2002-06-01 / 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 Monday, May 20 the Queens County Democratic Organization held its annual meeting for the designation of candidates. At this meeting, all Democratic District Leaders get to vote to nominate candidates.

This year, the Queens County Democratic Organization supported H. Carl McCall for Governor, Dennis Mehiel for Lt. Governor, Alan Hevesi for State Comptroller and Elliot Spitzer for reelection as Attorney General. In our local district Anthony Weiner and Gregory Meeks were endorsed for Congress, State Senator Malcolm Smith and Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer for reelection and District Leaders Audrey Pheffer, Frank Gulluscio, Geraldine Chapey and Lew Simon for reelection.

For the Civil Court judgeship vacated by Marty Ritholtz, who was elected to State Supreme Court last year, they unanimously endorsed Timothy Dufficy, who is a law secretary in State Supreme Court. We had the honor and pleasure of seconding the nomination and making it unanimous.

There were several big surprises for the new seats created in Queens by reapportionment. In the 22nd A.D., which was created for the possibility of electing the first Asian-American to the NY State Assembly, the nomination went to Barry Grodenchik of the Borough President's office, who was a candidate for City Council last year.

The second surprise was in the new Senate seat with a Hispanic majority where John Sabini was designated. Former City Councilwoman Julia Harrison is committed to run against Senator Toby Stavisky, the county designee. Assemblywoman Nettie Mayerson, the county designee, is believed to be facing a primary from Jeff Gottlieb. Ethel Chin, a Democratic District Leader at Large, who lost the City Council nomination to John Liu by 200 votes last year, will be running against Barry. It is sure to be an interesting race to watch.
The Queens County Republican Executive Committee met to fill the vacancy for State Committeewoman. This position is equivalent to District Leader for the whole Assembly district. The vacancy is due to the resignation of Joann Ariola. It was filled by Terry Ariola, her mother. Congratulations and best wishes.
We are saddened by the death of Edward J. O'Hare, Sr., otherwise known as Red or the Mayor of Broad Channel. He was a wonderful man who always made you laugh. He loved to break people's shoes and enjoyed life. He was always fighting for the betterment of the Broad Channel community. He was the father of Republican State Committeeman Eddie O'Hare. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to the family.

Inspectors are needed to work on the election board in the primary and general elections. If you are enrolled Democrat in the 23 A.D. Part B, E.D's 1, 5-18, 41-44, 47, 49, 50 or 90 you may be eligible. Call my office for information.
We are calling upon all our neighbors who have recent magazines to donate them for a worthy cause. We ask that they be dropped at our office at 112-20 Beach Channel Dr. in Rockaway Park. They will be used for a special project for indigent seniors.
We meet every Thursday evening at our headquarters. You are welcome to come up if you have a problem or just want to talk about current affairs. Your membership is welcome, but you don't have to be a member to drop in.

Wednesday evening, we attended the Surfside Housing Tenants Association (SHAFT) meeting. It consists of 1 Beach 105 St. and 106-20 Shorefront Parkway. At this meeting the new owner George Filopoulos, owner and president of Metrovest Equities and CharlesKyriakoudes, Manager, were on hand to address all questions and issues.

We tip our hat to Barbara Buffalino, Betty Buffalino and Karen Nevirs. Under their leadership in SHAFT, along with Assemblywoman Pheffer, Congressman Anthony Weiner and yours truly we managed to fight and stop the unfair pass along of the real estate taxes.
We personally rode the bus with the tenants to Albany and Governor Pataki's office in Manhattan to send a message on rent stabilization and stopping a 30% rent increase in the development.
We have now been told there will be a small increase at lease renewal as well as a 10% increase for all tenants for major capital improvements.
I personally reminded all seniors 62 or over that if they made $20,000 or less they can file for Senior Citizen Rent Exemption, known as SCRIE. This would freeze their rent with no capital improvement raise or any other raise.

Some of the questions that came up had to do with people on a waiting list for a parking spot for over two years. The landlord proposed increasing the cost of all new parking spots from $14 to $75 per month. This created quite a stir. We intervened and asked the landlord to review the waiting list and see if we can compromise to keep the rate at no more than $25 for those on the current waiting list. He said he would look into this.

Another issue was the repaving of the sidewalk at Shorefront Parkway and Beach 106th Street. Repairs of terraces, terrace doors, windows and new cabinets were discussed. It was quite a breath of fresh air that George has been making major repairs even before he legally took control.

George gave a commitment of dates to do the work. It was quite obvious at the end that tenants went away very happy. Tenants seemed interested in the possibility of going coop or condo. Hats off to SHAFT for making this improvement in the quality of life a reality. Congratulations to President George and Manager Charles for doing the right thing for the tenants.

We are saddened by the death of "Mr. Rockaway," Mario Russo, who we felt would never die. His tireless energy, his love of Rockaway and his community activism has brought to mind that he must be recognized with something named for him. We would like to work to make this a reality. He was 87. He lived for life and will be greatly missed.

Our next Atlantic City trip will be on June 15th. We leave on Saturday at 5:30 PM and return at 8 AM. The cost is $25 with a $14 return. There are 8 hours to enjoy. Call my office at 945-1216 for reservations.

Congratulations to Victoria Ward George who graduated magna cum laude from St. Peter's College on May 19. She is the daughter of Joan Ward George of The Wave.

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