2002-11-09 / 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

We invite everyone to attend our next Town Hall meeting on crime prevention, gang violence and keeping our community safe from crime. Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown will be the guest speaker on Thursday, November 14 at 7:30 p.m. This will be your opportunity to ask questions about your concerns. The District Attorney is an excellent speaker and always proves us with important information. The meeting will be at the Good Government Regular Democratic club is located at 112-20 Beach Channel Drive, second floor, ample room is available. Refreshments will be served.

Our next Atlantic City bus trip will be on Saturday November 16. The cost is $28 with $16 returned. We leave from our headquarters at 3:30 p.m. and return at 8 a.m. We have 8 1/2 hours to enjoy at Trump Marina. Movies are shown on the bus. Free bagels and cheese are served.

On Monday evening we attended the District 27 rezoning meeting for Rockaway. At this meeting a proposed plan was introduced for the rezoning of the elementary schools in Rockaway.

PS 253, which is under construction on Central Avenue and Neilson Street, is expected to open in the spring of 2004. A big hullabaloo occurred when Martin Barr of District 27 presented a zoning plan, which would prevent some Redfern children from attending the new school closest to their home. When we reached Superintendent Matt Bromme, he told us all Redfern students would be permitted to attend PS 253.

One of our main concerns was regarding PS 225. Children from Ocean Village have been sent from Beach 56 Place thru Beach 59 Street to PS 225 on Beach 110 Street passing two schools within walking distance of their homes. They are PS 150 on Beach 51 Street and PS 42 on Beach 66 Street.

We have always felt it is very important to have local community schools where parents can come to easily in an emergency. It is important to keep children in locations where they can see their classmates after school without having to travel too far.

It is important for children who want to participate in after school activities to be able to get home. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, the bus makes one trip and does not return to take children who remain for after school activities. Unless parents have access to a car, the children cannot remain. There also is a problem for these parents if they want to attend Parents Association meetings or Open School Night.

Presently PS 225 is at 105% of capacity, PS 42 is at 54% and PS 105 is at 47%. Including zoned special education students brings PS 225 to 112%. PS 42 to 58% and PS 105 to 55%. The proposed plan to move Ocean Village pupils would leave PS 225 at 50%, PS 42 at 80% and PS 105 at 86%. With all the new units rising in Rockaway Park it is definitely projected that the utilization rate for PS 225 will rise.

In response to a question, it was announced that the 2,300 units in the proposed Arverne-By-The-Sea would be zoned for PS 183. It is quite apparent that the proposed charter school for Arverne-By-The-Sea with 850 seats would not be able to house all the students in the area. At least two more schools are needed there. Look for more public hearings to be held.

We tip our hat to John Baxter, Dorothy Williams-Pereira and Norman Silverman for bringing Brenda Lavin and NYC 2012 and putting Rockaway on the map for the Olympics. On Saturday NYC won the U.S. bid for the Olympics. It is not time for us to lobby and make sure that Rockaway is not forgotten. It would be a great place to build a great ball stadium giving us a minor league team, a great place to put a marina and piers along the bayfront, which will attract stores and tourists and bring money to our community.

In order for anything to work, we must improve transportation in our community. We urge all residents to call our Councilmembers Sanders and Addabbo to ask why we don't have a free ferry as Bay Ridge has. As the community most devastated by the events of 9/11 and being hit again on 11/12 with the tragic plane crash.

On Wednesday evening at the Rockaway Park Homeowners and Residents Association meeting we reminded Councilman Addabbo that two major topics of interest in the Council race and at the present time. Addabbo told us that he and Councilman Sanders obtained $300,000 to subsidize a ferry to Rockaway. He honestly told us that the subsidy would keep the ferry running for 30 days. Why is it Bay Ridge and Manhattan get free ferries? Why don't we get our fair share? We'd like to know.

It is also apparent to all of us that Newport Avenue between Beach 116th Street and Beach 125th Street will go eastbound only. The Department of Design and Construction claims it will be for only six weeks during construction. It is apparent many disregard signs and go west. We will stay vigilant to keep Newport Avenue from becoming one-way permanently. We are a very narrow peninsula with Beach Channel Drive and Rockaway Beach Boulevard our only east and west arteries. We must all watch this project.

We were very happy to have Supreme Court Justice Charles Thomas visit our club last Thursday when we held a public meeting in support of the Democratic ticket. Charlie Thomas and I go back 30 years in the Democratic club. He said he was happy to come up and see the kind of club I lead. You may know judges are not allowed to attend political functions except during their own election campaigns.

Justice Thomas told us about his work with guardianships protecting the assets of incapacitated persons. He is most proud of the new TV Series, Queens Supreme, created by his two sons who are also attorneys. The show, to be shown on CBS, is based on actual Queens cases.

We are happy to update you on the elevator problem at Bay Towers. On Wednesday October 30 we were told that HUD would release funds for the elevator repairs. On Saturday at 6:40 PM we received congratulations from one of the original tenants at Bay Towers, Kay Casey. She said elevators are up and running.

As I always say, I never quit. I always fight until we succeed and win. Within the next week and a half we expect a complete overhaul of the elevators. We will stay on top of all tenant concerns and problems. We are your advocate and will always be there for you. We are one phone call away. We return all calls personally.

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