2002-02-16 / 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

The construction nightmare around the home of Charlotte Kulovany of 168 Beach 97 Street continues. Construction workers building homes at 172-174 Beach 97 Street have blocked off half of Charlotte’s driveway.

Charlotte is more than 80 years old. She was a ballroom dancer until a recent stroke. She had special concrete in front of her house and driveway where she practiced her dancing. As we noted last week, they broke part of the sidewalk and a major part of the foundation of her house.

The contractors, Progress Group, Inc. of Forest Hills, has agreed to repair her foundation, but the special dancing surface will not be restored. Just this past week, Charlotte had to call the 100 Precinct to get equipment removed from her property.

Why are they taking advantage of this harmless senior who pays her taxes and is a pillar of the community? She is a member of the Hammels Senior Center, St. Camillus Church, the American Legion and the Columbettes, to name a few.

When Charlotte tried to file a formal complaint with the 100 Precinct, it was not taken because she was not able to explain the situation properly. She has asked a number of times for a letter on the construction company’s letterhead that they would be responsible for any damage in the future. After my involvement, she got a notarized letter.

At the current time, the workers are illegally trespassing on Charlotte’s property. We have reached out to Locals 608 and 45 to alert them to the use of non-union construction workers. We also question the legitimacy of citizenship documents of the workers. We’d like to thank building inspector Liberatore for coming to the rescue.

For all of those of you who drive on Beach Channel Drive, the lights have now been rewired thanks to John Chiesa of KeySpan Energy.

Two weeks ago, there was a blackout on the west end of the peninsula caused by a circuit breaker. It was repaired in 10 or 15 minutes. John Chiesa says that the new substation on the corner of Beach 112 Street is up and running. We no longer have to worry about an 80-year-old substation and future blackouts.

I was disturbed to see the statement made by the Board of Elections that they did not want to hold a school board election because they were too busy with reapportionment this year. Every ten years, after the census, political district lines, including Congress, the state senate and the assembly are redrawn. The following year, city council districts are redrawn. At no time is there any redistricting of local school boards. At one time, they were attempting to divide Community School Board 27 into a Rockaway and a mainland district, but that is no longer under consideration.

The terms of the NYC Board of Education members expire in June. Several borough presidents have said that they were considering serving personally on the board. School board elections have had a very low turnout.

The average age for voters in District 27 elections is 55 to 60 years of age. With a three percent turnout and an antiquated system of paper ballots with stupid rollovers, we can see how the school board elections have become so unpopular.

Candidates for the school board should be elected in the general election in November. Every eligible voter could then participate. Separate arrangements could be made for the parent voters who are not eligible to vote in the general election.

There are some groups urging elimination of the central board. There are groups urging the elimination of the local boards. There are groups urging the elimination of both. In any scenario it is quite apparent that there was no need to stop the election at this time. It is important that parents have school board members advocating for the education of the children. Who is dictating and calling the shots?

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