2003-05-30 / 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

How ironic that the Memorial Day weekend is the time people usually go on vacation or take a day at the beach. The official grand opening of our beaches, which was announced for this past Friday, was cancelled. What happened to our opening? Why should a little drizzle stop our city from working when even a major snowstorm doesn’t stop us?

We have also been made aware that Parks Department seasonal personnel will be replaced by unknown mix of work release offenders, Parks Opportunity Program, Work Experience Program (WEP) and others. We think it is a damn disgrace that they replace the young people, many local, with this untried and risky mix.

The workers need proper training and supervision. They need to be in good physical condition. We remember a WEP worker who dropped dead after a long walk on the hot Coney Island boardwalk.

Rockaway beaches are extremely crowded in the summer season. It is important that beaches are cleaned at all times. The sand must be sifted on a daily basis to avoid broken glass, medical waste, feces or any other thing that can cause accidents or sickness.

As you remember many times people have complained about over-filled garbage cans on the beach. Will our beaches become a city dump? Will visitors have to dump their garbage in the street? We urge everyone to call and write Mayor Bloomberg, Joseph Addabbo, Chair of the City Council Parks Committee, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe and Borough President to tell them we are tired of being dumped on in Rockaway.

Hats off to Council Speaker Gifford Miller who has refused to sign off on the recent sales tax increase until the mayor agrees that all necessary sanitation services are continued. Sanitation workers have already been laid off. What’s going to happen with your garbage? Are we going to be stuck with mosquitoes, rats, mice and other vermin? Is the city going to be stuck with higher bills for those who come down with West Nile virus?

We urge you to pick up the phone. Let your voice be heard by the Mayor. Absolutely no sanitation cuts should be allowed. Call back the workers laid off on May 15. Think of them and their families. We must keep twice a week pick up and weekly recycling. The city has been improving in the last decade. Why should we go backwards? Lets strive to make NYC the best.

It has come to our attention that Rockaway Beach Blvd. west of Beach 116 Street will be going one-way west. We are still not aware of who put this proposal in, or if this is only while the center median is being put in from Beach 128 Street to Beach 140 Street?

We reached out to District Manager Jonathan Gaska who asked where I get my information. I told Jonathan that signs are now up on Rockaway Beach Blvd. They show one-way west, but are covered up. When you go from Newport to Rockaway Beach Blvd down the 200 block, there are covered signs showing no left turn.

We look forward to getting answers to our questions. If this is because of construction, we urge them not to do this until after the closing of the beach season. Why should we have to suffer?

On Memorial Day we marched in our local Rockaway parade under the torrential rain. When we got to the Daniel M. O’Connell Post 272, a letter was read by the treasurer of the American Legion, which I’d like to share with you. This letter was sent home on February 22 by a young man about to engage an enemy of our country a half a world away.

"Hi Mom. How are you doing? I’m doing OK, I guess. I won’t be able to write any more because we are moving out. I’m not sure where exactly we’re going to be, but it is said to be a 20-hour drive in the Bradleys. So I guess the time has finally come for us to see what we are made of. Who will crack when the stress level rises and who will be calm all the way through it. Only time will tell. We are the peak of our training and it’s time to put it to the test.

I just want to tell everybody how much you all mean to me and how much I love you all. Mother I love you so much. I am not going to give up! I try not to think what might happen in the future.

I keep my head up and try to keep the faith and pray for better days. All this will pass. I believe God has a path for me. Whether I make it or not, it’s all part of the plan, it can’t be changed only completed.

Mother will be the last word I’ll say. Your face will be the last picture that goes through my eyes. I am not going to scare you but it’s reality.

I hope you are proud of what I’m doing and have faith in my decision. I will try hard not to give up. I just want to say I’m sorry for anything I have ever done wrong and I’m doing it all for you, Mom, I love you."

US Army Private 1st Class Diego Fernando Rincon. A young Rockdale, Georgia man with a passion for life and his country, he was killed on March 29 in an Iraqi suicide attack on his unit.

While sitting and listening to this letter being read chills went up and down my spine. During all the wars that have occurred so many valiant men and women have laid their lives for our country to preserve freedom, life and liberty for us all. God bless all who have given their lives. god bless those who have come home whether wounded, missing limbs or have the great pleasure of coming back alive.

The Vietnam Veterans of America Queens County Chapter 32 will hold a veterans information day on Sat. June 7 from 9 to 2 PM at the Knights of Columbus Rockaway Council 333 Beach 90th Street, Bring copies of your discharge papers or DD-214.


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