberg. Only 30 percent of those polled said that they would be more likely to vote for a candidate backed by Bloomberg. As one British wag once said, “It’s the world turned upside down.” Here we have one Representative forced out of his office by the Democratic leadership for sexless sexual transgressions, while the same leadership stands by our other Representative, who was just named one of the “most corrupt members” of the House. When did sexual transgression begin to trump corruption, theft and venality? Which is worse? We believe that Weiner should have remained and that Meeks should go. Weiner did lots for Rockaway and Meeks has done little and that’s what representation is all about.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has a plan to blanket the city with red light cameras. In fact, he has said that he would like to see one at every street corner in the city. He also wants to double the fine to $225 and publish the names of those who transgress on the Internet. “If people didn’t go through the red lights, you’d save the lives of lots of seniors and kids,” the mayor said. Detractors, however, say that the cameras can be dangerous forcing drivers to speed up at intersections to beat the yellow light and the camera flash. “The cure may be worse than the disease,” one opponent told reporters.

A number of years ago, The Wave and local artist Patrick Clark were sued by Anthony Cuti, the then-CEO of Duane Reade pharmacies, for an ad that ran in the paper about the Duane Reade billboard overlooking Tribute Park, which is next to the chain’s Rockaway store. Cuti lost, and he went on to commit other transgressions and was recently sentenced to three years in prison for perpetrating a scam to falsely inflate the income and reduce the expenses that the company reported to the government.

Blame it on the high cost of living in this city, on the lure of suburban life, or on any other factor you want, but the fact of life is that nearly a third of the city’s former workers are running from the city the first chance they get. Figures compiled by the city’s five pension systems show that 91,237 of the 296,914 pension checks sent out last month, about 31 percent, went to addresses outside of New York State. By comparison, less than a quarter of state retirees leave the state.

What do those grade signs in the windows of restaurants mean to you? An A means that the eatery has 0-13 violations, none of them critical; B means it has 14-27 violations; a C means that it has 28 or more violations, some of them critical and that they need to be remediated. Violations range from not critical (a missing sign or a sign in the wrong place on the wall) to critical (mouse droppings, not keeping food at correct temperature). Grade pending means that the owner is challenging the inspector’s grade and will hang a letter once the case is decided.

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