2012-06-15 / Columnists

East End Matters

Commander Change At 101 Precinct; Parents Must Fight For Day Care, After School
Commentary By Miriam Rosenberg

First, I’d like to take care of a little business. I’d like to welcome to Rockaway Captain Kevin Maloney, the new commanding officer of the 101 Precinct, who comes to us from the NYPD’s Housing Bureau in the Bronx. The captain has already appeared at several events in Far Rockaway, including this year’s beach opening and the Teen Library’s Salute to Heroes. But if we are welcoming a new commander that means we must say farewell to another.

That goodbye goes to Deputy Inspector Michael LiPetri who commanded the 101 Precinct from May 2010 to May of this year. He was transferred to the 79 Precinct in Brooklyn effective Monday, May 21.

The 79 Precinct in Bedford-Stuyvesant has made news as a result of investigations due to allegations of “quota-based policing.” As reported in this newspaper on May 25, there had been published reports that the transfer of that precinct’s former commander was an attempt to “clean up a toxic working environment.” If anyone can do that, it is LiPetri. In addition to his policing initiatives at the 101 Precinct, he can look back at his time in Rockaway knowing that he accomplished a goal he first told this reporter about in 2010 – to foster a better relationship with the community. Best wishes go out to the deputy inspector in his new command.

On June 1 The Wave published the article ‘Sanders and Day Cares Rally Parents To Save Centers,’ about a May 30 meeting to save day care centers in Rockaway that are being threatened with closure by Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed budget. Inadvertently the article, written by this reporter, did not include the Hammels Child Day Care Center in it. Dorothy Lavander, of that facility, asked that I relay to parents the importance of getting involved to save their day care center. As I do that I realize that parents may need more information than just being told to get involved.

Parents will be fighting to save the slots for, not only their children, but other families as well. Rockaway will lose a total of 300 slots, including 55 from Hammels. Closing Sheldon R. Weaver Day Care in Far Rockaway would do away with 90 slots, at Bethel Mission Loving Day Care in Rockaway Beach 60 slots would be lost and at Lucille Rose Day Care on Beach 59 Street, 95 slots would disappear.

Once again Bloomberg is trying to balance the city budget on the backs of those who can least afford it. While these slots may be just numbers on a sheet to the mayor, they actually represent whole families whose lives will be turned upside down should these closures become a reality. A family with two parents working because they have no other choice and desperately need the money may find that one has to quit his or her job and stay home to watch a child who no longer has day care. A oneparent household may be in an even worse situation. That one parent may have to become jobless to take care of the child or children. How do they support themselves? The only way possible may be by going on public assistance. Now, instead of saving the government money, the city will be paying out monies to take care of people who were gainfully employed just a short time ago and really don’t want to be on public assistance.

Now let’s look at what this will do to the child. Data shows that children who attend early day care are more likely to graduate from college.

Elaine Short, the director of Lucille Rose Day Care said, “The City of New York has limited the future of our children.”

By the way it is not just day care that is in jeopardy, there is also quite a number of afterschool programs threatened with closure.

The Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) will only have three running on the peninsula if the cuts go through. Current Safe Space afterschool programs at PS 104, PS 215 and Kappa VI will be discontinued. That is just a sample of what could be ahead.

Every year Bloomberg puts on the chopping block day cares, after school programs, libraries, and firehouses. Instead of making those who cannot afford to lose any more worse off, it is time, as Councilman James Sanders Jr. (who is running for the state Senate) has been saying, to increase the taxes on the wealthy.

Of course, that idea did not start with Sanders; our president has been expounding that view for a long time. Heck, even one of the richest men in the world – Warren Buffet – believes he should be paying more in taxes. A recent IRS report, according to ABC.com, showed that “20,752 households that reported earning more than $200,000 in 2009 paid no federal income taxes. About 1,500 of those taxfree Americans were millionaires.” It also brings to mind a huge question when it comes to these proposed cuts – could it be that our billionaire mayor is out of touch with the masses? I’ll let you answer that for yourself. In the meantime, it is up to the parents of children who attend day care and after school programs to fight to keep these centers and programs from closing and changing their lives.

Parents have a voice in all this and must use that voice.

Get in touch with the director of your day care or after school and find out what you can do. Your children’s futures may depend on it.

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