2012-04-27 / Columnists

Beachcomber

With PHC’s certificate of operation returned to the New York State Department of Health, it is improbable that the facility will be used as a hospital in the near future, even if it is sold to another hospital or healthcare unit. Without an operating certificate, whoever buys the facility will have to apply for a new operating certificate, a long and drawn-out process. Locals say that it is like waiting for the other shoe to drop – waiting for the deadly incident that could have been avoided had the hospital still been in place.

Speaking of the hospital, the amount of money that former CEO Bob Levine is asking from the bankruptcy court is slightly obscene given the belief that he helped MediSys drive the hospital into the ground. When Revival took over the hospital last September and Levine resigned, there was an audible sigh of relief among the staff. Levine is asking the court for $1.2 million in severance pay and termination of contract. Meanwhile, 700 locals who depended on him to steer the hospital are out of work.

While no Republicans have stepped up to challenge Congressman Gregory Meeks for Rockaway, another Democrat has thrown his hat in the primary ring. Mainland resident Mike Scala has handed in the requisite number of petition signatures to get on the ballot, but old-line Democratic politics dictates that the incumbent go to court to throw out the upstart, and that will probably happen in this case as well.

A number of City Council members are hosting “Stop and Frisk” workshops. The workshop hosted by Councilman James Sanders is being run by Jacques Leandre, a former candidate for the Council. Leandre says his workshop “is designed to increase the quality of engagement between residents and the police department. Emphasis will be placed on what rights are available to an individual when stopped, what behaviors are legally appropriate to perform by both parties, and what courses of action can be taken subsequent to the action.” We hope that he explains that it’s better not to be carrying a weapon when stopped and probably not a good idea to attack the officers who have stopped you.

First it was smoking in restaurants, then it was smoking in parks and other public spaces. Now, the mayor is pushing for a ban on smoking in apartments. What will be next? No smoking in your own home or automobile? Last week, Bloomberg proposed legislation that would force every residential building in the city to set up rules for smoking – where it can and cannot be done. Once the management has set up the rules, they will be policed, but nobody is saying by whom. We expect that in a year or two, tenants will be evicted for having a butt in their own apartment.

You’ve got to love Ed Koch, who should really learn to keep his mouth shut. He has become a right-wing caricature of himself. In a recent statement, he urged Police Commissioner Ray Kelly to run for mayor after Bloomberg leaves office. Koch said that he is afraid that the city could drift back to rising crime and blight if Kelly’s policies are changed. What he doesn’t seem to remember is that he and Mayor David Dinkins were to blame for much of the rising crime and blight that afflicted the city. The situation didn’t change until Rudy Giuliani came along.

All of the mayoral hopefuls are lining up to present their education platforms and most of them want to do away with mayoral control after 10 years with Mayor Bloomberg. The only Democratic candidate who hasn’t said a word is Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who can’t say a bad word about the mayor and his education policy without losing his support – and his millions.

Local historian and part-time park ranger Bernie Feuer has posted a number of tributes to our military on You Tube. Search parkrangerbernie and you will find “Semper Fi,” “Wings of Gold,” and “Pacific War.” Barely half of the city’s eighthgraders passed the statewide Science exams last year. The results showed that 53.2 percent scored “proficient” on the test. Local education sources point to the fact that many schools teach science only once or twice a week in order to make way for classes on testtaking skills and for taking practice tests. Given that paradigm, it is no wonder that kids are failing tests in subjects not covered by the high-stakes standardized tests.

Don’t be fooled by the word that the city gave out fewer parking tickets this year. The fact is, the city is making even more money because traffic enforcement agents are giving out fewer, but more expensive tickets. Records show that the city earned an extra $7 million in fees from tickets last year. In fact, the average ticket grew by more than $5 last year. Multiply that by 9.3 million tickets and it becomes real money.

Graduates of Far Rockaway High School, classes of 1958 through 1968 are invited to a Florida reunion in February of 2013. The reunion will be held at the Stonebridge Country Club in West Boca Raton on February 16. Those who are interested in attending can find information at www.farrockaway.com and by clicking on “upcoming reunions.”

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