2002-08-24 / 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

This has been another week of the three H's, hazy, hot and humid. The good thing is that LIPA and Con Ed had no blackouts in the area I represent. A note of reminder to those who don't have air conditioning: there are two great places to cool off. The Queens Public Library has great shows, singing and book reviews as well as activities for the children. Senior centers provide you with a nutritious meal, arts and crafts, dancing and various other great activities.

Our next Atlantic City bus trip will be on Sat., September 21. The cost is $28 with $16 returned. We leave at 5:30 p.m. and return at 8 a.m. You have 8 hours to enjoy the Trump Marina with Lew.

We would like to invite everyone to our 15th annual dinner dance of the Good Government Regular Democratic Club. It will be held Thursday, October 10 at Rockaway's Beach Club from 7 p.m. to 11p.m. We are honoring Harolyn Fritz, Queens Rep for the U.F.T. for outstanding educational leadership, Alphonse Catanese Jr. and Thomas Catanese for community development, Timothy Keenan, Chief BCVFD for community leadership and Daniel O'Brien Youth Officer at the 100 Precinct for leadership. Thomas DaParma, Queens Trustee for the U.F.A. had to decline an award because he will be out of state.

Tickets are $50 per person and include a sit down dinner, DJ and live music. Kosher food is available. To obtain tickets call my office or the chairperson of the dinner, Sara S. Berger.

Great news for all those Rockaway residents who laughed at me and said I was wasting my time picketing Golden Video on Beach 116 Street. Thanks to community residents sticking together and not purchasing videos or other things, we are glad to announce the store is finally closed. I always fight for what I believe is right. Being born and raised in this community, I did not see this store as a positive thing for the community.

We have heard the wrath and ramblings of a number of people who disagreed with me. Some felt I wasted my time with the weekly picketing and the home visit to the owner of the store in Staten Island. I would like to thank all who took part in the marches and especially Phil McManus who kept the marches going. We may not always agree on issues, but I love the community I was born and raised in and am proud to serve it.

Congratulations to Rabbi Jacob Reiner who has served as a spiritual leader of Congregation Ohab Zedek of Belle Harbor for thirty-four years. He has been appointed by the membership as Rabbi Emeritus. Rabbi Reiner, I'm proud to say, is a great friend who held me together 22 years ago when my dad died as well as years ago when my mom passed. He is an example of what a rabbi should be, kind, courteous, compassionate, loving, a mensh and a scholar. He was there when you need him.

Rabbi Reiner contributed his time to this community and made himself available with Jewish, Catholic and non-sectarian issues. We are glad Rabbi Reiner will still be here to give love and guidance to all. God bless you, Rabbi. Thanks for all you do.

We wish to give a warm, hearty welcome to Rabbi Joshua Berkowitz, the new incoming rabbi at Ohab Zedek. We know it is very difficult to fill the shoes of a predecessor like Rabbi Reiner. We know the presidium of the congregation, Stanley Liker and Mandy Bauman and the board have chosen only the best. We wish you Mazel Tov, good success and a long career in our community. We look forward to writing an interview with the new rabbi in our column.

Once again charter revision has shown its ugly head. Mayor Bloomberg has put together a commission and suggested that they propose to change the order of succession to the mayor and eliminate political parties from city elections.

As the charter reads now the Public Advocate would succeed the Mayor if anything happened to the mayor or the mayor resigned. Under the new proposal the First Deputy Mayor, an appointee of the Mayor, would become acting mayor until an election is held. Some say that it is like the Vice President becoming President, but the Vice President is elected, not appointed.

The next issue is non-partisan politics. It is quite apparent that anyone who chooses to run for public office and has unlimited funds can get elected. In New York City anyone who chooses to run for city wide public office can enroll in campaign finance where $250 can become $1250. This nonsense of taking away party labels is ridiculous. In the state of Connecticut, Lowell Weicker, and in Minnesota, Jesse Ventura, were elected on independent lines.

In New York City, any candidate can collect signatures, create their own political party and run for office. We think this charter amendment is absurd. When I was running for City Council, many Republicans and independents wanted to vote for me, I had to explain that they had to wait until the general election. We have primaries so people within a party can choose their party's candidate.

On Sunday evening, we attended the West End Temple Social Club's annual auction sale. One person's junk is someone else's treasure. Many new and used items were there to be bid on and purchased. We had a great time buying everything in sight. Congratulations to Ed and Florence Spierer, Stan and Elaine Gelda, Ralph and Lillian Leinoff, Charlie and Evelyn Thau, Hal and Marilyn Kramberg, Rhoda Ross and any committee members I've forgotten who helped to organize the auction. Hal Kramberg served as auctioneer.

A great time was had by all. It was great sitting with Rabbi May and talking about community issues. Rabbi May is a great asset to our community.

Don't ever hesitate to call us. We are only one phone call away whether the problem is big or small. We are here to advocate for you and hopefully to solve your problem.


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