2004-06-04 / Columnists

Simon says...

From the Desk of Lew M. Simon, Democratic District Leader, 23rd A.D. Part B

Simon says...

From the Desk of Lew M. Simon, Democratic District Leader, 23rd A.D. Part B

With the weather being so hot lately we all seem to get angry more and more over the astronomical price of gasoline. All of us who own cars have become spoiled and accustomed to having transportation right here and now. I am suggesting that we choose one day in a week, maybe lets start with a Tuesday, where we boycott and not buy gas. If this proposal can be put together around the city of New York we as a group should have clout.

We would hope this boycott would assist us in bringing the price of gas down to earth. At the same time we are urging the US government to release oil from the Strategic Oil Reserve. US Senator Schumer has had the right idea all along. If we don’t release from this reserve they predict by the Fourth of July weekend priced will be over $3 per gallon. We urge everyone no matter what party you are enrolled in to send a letter to the White House. Remind President Bush that he has an election in November and that these gas prices have to be brought down to a reasonable, affordable price. Write The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C. 20500. The phone number is (212) 456-1414. Send a letter of support to Senators Schumer and Clinton.

We wish to congratulate George Giberti, former principal of M.S. 180 who has moved on to a middle school in Amityville as principal. Good luck and best wishes.

We have continually spoken about a house at 130-04 Cronston Avenue that has been left empty for over a decade. As you are reading my column the two cars abandoned in the driveway for over a decade have been successfully towed out, thanks to my persuasion of the family members who hold the rights to the estate.

On Thursday evening we had a meeting with Alireza Dilmaghani, General Counsel representing the Simon Trust and Dr. Frank Simon. They claim to own 403 Beach 134th Street. Last Monday I reached out to Furman Law Firm. I spoke to a partner, Sid Levine and started to ask questions about 402 Beach 134 Street and plans for an elder care facility.

Levine explained to me that the house was mortgaged for $280,000. The money was used in a financial deal in New Jersey where an assisted living center would be built. He said there are no such plans for the Rockaway property. There is an inspection due on June 1 by the DOB to check on possible illegal use of the basement.

We also asked for something in writing to state that this elder care facility was not coming to our community.

At our meeting Dr. Frank Simon said that his parents lived in the house since the 1970s. He said his mother was in the hospital and when she came out she would need an elevator to get up to the third floor. We asked the attorney for a written statement that they would not use the house for any purpose besides a one family house. He said that he could not do so without discussing it with his firm.

The attorney handed out a letter stating that when they assumed management of the property they researched the possibility of developing the property and found that it was not feasible due to the structure of the zoning laws. The letter assures us that Mrs. Estelle has no plans for the property at this juncture. The attorney said that he was paid $500 an hour and could not spend any more time with us. Along with many concerned neighbors, we will continue to watch this situation.

There will be no Atlantic City bus trips during June. The next trip will be July 17. We leave at 5:30PM and return at 8AM. The cost is $32 with $20 back in coins with a free 100-minute phone card.

Tom Paladino of TWFM Ferry tells me they have combined with NY Water Taxi. They now have regular runs from the Brooklyn Army Terminal at 58th Street to Wall Street. There is free parking for passengers from Rockaway and Breezy. The fare is $5. They are looking forward to starting direct service to Rockaway. They can provide regular 45-minute service from Riis Landing to Wall Street for 250 passengers. The funds for the needed subsidy are available to the NYC Department of Transportation but they won’t release them. Lets get the DOT together with these experienced ferry operators and make the Rockaway ferry a reality.

232 Beach 138th Street has officially been stopped. We are watching this property because there are no legal plans to change the make up of the house, only to change the roof.

Thanks to my stick-to-it-ness the work has been stopped. While I do not represent Ocean Park on Beach 17 Street and Beach 19 Street on Seagirt Blvd., many of my old friends and neighbors live there. The buildings are being sold and the residents are afraid they won’t be able to afford the new rents.

The new owners, Related Apartment Preservation, held a resident meeting to answer the residents’ questions. They promise to replace all the windows, fix and redecorate the concrete plaza, replace the elevators in the 19 Street building and install new roofs.

They will withdraw from Mitchell Lama but promise to keep rents as affordable for current tenants for 40 years. When RAP acquires Ocean Park, all tenants earning less than 95% of the area median income, as defined by HVD, will receive an enhanced voucher. Enhanced vouchers limit resident rent to the greater of 30% of income and what they are paying in rent at the time the vouchers are issued. Maximum income at 95% of median is $49,800 for one-person households and increasing to $69,160 for 6 person households.

If RAP does what it promises Ocean Park residents have a good future.

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