2003-03-29 / Columnists

Simon Says...

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

Simon Says...

Lew M. SimonLew M. Simon

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

I found it rather interesting to read last week’s Wave and find a letter as fictitious as the name attached to it. The letter stated that I used the Green Bus as my personal taxi for the Rockaway St. Patrick’s Day parade. Let me set the record straight. First I never got anything for nothing. The taxpayers of the city do not pay my salary, as I am not a paid official. They do not pay for my office or phone.

I strongly believe that the many players in our community should give back to our community. A number of years ago I took on Keyspan-LIPA and managed to get an electrical pole for free for lights for the Rockaway Rockies. For the past number of years I have been on the backs of the Green Bus lines about the idling and speeding of buses, the oil dripped and left on Beach 116 Street and the Q35 making local stops on Flatbush Avenue.

For those who remember we got Green Bus to stop buses from speeding, clean up oil drips on Beach 116 Street, Beach 117 Street and Newport Avenue. We have always reminded Green Bus that their bread is buttered in the Rockaways.

For the last 3 or 4 years Green Bus line has donated the service of a bus and driver for Rockaway’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. This bus is used to take people from the Mass at St. Francis de Sales to breakfast at The Beach Club. This is to accommodate the many seniors, honorees and people who give their time free of charge to make our parade a great success. As a member of the Board of Directors of the James Conway Sullivan St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee, I am very proud of the fact that I was able to obtain a bus to accommodate all who wanted to be involved on this festive occasion.

At no time can you find me on the bus. I get a ride from my home each year to the Beach Club and thank God for John Kearney who gives of his time to drive me in the parade in his vintage Cadillac. After the evening festivities at St. Rose somebody is always kind enough to give me a ride to my car. This year I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Fire Chief Thomas Murphy, whose wife Nadia was a Deputy Grand Marshal, who was kind enough to drive me to my home.

During the past few years Keyspan LIPA has given back to the Rockaways by paying for our Christmas trees and lights. We are the only community that doesn’t seem to have a community chest. If you look at the Ozone Park community you find that the Wakefield Little League field was donated by Con Ed. I have always fought to make sure that these big entities invest in their communities. It is a shame that A.T.&T. and Verizon are not giving anything back to this community. Time Warner Quics give community access, but I deem that is not enough. It is time for every one of these big entities that take our taxpayer and consumer dollars to open up their hearts and give back to our community.

To Mr. Sullivan, you are a fool if you really think our heart is not in this community then you don’t exist. I eat, sleep and think Rockaway, Broad Channel, Howard Beach and Ozone Park. I make sure my constituents get a fair shake. If this makes me a criminal, please give me my crown. I will always advocate for the people. It’s the people first and Lew Simon last. So call me guilty.

It seems Duane Reade has no feeling for the people in the Rockaways. Right next to their new store will be a new park. That big monstrosity on top of their building will block the sun from this new park. Sun is part of the art design for the memorial. The sun passes through colored glass and makes light of many colors. There is no reason to put that sign outside the store.

We would not mind a billboard if the park was not being built there. There is so much empty land in Rockaway. Billboards can be put anywhere. My phone has been ringing off the hook with angry community residents. We hope Duane Reade will reconsider and take this billboard down!

Why is it Newport Avenue is still not being paved? What are they waiting for? The weather has been great. How long must we live this way? Shame on the DDC.

Many of my younger constituents have expressed concern about the war. We are all watching events closely. I am glad that Mayor Bloomberg issued the permit to allow those opposed to the war to express themselves.

Norman Silverman, a member of the Good Government Regular Democratic club told me about the march. Many thousands of New Yorkers and suburban residents marched down Broadway to Washington Square Park. They expressed opposition to the politicians who initiated the war, and not to our service men and women who are in Iraq. Many carried home-made signs opposing President Bush and his policies.

Regime change Begins at Home, Thou Shalt Not Kill Children, Violence Breeds More Violence, Health Care Not War and 9/11 New Yorkers Say No to War were among the signs carried. As the marchers reached Washington Square Park some gathered to sing folk songs, including We’re Going to Study War No More.

There was a disturbance after the march ended. Many marchers gathered in Washington Square Park to talk, sing and greet old friends. The police ordered them to leave the park. Some resisted and were arrested.

Our next Atlantic City Trump Marina bus trip will be on Saturday, May 17. The cost is $28 with $17 returned. We leave at 5:30 P.M. and return at 8 A.M. We have 8 1/2 hours to enjoy.

We meet at the Good Government Regular Democratic club every Thursday evening at 7:30 P.M. You don’t have to be a member to attend. We are located at 112-20 BCD.

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