2003-10-10 / 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

It has been an exciting week between Rosh Ha-Shanah and Yom Kippur. Those of the Jewish faith are not headed toward Sukkot and Simhat Torah.

We wish a Mazel Tov to one of our Good Government Regular Democratic club board members, Jodi Orlow Mackoff, Esq., who was sworn in as president of the Brandeis Association, which brings Jewish lawyers in Queens together. Jodi is an outstanding lawyer with a big heart and a lot of compassion, a great mother and a community activist. We look forward, in the near future, to put her name in nomination for a Civic Court judgeship.

We wish a Mazel Tov and congratulations to the band, "PRIDE-The U2 Show" who just got back from their tri-state city tour in the city of Philadelphia at The Hard Rock Café and performed at the newest and most exciting hotel and casino Borgata. PRIDE met with 40% of the owners of the Las Vegas Strip and after their fabulous performances at Borgata are negotiating playing on the Las Vegas Strip and returning to Borgata at their Music Box. PRIDE-The U2 Show’s next scheduled date in Rockaway is Saturday, November 1st at Paddy K’s all are invited for Halloween festivities. For further information and show dates visit PRIDE’s website at www. prideofnyc.com. Nice job fellas, keep in touch! Beautiful news…

The 16th Annual Dinner Dance of the Good Government Regular Democratic club will be held on Wednesday December 3 at The Beach Club. A full sit-down dinner including beer, wine and soda will be served. There will be a DJ and live music. Glatt Kosher food will be available.

Among the honorees will be: John Norbury, Business Agent of Laborers Local 79 and President of the Queens Board of Business Agents of the Building Construction Trades council; John Socha, President of Local 1321, Queensboro Library Guild; Barney Cassidy, member of the Board of Directors of the Breezy Point Cooperative; Maxine Schack, Executive Director of the Neponsit Adult Day Care Center, and Teresa Harris, President of the Bay Towers Tenants Association.

We want to honor these fine people who have done so much for our community. We need your continued support to keep our office open and our phones working. We receive no government support and need your participation. Call for reservations at 945-1216. Send your checks to the club at 112-20 Beach Channel Drive, Rockaway Park, NY 11694.

On Thursday, October 16, District Attorney Richard A. Brown will be our guest speaker. He will lead a forum on the legal aspects of combating crime in Queens. A regular visitor to our club, he always discusses issues of interest to our members and community. Brown is a candidate for reelection in the November election. We have also invited all the Democratic candidates for Supreme Court and Civil Court in Queens. Judicial candidates are allowed to speak at political clubs only when they are running for election. We will get a chance to learn about their background and experience.

Among the candidates invited are Robert Hanophy, Leslie Leach, David Elliot, Phyllis Orloff Flug and Michael B. Aloise. We are also inviting Capt. Piekarsky of the 100 Precinct. Our meeting will be held at 7:45 p.m. at the Good Government Regular Democratic Club, which is opposite Waldbaum’s parking lot.

We wish a fond farewell to our former captain, Charles Talamo, and welcome Captain Piekarsky from the 101 Precinct, where he served as executive officer. He is a man of integrity, high caliber, great personality and a man who really cares. Good luck and best wishes.

On Monday evening we attended the first monthly meeting of Beach Channel High School Parents Association. The meeting was opened with the Pledge of Allegiance by President Jackie Primous. She recognized the staff and board members present. She then introduced Principal Barbara Pleener, who discussed some goals for the school.

Beach Channel will be a better place to raise expectations of the children to do better. Our kids must be able to compete in today’s society. There are changes in the requirements for the Regent’s Diploma including a second language. The principal then responded to questions.

There is overcrowding in the hallways and children are late to class especially after lunch. What is being done? About 900 more students have arrived this term. There is a five-minute passing period. There is more than ample time.

There are more than 500 children in the cafeteria each lunch period. What is going to be done? We are suggesting having more lunch periods next cycle. We would like to use more space in the school if programs not part of Beach Channel are moved.

Pupils have to be in school by 8:05 a.m. Classes begin at 8:11 sharp. There is abominable service on the A train and Q22, Q35 and Q53. This has become a major problem for many students. I got up to explain that the Green and Triboro bus lines were cutting back on service.

The Principal discussed an issue that was brought into the school from the community on a Friday a couple of weeks ago. There was a fight in the hallway because of an incident the night before. The parents of the students involved were contacted and the students were arrested. Security handled the problem well.

The principal wants the 100 Precinct to notify the school of any incidents involving BCHS students including arrests and gang activity. Scanning of students is now random. A number of parents want all students screened. At the next meeting the community affairs officer, captain and youth officers will be invited to discuss all issues.

The principal and staff use walkie-talkies and are out in the halls. Voluntary sweeps by the deans and security agents are done. I suggested that we lobby now for additional security officers and aides. A parent asked for more than one security guard in the lunchroom after a food fight there. Some teachers have volunteered to tutor students.

In response to a question about non-ambulatory students during fire drills, the principal explained that students are put in holding rooms. The Fire Department is aware of these locations, and would help these students in the event of a real fire.

The meeting was very well attended and we look forward to working with Superintendent Cashin, Superin­ten­dent Gordon, Principal Pleener and the new police captain in the coming weeks.

Last week I asked Sara Berger to represent me at a daytime meeting at Beach Channel H.S. Sara is president of the Good Government club and a retired teacher who spent years working for the Board of Education and in local schools. Others at the meeting in­cluded Assemblywoman Audrey Phef­fer and her aide JoAnn Shapiro, Prin­cipal Barbara Pleener, two assistant principals, representatives from the MTA and DOT, two reps from the Green Bus Line and P.O.’s Beecher and O’Sullivan from the 100th Pre­cinct.

The meeting was called to find solutions for the long-standing problem of hundreds of students crossing Beach Channel Drive at dismissal. They block traffic and are at risk of being hit by cars especially those coming off the Crossbay Bridge. Among the solutions discussed was a plan by the DOT to put a chain link fence on the guard­rail coming off the bridge. As this is MTA property the agencies will have to get together.

Assemblywoman Phef­fer has offered to fund a 4 ft. chain fence across Beach Channel Drive to reduce improper crossing. The police are suggesting that the crossing lanes be widened to allow more students to cross properly. The bus company is supposed to get the buses to park on the north side of Beach Channel Drive with their bumpers touching so that students would not be able to cross the street at those spots.

Complicating the problem are students who are dismissed earlier than the others. These 150 students tend to gather in the Getty Gas Station on the south side, while waiting for their buses. It is a difficult job to get 2,000 students on buses safely in 15 minutes. We will continue to work with our local school to provide safety and a good education.

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