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Editorial: Sorry, Mr. Levy

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Schools Chancellor Harold Levy mistakenly announced last week that the children in the city's public schools would not be excused from classes to attend the ticker-tape parade that will be held in honor of the National League Champion New York Mets and the American League Champion Yankees. The parade will take place in the Canyon of Heroes soon after the conclusion of the historic Subway Series.

If we were to let this edict stand, thousands of children would become truants and might in fact be aided and abetted in their crime by their parents. We cannot let that happen. The Times-Ledger hereby declares that insomuch as the ticker-tape parade will be a historic and learning experience and insomuch as the parade will take place on orders from the mayor himself, all children from K through 12 will be excused to honor their heroes in the manner they see fit.

Furthermore, we are instructing all teachers to be patient with children who might be a little sleepy after staying up late to watch any game in the Subway Series. It is, after all, not their fault that Major League Baseball has conspired with the Fox Network to start these games at 8:15 in the evening. The teachers should remember that they, too, were once children.

Finally, we suggest that the chancellor get in touch with his inner child and refrain from trying to deprive our children of one of the great thrills of growing up in a city with two great ball clubs.

A long time coming

For the children of College Point, it appears that the long, dark night is almost over. The ballfields that have been padlocked for more than three years are about to undergo major reconstruction. Officials say the fields may be ready for use as early as early as next spring.

The city has allocated nearly $6 million to build a new sports complex at the site that for a quarter century was the field of dreams for thousands of children from College Point and other parts of Queens. All of those who played a role in securing this funding are to be commended.

Nevertheless, no one should forget the terrible cost of this episode in terms of quality of life for the families living in College Point. Three years is an eternity in the life of a child. While the fields were padlocked for reasons that have never been fully explained, baseball, softball, soccer and football teams were left without a home field. The Little League limped by, playing on borrowed fields that were in deplorable condition. Other leagues were not as lucky.

Frustrated parents have every right to ask why it took so long to agree on a solution for this problem. The soil could have been tested in days or weeks after the sports complex was padlocked. Certainly this would have been the prudent thing to do if anyone thought that the soil was truly dangerous. If the city then concluded that the soil had to be removed, this could have and should have been done in months after the gates were locked.

During this dark night, there was a near total lack of communication. No official would say what was in the dirt or when the problem might be solved. This is why most ordinary citizens hate dealing with bureaucrats.

Perhaps we should be happy that this very dreary episode is coming to an end. Perhaps late is better than never. But we can't help thinking about the summers that have been lost and how very needless it all seems.

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