2003-09-05 / 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 am thrilled to tell all my Rockaways, Broad Channel and Ozone/Howard constituents about two things that are great for our area: a new tavern—Paddy K’s on the bay front on Beach 92 Street, which is an excellent host for exciting bands. Bobby Ledoger of Broad Channel is doing a wonderful job getting us together to hear these wonderful bands on the beautiful bay front setting. And two, the performance of a band called PRIDE, a U2 Show (www.prideofnyc.com) with Rockaway’s own Sean Minardi as Larry Mullen Jr. on drums and vocals. How exciting to have this awesome tribute band, which will be playing the Hard Rock Café for the third time in October, grace Rockaway’s stage at Paddy K’s on Friday, September 12 at 10:30 p.m. I invite all to spend the evening at Paddy K’s with Bobby tending bar, Laird (Bono) the incredible lead singer of Pride and with Sean Minardi of Beach 118 Street. Treat yourselves and your friends to a night out at Paddy K’s with PRIDE, the talented Irish Band-in an Irish Town—halfway to St. Patrick’s Day!

Due to the efforts of Senator Malcolm Smith and myself during the winter, MTA Executive Director Katie Lapp and her staff made and kept a commitment o put up fencing and other security devices to prevent vandals from throwing ballast rocks from the Beach 90 Street subway station on houses, people, cars and animals below. In addition to private homes, the American Legion, Knights of Columbus, Hammel Senior Center and the Hammels-Arverne Day care Center are in the vicinity.

Last week the contractor hired by the MTA got around to breaking the concrete on the station to make the changes. Clouds of pulverized concrete came down on nearby residents. They had trouble breathing and some needed medical attention. Concrete dust is one of the materials that caused breathing problems around the WTC.

Neighbors asked the workers to use water to keep the dust down. One even offered her garden hose. The workers refused. What kind of safety rules does the MTA require their contractors to follow? Doesn’t OSHA have rules to protect the workers? Does the Health Department protect residents near construction sites?

We are asking Senator Malcolm Smith and his staff to get answers from the MTA. We hope they get the message. Residents near MTA jobs must be protected.

In response to our community rally and letters and petitions and many phone calls to Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, a form letter has been sent out to residents who have written to the Commissioner. They are looking at changes in curfew rules, permission to fish and surf and allowing leashed dogs on the boardwalk. They do not seem to favor any changes in lifeguard hours and "swim at your own risk" options blaming the State Health Code and municipal liability laws. Our elected officials must get this straightened out before the next swimming season.

On Thursday evening, Congressman Anthony Weiner held a Town Hall meeting at P.S. 114. Some of the public officials on hand to answer questions were Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, Division Five Chief, Dr. Cashin, District 27 Superintendent Rita Geremita and other staff members, Brian O’Connell newly appointed principal of P.S. 114 and Police Chief Thomas Lawless.

One of the hot topics of the night was the rules and regulations related to beach and boardwalk. Former Executive Vice President of the Belle Harbor Property Owners, Charlie Meier, was hot and annoyed at the police treatment of the 9/11 fund-raiser on Beach 130 Street and selective enforcement. Charlie is a former police officer himself. It was quite interesting to hear Chief Lawless say he doesn’t see any problem with someone walking on the beach with a glass of wine.

When we addressed beach and boardwalk rules, we reminded the chief we were not condoning any group of people going on the beach with kegs of beer and having a bonfire or just hanging out and making noise.

One of the other topics that came up was educational issues, which were addressed by Dr. Cashin. She said that all the principals in Division five would have a full year’s curriculum laid out and ready to go. Dr. Cashin has great ideas and initiatives to make our district one of the best in NYC.

I personally got up after Dr. Cashin’s speech to praise her for taking the initiative after her first meeting in Rockaway at the Good Government Regular Democratic club. Several parent leaders from P.S. 114 complained about their worst nightmare, the old principal. She immediately stepped into action before her official installation on July 1. She brought in Brian O’Connell who has strong disciplinary skills, great interpersonal skills and who gets along with children and parents.

Dr. Cashin has made major improvements including making a reality of a newly appointed principal at Beach Channel H.S. I had to get up and hug and kiss Dr. Cashin on behalf of my constituents. We can’t thank her enough for all she has done in a short period of time.

Some of the other issues addressed by Congressman Weiner were beach replenishment and the installation of jetties and groins. Congressman Weiner is planning a party at Charles Park in Howard Beach to celebrate the last Concorde flight.

On Sunday afternoon we attended the annual Roxbury Mardi Gas. The people of Roxbury know how to throw a parade. Once again we marched with former Building Commissioner Richard Visconti and his group. This year the theme was the blackout of 2003. The participants wore clothes that didn’t match because of the blackout.

All the people of Roxbury were wonderful and gracious as they usually are. They thanked me for coming and offered me food and beverages and continually complimented me as how good I looked since I lost weight. It was great for the ego.

It was great sitting down and talking with Chairman of the Board Steven Greenberg, President Tom Welsch, Dickie Thornhill and General Manager Artie Lighthall. It was great discussing various issues affecting our communities. These fine folks do a wonderful job.

As we now mark the second anniversary of 9/11 my heart goes out to the thousands of families who lost a loved one or loved ones in this dastardly act of fanaticism against the Unit­ed States. This is a day no one will ever forget. It will remain in our hearts and minds forever. I extend my deepest sympathy to the families.

Membership dues are now due. It is now $25 for a family, $18 single and $12 for Seniors and Young Dems. Send your check to the Good Gov­ernment Regular Democratic club, 112-20 Beach Channel Dr., Rockaway Park NY 11694.

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