Barefoot And Wagons
Volume 48, Issue 9
By Paige Sichs

Lil’ Rascals of Remuneration Redux

We’ve talked here before about the habits of Ocean Beach’s mini-tycoons and their seashell empires. But things were clearly getting out of hand at the last Ocean Beach Community Board meeting. The meeting was so contentious, Mayor Natalie Rogers broke her sound black hammering for order with her gavel. She didn’t even notice it until the intermission.
A pair of young musicians graced Bay Walk in front of Flair House two weeks ago, playing a string duet to the delight of passersby. But things got ugly, according to Chief of Police Ed Paradiso, when the munchkin minstrels began accepting donations – cash donations.
The “panhandling code” was violated “the moment people started paying them their fees,” said Paradiso. This, apparently, paves the way for “some roughneck playing his guitar” to choose Ocean Beach as the site of a blitzkrieg of Nirvana-strumming hat-passing.
Carol Nimberger, an Ocean Beach resident since the mid-‘50s, respectfully disagreed with the chief, saying that the young entertainers were creating much less of a disturbance than the bars which keep their doors open at night (with the steady diet of “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Paint it Black” we’ve all come to know and love).
“You do not do anything – let me finish – the music is so loud it’s disgusting,” she told Paradiso.
“It wasn’t a vindictive thing,” Paradiso shouted back. “Everybody has a kid out here who’s picked shells off the beach and colored them with a crayon and sold them for a quarter, and God knows I’ve probably spent a year’s salary buying them.”
Chief, the last thing anyone wants is an influx of roughnecks choking pedestrian pathways with major-chord progressions and body odor. But discretion is a must. All those kids selling shells better have their proper permits, or I’m calling the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, posthaste.

Your Tax Dollars At Work
Maybe if OBers had a better idea where their village taxes were going they would be happier folks? After all, if you can see your money hard at work, it doesn’t feel quite so much like it’s dropping into a big pit.
Most bang for: The salary of the village registrar: $1.
Keeping us safe: The Ocean Beach Police Department, which earned every penny of their $400,000.
Bargain: The village trustees. $500 a year.
That’s a lot of garbage: $353,784 worth of garbage pick-up and street-cleaning to you, pal.
And the village has some ingenious ways of making a buck besides taxes, too.
Copies in the village office: Really add up. $700.
Those tickets: You got for drinking Gatorade instead of water on the beach, plus all those public urination fines that those scofflaws get. $30,000.
All figures courtesy of the village budget for 2004-2005.

Confidential to the Mermaid Market
Objects at rest on a slanted surface tend to fall when touched.

Golden Wagon Golden Indeed
The brain trust behind this year’s Golden Wagon Film Festival really outdid themselves. Nothing wanted to cooperate: not the weather, which was lousy, not honoree Harvey Keitel, who was a no-show (a very pregnant wife and a movie shoot in Europe kept him away, apparently), not FedEc, which lost one of the films got lost in shipping purgatory, not the food, which ran out during the tasting, and still, despite all obstacles, there was a palpable excitement around Ocean Beach: a sense of big doings, the chatter of people discussing and arguing over what is ultimately the great American pasttime: film. We at Barefoot and Wagons applaud Parham, Pace, Panzer, Ginsberg, Morano and the rest. They did a wonderful job trying to bring it all together on a small, difficult to reach island with few proper venues. We hope they sign on for all the headaches again next year because their efforts are invaluable to the people of Fire Island.

Confidential to Teresa Heinz Kerry
I love you. I really do. You have that great accent and you’re so rich it’s awe-inspiring and you don’t buy into all the scripted pantomimes political wives are usually forced to adopt. You’re like Hillary but with a smaller agenda and less eager to please fly-over country.
Now, please, for my sake, for our sake, for your husband’s sake, don’t lose this election for us. Grabbing Edward’s kid’s thumb out of his mouth at a photo-op or rolling your eyes when your husband gives you a big theatrical kiss while the camera’s are rolling is not a big deal, but in a squeaker like this race, it’s the kind of thing that might just swing 50 or 100 voters in Ohio or Florida who have it stuck in the back of their heads.
If John can stare blankly into space when French reporters address him in their native tongue (despite the fact that he speaks fluent French), then you can pander a bit, too.
Fun and entertainment on July 31, at the 8th Annual Family Carnival — great for the entire family at the ballfield, from 1-4 p.m.
Don’t miss the “Big Top Circus” gala dance and fundraiser by the community fund. It is 9 p.m. on August 7 and tickets are limited!