2002-11-30 / 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 would like to wish all a happy Thanksgiving and to all my Jewish constituents, friends and neighbors a Happy Chanukah.

The 29th Annual James Conway Sullivan Memorial St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee dinner dance was held at the Beach Club.  I am proud to be a member of the Board of Directors.  Mike Benn is the president.  The Honorary Grand Marshals, Martin Kelly and Frances Abbraccimento were announced.  Deputy Grand Marshals Ed O'Grady, Nadia Murphy, Barney Cassidy, Tommy Hughes, Patrick Russell, Jimmy Kelly, Mary O'Rourke, Stephen Stathis and Al Catanese, Jr.  They will be honored at the 2003 St. Patrick's Day parade.  The Grand Marshals are to be announced.

The announcement made by Council Speaker.  A. Gifford Miller angered many NYC residents.  A compromise deal between the Mayor and the City Council to enact an 18% real estate tax increase for NYC property owners is included.  In light of the tragedy of 9/11, the rise in unemployment in NYC, the loss of bonuses and raises for many, and the very small raises for seniors on fixed incomes all of this is very painful.

It would be more effective if the Mayor and City Council members lobbied the President for additional funds to get out of this hole.  The economy needs a major shot in the arm.  They should be working on the creation of educational opportunity programs to train unemployed and underemployed persons for new technical careers.

There is no reason in our city that the money taken in by the lottery, OTB and other forms of legal gambling is not utilized correctly.  Now is the time to support legalized gambling in New York State, especially in the Catskills, so millions in tax dollars that go to New Jersey and Connecticut can stay in NY.  The commuter tax should be reinstated immediately.  A vote should be moved in Albany A.S.A.P.  There has to be some mercy for NYC residents.  With the possibility of having our subway and bus fare go up to $2, how are people going to be able to make the difference when their pay checks or unemployment checks just don't cut it.

This week has been very busy. We attended the 76th annual dinner dance of the Rockaway Chamber of Commerce, at Russo's on the Bay in Howard Beach. One of the honorees was my dear friend Thomas Catanese owner and partner in 2 Brothers Inc. general contractors and developers. Sitting at the Catanese table that night it was quite obvious that Al Catanese Sr. and his lovely wife April installed the right values in their children. Both parents were so proud of Tommy's accomplishments.

Tommy has put his money where his mouth is as far as Rockaway is concerned. He built Sands Point Medical Building on Beach 102 Street and Rockaway Beach Blvd. He will be breaking ground in the next couple of weeks on Beach 106 Street and Rockaway Beach Blvd. for a new shopping mall. We thank Tommy, as the Chamber thanked Tommy, for believing in the Rockaways. An honor well deserved.

A wonderful junior high school student, who I had the pleasure of meeting when she was president of the Student Council at PS 114, Kelly Magee, was the youngest honoree. After 9/11 Kelly took the initiative in holding two bake sales and raised $2,200 that was donated to be used for the new park on Beach 116 Street and the bay. This wonderful young lady is a rising star. If you heard her speak you would definitely say she was a future lawyer and one day our Congresswoman. We are so proud of Kelly.

Jerry Perich is the owner of the Irish Circle Pub and Restaurant and OTB. Jerry has taken the corner of Rockaway Beach Blvd. from 101 Street to Beach 102 Street and made it a beautiful new Irish Circle. The major renovation and improvement have made a difference in our community. His daily food menu is superb. Jerry is a very charitable and family oriented man. His honor was well deserved.

Rafael Diaz who received the dynamic business leader award is one of the partners in the C Town Supermarket in the Dayton Shopping Center. What a difference he has made. The store is spotless, the workers are kind and staff is always available to help out. Congratulations to another deserving honoree.

Dr. Abiola Familusi, a native of Nigeria, was another honoree. His motto is no task is impossible regardless of the odds. He opened the MultiViz Health Services which provides care to all patients regardless of ability to pay. He has also instituted a dollar a day medical insurance plan and facilitates collaboration between pharmaceutical companies and patients requiring long term medication. He is definitely a hero to Rockaway's residents.

We also wish to congratulate John LePore who was sworn in for his second term as president of the Chamber. Under John's leadership the community made great strides. Thanks for all you do for the community. We also extend our sincere thanks to Liz Sulik, Executive Director and Joanie George for all their hard work and dedication to the Rockaway community.

On Saturday evening I took some personal time with two of my nieces, Bambi and Paige.  We attend the Santa Clause 2 movie at the Merrick Theater. It was quite interesting to go into this theatre. It reminds me of our old Surfside Cinema. It has 4 little theatres made up of 100 to 250 seats per theatre. It is something Rockaway needs again.

My nieces and I really enjoyed the movie.  We recommend it to all young and old.  If you are sentimental like me, remember to bring tissues because n some parts tears of joy came down.  It was great to spend time with my family.  Who said Lew needs a life?


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