2003-08-22 / 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

We wish to thank all the people who called our office or sent cards congratulating me on my birthday. It’s a great feeling to be appreciated and loved. It is quite obvious people in this community are the best.

This past Thursday was a day from hell. Could you imagine that in this day and age in the 21 Century a failed power grid could leave us without power and in total chaos.

How many of you were prepared? How many ran out as I did to buy candles and batteries? I saw many people get into arguments because the store ran out of batteries and candles. It is also important to have a transistor radio with batteries. Without a radio, you lose all communication.

When the lights went out approximately 4:15 p.m., I’m sure everyone thought it was just a minor blackout due to overuse of air conditioning due to the hot weather. Then I put on the radio and heard of this tremendous failure of the power grid knocking out the east coast.

I’m sure, like many of you the first thing that came to mind was that was an act of terrorism. In this day and age we expect anything can happen after 9/11. In walking on the boardwalk and neighborhood we heard everyone asking if this was terrorism and what was next.

Here we are on Monday still wondering was this sabotage or an act of terrorism. Is the government keeping it quiet? It is time now to make sure that whatever needs to be put in place to stop future blackouts is done immediately.

A bill must be put before the state legislature and Congress to guarantee that whenever a blackout lasts for more than four hours and causes food in your refrigerator to spoil that the utility company to cover the cost of all spoiled food. Many of our neighbors lost all their food on Christmas and again this past Thursday.

We urge everyone to call our local representatives in the state legislature and Congress to put forward this legislation. We are tired of losing our hard earned dollars due to the benign neglect by the utility company.

For the first time in the history of Rockaway, lights went on ahead of other areas in Queens. Rockaway is powered by LIPA which serves Nassau and Suffolk counties, while Con Ed serves the rest of NYC. Usually Rockaway is last and forgotten. Maybe the Chairman of LIPA, Richard Kessel, who held a meeting in the afternoon that no one could attend, realized that Rockaway is a vibrant, growing community.

We wish to congratulate our local police officers and firefighters as well as the volunteer departments that responded to the crisis. Whether guiding traffic, fighting fires or assisting frail elderly who needed oxygen or a ride to a cooling station, they did their job. For all citizen volunteers who stood as well to help their neighbors, God Bless you for all you have done.

The other lesson from the blackout for all of you who have electronic phones that require electricity we were not able to receive or make any phone calls. Thank God I was able to find and use an old rotary phone to make and receive calls.

Cell phone users were not able to use their phones as well within Rockaway. My advice to all is it time to stock up on candles, batteries, flashlight, water and a good battery operated radio. God forbid it should happen again, we will be prepared.

The collection of recycling by the Sanitation Department is now every other week. Many people are trying to figure out when to put out recycling. If you call 311 and give your address they should be able to give you the schedule.

We are saddened by the loss of Kathleen Mulqueen. Kathleen was a very special lady. Many of us referred to her as the Maureen O’Hara of our community. Kathleen was a school aide for the Board of Education for many years. She was former president of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians, Division 22 and a member of the James Conway Sullivan St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee.

Kathleen was quite a religious, wonderful, spirited person. During the last number of years, Kathleen had lost both breasts to cancer, but this never, ever knocked down her spirits. She was recently diagnosed with cancer throughout her body. Unfortunately she passed this week.

Kathleen was a Saint who will be hard to replace. Her kindness and generosity to all has certainly earned her wings in heaven. Our deepest sympathy goes out to her family. We will certainly miss our beloved Kathleen.

September 1 is the new dues year for the Good Government Regular Democratic Club. We invite everyone to renew their membership or join for the first time. The dues is $25 for a family, $18 single, $12 for Seniors and Young Dems. Send your dues to Good government Regular Democratic Club, 112-20 Beach Channel Dr., Rockaway Park, NY 11694.

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