2002-08-10 / Columnists

Simon Says….

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

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

Early Monday morning, a small boat carrying four persons got stuck on a sandbar in one foot of water in Jamaica Bay west of the Cross Bay Bridge. The Broad Channel Volunteers were on the spot with their small rescue craft. They stood by the stuck boat and assisted the Police Department with communication. The Police helicopter flew over the scene. The Gateway towboat was unable to refloat the small boat. They were waiting for the rising tide to refloat the boat. Hats off to the BCVFD for being on the spot when needed.

As we are writing this column we hear there is a tentative agreement to settle the bus strike that has plagued us for over six weeks. We hope all service is restored by the time you read this. The city is lending money to the bus lines to increase health benefits and the City Council is backing the right of the employees to job security under a new franchise agreement.

This week was the most brutal of the summer. On Monday evening parts of Rockaway experienced a blackout or partial loss of power. I was one of the lucky ones who had a partial loss in my home. This meant my overhead lights worked but no outlets worked. Without air conditioning, the temperature in my apartment reached 105 degrees. It made me question what people did years ago.

In speaking to some seniors they said they would buy blocks of ice and make ice chips to cool themselves. They spoke about sleeping on tar beach, the roof, and on the beach. I personally chose to take a long ride in my car and utilize the a/c. Unfortunately I got very tired and had to go home and nearly passed out from the heat. The lights did come back on after 6 p.m. Tuesday. We hope LIPA and Con Ed will have things under control to avoid blackouts. We can help by cutting back on the non-essential use of electricity during the peaking periods.

The Good Government Regular Democratic Club is open every Thursday evening from 7:30 to 11 P.M. We are located at 112-20 Beach Channel Drive. Come join us. Become a member. Dues is $16 for an individual. $25 for a family and $12 for Seniors and Young Dems.

Our next Atlantic City trip to Trump Marina Casino will be on Saturday, September 21. We leave at 5:30 p.m. and return at 8 a.m. There are 8 hours of gambling to enjoy. Bagels and cream cheese are served and movies are shown. The cost is $28 with $15 returned. Reservations are a must.

It has come to our attention that all mayoral agencies have taken an additional 7 percent cut. Now that the Board of Education is a mayoral agency, District 27 will be taking this cut as well. We are hoping that the mayor reconsiders and continues to make education a number one priority. There must be funding for staffing, materials and school construction. We call upon Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott to do the right thing for the children of New York City.

On Friday morning, during the mayor's interview with John Gambling, he repeated his idea that the District Superintendents would work out of the Tweed Courthouse behind City Hall. The mayor was not specific, as how many days they would spend away from their districts. How can a school superintendent be hands-on in his or her district if they are located behind City Hall.

How will they preside over suspension hearings and grievances? How will they make either announced or unannounced visits to district schools when they are tucked away in Manhattan? We are waiting for further information from the mayor's office to know what we have to do to rectify this matter.

Congratulations to newly-appointed school Chancellor Joel Klein. We wish you great success. We know this job will be a major learning experience since you have not been working for the Board of Education for about 30 years. I'm sure you will notice major changes in family composition, parental involvement, special education needs, and school overcrowding throughout the city.

On Friday evening, at the theatre in Fort Tilden, Robert Press got struck by lightning. After the lights flickered, he tried to throw the switches back. Lightning hit and he went into cardiac arrest, Robert, son of acclaimed actress Peggy Paige, is a volunteer who takes care of backstage lighting. Thank God he is doing well, but walking with a cane. We wish him a speedy recovery.

We have had a number of cave-ins on various streets in the community. We have worked diligently to make sure they were repaired in a timely fashion. Richard Blanck, owner of Shear Explosions on Beach 129 Street, had an eight-foot cave-in in front of his home. When Richard called DOT he was told it would take four to eight weeks to repair. We got it repaired in 72 hours. We are always proud to advocate for your rights. Just call 945-1216 if you need assistance.

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