2002-04-06 / 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

Hoping as you are reading my column that your holidays were wonderful.

Last week I was surprised to find that the Port Authority will be soundproofing three local schools. The Port Authority should spend their money wisely by bringing us a subsidized ferry. As many of you remember the fiasco of the light rail down the Van Wyck Expressway to Jamaica. This was supposed to be the one seat ride to Kennedy Airport, but as we all know you would have to get out and switch trains carrying bags at Jamaica. This is instead of using the $600 million to support a subsidized ferry and the restoration of the Rockaway Beach line.

We urge all Rockaway, Broad Channel and Breezy residents to pick up the phone to call City Hall. Dan Doctoroff is the Deputy Mayor for economic development and rebuilding. He is also the leading advocate for bringing the 2012 Olympics to New York City and using our waters for boating contests. The number is (212) 788-0120. The Port Authority has the funds to improve transportation all around the New York and New Jersey area. They have done nothing to help our community. You may call the Executive Director at (212) 435-7271.

Tell them you are sick and tired of being the city’s stepchild, and it is time for our fair share. Remind them that we are the most devastated area with the loss of life on 9/11 and again on 11/12. Why is it that Bay Ridge has a free ferry and we have nothing? We are the community which needs better transportation the most. People constantly forget that we are part of the city.

The only thing that happens to Rockaway is constant dumping and phony promises. With the big boom in building we must stick together and demand the high-speed ferry now.

We are shocked and appalled that District 27 will take another $10 million cut. How much more cutting can go on? What will happen to our children who will be crowded in classrooms, eventually having split sessions and no remedial sessions for those needing help with reading and math skills.

Will we be raising children who won’t get the help they need? It is also apparent that they will be cutting music and the arts. We remember as a child having a music teacher come into our classroom once a week. Many children in regular classes and special education learn to express themselves through the arts. The loss of trained arts educators will hold them back.

We need to prepare to load buses to 110 Livingston Street, as well as Albany and City Hall, to fight for our fair share of the pie.

This being an election year for governor, we must make it clear to the governor and all the candidates for governor that education is a right and a priority. It is time to take the money out of the general fund and spend it wisely for education.

It is also time to give New York City teachers a fair and equitable contract so we don’t lose the better educators to other communities that pay better. The governor could help public education by dropping his opposition to the court decision granting New York City equal education funds as the rest of the state.

Senior citizens are extremely important New Yorkers. They have worked their whole life., fought in the armed forces for our country, and yet are constantly left alone to carry the burden of medical bills, loneliness, and lack of social interaction.

Each and every day numerous seniors from my district express their unhappiness that their cookies and juice have been taken away at many senior citizens. To some of us it doesn’t mean anything, but for all the seniors who look forward to going to the center with their friends and neighbors, they look forward to these snacks and having a good time.

We are urging all seniors to keep Thursday evening May 9 available to attend our Good Government Regular Democratic Club meeting with Edwin Mendez-Santiago, Commissioner of the New York City Department for the Aging. This is your chance to speak up and be counted.

On Thursday evening April 11 our newly elected Borough President, Helen Marshall, will be addressing the Good Government Regular Democratic Club on such issues as education, higher education, quality of health care, mass transportation, the Rockaway Beach line and a subsidized ferry and the future of Rockaway, Broad Channel and Breezy.

Come one, come all. Be here by 7:30 p.m. to obtain a chair. We are located at 112-20 Beach Channel Drive opposite Waldbaum’s parking lot. Bagels and cream cheese, coffee and cake are served. Your membership is welcomed, but you don’t have to be a member to attend.

Our next Trump Marina Atlantic City trip will be on Saturday, April 13. We leave at 5:30 p.m. and return at 8 a.m. The cost is $25 with $16 returned. For reservations call my office at 945-1216.

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