Not unlike Waiting for Godot, this past Friday many of us found ourselves waiting around for Mayor de Blasio who was supposed to visit and tour the recent street raising/new bulkhead Capital Project, as well as the 30+ Build it Back home elevations and rebuilds underway on West 11th and 12th Roads.
Quite unsurprisingly, the Mayor failed to show and in his place a Deputy Mayor appeared and walked the west side streets of Broad Channel. News of the Mayor's visit had been kept on the down low, which was probably a good thing since he ultimately canceled but although the west side streets were conspicuously void of residents, a rather large crowd of officious looking individuals replete with hard hats, clipboards and cell phone cameras held high in the air moved up and down the streets with the Deputy Mayor, not unlike a large school of fish.
De Blasio's absence should surprise nobody as this is the same thoughtless Mayor who, as the citizens of New York were reeling from the execution-style killing of police officer and mother of three, Miosotis Familia, quietly skipped town flying to Hamburg, Germany to join with other progressive activists in protesting against the recent G-20 summit in that city with a side trip to visit with his son who is spending the summer at an internship in Berlin. When asked about the timing of his trip, De Blasio and his minions channeled Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing as they lamented that this was a great deal of fuss over nothing of great importance reminding everyone that, after all, the Mayor was back in time to attend Officer Familia's funeral.
Also, as I remember it, this is the same imperious Mayor who arrived embarrassingly late for the November 2014 Flight 587 Memorial on Beach 116th Street and then left the event without so much as a simple apology to the assembled crowd. When asked by the media about his lateness a few days after the Flight 587 memorial, rather than apologizing and attempting to place this embarrassing matter behind him, Mayor Bill took the course of a true politician — never retreat...never retract...never admit a mistake — and simply dismissed the issue of his constant tardiness as "inside baseball." Really? The Mayor would be well-served to heed the sage advice of the publisher of The Rockaway Times, Mr. Kevin Boyle, who cautioned at that time that "You gotta be careful using inside baseball stuff because if you go too inside, you'll be the only one there."
Fast forward two years and Bill de Blasio's continued lack of common sense, skewed progressive ambitions and ensuing insensitivity to those he (supposedly) serves can only lend credence to the opinion among the folks that our career civil servant Mayor is quite comfortable believing that his time, agendas and priorities are more valuable than ours.
Friday remained a busy day as later that afternoon I started receiving several frantic phone calls from neighbors wanting to know why there were multiple trucks towing cars from along Cross Bay Boulevard. As it turned out, Friday was "Dawn's Fun Run," a 3-mile run/walk/shamrock shuffle in memory of Dawn McIntyre. The event was well advertised with flyers throughout the town as well as all over social media and "No Parking" signs were prominently posted along the route of the race. On the day of the event, the Vollies cruised along the boulevard with a public address system asking residents to move their cars as well. Unfortunately, there were still a few individuals who went unaware of this event and their vehicles were ultimately relocated to a parking area, which did not interfere with the race.
On a happier note, effective November 11, 2017 (Veterans Day), all honorably discharged veterans, no matter their branch of service, will be eligible to shop tax-free online at the various military exchange websites with the same discounts they enjoyed on base while on active military duty. The Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) is the retailer on U.S. Army and Air Force installations worldwide. A Post Exchange or "PX" is a department style store somewhat similar to a Wal-Mart where you can typically find brand name items at markedly below brand name prices.
This change in Defense Department policy will open up online exchange shopping privileges to almost 20 million more people. Keep in mind that it won’t apply to shopping at brick-and-mortar, on base, exchange stores and that opening commissary shopping privileges to honorably discharged veterans isn't included in this new benefit. The commissary can best be described as the grocery store on the post. Unlike Post Exchanges, the Defense Commissary Agency relies on a $1.4 billion annual taxpayer subsidy to operate. Because goods there are sold at cost plus a 5 percent surcharge, increasing the customer base to all veterans would result in higher taxpayer costs under the current operating system. For more information on this pending new benefit for veterans or to register yourself or a family member as an honorably discharged veteran in order to utilize this service, you can visit the AAFES web site at www.shopmyexchange.com.
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