2002-10-12 / 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

Thursday evening Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer invited all petition carriers who obtained at least 20 signatures to get our names on the ballot to a thank you dinner. All of the 23 A.D. was well represented. We all worked as a team and made sure to thank everyone who was present.

Our next Atlantic City bus trip will be on Saturday, October 19. We leave at 5:30 p.m. and return 8 a.m. We have 8 1/2 hours to enjoy. The cost is $28 with $16 returned. Call my office for reservations.

We wish to extend our sincere congratulations to Joann Ariola, Queens Director of Community Assistance, on her marriage this Sunday to Dr. Eric Sigel. We wish this happy couple Mazel Tov.

My good friend Shelly Ginis is involved in Project Liberty and the Greater New York Hospital Disaster Relief Fund. State Senator Malcolm Smith called a meeting of elected officials, local clergy and parochial schools. It was hosted by Bob Levine of Peninsula Hospital. Among those participating were Gary Toms of the WAVE, Frank Galluscio, Democratic District Leader, Anita Appel of the NYC office of Mental Health, Mr. Lazar, April Natural of the NYS Office of Mental Health, James L. Stone, MSW, CSW, Commissioner of the Office of Mental Health, district Superintendent of Schools Matt Bromme, Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, Ed Williams representing Congressman Greg Meeks and a representative for Congressman Anthony Weiner.

Project Liberty provides counseling services for persons who have been affected by the events of 9/11 and Flight 587. It is funded from FEMA through state and then local programs. The funding runs through August 2003. Services are available to residents of Rockaway, Broad Channel and Breezy Point. The counselors can meet their clients in their homes or other comfortable surroundings. St. Johns Episcopal Hospital, FEGS, Addabbo Health Center and Catholic Charities are participating. You can call 1-800-LIFENET to get information about a particular program.

We thank Senator Malcolm Smith for his foresight in bringing the community leaders together and Bob Levine for being a great host.

This past week we have received numerous calls complaining about construction problems west of Beach 116 Street. Areas included Newport Ave. from Beach 117th Street to Beach 125th Street and Beach 139th Street and Beach 140th Street off Newport Ave. We reached out to Bob Cullen, community Construction Liaison for DDC to try to set up a meeting for Thursday October 3rd with affected residents. We also reached out to Timothy Weiss P.E. who serves as resident engineer and Anthony Macaluso who is the engineer in charge of construction.

Mr. Cullen and Mr. Weiss got back to my office and to Ginger Smith who is working with me with the roads and told us that Macaluso wouldn't deal with me because I'm not an elected official. He said they would move the site office to the basement of a private house at 187 Beach 129th Street to be closer to the construction site. We question why a city agency would use the basement of a residential house to conduct business. Is it legal? Is rent being paid? Is anyone at that basement location after 5 or 7 P.M. when most Rockaway residents get home from their long commute? It is quite apparent they don't give a damn.

We were so annoyed and outraged we reached out to our Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer. She said she received many complaints. She said the only one they were talking to was Community Board District Manager Jonathan Gaska. He can be reached at 471-7300. The number of Bob Cullen, Community Construction Liaison is 318-7564.

Mrs. Ruth Luwish came to see me two days later about a problem that started before Rosh Hashanah. Her basement was flooded and had a terrible odor. The CAC construction firm working under DDC contract had made a mess of a number of houses on Beach 139th Street, flooding out basements. We received a call on Thursday from Anthony Macaluso who now decided he would talk to this non-elected official to notify me he would work with DEP to rectify this major problem.

The city should be ashamed of themselves for the condition of the street west of Beach 116th Street on Rockaway Beach Blvd., Newport Avenue, Cronston Ave. and Beach Channel Drive. We are putting them on notice we want our streets fixed now.

It has come to our attention over a week ago that the school bus that picks up children in Roxbury for Stella Maris High School and Maura Clarke J.H.S. would only pick up the Roxbury kids on the south side of the road. Brian Trahey from the board of the Roxbury People's Association asked for my assistance. I immediately reached out to Doris Dranch, General Manager of Green Bus. After I was told they would not change their route, I called Judy Bergtraum, First Deputy Commissioner of DOT.

On Friday at 1:30 P.M. I received a call from Dave Popiel, school bus manager of Green Bus lines, stating that they would do the right thing and pick up the kids in front of the Roxbury bus shelter. As my motto goes. I've very proud to be a pit bull. When I sink my teeth into a problem, I don't let it go until we win.

On Saturday evening we were in charge of 50-50 fundraising at the BCHS concert for the Tribute Park. Money was being raised to make this part one of the best. Sponsor included Waldbaums, Legend Pharmacies, Entenmann's cake and Pathmark. This concert was put together by Ken "Kojak" Rappaport, DeeJay. We express our sincere thanks to him. He worked with the Chamber of Commerce and Community board 14. The committee consisted of Liz Sulik, Delores Orr, Sandee Doremus, Hector Tello, John Hennesy, Maureen and Andy McGee, Linda Berger, James John Hayes, Chris Sartori and yours truly. The Explorers unit of the 100th precinct also participated. I'm sorry if I left anyone out.

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