2003-04-05 / Columnists

Simon Says...

Simon Says...

Simon Says...

Lew M. SimonLew M. Simon

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

The ALPS program at M.S. 180 may not exist much longer. This is a great program that meets the educational needs of many children throughout the Rockaways. They have been going a-bove and beyond with hands on learning. It is an excellent program and should continue. Any attempt to change this program would not be in the interest of the community

Linda Ruscillo is a board member of the Good Government Regular Dem-ocratic club and a community activist. She is a strong supporter of the ALPS program. Her son just completed grades 7 and 8 in the program. He is now on the Honor Roll at Beach Chan-nel High School.

Linda tells us that she found that the smaller environment and personal concern shown by the teachers and supervisor made for an excellent nurturing environment. The class had the same teacher for math and science. She said the program was academically very good and absenteeism was very low.

This is the kind of program that helps keep some of our best students from looking to leave the community. It must not be eliminated by bureaucrats who are threatened by its success.

We wish to thank State Senator Malcolm A. Smith for providing us with tickets to the Met’s exhibition game on Saturday. We had great seats. Unfortunately the Met’s did not win, but we had a great time.

This week President Bush literally told New York City and New York State to literally drop dead. After 9/11 NYC has been on heightened awareness against terrorism. During the last two weeks as the war has begun we have been asking for our fair share of the funds for protection against terrorism, so no act of terrorism occurs here again.

The federal formula allots money to each state and city based on population. The same funds would go to a community in Montana as to a neighborhood of the same size in New York. Because we are a port of entry for ships and planes and have national landmarks that have already attracted terrorists we are at greater risk.

Shame on President Bush for not remembering New York. With the economy as it is our mayor is considering closing 37 fire-houses at night. We better tell the terrorists not to strike at night.

My friend John Socha is president of the public library workers in Queens. Some of you may remember when he was the librarian in Rockaway Park. John attended the hearing on the li-brary budget at the City Council on March 24.

The city is planning to cut library funds for the three library systems by 20%. The New York Public Library is planning an 8% cut in staff Brooklyn is planning a 10% staff cut, while Queens is planning a 22% cut in staff. Why is Queens taking a disproportionate cut? Everyone who uses or knows someone who uses a Queens library should be angry by now. Some of the library workers and patrons are planning to demonstrate outside the Cen-tral branch of the Queens library on Friday from 5:30 to 7 PM. Join them if you are in the area.

John Socha also told us that NYC libraries and schools are losing millions in state aid because Gov Pataki has told the state to use 1990 population figures instead of 2000 figures for distributing state aid. Because the population of the city increased more than the rest of the state it makes a big difference.

For shame whoever put this budget together. Keep our libraries intact. I know the good work of Queens li-braries since I served on the Board of Trustees as the re-appointee of Public Advocate Mark Green. We urge everyone to pick up the phone and call your City Council member.

There is no eason why the city could not use the new census material to de-cide on whether or not to keep libraries open. They had the information in plenty of time to enable them to do just that.

We urge everyone to fly the Amer-ican flag and a yellow ribbon. Whether or not you believe in this war, we must support our men and women who are fighting for our country. We ask you to keep them in your prayers each day until they return home safely.

We are saddened by the loss of one of the Board members of the Good Gov-ernment Regular Democratic Club, John Cannon Sr. John was friendly, kind and courteous. He loved getting involved in community issues. We know he has made it into God’s heaven as a special angel. Our deepest sympathy goes out to the family.

We were also saddened by the Swas-tikas that were painted on the wall of Temple Beth-El last week. There is no room in our community for that kind of Anti-Semitism.

Our next trip to Atlantic City 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 welcome your membership. Send your dues, $25 for a family, $18 single and $12 Seniors to Good Government Regular Democratic club, 112-20 Beach Chan-nel Drive, Rockaway Park, NY 11694.

It is quite apparent that DOT is not hearing what we have to say. The lights on Crossbay and Woodhaven Blvds. are still out of synch causing many delays and backups. It’s time they got their act together.

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