1999-09-25 / Columnists

Simon Says….

by Lew M. Simon, Democratic District Leader, 23rd A.D. Part B

On Thursday evening during the Hurricane Floyd there was a power outage in the 200 block of Beach 126 street. Mary Lenihan contacted me. We immediately got on the phone. A LIPA repair man found that the wires were frayed and touching. He stuck a broom between the wires to separate them. With one phone call to LIPA the problem was fixed Monday afternoon. We would like to thank LIPA personally for the immediate repairs.

During Hurricane Floyd I was available all day to reach out and speak to people. Many senior citizens called to find out what evacuation plan existed. For a number of years we have been asking the city, state and federal governments to come up with a plan. Last year a joint public meeting held by the Rockaway Beach Civics, Community Board 14 and the Mayor's Office of Emergency Management, which was announced in the Wave, unfortunately had a very poor turnout of five or six people.

We did manage to get a box of 5,000 flyers which we distributed in parts of our community. The flyers called the New York City Guide to Hurricane Preparedness by the Mayor's Office of Emergency Management, Jerome M. Hauer, director, do not explain what Rockaway, Broad Channel or Breezy Point residents need to do or how to evacuate in an emergency.

In 1992 and 1993 during the northeasters we volunteered many long hours at Beach Channel High School which was opened as an emergency shelter. The Red Cross had a major problem bringing cots and blankets to us in this weather. It is time now for the emergency evacuation signs to be placed and plans to be announced to all. It is quite obvious that numerous sewers need to be cleaned immediately to avoid additional flooding.

We would like to thank the more than 20,000 people on the peninsula, Broad Channel, Howard Beach, Ozone Park and Woodhaven for signing petitions to kill the Army Corps of Engineers plan to dump toxic waste in our ocean and bay. A coalition has been formed with Brighton Beach, Staten Island and New Jersey residents. This the fourth time we beat the Army Corps of Engineers. Let them be on notice they should find a better way of disposing of toxic waste than dumping it in our ocean.

We would like to thank Ida Sanoff of Brighton Beach and our great Congressman Anthony Weiner for introducing us, and for all his efforts in being a team player in helping to kill this proposal. We would also like to thank Noel Schwartz, a resident of Neponsit, who offered his expertise in this fight. We also thank Terrence Flynn, jr. Esq. who offered to sue to get an injunction if this plan went through.

We understand that the Southeast Queens Concerned Citizens are considering a lawsuit to stop the Port Authority's Van Wyck line. We hope they are successful in their legal action. The Van Wyck line will not provide service for the residents of any Queens community. It will cause massive traffic jams during construction and make the Van Wyck more dangerous if it is completed. It would waste 600 million dollars which could be for airport improvements freeing state money which could be used for better transportation in south Queens.

My fellow District Leaders, Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, and Augie Agate agreed to support these legal efforts. Augie even offered to argue the case before the Court of Appeals. If you are interested in getting involved in this legal fight you can call my office.

I am deeply saddened by the White House decision to allow the Doppler radar to be placed in the Floyd Bennett field section of Gateway National Park. I am very surprised that this would happen while Hillary Clinton is considering a race for the senate. We are exploring ways to continue this fight.

A year has passed since the Neponsit Health Care Center was suddenly closed by the city. I am outraged that the city has taken innocent people and tossed them aside like a side of beef. The engineering report which stated that $1.5 million was required to repair the buildings suddenly escalated to $50 million. How could the city, state and federal governments allow these poor people to be moved out in the wee hours of the morning with no closure plan on file or unsafe building designation by the New York City Department of Buildings?

If this was the standard for emergency evacuation hundreds of buildings throughout New York Cit would have to be closed. Many New York City public schools and the Dayton Seaside Corporation, otherwise known as Surfside, which houses over 750 families would have to be padlocked and demolished. The U.S. Healthcare Finance Administration has fined the Health And Hospitals Corporation $1,000 a day but the HHC is not paying.

Legal Aid brought a suit on behalf of the residents for unfair treatment and to reopen the Neponsit Home for the residents.

One of the things requested was to allow an independent engineer to check out the site. Judge Batt said this could be done if both parties consented. Yet Dr. Luis Marcos, president of the Health and Hospitals Corporation. refused to consent to this.

Who is covering up for a dirty rotten deal? Did the city think it had a cash cow that it could milk?

There is a fantastic program called the Neponsit Adult Day Care program which reopened in December, 1998 in a temporary home at Young Israel of Far Rockaway on Beach 9 street. I am demanding that the HHC make a commitment to make a lease agreement for a new home for the day care program.

HHC is meeting on Wednesday evening, September 29. I will make a public statement at that meeting. Please call my office if you are able to come to Elmhurst to help tell the HHC to end this problem.

We wish good luck and success to Kevin Boyle, The Wave’s editor, in his future endeavors.

The Good Government Regular Democratic club meets every Thursday evening at 7:45 p.m. at 112-20 Beach Channel drive. You are invited to join as a family or as an individual, but you do not have to be a member to attend meetings. If you have a community problem or a comment on this column, please call my office. We have an answer machine and I always return my calls.




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