2012-07-13 / Columnists


Sometimes it seems as if Rockaway operates in two parallel universes. On one hand, we have all the new people visiting our beach and boardwalk, spending hours and lots of money in the new eateries on the boardwalk and surfing on our two dedicated surfing beaches, at Beach 67 and Beach 90 Streets. At the same time, just a few blocks north there is a gang war going on between two local gangs – The Gang of Apes (GOA) and the 40’s Boyz. That war has included several shooting incidents and at least one death. The fact of life is that the participants in one world hardly know that the other exists and life goes on.

Many senior citizens are complaining about bicycles on the boardwalk and the fact that Parks has yet to designate a bike lane there even though it removed all of the benches on the north side of the boardwalk to accommodate the bike lanes. So, they say, seniors have half the benches that they once had and also have to put up with speeding bikes and uncaring bicyclists. In a related issue, local activist Barbara Morris thinks that it’s time to put bike racks on the boardwalk as well. She also suggests that the benches removed from the north side of the boardwalk be reinstalled on the beach (or south) side in between those benches already in place. “They already have the benches and the staff to put them in place,” Morris argues. “It’s a no brainer.” There have been reports of medical waste spread out all along the South Shore of Long Island, from Lido Beach and Point Lookout to Breezy Point. Officials believe that the waste was from a Nassau County medical office and that it was cheaper to toss it from a boat than to pay a service to take it away and destroy it legally. Environmental sources say that there may be enough evidence in the waste to track it back to its origin.

Like most business people, Mayor Michael Bloomberg believes that anything goes when driving towards a goal he believes in. Witness how he spent millions of his own money and bribed more than a dozen City Council members (with their pet projects, which never materialized), in order to get his third term and to keep mayoral control of the schools. Another example just came to light with the announcement that his economic development agencies used illegal lobbying tactics to get his own pet projects – Willet’s Point and Coney Island – through the City Council. Right in the middle of the fraud is former Queens Borough President Claire Shulman, appointed by Bloomberg to the development agency pushing through the massive Willet’s Point project despite local opposition.

Legislators in Albany are looking to push through a large pay raise for themselves in January. They now get $79,500 for their part-time jobs. The raise would push them north of $100,000. In a recent poll, however, 78 percent of city voters who responded said that our dysfunctional legislature does not deserve a raise, and we agree.

Far Rockaway activist Floyd Smith, who has called for the closing of the beaches along the East Rockaway Inlet because of dangerous rip currents and numerous deaths, says that the dangerous channel is 14 feet wide and 12 feet deep, and that the water sweeping out of the Great South Bay into that channel is what causes the problem. A large jetty on the east side of the channel was built years ago. A channel for the west side was authorized at the same time, but was never built. It was deauthorized in 1977, Smith says.

Neponsit old-timers tell us that the controversial fence that stood between Neponsit and Riis Park has not been there for 100 years, that it was put up in the late 1980s by the Neponsit Property Owners Association and that the rock jetty that still exists there was put up about five years prior to that.

Former Congressman Anthony Weiner says that he is happy as a stay-at-home dad, sitting in for his wife, who travels extensively with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s health care decision, Weiner told a radio host, “I still have regrets; I’ve paid a very high price. I have a 6-month-old daughter that I have to go feed now, so my life is filled with joy.” Weiner became the face of the bill while it was still going through the voting process.

In our June 29 story ‘Parks Rep Put On Spot About Beach, Boardwalk’ we identified the proposed area for a new park by the Parks Department to be on Beach 108 Street. According to an email we received from the Parks Department, the area actually is on Beach 88 Street. We apologize for the error.

In a photo included in our June 22 story, ‘Pols Host Stop And Frisk Roundtable,’ Al Jackson was misidentified as Al Moore. We regret the error and apologize for any inconvenience.

The new 5th District of New York in the House of Representatives lists 240,000 Democratic Party members. In the primary held last month, 11,843 Democrats voted – less than five percent, allowing incumbent Gregory Meeks, who is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee and several other law enforcement agencies, to win easily. Sources tell us that those investigations have been put on hold because no indictments of political officeholders are allowed during an election year because it makes them look like political prosecutions.

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