2000-02-19 / Columnists

Simon Says….


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

Last Monday evening we attended Community School Board 27's candidate forum to present finalists for the position of community school superintendent. School board members in the audience included Donna Marie Caltabiano, James Adams, Art Beroff, Dolores Bevilacqua, Ernest Brown and Ronnie Schwab.

The five candidates were Debra Brathwaite, Matt Bromme, Pedro Crespo, Athena Galitais, and Marcel Kshensky. The night started by Debra Brathwaite presenting herself to the parents, grandparents, staff, residents and civic leaders. They all spoke about their backgrounds and responded to questions from the board. Ms. Brathwaite seemed to understand grants and proposals, but I'd only give her a "C" because she didn't have dynamic charisma.

Pedro Crespo, who was superintendent in District 7 in the Bronx, now works in District 11. I found it very amusing to hear from a man who thought he was going to be a city comptroller instead of a school superintendent. He seemed more interested in discussing the budget than other matters. My suggestion is that he seeks a job in the city comptroller's office. I found it amusing that someone who wants a major professional job and was speaking to a public audience would choose to wear a sports jacket rather than a suit. As I learned in high school, it is important to look your best on an interview. I would have worn a power suit, blue with a red tie. I'd give the guy "D-" and wish him good luck in running for city comptroller!

Athena Galitsis reminded me of a very pushy and obnoxious military leader. She seemed determined to take over and let you know that was her personality. I am afraid that her personality would destroy District 27. I definitely give her a "F" for frightening.

Marcel Kshensky is deputy superintendent of District 27 in Canarsie. He is quite impressive. He seems to know how to get funding and grants. He would make a great deputy on the team of Bromme, Weinstein and Llyod-Bey. I would give this man a "B plus".

Now we can reach the obvious choice. After a number of years of having a school superintendent who did not care about the district, and gave no access to community, civic and political leaders, it was time for a change. District 27 was indeed blessed when they appointed Matt Bromme, former principal of JHS 210, Ozone Park, as acting interim superintendent. Matt made a commitment to reach out to all community, civic, and political leaders as well as parents, grandparents, and concerned residents. He worked around the clock attending meetings wherever he could. His great open door policy and his habit of actually returning phone calls are a welcome change. He doesn't see differences in race, religion, creed or economic class. He is someone whose heart is in the right place. Bromme is attempting to turn District 27 into a great district and make the type of programs District 21 is known for available in District 27.

We wholeheartedly support the immediate appointment of Matt Bromme as superintendent of District 27. We give you a triple A plus rating. God bless you and the things you've done for our children.

Congressman Anthony Weiner has appointed me to be part of the Riis Park natatorium advisory committee. The purpose is to develop a rehabilitation plan for Riis Park. It must reflect the needs of the community and must convince legislators in Washington that our community desperately needs these funds. I plan on serving proudly with out congressman to make sure our community finally gets its fair share. Riis Park must not look like a bombed out area.

Our next Atlantic City trip will be on March 11. The cost is $25 and $20 returned. The bus leaves at 5:30 p.m. and returns at 8 a.m. Call now for reservations.

The Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department is starting a construction fund for a new firehouse. As many of you know, the present firehouse is almost 100 years old. They are in desperate need of new facilities. It will be built on Cross Bay boulevard near the American Legion hall. The BCVFD responds to major disasters such as the bombing of the World Trade Center and airplane crashes. It responds to calls for assistance in Rockaway and Howard Beach. They are a great bunch of people who put their life on the line to help all. Anyone interested in making a donation can make a tax deductible contribution to BCVFD, 15 Noel Road, Broad Channel, New York, 11693.

We are saddened by the loss of Harry McDonald of Breezy Point. He was the father of Henry McDonald, FDNY, a special assistant to the first deputy commissioner. We wish to extend our deepest condolences to the family in this time of loss.

We are at the headquarters of the Good Government Regular Democratic Club, 112-20 Beach Channel drive, every Thursday evening. You can drop in to tell us about community problems or just talk about local affairs.

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