2003-02-01 / 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

Evita Belmonte, the Queens member of the Panel for Educational Policy, will speak at the Good Government Regular Democratic club on Thursday, February 6. Appointed by Borough President Helen Marshall, Belmonte is the representative of Queens's parents. The City Board is empowered to set education policy, approve the capital plan and act as an appeals body. With local school boards being eliminated on June 30, the city Board will be the only official way for the public to have a voice in important changes now underway.

The Good government Regular Democratic club is located at 112-20 Beach Channel Drive opposite Waldbaum's parking lot. The meeting begins at 7:45 p.m. We invite all parents, leaders and other interested community residents to this meeting. Refreshments will be served.

Our next Atlantic City trip will be on Saturday, February 8. We leave at 5:30 p.m. and return at 8 p.m. We have 8 1/2 hours to enjoy Trump Marina. The cost is $28 with $17 returned. We serve bagels and cream cheese courtesy of Rockaway Bagels. As you are reading my column it is the seventh anniversary of the death of my mother, Jennie Simon. My mom was a real mother. She instilled good family values in her children and taught me how to have respect and fight for what I believe in.

Those of you who knew my mother know my mom did mince words. My mom came from the school of speaking out, and telling it like it is. This brings to mind a story from 1989. We were fighting against a homeless shelter for 200 homeless men on Beach 43 Street in the heart of the future Arverne development. We fought to stop the shelter because we felt everyone deserved good quality, standard housing. To just dump people in your community with no jobs or services is not the answer.

After successfully squashing the project by numerous rallies, busloads of residents speaking before the Board of Estimate and work with local public officials, we attended a local civic meeting. Plaques were given out to every elected official, a local reverend and many other people, but we were not recognized for our efforts.

My mother screamed out, "What about Lew?" She was told to sit down by this rude civic leader. My mother continued and they asked the cops to remove us both. My mother was my biggest fan, supporter and was very proud of her son. She would always tell anyone who needed help to call her son and of course I always responded and did the right thing for all.

My mom had many, many friends. She loved selling Avon products, which she did for over 30 years. She enjoyed playing Bingo and Mah Jong. Mom was very happy when my sister Fran and her husband had their first child, Bambi. She baby-sat and spent lots of time with her.

When my sister had her second child, Arielle, my mother was very much concerned. We were unsure if she was born deaf or what the problem was. She was not responding like a usual, little baby. After numerous tests, we found she was borderline autistic. She became my mom's and sister's special gift.

Mom was always very generous and loving. She would give her last dollar or the shirt off her back to anyone who needed it. Mom loved her favorite charity, the Phillip Port unit of the American Cancer Society. She went to all the luncheons and meetings and constantly donated money. She taught me that if you win a raffle, you always donate it back and have good luck.

For all of you who lost a loved one you know you always want to call them and ask a question or tell them about something good or bad that happened. Although I lost my best friend in the world seven years ago, I will always remember the wonderful memories we shared. For those who just lost a loved one, it never gets easy, especially during the holidays.

I thank my mom for all she instilled in me. We love you. We miss you and we'll never forget you.

Several weeks ago Robby and Theresa Ingui, who live in a private house under the Beach 90 Street el station, were very upset about being pounded with rocks from the station. The rocks broke their windows and damaged their siding.

On Friday afternoon at 2 p.m., our wonderful State Senator, Malcolm Smith, who happens to be one of my best friends, has once again proved himself to the residents of the Rockaways. Malcolm made a commitment to me to bring down top MTA staff to tour the Beach 90 Street, Beach 98 Street and Beach 105 Street stations.

Well, he really kept his word. The meeting we coordinated with the residents and staff of the MTA, including Executive Director Katherine Lapp, Chief of Operations Delivery Michael Lombardi, the Captain of Transit District 23, P.O. Rahaniotis Community Affairs of the 100 Precinct, and a number of District 23 Transit Police Officers.

Mr. and Mrs. Ingui brought buckets of rocks and concrete pieces that broke off from the station and were thrown in their yard or were thrown at them. We asked for an arch type of fence that would cause rocks thrown from the station to bounce back.

When we went down from the station, I showed Katie Lapp some of the supporting columns with missing chunks of concrete. At the 98 Street station, Warren Bass representing the Bay Towers Tenants Association said his building on Beach 98 Street had rocks thrown through the windows, windshields broken and that he was fed up and had enough. He showed how close Bay Towers was to the train station. I pointed out the rotted condition of station canopies where someone could easily throw a rock and hit someone below. We showed them similar problems at the Beach 105 Street station.

The 98 Street Playland station is plagued by many problems caused by Beach Channel High School students who do not live in the area. Beach 105 Street has B.C.H.S. and M.S. 180 students. A number of residents said they fear going on the platforms or walking in the vicinity during the daytime. The Key Food parking lot at Beach 105 Street is also a problem.

Senator Malcolm Smith and I pleaded for fast action. They have made a commitment to do all we suggested. We also asked for video cameras to be installed and monitored by the station token clerk and the District 23 transit officers. All the residents who attended were pleased by the prompt response by the MTA.

The problem caused by the throwing of ballast rocks off the el has gone on for many years. It was great to see that we got prompt action after we were called. God bless our State Senator Malcolm Smith for loving and caring about his Rockaway constituents. God bless the MTA, which usually doesn't even know where Rockaway is.

The MTA brass actually stood in the cold on one of the coldest days of the year to check the problem, State Senator Malcolm Smith and his chief of Staff, Patricia A. Reubens, did a great job.

Remember, make one phone call and we are around to help you.

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