2012-06-08 / Columnists

Beachcomber

Congratulations to Scott Olexa, the commanding officer of the 100 Precinct in Rockaway Beach, who was recently promoted to Deputy Inspector from Captain. Good luck on the rest of your tour in Rockaway and we wish you a safe home.

The mayor, in his infinite and all-knowing wisdom as our nanny-in-chief has decided to ban big sodas throughout the city. The city will soon impose a 16- ounce limit on the size of sweetened beverages in every food venue that gets a letter grade from the city’s Department of Health. – that means all restaurants and many other food establishments. Those that are regulated instead by the state’s Department of Markets will be exempt – unless Governor Cuomo decides to go along.

If you are interested in purchasing a hospital bed or a spare aspirator, we have a deal for you. PHC bankruptcy trustee has just received permission from the court to sell off all the furniture, equipment and machinery held by the hospital in order to get the money necessary to continue the facility’s closure plan. While no date has been set for the public liquidation sale to begin, court documents say it has to be over by the end of July.

Set your IPhone calendars for June 22 and the annual Sunset in the Park fundraiser at Tribute Park. The park, which stands at Beach Channel Drive and Beach 116 Street, honors those who died in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Money from the fundraiser is used to keep the park in its present pristine condition.

For the past year or so there has been a battle raging between Republicans in southern Queens and the Queens leadership over control of the borough. The latest manifestation of that battle is the fact that the state party has nominated our City Councilman, Eric Ulrich, to run for the State Senate in the upcoming election against Joseph Addabbo. The Queens Republicans, however, do not like Ulrich very much because he is one of a handful of people challenging them in court for control of the county infrastructure. So, they went ahead and nominated their own candidate for the seat, forcing Ulrich into a divisive primary race that will divert resources and cash away from his race against Addabbo. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

The Department of Education has once again made itself look foolish by first refusing to release its ratings of principals when it was happy to release its ratings of teachers. We can understand why the DOE attempted to hide the ratings. For example, Denise Hallett was the principal of Far Rockaway High School, which closed for good last year due to “persistent educational failure.” All of its teachers were excessed and many of its senior teachers will soon be out of a job because the mayor and his chancellor have declared them “bad teachers.” Hallett, however, who led the school for nearly a decade, was rated by the DOE as being an exceptional principal. If the school was so bad that it had to be closed and the teachers were so bad they could not find work in the system, how could the principal be outstanding? That’s a question the DOE refuses to answer.

An unidentified Far Rockaway man was caught by the TSA at John F. Kennedy Airport two weeks ago with a knife hidden in his shoe. When the scanners picked up the knife, he was detained and searched. Then, he was allowed to get on a plane for Buffalo, New York sans knife. Why wasn’t he arrested? The feds say the knife was contraband, but not illegal, and therefore they could not hold him. Sounds like a pretty flimsy procedure and one has to wonder what he planned to do with the knife while he was on the plane.

According to the Parks Department, more than 100,000 people came to Rockaway beaches on Memorial Day. The beaches around the subway hubs were mobbed and there were lines waiting service at the food concessions on the boardwalk. The only untoward event we could find was the medical emergency that involved a teen with previous heart problems, an event that was quickly ended with the assistance of an off-duty firefighter, an off-duty nurse from SJEH, local firefighters and EMS.

The city has a new website that allows motorists to look at the parking rules on any street in the five boroughs. Officials believe that will make it easier for people to find parking spaces and avoid fines. The site can be accessed through the Department of Transportation at nyc.gov.

If you need any more proof that our mayor is an inept manager, take a look at the case of the $100 wiring job that cost the city $374. In July of 2008, the city made a contract with Hewlett Packard to do wiring in the downtown Brooklyn 911 call center. Union electricians were used and the cost of those electricians is traditionally $100 an hour. The city, however, was paying $374 an hour for those electricians. When questioned, a city official in charge of the project said that we ought to be happy paying $374 an hour because the company had originally had asked for $632 an hour, but had been bargained down. The entire project cost taxpayers $2 billion and it still does not work. In addition, investigators say, the company billed the city at the rate of $192 and hour for tasks such as opening doors for visitors and handling restroom garbage. Both state and federal law enforcement officials are investigating the project.

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