By MICHAEL SCHENKLER
It has been two months.
And the tragic death of race car legend Dale Earnhardt has made the rounds via email.
Ive borrowed much of this from an online missive.
On February 18th, while racing for fame and fortune, Dale Earnhardt died in the last
lap of the Daytona 500. It was surely a tragedy for his family, friends and fans.
He was 49 with grown children, one of whom was in the race. I am not into the
NASCAR culture so much of what I know has come from published accounts. But I knew
of Earnhardt; he was a winner and earned everything he had.
This included more than $41 million in winnings and lots more from endorsements.
He had a beautiful home and a private jet. He drove the most sophisticated cars in the
world and every part was inspected and replaced as soon as there was any evidence of wear.
There was not a TV station that didnt constantly remind us of his tragic end.
Nothing should be taken away from this man, he was a professional and the best in his
profession. He was in a very dangerous business but the rewards were great.
Two weeks earlier seven U.S. Army soldiers died in a training accident when two UH-60
Blackhawk helicopters collided during night maneuvers in Hawaii. The soldiers were
all in their twenties, pilots, crew chiefs and infantrymen. If you add their actual duty
hours (in the field, deployed) they probably earn something close to minimum wage.
The aircraft they were in were between 15 and 20 years old. Many times parts were
not available to keep them in good shape due to funding.
They were involved in the extremely dangerous business of flying in the Kuhuku
mountains at night. It only gets worse when the weather moves in as it did that
night. Most times no one is there with a yellow or red flag to slow things down when
it gets dangerous. Their children were mostly toddlers who will lose all memory of
who "daddy" was as they grow up. They died training to defend our freedom.
|Attn: Council Candidates
We Want You!
Actually, wed like your bio, picture, plans for the most important issues facing
your council district and fundraising program.
Please email the following to us:
1) Your bio -- under 200 words
2) Your photo -- jpg or tif
3) The three most important issues facing your district and how you plan to resolve
them - under 200 wds total.
4) Are you or do you plan to enrol in the CFBs matching fund program. How much
youve raised to date? How much youve spent? How much in total including
matching funds do you plan to spend between now and Primary Day?
Questions on the above by email only, please.
Email to: MSchenkler@QueensTribune.com before the end of April.
Those of you that read this column regularly know
that Im not a patriot in the common sense of the word. My loyalty to country
comes from a belief in its people and principals not
its government, flag or military.
And, I take nothing away from Dale Earnhardt.
But the world knows of the NASCAR driver killed on February
And none of us can name even one of the seven soldiers who
died in Hawaii two weeks earlier.
Dale Earnhardt died driving for fame and glory at the
Daytona 500. The nation has mourned and continues to pay him tribute.
Seven soldiers died training to protect our freedom.
No one can remember their names and most dont even remember the incident.
Im not a patriot but I know that something is wrong.
Were Still Waiting For Alan Who
Even though I recently wrote concerning my dismay with the Hevesi mayoral election
effort, I had not and still have not given up on the possibility that Alan could still
pull this one out.
Alan Hevesis path to
Gracie Mansion is filled
As Ive explained previously, its the
scenario of local boy makes good that
turns me on.
Although Hevesi is older than I, we share
the neighborhood thing Forest Hills High School, Queens College and overlapping
experiences with Queens politics. Its cool when a kid from the "hood"
So this, as well as previous statements of emotional attachment to Alans candidacy,
is sort of how you identify with a neighborhood kid, and not an indication of how
endorsements are made.
Sadly, old friends dont always win endorsements. Such was the case with
I read with dismay again, neighborhood kid dismay that the all-time Queen
of Queens politics, Gerry Ferrero was endorsing Fernando Ferrer.
Now, I have nothing against the Beep from the Bronx, but home girl Gerry has two Queens
guys to choose from and one of them, Hevesi, was a longtime friend at least I
thought he was.
So when Gerry came out for Freddie, I started try to track down what happened between
her and Alan.
It was not all that long ago, less than a decade, when Alans son Danny a
number of years before he became Senator Dan and Gerrys daughter announced
the formation of the RFK Democratic Club and took control of their partys leadership
zone in Forest Hills. The Ferrero name was an asset to the Hevesis back then and although
Alan and son and organization built an impressive Democratic Club, having Gerry and
daughter along for the ride was a plus an impressive, big plus. Somewhere along the
line, a number of years ago, Gerrys daughter went her own way and Melinda Katz
stepped in and more than adequately filled the void as female co-leader to Dan Hevesi.
Then, Gerry in a phone call with the Tribune last week, acknowledged that, "Alan
never kept up the relationship and Freddies (Ferrer) message resonated better."
Sounds pretty dumb if you want a future in City politics not to keep up a relationship
with your friend and neighbor who was the first woman to run for Veep on a National
But insiders say there is more to it than that.
Where was Alan when Gerry ran for Senate? Was he with his political guru Hank Morris
who ran Schumers victorious campaign? Betcha he wasnt with Gerry. Was Freddie
Then there is the loud whisper about animus between Gerry and Hank Morris. Whispers say
that Gerry thought Morris was vicious and went well beyond the acceptable during the
Well, some combination of these things landed Gerry Ferrer some place other than in
Alan Hevesis corner.
No, Gerry Ferraros support is not critical to a Hevesi mayoral victory. Nor is it
vital to Tom Manton and the Queens organization in deciding who to back. The million
dollars that Alan just spent on TV commercials, just to remain competitive, is not by
itself, critical either.
So what do we have?
We have Alan Hevesi, down a million and a new reason to look at Freddie Ferrer.
Thats two negatives for Alan. Successful campaigns need positives too.