Phone lines have been buzzing in Rockaway over the proposed State Senate lines that break Rockaway into two districts approximately at Beach 95 Street. While Rockaway has had one State Senator since the first racial and political rezoning was completed more than 20 years ago, now, however, we will have two State Senators. We will have Joe Addabbo, who has already walked away from Rockaway and its political needs once before and Shirley Huntley, who is under investigation for pouring public money into a bogus nonprofit charity run by her relatives. We can’t make this up.
There are usually competing rights involved when The Wave does a story about the problems surrounding Beach 116 Street. We found that to be true in the story that ran last week about the Vietnam veterans who live in an SRO building on Beach 115 Street. There is no doubt that those men, who may well be living in an SRO because of what they faced in the jungles of Vietnam as well as what they faced when they returned home, cause problems for the shopping street, what with their scruffy appearance and demeanor. That is why many local residents and politicians would like to see them gone. Where, however, do they want the vets to go and do they not deserve a little compassion from the rest of us who never served their nation and live better lives for not having gone through those hardships? We are not asking for an answer to that question, because there is no one answer to that problem, which is not exclusive to Rockaway.
It’s nice to have political clout. As everybody knows, State Senator Malcolm Smith was the founder of the Peninsula Preparatory Academy, a local charter school. He was involved with its board and running the school until the Daily News and The Wave began to question his involvement and all of the public money he was pouring into the school. Now, the DOE wants to close PPA and Smith has come to the forefront. While Chancellor Dennis Walcott has steadfastly refused to meet with representatives of the schools he is closing, he did meet at Tweed Courthouse with Smith and PPA leaders after a recent rally at the department’s Manhattan headquarters. We guess that Smith, who is under investigation by both state and federal law enforcement agencies, had the juice to get the group in the door to see Walcott.
Every year, especially in the winter, the question of people saving parking spaces in front of their homes rears its ugly head. It has not been too bad this year because of the lack of snow, but we have received a few calls from people who live nearby train stations and shopping areas. It is clearly illegal to save a parking space on city streets. Section 4-08, section 8, subsection 7 reads: “It shall be unlawful for any person to reserve a parking space, or to prevent any vehicle from parking on a public street through his/her presence in the roadway, the use of hand signals, or by placing any box, crate, hand-cart, dolly or any other device, including unauthorized pavement, curb or street markings, or signs in the roadway…”
Just one big happy family. Natalie Ravitz, who was hired by former schools chancellor Joel Klein as his communications director, is leaving the department to work for mogul Rupert Murdoch as his chief of staff. You’ll remember that Klein left to work for the media giant, whose companies were recently involved in phone hacking and all sorts of other black ops. You’ll also remember that the new chancellor, Dennis Walcott, has been trying to give a billion dollar no-bid contract to another of Murdoch’s companies to develop software to track student achievement.
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer was in Rockaway last week, hosted by Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder, who showed Stringer around some of the Orthodox schools in Far Rockaway. This could well be an opening shot in the run for mayor in 2013, because the Manhattanite borough president would need support in the outer boroughs to win the election. A federal judge has ordered New York State’s congressional primaries to be held in June, throwing the entire election calendar into disarray. Judge Gary Sharpe ordered the change to force New York to comply with a federal law requiring states to get absentee ballots to military personnel at least 45 days prior to the Nov-ember 6 general election. That ruling forces state legislators to get busy drawing the new lines required by law after a Census year.
Speaking of the congressional redistricting, Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, one of the three most powerful politicians in the state, says that he wants the 9th District seat now held by Republican Bob Turner – a district that includes the west end of Rockaway and was once held by Tony Weiner – retained. He thinks that Turner can be had in the upcoming election and that the Democrats could retake the seat for the party. “I believe that it’s a Democratic seat and would be won by a Democrat,” he said recently. Turner beat Democratic candidate David Weprin after Weiner resigned.
Those who want to save Manhattan from a massive storm surge that would inundate much of the borough’s waterfront should a massive Category Five hurricane hit the area, look to Rockaway to save the city. They want to put a massive flood gate between the tip of the Rockaway peninsula and Sandy Hook in New Jersey. That barrier would push the flood waters into Jamaica Bay, flooding Rockaway, but saving Manhattan. Bloomberg must love the idea.