2011-10-21 / Columnists


With all the senior citizen housing facilities we have on the peninsula, Access-A-Ride vans are a common sight. Detractors of the MTA-funded service say that public money shouldn’t be used to transport people to movie theaters, the racetrack and to shopping malls. Proponents say that the ill and elderly have the right to have convenient use of those facilities and that the city should insure those needs are taken care of. Recently, a far darker problem has hit the service. Just last week a local 80-year-old Alzheimer patient was dropped off by a van, unsupervised. He wandered away and wound up dead on the bayfront. Just a few months ago, another driver left a wheelchair bound and bleeding elderly man and his wife in the McDonald’s parking lot rather than transport them directly home before going to Brooklyn. It is clear that changes are needed. Drivers need to be aware of the infirmities of their passengers and some sort of supervision of the demented must be guaranteed. You would think that the new digital voting machines that were used in the recent special election would provide a quicker way to get the results, but it doesn’t because the Board of Elections didn’t buy the special port that would allow the machines to dump the results to a central computer. Instead, when the election ends, workers at thousands of polling sites print out paper strips that are then taped together and counted. When the results are counted manually, they are given to a cop who takes them to the local stationhouse, where they are typed into a computer by hand and sent to the Associated Press, where the results are tallied. It took The Wave from September 13 until October 10 to get the certified tally. The board is now looking at ways to download the statistics directly to the Board of Elections computers, but the fix will most likely be more expensive than buying the right hardware and software in the first place. The 100 Precinct anti-crime team should be congratulated for their arrest of six thugs who were shooting up the Hammel Houses just before midnight on October 7. The plainclothes team, a sergeant and two police officers, were investigating a robbery in the vicinity about an hour earlier when they heard shots coming from the public housing project. Going to the scene, they saw six men with weapons running towards the beach. They gave chase and caught up with the men as they were trying to bury their weapons in the sand. The three cops were Sergeant Bradley Beamer and Police Officers Michael Johnston and Carlos Cano. They deserve a “well done.” The Rockaway Rockies youth hockey league is hosting a fundraiser at the home opener of the Brooklyn Aviators at Aviator Sports, Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn. The game is slated for 7:05 p.m. on Saturday, October 29. Tickets, costing $10 each, are available each Sunday at the Shore Front Parkway and Beach 108 Street hockey rink from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Those interested can also call 347-204-1194 for tickets.

One sharp local businessman is taking advantage of the current burglary pattern in the west end of Rockaway. He advertises his ADT Home Security business by attaching the flyer to a CompStat crime report for the 100 Precinct that is available on the NYPD website. “Do you feel Safe and Secure?” the flyer asks. “Maybe You Shouldn’t!” He also provides a special offer for Rockaway residents.

A controversy in Bayswater grows daily. An Orthodox Jewish group wants to build a three-story Yeshiva and dormitory in what is essentially an area of one and two-family homes. The builders tried to pull a fast one and get Community Board 14 approval for the variances it needs in order to build the school before the locals knew what hit them, but they failed. A large group of Bayswater residents attended the last meeting to oppose the plan – not because the building is a Yeshiva, but because it is out of scale with the rest of the community and would cause noise and parking problems, as well as other quality of life impacts. Proponents of the plan argue that it is a religious school and they should have the right to build it no matter what the community says. They intimate that those against the project might be anti-Semitic, but many of the Bayswater leaders are Jewish. The community board gave thumbs down to the project, but it can be overruled by the borough president, the City Council or the City Planning Commission.

Some of the Democratic politicians who were reportedly involved in a meeting to choose the successor to embattled Congressman Gregory Meeks say the meeting never took place and that Meeks has no thought of stepping down even though he is being investigated by myriad state and federal authorities. In a long “Open Letter” in last week’s edition of The Wave, Meeks blames everything on the paper and its editor, stating that the Wave’s stories are all inaccurate and that the cartoon it used to accompany the latest stories are “racist.” He even requested time on NY1 News to give his message that both Wave and its editor are somehow racist by writing about him and his problems. It’s too bad that NY1 did not contact the paper in advance of its coverage of the “story,” because it would have learned that the racist cartoon was drawn by an Afro-American man. When the investigations end, we will all see the true story and the chances are we will have a new Congressman and Meeks will be under indictment.

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