2003-03-01 / Columnists

Simon Says...

From the Desk of Lew M. Simon, Democratic District Leader, 23rd A.D. Part B

Simon Says...

Lew M. SimonLew M. Simon

From the Desk of Lew M. Simon, Democratic District Leader, 23rd A.D. Part B

Commissioner Christopher Ward of the Department of Environmental Protection will be our guest speaker on Thursday, March 6. The commissioner who succeeded Joel Miele last year will answer questions and discuss environmental issues. He and his staff may be able to help local residents with sewer and billing problems.

The meeting will be held at the Good Government Regular Democratic Club 112-20 Beach Channel Drive opposite Waldbaum's. The meeting begins at 7:45 p.m.

Our next trip to Alantic City will be on Sturday March 22. We leave at 5:30 p.m. and return at 8 a.m. The cost is $28 with $17 returned. Call (718) 945-1216 for reservations.

What stinks most about the recent blizzard that struck Rockaway was that on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday the MTA did not have the trains running or provide shuttle buses to get us off the peninsula. At the same time the Green Bus line was not running on Monday and Tuesday. Why are we the forgotten stepchildren of the city? Once again Rockaway, Broad Channel and Breezy Point were dumped on very heavily.

On Tuesday evening I attempted to volunteer at the Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department. I got half way down 6 Road to Church road where I got completely stuck on a block of snow for 45 minutes. Talk about four letter words. Thank god two angels came to my rescue. Jack Allen of Broad Channel started digging out the snow and attempted to push my car back with John Hayes. All of a sudden came Eddie O'Hare, the Republican District Leader, who drove my car out into a street I could get out of. My deepest sincere thanks to these three angels or I'd probably still be stuck there.

Congratulations to State Comptroller Alan Hevesi and City Comptroller William Thompson for demanding that the MTA open their books before approving a fare increase. The MTA must have something to hide if they persist in keeping the facts and figures away from the two officials elected to audit city and state agencies.

For most passengers the subway is a necessity not a luxury. When the MTA is unable to provide service due to weather conditions, they should have the decency to send out MTA buses. Many of our residents have no other transportation and were unable to get to work. It has been clear that the MTA has told us to drop dead.

It is time for the MTA to give us better service, stop lying and tell the truth to all of us.

We were disturbed to see reports about hundreds of arrests at a peace demonstration on the east side of Manhattan on Feb. 15. I asked Norman Silverman, a Good Government Democratic club member, who was there, what happened.

Silverman told me hundreds of thousands of people came to Manhattan to participate in a rally supporting the efforts of the U.N. Security Council and the inspectors to verify that Iraq no longer has any weapons of mass destruction and thereby prevent a war.

People came from all over the metropolitan area and from other states including Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and Ohio by railroad, subway, bus and car. Leaving Grand Central Station, they walked along 42 Street toward the U.N. on First Avenue. Friendly police stopped a few people who were carrying signs attached to wooden sticks. The sticks were removed and the people reached Third Avenue.

At Third Avenue police directed everyone to go north. At each corner as people expected to walk right to the legal demonstration on First Avenue, the police directed everyone to continue north. The crowds grew and spilled over into the street blocking traffic.

At 53 Street and Third Avenue hundreds of police blocked the way north or east to First Avenue. Thousands of people continued to try to go north to wherever they would be allowed to turn east. Without verbal orders to the citizens, mounted police urged their horses into the crowd. With the street more crowded than the A train at Broadway Nassau, there was really no room to step back. It is very fortunate that no serious injuries occurred at this location.

Only then was hostility shown toward the police as people changed shame, shame. A couple of young people who lay down on the street in non-violent protest were quickly cuffed and pulled away by police.

It is the responsibility of the police to protect the rights of all of us to peaceably assemble; New York City has a long history of parades and marches. NYC police do a good job of protecting the rights of the marchers and other citizens of our city. Whatever mistakes were made in this case must not be repeated.

On Saturday evening we attended the 98th annual Officers Installation Dinner Dance of the Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department and Ambulance Corps. The following were sworn in for 2003. Fire Administration, Craig Boyle Chief of Department, Joseph Nocerino, EMT Assistant Chief and Robert Nussberger, John Napolitano and Andrew Knee Safety Officers.

Past Chiefs recognized were Kevin Trudden Captain, and Frank Bassetti, Robert Leonard, Brian Williams WMT and Chris Kalisak EMS Lieutenants. The Business Administration consists of Edward O'Hare President, Desiree Napolitano Vice President, Ruth Trudden Treasurer, John Napolitano Financial Secretary, Larry Przetakieqicz Recording Secretary and Brian Williams Sergeant at Arms.

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