2012-05-18 / Columnists


State Senator Shirley Huntley called this week to complain that we said in an article a few weeks ago that she is under investigation in connection with public money she provided to relatives for a nonprofit that seems not to have fulfilled its mission. When we contacted a state law enforcement official about the story, we were told that while Huntley’s cronies had been notified about the investigation, she had not but was still actively under investigation. Huntley says she is not. Guess we’ll have to wait for the next shoe to drop to find out who is right. Meanwhile, Huntley will face a primary challenge from City Councilman James Sanders Jr. Party officials have been lobbying Sanders to stay out of the race, but the maverick councilman has run against the party before and plans to do it again. Whether or not Huntley is under investigation will surely come up in the campaign leading up to the September primary.

Officials at Gateway National Recreation Area are looking for Rockaway’s help in getting a grant of money to restore an historic C-47 Skytrain airplane that is being lovingly put back together by its Historic Airplane Restoration Project (HARP). The plan is to have people vote from a menu of several worthy projects. Those who want to help Gateway get the money can use the website at www.partnershipinpreser vation.com or visit the Ryan Visitor Center at Floyd Bennett Field. At either place, vote for C47 Skytrain.

One of the three lanes on the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge in the Rockaway-bound direction (southbound) will be closed to traffic weekdays beginning this week between the hours of 7 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. for repairs of the piers that hold up the bridge. The daily lane closure will last until fall, MTA officials say. In addition, the Beach Channel Drive eastbound ramp will be closed daily, from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. until May 18.

Republicans might make a big deal out of cutting spending and ending earmarks, but in practice, they are still using the “reward our friends” method to spend public money. On May 1, the State Senate Republican majority provided almost $10 million in school aid, but only to school districts represented by Republican Senators. Each of the 200 school districts represented by Republicans got an average of $50,000 in funds that did not go to districts represented by Democrats.

The arrests of two parents of a young Breezy Point teen for providing alcoholic beverages for a party proves once again that underage drinking is a problem not only for that gated community, but for Rockaway and Broad Channel as well. It seemed like a joke when a beer company released the results of a poll a few years ago that shows that Breezy Point has the largest per person beer consumption in the entire city. It does not seem like a joke any longer. A number of residents told the daily papers that underage drinking is part of the “culture” and that summer beaches and drinking go together. Others said that they would rather their kids drink in front of them than on “a dark community beach.” There were some who decried the practice and said that the culture of underage drinking has to end.

In May of 2006, a front page story in The Wave detailed the renovation of Shore Front Parkway and the fact that the work would begin shortly and be completed in about a year’s time. Now, six years later, the community is still awaiting a plan for what must be done. The DOT apparently had the money to put in miles of bike lanes in the community, but not a cent to clear up the muddle it made six years ago when it painted all those nice white, diagonal lines all over the street.

Once again, the mayor has proved that what he does is for the tourist trade and not for those who live in his city. Bloomberg recently revealed his Bike Share Plan for Manhattan and sections of Brooklyn. The base price for renting a bike is $9.95 for 24 hours of access and $25 for a week. That’s the cost if you do not ride the bike. There are additional charges for actually using the bike — $4 for an hour, $13 for 90 minutes and $12 for every half hour after that. A ride from one end of Rockaway to the other, about 7 miles, would cost about $35. It is clear that the bikes are for tourists to look around the city and we shudder to think what could happen when novice bikers hit the streets of downtown Manhattan or Times Square.

It did not take Bob Turner long to follow in the footsteps of his fellow Congressman, Greg Meeks, and begin to take expensive trips with the tab paid for by lobbying groups looking to make an inroad and buy their vote in Congress. In 2011, Turner took a $20,000 excursion to Israel, paid for by a pro-Israel lobby. Meeks took lobbyist money to travel to Istanbul, Turkey.

For the past few years, there has been an agreement that Broad Channel residents could park on the central mall on Cross Bay Boulevard when a high moon tide hit that island community, flooding many of the east-west streets. During the moon tide last week, parking enforcement agents gave out dozens of tickets, violating the agreement. Now, it seems, even though 100 Precinct CO Captain Scott Olexa asked that the tickets be voided, officials at the parking bureau have balked. We will see what happens when the problem gets resolved.

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