2012-09-21 / Columnists

Beachcomber

Congressman Gregory Meeks has once again been chosen for the “Most Corrupt Congressman” list by a good government watchdog group. The group says that he may be one of the first to be indicted after the election cycle is over. Federal prosecutors don’t like to go after sitting Congressional members during elections because it makes the prosecution look as if it is politically-motivated, but once the election is over, you can expect to see more action on that front.

The Scholars’ Academy in Rockaway has been named the 29th best school in the city in a ranking done by the New York Post two weeks ago. With a report grade rating of A and a 100 percent graduation rate, the paper has only good things to say about the local magnet school.

The New York Medical Examiner’s Office has identified the remains of a human foot that washed up on a Rockaway beach more than 10 years ago as that of a woman who mysteriously disappeared from New Jersey at that time. The DNA in the foot was matched to Patricia Viola, a 42-year-old housewife who was last seen in her Bogota home on February 12, 2001. Nobody has an explanation for how her foot wound up in Rockaway.

Residents of Breezy Point are still talking about the tornado that struck the beach community earlier this month. While the major damage was to the Surf Club near where the water spout made land and became a tornado, there were a number of homes damaged in the twister as well. Most of those who live in the gated community at the west end of the peninsula took the twister in stride, however, shaking their heads that such a thing could happen in their community.

Now that the primary election is over, we have a two-month sprint to the general election on November 6. The Wave will focus on the state elections for the Senate and Assembly now that the lines have changed. The one election that seems to be drawing state-wide interest is the west end Senate race, where incumbent Democratic Senator Joseph Addabbo, who once walked away from Rockaway’s City Council seat, is being challenged by our present Republican City Councilman Eric Ulrich. Follow the election coverage in The Wave.

This year’s moving commemoration of the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center was one of the best-attended in years – both the morning ceremony in which roses were placed on the central compass rose and the evening session, when the flag was lowered by police officers and firefighters. The fact that the new Freedom Tower, which stands where the trade center once fell, stood tall in the background, was an added reminder of what we have all lost and of the possibility of renewal.

There are always lots of rumors in Rockaway. When the parks department began to move the sand mounds from Beach 110 Street east to Beach 90 Street last week, The Wave got some calls that offered that the sand was being transported to Brooklyn, where it was to be used for sand traps on the golf course in Marine Park. Another rumor says that the federal National Park Service is going to take the beach at Breezy Point, including the summer beach club properties, and sell them to a developer to build high-rise condos. Some of the rumors swirl around the former Wendy’s property. Some say it will become a parking lot, others a much-needed nail salon and some a bank. All very interesting, but probably not true.

New York Magazine did a long piece on the city’s housing agency and it’s myriad public housing complexes. Of Rockaway’s public housing, the writer, Mark Jacobson said, “They don’t call it Far Rockaway for nothing. Out there, the projects are hard-core. For years, gangs like the GOA (Gang of Apes) and the GIB (Get It in Bricks) have blown each other away on Beach Channel Drive.” One local told Jacobson that you can’t even go to the beach in Rockaway “because the current sweeps you away.” The MTA is going to rehab dozens of 50-year-old subway cars and put them to work rather than buying new, expensive cars. What line will the rehabbed trains run on? You guessed it. They will all go to the A and C lines.

The Independent Budget Office took a close look at student standardized test scores, not in the usual way of matching the entire grade’s score, but by studying 46,400 individual students, matching their sixth grade scores with their third grade scores. What they found deflates Mayor Bloomberg’s contention that everything is wonderful and scores are way up. Nearly 62 percent of those studied were at the same proficiency level in both the third and sixth grade tests – in other words, they had not gotten any better over a three year period. Eight percent of the kids lost ground over the three years and another 30 percent showed small improvement.

The movement to set term limits for state legislators is growing, even in the Senate and Assembly as lawmakers and voters alike begin to realize just how corrupt and incompetent our state legislature has become. For years, it did not matter who you voted for, because only three men made all the decisions. Now, with the charges against Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver growing, and with Joe Bruno in jail, we can see just how corrupt those leaders were.

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