2002-01-26 / Columnists

Simon Says…. From the Desk of Lew M. Simon, Democratic District Leader, 23rd A.D. Part B

Simon Says….
From the Desk of Lew M. Simon,
Democratic District Leader, 23rd A.D. Part B

This week was the first snowstorm of the season. We'd like to give a hats-off and congratulations to our local Department of Sanitation, Rockaway District. It seems to be that everywhere you turn there is a plow. They included the beach blocks, which used to be forgotten. Thanks to all Sanitation workers in the Rockaway district for a job well done.

It was great to open the Wave on Friday and see a full-page ad for lifeguards and to see that they are training in Far Rockaway High School. Lifeguard training shouldn't require a long trip to Astoria or Manhattan.

It has come to our attention in the past that many people who qualified for appointment were not called for jobs. If you qualify and are not called, please get in touch with me. Good luck to all the young men and women in lifeguard training.

Congratulations to newly elected City Councilman Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. who has been appointed Chairman of the Parks and Recreation Committee. We look forward to working with you to make sure we have a full complement of lifeguards on Rockaway beaches and all of our parks are in clean and safe condition for the children and adults of our community.

Congratulations to Councilman James Sanders Jr. for becoming Chairman of the powerful Economic Development Committee which can make a major difference in Rockaway. We look forward to working with Councilman Sanders in working for economic development in our community.

On Sunday afternoon we attended a meeting set up by Congressman Anthony Weiner on flight patterns over Rockaway. Three FAA representatives attended. They were Mark McCumber, coordinator of the Eastern region, Paul Greco, support manager of aerospace and procedures representing air traffic controllers of regional TRACON and Frank Hatfield, manager of the air traffic division of the FAA.

This meeting was well attended by residents of Rockaway. Congressman Weiner spoke about two runways, L31 and R31, which would be the major route planes would take going over Riis Park. He expected flight changes to take place on February 21. If it doesn't, it will be 56 days later because flight patterns are made in 56 day periods.

The FAA stated that between midnight and 2 p.m. 85% of the planes would follow this route. Members of the audience questioned the route of the SST. The FAA said the planes would be on automatic pilot to stay the course and would not fly over homes. I challenged the FAA to explain why we had been told many times that planes would fly over water, but the pilots would decide to take a short cut over homes.

Congressman Weiner has a bill to put strict fines on pilots and airlines that don't adhere to the proper routes.

Community activist Floyd Smith of Far Rockaway referred to a newspaper article that this flight pattern, called the Breezy loop, would cost the airline an additional $150 per flight.

One man asked Anthony Weiner if he was playing politics. Weiner said he started on this issue in October 2000.

A parent of three children said one of her children has been frightened, can't sleep and is losing weight since the crash. School board member Ronnie Schwab also spoke on behalf of the children of District 27.

Students at P.S. 114 made a petition to stop flights overhead. They addressed the petition to President George Bush and Congress members Mica and Lipinski. Congressman agreed to their request that he personally deliver the petition.

At the end of the meeting I spoke to many people who attended. Most agreed they will believe it when they see it.

The Concorde remains a problem. In response to Ed Berkowitz' question Hatfield said there would be no change for the Concorde.

It would be a great thing if The FAA kept its word, but like the Port Authority and the TBTA, they tend to make promises they don't keep.

The Hearts and Shamrocks dance of the Queens County St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee was a sold out event that gave everyone a chance to meet this year's honorees. We had the honor and pleasure of being the invited guest of one of the honorees, Maureen McGee, president of the St. Francis Golden Age club. At the next table was another fine lady, Mary Lenihan, who was also being honored. Mary is always there to help the Rockaway community and improve the quality of life.

Others honored at the dance included Jo anie George, former associated editor of the Wave, who is best known for initiating Rockaway's Most Wanted, and helping to apprehend numerous criminals. Patricia Young O'Connor, our Democratic State Committeewoman, has worked diligently for Irish causes.

Veronica McCarthy of the Breezy Point Golden Age and the Altar Rosary Society has made a great difference to seniors in the Breezy community. Also honored was Larry Kelly, Grand Knight of the Msg. Burke Chapter of the Knights of Columbus. Larry has been active with St. Camillus for many years and has been in charge of the line-of-march for the Parade committee.

Brendan McPartland is a great union man from Local 30, who has fought to ensure that Irish were employed. These are just a few of the great honorees.

Fire Chief Tom Murphy of Battalion was honored as Honorary Grand Marshall. Murphy was out on sick leave on 9/11 when he responded to the WTC. He was injured and received last rites, but he made it. He is being honored for heroism above and beyond the call of duty.

It has come to our attention that school board elections are going forward with the petitions now available at the Queens Board of Elections, 42-16 West Street in Long Island City. The first day to sign petitions is January 29. If you are running, please feel free to call us.

This week we had a nice conversation with Barbara Buffalino, president of SHAFT, the Surfside Tenant's association. Barbara mentioned that the scaffolds are down and the parapets and all major work moving along at a rapid pace. Congratulations to SHAFT under the leadership of Barbara Buffalino and the board and the new owners for a job well done.

Last week we wrote about two students at Beach Channel High School who were hit by cars in separate incidents. Capt. Charles Talamo called me on Monday afternoon to tell me about the initiatives already put in place.

All school buses must now park bumper to bumper with no spaces between them. Additional police personnel have been put there to make sure the dismissals run smoothly. Capt. Talamo has sent a request to the Department of Transportation to reduce the speed limits. I will be reaching out to DOT to solve problems.

Our next Atlantic City trip to Trump Marina will be on Saturday February 9. We leave at 5:30 p.m. and return at 8 a.m. The cost is $25 with $16 returned. Call my office at 945-1216 for reservations.

You may call my office at any time for assistance with community problems. We have open meetings at the Good Government Regular Democratic club every Thursday evening from 7:30 to 11 p.m. Your membership is welcome, but you don't have to be a member to drop in. We are located at 112-20 Beach Channel Drive.

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