2000-04-08 / Columnists

Simon Says….


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

We would like to offer sincere congratulations to newly elected State Senator Malcolm Smith. Malcolm’s district office will be at 172-12 Linden boulevard, St. Albans, which was occupied by former Senator Al Waldon. Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno stripped all Democratic senators of satellite offices. We have stepped up to the plate to make sure there is a Rockaway office. The members of the Good Government Regular Democratic Club offered our office free of charge to be used by the senator to meet with his constituents. We feel it is very important that he has a Rockaway location. Senator Smith sincerely thanks us and will put it to good use. The schedule is to be announced.

On Friday afternoon we addressed the members of the P.S. 114 student council. It was a great opportunity to speak to the junior leaders of our community. We told them how I got involved as a teenager to save the Arverne Library, getting arrested to end the tolls on the Cross Bay bridge, and fighting for my beliefs.

The boys and girls had questions. One young man asked if he could play soccer in the schoolyard. Both Principal McCarthy and Assistant Principal Tubridy explained a rule against soccer playing because of the danger of the injury. Soccer is permitted after schools hours. This young man impressed me because he figured I might be able to get rules changed.

One of the girls asked if we could get a substitute music teacher for an after-school program, which has been suspended due to a teacher’s illness. I immediately reached out to Superintendent Matt Bromme and he is working on the problem.

When I asked the children what their aspirations were, one girl said she would love to be an astronaut, another a teacher and a third said a rocket scientist. One young man said he would like to be a football, basketball or baseball player.

I asked the children what they would like to see for the future of Rockaway. The answers were absolutely wonderful. It was so inspiring that I am planning to get together students leadership forums in local Rockaway and Broad Channel schools so we can discuss how we can work together in Rockaway, Broad channel and Breezy Point. We were quite impressed by the leadership at P.S. 114.

Saturday, April 1, was the targeted day to send in your census forms. In Rockaway, Broad Channel and Breezy Point, as well as adjacent communities in Howard Beach, Ozone Park and Woodhaven, our community schools are bursting at the seams. District 27 is in need of a minimum of nine additional public schools.

The 100 and 101 precincts need additional police officers. We are constantly in need of work on our streets and highways. We need youth centers as well as senior centers. We need our fair share of representation in city, state and federal legislatures. Rockaway has been the forgotten land.

If you feel the way I do, make sure you fill out your census forms. If you are a citizen or not, or if you are doubled or tripled up in an apartment, or living in a single room, you should send in a census form. Information on the census forms are not sent to anyone else. If you care about your community, send in your forms now. Call my office, and we can answer your questions or refer you for assistance.

As the weather is warming up we once again hear about West Nile Encephalitis. Rockaway, Broad Channel and Breezy Point are notorious as mosquito paradise. We must actively work to assure the safety of our lives against this sometimes deadly virus. Why is it that other parts of Queens are prominently mentioned while our community is forgotten?

New York City knows how to dump on our community. It is time for the city to step up to the plate and have a community town hall meeting to let people know what is going on. The use of malathion is supposed to be outlawed near a bay or ocean.

Numerous calls have come to our office from many senior citizens as well as people who live in Rockaway and work in Nassau County. They are voicing their outrage at the possible loss of the N31 and N32 busses, which take them to work or shopping in Green Acres.

My "grandparents" Earl and Mitzi Scholnick take the bus to shop in Cedarhurst. They will celebrate their 68 anniversary in June. Earl is 90 and Mitzi will be 88 in a couple of weeks. They are on a fixed income and cannot afford car service to go shopping. They are not near the LIRR and it is too expensive. They would not be able to take the trips, which allow them to shop and enjoy themselves.

Many Rockaway residents who work in Nassau County do not earn enough to afford other means of transportation. We sent a letter to E. Virgil Conway, chairman of the MTA, which gives a substantial amount of funding for these busses. We reached out to Nassau County legislators such as County Executive Tom Gulotta. In response, a number of legislators said they are trying to keep funding. We will stay on top of this issue.

Our next trip to Atlantic City will be on Saturday, April 8. We leave at 5:30 p.m. and return at 8 a.m. The cost is $25 with $15 returned. We will go again on Saturday, May 20. Call my office now to see if we still have seats.

On Sunday evening the Yeshiva of Belle Harbor honored three community residents. Marlene Schneider received the education award, Barbara Guy was named "Woman of Valor," and I received the community service award. It was an honor to share the night with my fellow honorees. The food and service at the Washington Hotel were out of this world. Music was provided by the great young Kalanu Nashir Simcha Band, run by Judah Guy. The music was absolutely fantastic.

We are at the headquarters of the Good Government Regular Democratic Club, 112-20 Beach Channel drive, every Thursday evening from 7:30 to 11 p.m. You don’t have to be a member to drop in.

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