By MICHAEL SCHENKLER
As 1999 was quickly becoming 2000, Trib editor, Tamara Hartman
talked this writer into picking up his rusty pen and begin anew writing a column of
Fifty-five consecutive columns and just over a year later, I look back
in amusement and consternation at some of the words Ive put to paper.
No great earthshaking revelations; just the scattered ramblings of a
publisher who loves Queens and politics turned columnist who loves to write.
A COUPLE OF SCOOPS
QC & ALLEN SESSOMS: The biggest Queens story of the moment is
the faltering presidency of Queens Colleges Allen Sessoms.
You can soon expect to see ads in the NY Times announcing a
search for a new Queens College President. We salute Allen Sessoms for the job hes
done. May his Salik Center be saved and his legacy of academic achievement continue.
Good luck, Allen.
GOODBYE RUDY CREW: Now, I hear that as you read this, the game will be over.
Rudy Crew is on the way out. He and the Board of Ed didnt have a meeting of the
minds. His performance was okay. He wasnt thrilled; they werent thrilled. He
didnt go hat in hand asking for a new contract. They didnt beg. He was a big
baby, our sources tell us. However, the root of the problem is that the school system is
just no damn good. And Rudy Crew cant fix it. No one can.
QUIPS: More than a decade ago, I penned a weekly column
called "QUIPS: Queens in Politics."
Now, as we enter the new millennium I will occasionally offer a Queens
publishers comments on the doings and politicking of Queens and of the world at
large and maybe more often than just occasionally.
I hope you find my writing thought provoking, interesting, timely and
Read, and write back.
Now, let me ramble and share with you. (December 99 it began.)
EDUCATION FLASHBACK: I dont recall the exact words, but
the sentiment has remained with me for more than three decades. Murray [Bergtraum] shook
his head and sadly said: "Its no use. There is no solution. They should burn
down 110 Livingston St. (Board of Education headquarters) and start over."
Some 30 years later, the mayor has suggested that the Board be blown
Lets stop kidding ourselves. We all know, our school system is
Anyone have a match?
OFF HIS ROCKER: Because, in our judgment, John Rocker should
wear only one uniform the one with a mask and pointed hood.
FLYING INTO THE NEW MILLENNIUM: Fantasy is reality and Dick
Tracys watch phone will be worn by everyone tomorrow. Beam me up Scotty?
Maybe not so far off. Outer space travel in our lifetimes? Friends, the unimaginable is no
longer unimaginable. Fantasy, reality. And the surreal, real.
Welcome to the third millennium somewhere.
Welcome to the future. Tomorrow is today and we are all walking or
flying through that portal together, and very soon we shall share the experience on the
Happy future. 01/00
BRIGHT IDEA! We make a quiet and respectful challenge to George
W. Bush, Al Gore, Bill Bradley, John McCain, and the rest of the gang making the
Well arrange for a fairly administered, impartially scored,
supervised IQ test. Well involve professionals from our local universities.
Well invite each candidates representatives and the rest of the media in to
scrutinize the process. Well tape every step of the way. Well release the
scores to the public. Well let the people utilize the information to make their
The public will have one more piece of the puzzle to evaluate the men
who seek to lead the greatest nation in the world.
How about it, gentlemen?
Ready; take out your number two pencils; begin.
THE QUEENS STORY, TWO BLOCKS FROM UTOPIA: The face of Queens has
changed since I first came here. The empty spaces are gone and old-timers struggle to keep
the Queens they remember. The price of progress often impacts the suburban lifestyle and
"quality of life" has become a shibboleth of community activists across the
The new millennium has witnessed the arrival of our boroughs two
millionth resident. The soul of Queens its people is strong, and varied and
So, as we look back across the millennium divide, we see not an aging
borough, nor an aging newspaper, we see the legacy of wonder and riches that pave the way
to our future.
Thanx for the memories . . . and those to come. 02/00
DIALLO: I have no quick solutions. I merely suggest that we in
Queens the multi-cultural center of the world could help a little. When
someone walks by you on the street, smile at them, nod your head, say hello. Forget their
dress, language, skin color, national origin. Nod, smile and remember: we are all children
of our great Queens community. We can set an example. We can make a difference. You
IN MEMORIAM: I feel the need to add my voice to the thousands that
are crying out mourning the death of innocent black men at the hands of New York police.
Yes, many police officers have color meters. The darker you are, the
quicker they shoot. Minorities get hassled. Is it training? Is it statistics? Is it
insensitivity? Or, is it part of the NYPD culture? We do not know the answer.
We do know, that Rudy Giuliani could change his legacy by finding the
answer and correcting it.
IF THE SHOE FITS: Its all around us. SEX! Suggestive,
evocative, provocative, turn-you-on images are part of the American culture
especially here in New York.
Welcome to New York. Its a wonderful City where the sighted are
bombarded with provocative imagery, lots of cleavage, inner thighs, underwear, barely
concealed total nudity and suggestive graphics that could cause a grown man to drive into
a guard rail.
No solutions to the sex over-exposure here. But if you see any ads or
images more provocative than the ones Ive discussed, please send them to me at the Queens
Ive got studying to do! 04/00
STOCK MARKET: Okay, lets take Monopoly. If I were giving
advise on how to win at Monopoly consistently and in the long run, Id provide one
rule of thumb. Buy the blue chips and build on them.
Now, am I implying that playing the stock market is like playing a
game? Dont be silly. I would never suggest that the lions share of American
investment dollars is merely in a gambling pool of some fast-paced new economy electronic
real world and virtual game. Cmon, all of you and the rest of the folks across the
country know exactly how and why you are investing in the four-letter company whose full
name you forgot and whose business is something high-tech- internet related. And anyway,
does it matter? Uncle Henry heard it from his business friends neighbors
brother and everything he touches turns to gold. He always is investing in winners.
And so our nations money goes. New or old economy, Boardwalk and
Pennsylvania Avenue look pretty good right now.
Buy it, build and hold.
A NEW PUBLICATION: After many years of presenting ourselves as
boroughwide in scope, this company that has proudly published the boroughs largest
community newspaper, the Queens Tribune for 30 years intends to fulfill our
boroughwide mandate. Next week, the Press of Southeast Queens will take its
first breath. Committed to serving the dynamic southeast Queens neighborhoods of St.
Albans, Jamaica, Springfield Gardens, Cambria Heights, Laurelton, South Ozone Park and
others, the Press shall offer to the predominantly black population of the
area, a similar brand of advocacy journalism, community information and serve as a local
sounding board just as the award-winning Tribune has championed in the rest
of the borough. 05/00
FAUX PAS! All we can do is try our best. And that is our
newspapers commitment to you, 52 weeks a year.
GUNS: The City should check permits and codes, regulate and
inspect, harangue and harass their gun toting asses back to Montana or wherever people of
violence come from.
Not in our City.
Not with our children.
WORD-SMITH: Seriously, wed like our elected officials to
conduct themselves as role models for the youth of our State. 06/00
THE "INS" ARE ALWAYS IN
Hold your breath, pull the lever,
In primary or general election,
And be a part of democracy,
With warts and severe infection.
ELECTION TIME: Yup! Welcome to Queens where the incumbent
always wins. No, its not the law although we know several who would
like it to be. Its just the way it is.
PLAGIARISM: In private industry, such transgressions
between companies would be dealt with by litigation and financial settlements. If
within a company, someones head would likely roll and apologies would be issued,
policies would be changed and all announced immediately.
For our kids in school, suspensions, expulsions and punishments are
meted out for using the words of another and not accepting responsibility and acting
appropriately when discovered.
In the State Senate, they dismiss it as an error.
I guess school children and private industry have higher standards than
POLITICS: We remember the good old days when the difference
between the parties was like the difference between left and right (in our opinion, that
was also the difference between left and wrong).
But no longer; everyone has moved to the center and votes are traded
and often controlled by special interests.
Money and power have brought democracy to an all time low.
And its sad!
Thats half a year; stay tuned.
"Self-portrait of Lee Katzman. Lee
is the new editor of the Equinox, and
feels as if he has the weight of the
whole world on his shoulders, now."
IT AINT HEAVY: The
picture [and caption] is borrowed from last weeks issue of The Equinox, the
newspaper of Keene State College, New Hampshire.
Lee, with the world on his shoulders, is my
21-year-old son raised in a home with high ideals and lots of newsprint and ink
who took the picture and was recently elected to his new position by the
papers editorial board. He just put out his first issue which arrived at our house
this week Ive been showing it off to everyone in the office.
I expect, throughout the next year, to be giving Lee a
couple of tips on getting the publishing job done. To start with Lee, it takes a good team
like the one I have here at the Trib. Then, real hard work, discipline,
imagination, integrity and a dogged desire to serve the community in a manner that our
founding fathers knew and understood was as precious as any of our freedoms.
Picture of the Week
On Queens Blvd., right outside of Queens Borough Hall is this
sign welcoming you and introducing the "BOOP ESIDENT" CLIRE ULA." It
directs you to Jury Impaneling but fell apart when it had to deal with
"Marriage." Hmmmm! Photo by Ira Cohen
Michael Schenkler can be reached at: MSchenkler@QueensTribune.com
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