2012-05-25 / Columnists


Community Board 14 District Manager Jon Gaska has been in his job for more than 20 years and he says that he cannot remember another incidence when the city reversed itself and then apologized to the community. It happened last week, however, with the speed bumps the city had put in along Shore Front Parkway near St. Rose of Lima school. Gaska got numerous calls from outraged locals, but his board was never told of the impending traffic impediments. The DOT just put them in as part of a plan to make the streets around schools safer. Like many other things in this city, it was an arbitrary decision by a city agency. When the hue and cry started, however, the city uncharacteristically removed them and apologized. That did not make everybody happy, however. One parent complained that she and her children have trouble crossing the parkway to get to the beach and the playgrounds in the area and the speed bumps made their life much easier. Mark your calendar for the first weekend in June, when the annual Native American Powwow and Festival comes to Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, just over the Gil Hodges Marine Parkway Bridge. The grand entry of dancers, one of the major events in the festival, will take place on both June 2 and June 3 at 1 and 4 p.m. This is going to be an interesting election season. The race between Joe Addabbo and Eric Ulrich for the west end State Senate seat is an absolute winner, an election unlike any other we have had in the past few election cycles. On the east end, James Sanders Jr., term-limited in his Council seat, will run against fellow Democrat Shirley Huntley, and it looks as if a few other Democrats are looking to jump in as well. Congressman Gregory Meeks is being challenged in a primary by Mike Scala and perhaps by Allen Jennings as well.

By the time you read this, the furniture and equipment that were the heart of the Peninsula Hospital Center might well be gone, sold at auction to keep the bankruptcy process going until the real estate can be sold as well. Despite the best efforts of the staff, board of directors and the community, it seems that the hospital, as we knew it for more than 110 years, is gone for good.

Congressman Bob Turner was one of the Republicans who voted recently not to consider the reauthorization of the bipartisan “Violence Against Women Act,” a law that creates more stringent punishments for those who batter and sexually abuse women.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has virtually turned the schools over to his business cronies, and now he wants to turn the city’s parking meters over to them as well. He wants to privatize the entire process, including installing the meters, collection and the decision on the pricepoint in various neighborhoods. That would wipe out the jobs of all those who now work for the city and allow business interests to make a greater profit by upping the fees whenever they wanted. Not a good deal for city motorists. Bloomberg does not seem to be bothered by those prospects. He said, “The city government is not here to run a full employment agency. They are here to get the best services they can get at the most affordable rates.”

It seems that every year Engine 328 in Far Rockaway, the third wheel in the Big House on Central Avenue, goes on the chopping block due to budget considerations and every year it is saved by the City Council in some kind of budget compromise with the mayor. Looks like this is going to be another of those years.

The New York State Assembly voted last week to raise the state’s minimum wage to $8.50 an hour from its present $7.25, but the State Senate’s Republican majority has vowed to prevent the bill from ever reaching the floor of that legislative house.

There has been some confusion about the Muni-meters that we now have all over the shopping streets in Rockaway. At first, we were told that you could use a valid Munimeter receipt anywhere, meaning you could buy a receipt on Beach 116 Street and then, if it still had time left, you could drive to Beach 129 Street and use it there as well. The city, however, announced that you would be ticketed if you did, that the receipts were only good for the street on which it was issued. Now, however, the City Council has passed a law that allows a motorist to use the receipt at any location with the same meter rate, which is true of all the Rockaway Munimeter slots.

The Rockaway Point News, true to its philosophy of printing only positive news about Breezy Point, did not report on the teenage drinking party that got two parents arrested. The only hint that the event really took place was an editorial by publisher Noreen Schramm that calls for parents to exercise some control and guidance over their kids. Her statement that “The combination of sun, sand and surf has kissed our children with a special glow that is not found in other parts of the world,” cuts both ways.

The co-producer of “The Bungalows of Rockaway,” Jennifer Callahan, has announced that the documentary will be shown at the Anthology Film Archives in New York City on Monday, June 11 at 6:30 p.m. A panel discussion featuring David Selig of Rockaway Taco, Richard George and Nancy Solomon of Beachside Bungalow Preservation, Jeanne DuPont of the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance and Callahan will also take place. Eve Kahn, a journalist who specializes in architecture and urbanism, will moderate. Those who are interested can obtain tickets through www.hdc.org.

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