2001-04-07 / 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

We are saddened by the loss of Fannie Locke, loving mother of deceased Wave publisher Leon Locke. Just several weeks ago Leon passed away. We sat with his mom paying a shiva (condolence) call. Fannie mentioned several ailments, but nothing life threatening.

Fannie was a warm, wonderful and compassionate person, a past member of the Peninsula Volunteer Ambulance Corps and very community minded. Her late husband, Edward Locke, was active with the Jewish War Veterans. Fannie instilled in her children the importance of a good education, a sense of community involvement and love and compassion for your fellow neighbor.

I personally loved when Fannie called and needed assistance. We always responded and took action. Fannie was a very special person.

On Tuesday evening we attended a fundraiser for Audrey Pheffer for borough president. Introducing Audrey was Queens County Democratic Leader Thomas Manton and Queens Borough President Claire Schulman who made it clear that Audrey is the right one for the job. Also expected, but struck in Albany, was Audrey’s long time friend and supporter Speaker Sheldon Silver. Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan was present. Others present included district managers Jonathan Gaska of Community Board 14 and Mary Ann Carey of Community Board 9. Democratic district leaders present included Chet Szarejko, Ethel Chin, Frank Gulluscio, David Weprin, Martha Taylor, Barry Grodenchik, Geraldine Chapey, her mother Regent Chapey, and former leader Arlene Pedone. Queens County Law Chair Frank Bolz III and Executive Secretary Michael Reich as well as many others in the who’s who of Democratic politics in Queens joined Audrey.

The fundraiser was held at Flushing Town Hall, which serves as a museum with artwork and a large theater. I told Audrey that Rockaway could use a place like it.

Friday evening we attended a memorial service for Rabbi Joseph Weiss who was involved with the Rockaway Catholic Jewish Council. This ecumenical memorial service included many priests, community leaders and ordinary people who spoke of how wonderful Rabbi Weiss was. Our heart goes out to the family. His legacy of over 50 years will always be alive in the Rockaways.

On Monday evening last week I was mortified to receive phone calls about Golden Video, the new video store opened where the old Rockaway Video was. They were concerned that this store publicly displays and sells pornographic videos and sex toys.

We immediately took action Tuesday evening by going in to speak with the owner. The owner’s wife stated that she was a Catholic. Joan Cotter, a religious Catholic who attends mass every day, said Catholic people would not do this. The owner’s wife stated that she invested $60,000 on this material. We asked her to give us an agreement in writing that these gadgets and triple X tapes would be gone.

The women told us that she has a legal right to sell this smut. She quoted the 60-40 law that 60 percent of the store must be used for regular videotapes and 40 percent could be used for X rated material. We told her we are fully aware of the law, but were not going to tolerate this in our community. We immediately reached out to the clergy in the temples and churches, community organizations, fraternal, religious groups, tenants associations and cooperative housing boards.

On Monday evening more than 150 people showed up in support of getting rid of the smut at the video store. It was suggested by a number of people that the rally should be moved into the meeting of the Chamber of Commerce at The Beach Club to ask why they would accept this smut. We will be back on Thursday evening at 6 p.m. and will continue every week. We wish to thank Virginia Carson Smith of the Rockaway Park Homeowners and Residents for helping to publicize our rally.

Among those attending were leaders and members of the Hibernians District 21 and 22, Knights of Columbus, American Legion, St. Rose of Lima, St. Camillus, St. Francis, St. Gertrude’s, St. Thomas, First Congregational Church, Oheb Zedek of Belle Harbor, Temple Bethel of Rockaway Park, parents of students at Stella Maris High School, PS 114, PS 225, IS 180, and Beach Channel High School. There were people there from Far Rockaway, Arverne, Edgemere, Rockaway Beach and Rockaway Park and all the way to Breezy Point. Others who helped publicize the rally included Barbara Buffalino, Jerry D’Albora and local merchants.

Coming back to my office I was told by a parent that her 15-year-old son had purchased a four-hour XXX movie featuring amateur college girls.

We have just been told that St. John’s Hospital is planning a major layoff. Look for it to become a reality in the next few days.

Our next trip to Atlantic City will be on Saturday, April 21. We leave at 5:30 p.m. and return at 8 a.m. The cost is $25 with $14 returned. Eleven people will win $10 on the bus. Call my office for reservations.

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