2002-04-13 / 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

On Thursday, April 18th, Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum will address our Good Government Regular Democratic Club. Public Advocate is the second highest elected official in New York City. The Public Advocate’s office also assists individuals and communities in solving problems with the city and government. We invite all our friends, members and constituents to attend this meeting so we can make this Public Advocate more familiar with our neighborhood and needs.

The meeting will take place at 112-20 Beach Channel Drive, opposite the Waldbaum’s parking lot at 7:45 p.m. We serve bagels with cream cheese and coffee and cake. Your membership is welcome.

There are still tickets available for our Atlantic City trip to Trump Marina on Saturday, April 13th. We will leave at 5:30 p.m. and return at 8:00 a.m. The cost is $25 with $16 returned. Call my office, 945-1216, for reservations.

It was great to get so many calls this week regarding my last column. Many people voiced their concerns about the boxed houses being built on Beach 102nd Street under the freeway. We have set up a special community meeting for Monday, April 22nd at 7:30 p.m. sharp. The purpose is to get answers to all questions. If any Rockaway residents are interested in purchasing a house, this is the night to be here. They claim they are giving Rockaway residents first priority. This will be the only chance to get answers or to make an attempt to buy a house. The developers and staff and several mortgage companies will be on hand.

Rockaway firefighters are very concerned about plans by the Fire Department to close an existing Firehouse at 58-03 Rockaway Beach Blvd. and build a new EMS/Fire Station at 303 Beach 49th Street. There are safety factors to be considered. No one in the area was notified nor was anyone at the union, which represents the Firefighters. Community 14 was given little or no information.

The engine on Beach 92nd Street has no Ladder Company, only battalion and quarters. That firehouse regularly requires help from either Ladder 121 or 137 on 116th Street depending on the needs at the time.

It is quite obvious there will be further delays if this company moves a ½ mile east of its present location.

In addition, and even more astonishing is the "Arverne By The Sea" project that will add 10,000 new residents to the area to the west and have their closest firehouse moved further from them.

For over seven (7) decades the Rockaway community has enjoyed and been part of the house at 58-03. The intelligent approach would be to make necessary repairs, leave the house at its present location and let the community feel safe. Calls to Councilmen Addabbo and Sanders will help. Phone numbers are listed on the editorial page.

We would like to graciously thank Rockaway Bagels on Beach 114th Street on Beach Channel Drive for donating bagels to all our meetings as well as donating extra bagels to the Claddagh Inn Soup Kitchen. They have been generous to every community organization on this peninsula.

We are saddened by the loss of one of the finest, sweetest ladies you will ever know, Evelyn Greenblatt. Evelyn’s son Mitchell and I were in the Boy Scouts together and I went to school with her daughter Shari. Evelyn was a prime example of what a Jewish mother is all about. The love of her children, her activities and involvement in the community as well as her involvement in the Shul made her special. We will miss Evelyn. We know God took your walker away and gave you the strength to walk and fly as an angel. My deepest sympathy to the family.

On Tuesday evening, we attended a meeting for New Yorkers for Parks in Oak Ridge in Forest Park. This group is a coalition for civics, greening, recreation and economic development organizations. The guest speakers were Parks Committee Chair Joe Addabbo and Leroy Hendricks.

The main highlights included discussions on their advocacy agenda, a review of available grants for the parks and recreation programs. At this meeting we all had a chance to ask questions about our own community.

The budget cuts facing the Department of Parks and Recreation in the Mayor’s preliminary budgets are 3% attrition, a full time DPR staff (51 positions), elimination of approx. 1,000 out of 5,000 Seasonal City Parks workers positions, 20% reduction in seasonal staff size and election of City Council funding for 51 seasonal maintenance workers, 51 free play ground assistants, a youth education program, a $250,000 water safety program and $1.25 million for tree pruning and stump removal.

Further cuts and capital improvements for Parks are proposed in 2005. Those who make the budget cuts are usually not familiar with conditions in our local parks.

I brought up at this meeting the situation on Rockaway beaches where for the past few years many beaches have been closed due to lack of lifeguards. While the City Parks enforcement agents provided red flags and signs to say the "Beach is Closed", the City never made public announcements telling us about the closed beaches and did not post signs at the subway stations to notify people getting off the subway that beaches were closed for the day.

We also ask why key beaches near major housing complexes are not open to anyone. When visitors in street clothes from other parts of Queens came to sit at these beaches, they were threatened with arrest.

We will do what we can with the answer given to New Yorkers for Parks.

We must all call New Yorkers for Parks (formerly the Parks Council) at 212-838-9410, ext. 238. Tell Anna Maria Jones what we feel about our playgrounds, parks and beaches. We should also call First Deputy Commissioner Alan M. Moss at 212- 360-1307 and Joe Addabbo at 718-738-1111.

We look forward to hearing any concerns that affect our community. Once again it is time to discuss loading the buses and going to 110 Livingston Street and telling the Chancellor that we need our fair share.

Congratulations to Liz Sulik who has become Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce. We know you will do a find job because everything you touch turns to gold.

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