2002-12-14 / 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 is your chance to have a good time this Saturday December 14 and win some holiday cash. Come join us on our holiday bus trip to Trump Marina in Atlantic City. We leave at 5:30PM and return at 8AM. The cost is $28 with $17 returned in coins. We leave from 112-20 Beach Channel Drive. Call 945-1216 for reservations.

In traveling through the district I've been elected to serve, I hear the constant complaints of anger toward the mayor and our city council members who voted for an 18.5% property tax increase.

We wish to praise two City Council members from Queens, Allan Jennings and Dennis Gallagher, for having the heart to really represent the needs of NYC residents by voting against the tax increase.

We question how will NYC seniors and disabled be able to swallow this tax burden. With people receiving only a small increase on Social Security, SSI and SSD that doesn't come close to paying this increase. Whether the person owns a cooperative, condo or private house or rents an apartment they will be hit hard by the tax increase.

Many seniors and disabled have to choose between eating, paying rent, carrying charges or mortgages and paying for prescription drugs and health plans. What will they have to give up to keep a roof over their heads?

On Thursday evening we attended an emergency school board meeting to prepare for a public hearing on Community School District governance reform. The following school board members were present. President Steve Greenberg, Vice President Dolores Bevilacqua, Ernest Brown, James Adams, Art Beroff, and Rowena Schwab. Deputy Superintendents Michele Lloyd-Bey and Martin Weinstein and Secretary Josette Lowenhaupt represented the district. I was the only member of the public present. The main topic of conversation was how we can keep our school board after next June.

I made it clear that the school board is definitely needed. The parents of District 27 children must have advocates to work on behalf of their children. We suggested that school board elections be held on a general election day and that voting machines will be used.

We were shocked and angered when we learned of the procedure required to speak at the public hearing. Each speaker is requested to fax a registration form to Albany and prepare 25 copies of their statement. I find it obnoxious, horrendous and horrific that they would force the parents and anyone else wishing to speak pro or con on this issue to fax to Albany and make 25 copies. People on low incomes will have a problem. Speakers will have to take a long bus ride or fight traffic on the Van Wyck and pay for parking at Queens Borough Hall.

It is quite obvious this committee is trying to silence the people and deny them their First Amendment rights. We are prepared to scream and yell and advocate for all the people to make sure they can speak at this meeting.

Who said snow is not romantic? This bad weather day proved to be very romantic for a lovely young couple who started out as high school sweethearts. Cliff Miller proposed marriage to his long time girl friend, Anna Claudio. That night they pledged their love to each other. Congratulations to this super couple on your engagement. We look forward to attending your wedding.

This past Thursday was the first snowstorm of the 02-03 winter. The eight inches of snow made it difficult to drive, but by evening the Department of Sanitation had done a hell of a job. You couldn't even tell it had snowed. Hats off for the great job you did.

Friday evening we attended the annual Christmas tree lighting in Breezy Point. The snow made it look prettier. The singing by Breezy's Tiny Tots, the wonderful visit by Santa to the children of Breezy made merriment in the freezing cold. Chairman of the Board Steve Greenberg gave me the pleasure of wishing the families of the cooperative a Merry Christmas and a joyous, peaceful New Year.

After the wonderful ceremony, I was invited to dinner by Renee Lacey, president of the Breezy Point Golden Age club and her lovely sister, Eileen. We had a great time discussing the many good things that have happened this year. We enjoyed a wonderful meal at the Blarney Castle in Breezy Point. Renee reminded me how this restaurant is always there for the seniors of Breezy Point all year long. These charming ladies make you feel they are part of your family. I thank them so much for including me in their special evening.

On Saturday afternoon we did a lot of our holiday shopping at the St. Camillus holiday boutique. They had wonderful vendors, reasonable prices and it was good to get to see so many of our Rockaway friends. Hats off to the Home School President Barbara Buffalino and her crew for their wonderful fundraising idea.

Get well to Breezy Point's MC, Josephine McMonagle, one of the best personalities we know. She is a charming lady, with warmth, a great attitude and charisma make her social. We wish her a speedy recovery after her fall on the way to the Golden Age Club. We love ya.

We wish a special happy birthday to a person of honesty and integrity. He is always fighting for the betterment of his cooperative residents. Happy Birthday and many, many more to my good friend Gerry D'Albora. We hope this 39th birthday is special.

With the threat of a transit strike headed our way next week, the mayor has proposed using ferries as an alternative. I urge all to get on the phone and call Council members Addabbo and Sanders to ask them to make sure Rockaway is included in the ferry plan. We must make sure we are not crippled by the strike. We must not drop the ball and get our share of the 9/11 funds given to the city. Get busy and dial their phones. The numbers of our public officials are on the editorial page of the newspaper.


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