2012-09-14 / Columnists

Beachcomber

Some more proof that we really don’t need a borough president. Queens BEEP Helen Marshall reportedly spends more time in her home in Sag Harbor than she does in Queens. Marshall left for the east end in April and has not been seen since, sources told the Post. The source said that she is not expected back until September 14. If we can do without a borough president for four months, why not for the rest of the year?

When former School Chancellor Joel Klein left the system and went to work for Rupert Murdoch, it was clear that he was there to pick up lots of expensive business for his mentor, Mayor Mike Bloomberg and the current chancellor. The program, School of One, was purchased by the city for use in the public schools. Three middle schools, about 1,700 students, were provided with the program, which uses computers to teach math. It has been used for the last three years at a cost of more than $9 million. Now, two of those schools have dropped the program after studies showed no better results than more traditional, and cheaper, methods. In fact, some of those who used the program actually did worse than those who did not. The city is planning on using it in even more schools this year, providing a windfall for Klein and his bosses, but shortchanging students who have to use it.

The September 4 issue of the New York Times ran an article by Elizabeth Harris entitled, “Seasonal Parking Bans Please Residents But Irk Visitors” about Belle Harbor and Neponsit. The story says that the reason for the parking ban is lost in the fog of time, but those who live here know that it was the result of pressure on the DOT from local politicians. Nobody can find the genesis of the rules because they really never were written into law. They were an accommodation that became law by the weight of their existence. One Rockaway resident told Harris that the rules exist to “keep the riffraff out.” One visitor, trudging from the parking lot at Riis Park, where she had just paid $10 to park, asked of the private streets, “This is New York, right?” Peter Sammon, the president of the Neponsit Homeowners Association said that the ban is important to keep “the neighborhood from being inundated.” A large number of the handguns used on the streets of Rockaway come from Virginia, a state that makes it easy to buy and carry guns. Now, Virginia wants to make buying a gun even easier. Out-of-staters can now get concealed carry permits from Virginia by only taking an online class. They can obtain the permit, which is good in many other states that have reciprocity agreements, but not New York. That could change, however, because Republicans in the House and Senate are trying to push a bill that would make reciprocity mandated in all of the states.

Of the 370,000 city residents ordered to evacuate low lying areas during Hurricane Irene last year, less than half left their homes, according to a new report by the city’s Office of Emergency Management. In Rockaway, the percentage of people leaving was even less. The city says that education is the key, and that a high percentage of city housing residents left because NYCHA provided training on the dangers of a large hurricane.

A new NYPD report broke down crime by racial groups. The report, mandated by the City Council to provide more transparency is the workings of the cops, shows startling, but not surprising statistics. Over the first six months of 2012, 64 percent of the murder victims and 55 percent of murder suspects were black. Of the victims, 25 percent were Hispanic and of the suspects, 31 percent were Hispanic. What those stats say is that 89 percent of all the murder victims in the city this year were minorities and so were 86 percent of the suspects. The great majority of murder victims are between the ages of 18 and 40 and the great majority of suspects are the same ages. In the robbery category, 66 percent of the victims are minorities, as are 94 percent of the suspects. Reports late last week said that the State Assembly and the ethics committee were not going to probe Speaker Sheldon Silver’s part in the cover up of sexual misconduct by Vito Lopez. Silver paid off on a secret deal to pay the women involved to remain silent and not sue. Governor Andrew Cuomo said, however, that he would appoint a committee to investigate Silver if the Assembly does not.

It’s amazing how little our legislators know about history. Brooklyn Representative Yvette Clarke became the laughingstock of the nation when she told interviewer Stephen Colbert that she would have liked to end slavery in Brooklyn in 1898, when the borough became part of the city. Slavery, of course, ended in 1827 in New York City and after the Civil War, in 1865, for the rest of the nation. Clarke added that the Dutch were enslaving Black people in 1898, while the Dutch turned the colony over to the English in 1674.

The cops were quick to stop two cars that were racing eastward on Rockaway Beach Boulevard in Belle Harbor on Labor Day. The local who was struck by one of the cars, which was reportedly moving at more than 90 miles per hour, was shook up, but otherwise OK.

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