2000-09-23 / Columnists

Simon Says….

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

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

Tuesday, September 12, was a great victory for the Democratic Party. Congressman Anthony Weiner was elected to be the official Democratic candidate in the November election. Clearly 77-23 percent is a strong mandate from the voters.

Congressman Weiner made a gracious acceptance speech. He thanked his mom and dad and his girlfriend Allison. The celebration was held at Lundy’s, one of the chief attractions of Sheepshead Bay. We look forward to November and working the Gore, Lieberman, Weiner ticket.

For all those people who need to register or reregister if you moved, stop by our office any Thursday prior to October 12. We are at our headquarters at 112-20 Beach Channel drive from 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. If Thursday is not convenient call my office to set up an appointment.

The fight continues for the reopening of the Neponsit Nursing Home. As the only elected official who has never deviated or changed our stand on reopening Neponsit, we were remiss in not including Public Advocate Mark Green. We were not aware of his letter dated September 7, 2000.

In a strong letter, Green denounced the failure of the New York City Commissioner of Investigation, Edward Kuriansky, to respond to his request for an investigation of the evacuation, permanent closure and attempted demolition of the Neponsit Health Care Center. He said that four city agencies, Health and Hospitals Corporation, Office of Emergency Management, Department of Housing Preservation and Development, and the Department of Buildings, may have abused their authority.

To quote Green’s letter:

"…The evacuation was not only unusual -- it also took place without benefit of experienced counsel. No engineer visited the facility to verify the existence of a threat to safety, and on-site managers evidently did not see much of a threat. The OEM dispatched its director, Jerry Hauer, to Neponsit on the evening of October 27. After a brief tour of one building, Hauer apparently ordered all four buildings at the Neponsit site demolished. It is not clear why the OEM became involved in the disposition of an empty nursing home…

The DOB sent inspector Alfred Hasenbein and Queens Borough Commissioner James Leonard to Neponsit on the afternoon of October 28, approximately six hours after HPD staff had begun the demolition bidding procedure. The inspectors initially called only for HHC to ‘abate the hazard’; which could presumably be accomplished through inexpensive repairs. Afterwards, however, Leonard acted on his own authority to require full demolition -- a drastic move that may have resulted from political rather than safety considerations…Outside experts regard emergency demolition of an evacuated building as unprecedented.

Merritt and Harris, an engineering firm retained by the City Council, conducted an inspection of the Neponsit facilities earlier this year…Merritt’s findings include:

-Neponsit is in sound condition, despite more than one and a half years of post-evacuation neglect.

-Neponsit’s facades could be repaired at a cost of less than $1 million.

The available evidence suggests that the HHC evacuated a nursing home that did not need to be evacuated, and that three other city agencies collaborated to seek the emergency demolition of a nursing home, which posed no danger to anyone. The welfare of Neponsit’s residents appears to have been last on their list of priorities. I urge you once again to launch a thorough investigation of the Neponsit affair."

The Belle Harbor Garden Club is putting on a flower show at the Rockaway Music and Arts Council festival, Music and Art in Bloom, on Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.

The Belle Harbor Garden Club has published a cookbook that will be on sale at the flower show for $10. The cookbook is dedicated to Pat Brackley and has a beautiful dedication page in honor of Pat. Proceeds will go toward the beautification of the Rockaway area.

On Wednesday, September 27, we will be honoring a great angel, the late Patricia Brackley. Rockaway’s own Gardening Angel, gave unselfishly of her expertise in beautifying gardens in different locations in the Rockaways. She continued during her long bout with cancer. Her beautiful smile and great spirit helped her fight to the end.

At 12:30 p.m. the Belle Harbor and Shore Garden clubs will meet at the Cronston avenue triangle at Beach Channel drive and Beach 124 street to celebrate the renaming of the triangle in memory of Patricia Brackley by Parks Commissioner Henry Stern.

Marty Eidelstein, president of JAM Stores Key Food, 105-38 Rockaway Beach boulevard, is asking for assistance with stopping youngsters who throw rocks into the Key Food parking lot from the Beach 105 street subway station. A rock hit a baby carriage missing an infant by inches. Several windshields have been broken.

We have called up District 23 Transit Police as well as Captain Miller to rectify this problem. We have been requesting for at least a decade that a protective fence, like an arch made of heavy unbreakable plastic, be installed over stations where these problems occur.

Our next Atlantic City trip is on Saturday, October 21. Call my office for reservations.


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