1999-10-30 / Columnists

Simon Says….

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

Tuesday, November 2 is the general election. Since there is no race for mayor, governor, U.S. Senator, assembly, congress or President, there has been little excitement. Many people probably forgot there is an election. We have the right to vote and should stand up and be counted. Elected officials, politicians and wannabe candidates always study election results in the various election and assembly districts. They look to see where to concentrate their spending and energy. When they see a low voter turnout, they look the other way. On Tuesday, November 2 we urge all to get out to vote.

We want to reelect the best thing that happened to Queens, District Attorney Richard A. Brown. There are outstanding candidates for State Supreme Court Justice. Jeremy Weinstein was our state senator from 1978 to 1992 and is a good friend. Judge Weinstein, who now supervises the Civil Court, was always on the right side--as of the issues to help all of Queens County. A native of Queens, Weinstein graduated from Jamaica High School and was the first president of the York College student body. He has been a deputy assistant attorney general, associate counsel to the assembly speaker, delegate to the Democratic National Convention, member of Community Board 8 and an adjunct professor of Political Science at the City University.

Former District Leader Joe Dorsa is now a Civil Court Judge and is a breath of fresh air. His honesty, professionalism and conviction make him worthy of being a Supreme Court Justice.

Civil Court Judge Robert J. McDonald has been an Acting Supreme Court Justice where he presides over felony jury trials, suppression hearings, arraignments, negotiates pleas, and imposes sentences.

Laura D. Blackburne has been a Judge of the Civil Court since January 1996 after a long career in the public sector. Assigned to the Criminal Courts four of her decisions have been published in the New York Law Journal.

There are two candidates for Civil Court--Richard Jo Golia, who has a long career of public service in the Borough President's office, and Kevin Kerrigant, who presently serves as law assistant to Supreme Court Justice David Goldstein. We urge you to vote for all of these worthy candidates.

The most serious vote you cast November 2 is on the City Charter amendments. There are proposals that would weaken the power of the city council to increase the budget when necessary. Each year the mayor cuts funds for libraries, parks and other community services. The city council then adds these items to the budget and compromises with the mayor. By requiring a four-fifths vote of the city council, a mayor could easily take these services away.

There are some ideas that sound good, but don't belong in the city charter. Police now have the right to arrest anyone carrying an illegal weapon near a school. We already have a Commission on Human Rights, an Administration for Children's Services and an office of Immigrant Affairs. By putting proposals on the ballot each year the mayor can prevent the city council and the public from proposing Charter changes.

A charter revision should not be done haphazardly in two summer months, but done carefully over a two year period. We need maturity, impartial experts and public participation. We urge all to vote NO in this most important vote.

Our next trip to Atlantic City will be on Saturday, November 20. We leave at 5:30 p.m. and return at 8 a.m. The cost is $23 with $17 returned. Call my office now for reservations. I am listed in the Rockaway phone book.

On Thursday, November 4, our Public Advocate, Mark Green, will be our guest speaker. Green is the city's second highest elected official and succeeds to the mayor's office if it is vacated. Green has fought to protect children from cigarette ads and to expose HMO's that deny needed medical benefits. Green is a supporter of reopening the Rockaway Beach line and is a supporter of bringing Technodome and other economic development to Rockaway.

The Town Hall meeting will be held at the Good Government Regular Democratic Club, 112-20 Beach Channel drive, at 7:45 p.m. Your membership is welcomed, but you do not have to be a member to attend.

If you have any questions or comments on this column call my office. I am always available to help with any community problem.



Democratic District Leader Lew Simon meets with Public Advocate Mark Green. Green will be speaking at the Good Government Democratic Club on Thursday, November 4.

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