2003-05-23 / 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

We are so proud to announce that a great personal friend City Comptroller William Thompson will be speaking at the Good Government Regular Democratic Club on Thursday, May 29 at 7:45 PM. The club is located at 112-20 Beach Channel Drive opposite Waldbaum’s parking lot

Comptroller Thompson, the former President of the Board of Education, was elected in 2001. My organization and I have been longtime supporters of his. Comptroller Thompson was successful in his efforts to force the Transit Authority to open its books for audit. This audit which showed that the Transit Authority was hiding substantial funds led to the court decision rolling back the fare increase.

Thompson worked along with State Comptroller Alan Hevesi, State Senator Eric Schneiderman, the Straphangers Campaign and the AAA to roll back the fare and toll increase at least until hearings can be held to consider the actual financial condition of the MTA and the TA.

The Comptroller is an independently elected official who advises the Mayor, City Council and the public of the City’s financial condition, and makes recommendations on City programs and operations, fiscal policies, and financial transactions. The Comptroller also audits and examines all matters relating to the City’s finances, registers proposed contracts, verifies budget authorization and codes for contracts, determines credit needs, terms and conditions, prepares warrants for payments, and issues and sells City obligations.

In addition, the Comptroller’s office conducts performance analyses of City agencies to promote efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of City services; helps ensure the safeguarding of assets and the accuracy of accounting data, audits City financial transactions, settles and adjusts all claims for or against the City and approves emergency contracts.

The Good Government club is proud of its policy of bringing federal, state, and city officials and staff to assist our constituents in quality of life problems. We would love to have you come and join us and be a member. Your dues helps us keep our office and phone and advocate on your behalf. We are not paid for the work we do and do not get any paid staff.

Members are not required to make all the meetings. The only requirement is that you love and care about your community. United we stand, divided we fall. In these hard financial times it is very important we work together as a team to take on our city, state or federal government or any elected officials who are not doing their fair share in bringing the bacon back to our community.

After school centers must remain open for tutorial, sports and intergenerational activities. Senior centers must remain open for social activities for all. Police, fire, sanitation and teachers must be kept in place with no layoffs. We need to keep NYC strong.

Libraries are near and dear to my heart. As a 10 year old, we led a rally to keep the Arverne branch of the Queens library open when it was slated to close because of budget cuts. Our fight was successful. Through the years we led fights to keep our libraries open. One plan was to pair adjacent libraries and close one on one day and the other on the next day. We helped stop that plan.

We served as former Public Advocate Mark Green’s representative on the Queensboro Library Board. It is important that we send a message to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Council Speaker A. Gifford Miller and our own City Council members that there should be no budget cuts in NYC libraries. A coordinated rally of all Queens’ residents should be held at City Hall to send a message to the mayor. We need to have our libraries open seven days a week.

This year all registered voters will be electing our Queens District Attorney, City Council members and judges of the State Supreme and Civil Court. We have been a longtime supporter of our Queens District Attorney, Richard A. Brown. Brown has not been afraid to take on drug dealers, prostitutes, racketeers and organized crime. For a man who stands under five feet, he really stands ten feet tall.

Brown has put together the best District Attorney office with the most qualified staff in the city. They have great community outreach. They work with a mock trial class in a courtroom in Beach Channel High School. District Attorney Brown has been a friend to the borough of Queens.

We are saddened by the loss of a fine individual, John McGonigle. John served the Queens County St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee with distinction. He was also a former board member of the AOH. He was a happy-go-lucky man whose heart was in the right place.

My deepest condolences to his wife, Sally, and their children. We know he has definitely made it into God’s Kingdom as an angel.

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