From the Desk of Lew M. Simon, Democratic District Leader, 23rd A.D. Part B
This has been an exciting week for the Democratic Party. Presidential candidate John Kerry announced his pick of Senator John Edwards of North Carolina as Vice Presidential candidate. This was music to all Democrat’s ears. This young, energetic United States Senator, former trial lawyer grew up poor and knows what it is to struggle to survive.
Edwards and his lovely wife Elizabeth lost their son and overcame tragedy. The combination of Kerry and Edwards make up the dream ticket for the White House. We have confidence in the knowledge of both Kerry and Edwards to take this country and make it a better place. At this time when we fear terrorism we feel very confident with the Kerry-Edwards team to protect us and keep us safe.
On Friday evening former New York Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Normal Siegel addressed members of the Rockaway community who have kept from enjoying our beaches and boardwalk by the Parks Dept. Siegel seemed surprised to hear that people have been ticketed for fishing off the beach or for sunbathing on the sand. Joe recalled enjoying his younger days in Coney Island. When Joe McKenna and others said they won’t go to the beach because they didn’t want to get a ticket for leaving a blanket on the sand, Siegel said was the Parks Dept. was changing the lifestyle in Rockaway.
Through his contacts in the Parks Department, Siegel hoped to set up a meeting to resolve the differences. If this doesn’t not work, residents could undertake some creative action. Siegel mentioned the examples of Gandhi and Dr. King. If large numbers of people engage in respectful creative action public opinion would force the parks department to change their enforcement of rules. Hr promised to return to observe the demonstration on Tuesday evening and offer legal defense if required.
Norman has been a great friend to the Rockaway community. He walked with us when we marched over the Cross Bay Bridge to protest the unfair tolls. We thanked him for supporting us as we take on city government and take back our beach and boardwalk.
This past weekend I spent a number of hours walking our Rockaway boardwalk to remind everyone about our rally. We have noticed that many parts of the boardwalk have broken wooden slats. Some are cracked and have holes that you could get your foot stick in. They are missing screws and move as you walk no them. We wish the NYC Parks Dept. would keep their huge trucks off the boardwalk. We would also hope that the Police Department would not ride their vans and cars on the boardwalk.
The Parks Dept. has 4-wheel drive trucks for the sand and ATV’s that wouldn’t damage the boardwalk as much. The police could use their bicycle squad on the boards and ATV’s when needed on the sand. Our boardwalk is once again in major disrepair. We urge all as you walk the boardwalk to watch your step so you do not fall. We urge the Parks Dept. to start immediate repairs. We hope in the future the boardwalk would be concrete to avoid these problems.
As you are reading our column we will going to Atlantic City Trump Marina this Saturday July 17. We leave at 5:30PM and return at 8 AM. The cost is $32 with $20 returned and a 100-minute phone card. Bagels and cream cheese courtesy of Beach Bagels are served. We still have some seats available. Cal 718-945-1216 for reservations. Our next trip will be on Saturday, August 14 with the same deal.
On Sunday evening we attended the Rockaway Music and Arts Council’s second concert, a tribute to big bands. There was a surprise guest appearance by a great man, Joe Franklin. God bless him. I remember as a child watching his talk show, Trip Down Memory Lane. I also had the pleasure in the late 70’s to be a recognized guest on his show for my friends at the American Cancer Society.
Also making a guest appearance was Old Blue Eyes himself, Fran Sinatra AKA Jerry Cardone. If you closed your eyes you thought it was Frank Sinatra. No folks, he was not lip-synching, he really sang. If you missed it, you missed a wonderful evening.
We urge all who will be 18 before Election Day to register to vote. If you have not voted in recent years or moved, you must re-register. Our office at 112-20 Beach channel Drive is open every Thursday evening from 7:30 to 11PM or call to make an appointment.
On Sunday after the concert one of the patrons took a terrible fall. He fell in the parking lot and got a bump on his head and cuts on his hands, nose and legs. We do want to compliment the Park Rangers at Fort Tilden. Just took swift action radioing for help. Jimmy Morton, a volunteer EMT, who is part of the Roxbury Fire House cleaned, bandaged and assessed the man’s movement to Peninsula Hospital. He and two other EMT’s Mary Colleran and colleague did a beautiful job to help this man. We would like to send our sincere thanks for what they did.