2005-06-03 / Columnists

Simon says...

Lew M. SimonLew M. Simon

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

On Monday morning, May 23, the Queens County Democratic organization, of which I am proud to be a part, endorsed Council Speaker A. Gifford Miller for mayor.

This week was very busy but enjoyable. On Tuesday evening we attended the first 2005 meeting of the Neponsit Property Owners. President Peter Sammon, who does a wonderful job and runs an enjoyable meeting, was gracious and kind as usual, and allowed me to address the members.

Among the complaints given to me was about cycling street lights which flicker. We were able to take care of the problem in 24 hours.

On Wednesday evening we attended the annual dinner dance of  Mercaz Hatorah. The guests of honor this year were a special couple, Avi and Min Kunstler of Belle Harbor. Through the years they have opened their doors to yeshiva students who dorm at their home.

Avi has spent long hours studying the Torah at the yeshiva. This loving couple has shared their heart and soul with the boys of the school. We wish them Mazel Tov on a well deserved honor.

On Thursday evening the Good Government Regular Democratic Club held their third Town Hall meeting of the year. These meetings have brought many of the candidates running for city wide office in the Democratic primary to our community.

Our invited guests were Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields and Congressman Anthony Weiner. As the candidates were kept at an endorsement meeting of the New York County organization, I had to filibuster while waiting for them to address us.

Residents of the 23rd Assembly District who attended the standing room only meeting were disappointed that C. Virginia Fields was not able to make our meeting or make the time to address our meeting via speaker phone. Congressman Anthony Weiner did take time out to address our meeting.

Although we had booked Borough President Fields approximately five weeks ago and confirmed her attendance the day before the meeting, we will  again reach out to give her another chance to address us.

  Congressman Weiner discussed a number of issues of interest to our residents.

We told how Anthony helped organize meetings to keep the schools at St. Virgilius and St. Stans open. Anthony told us that he had obtained funds for operating ferries from Rockaway to Manhattan. The legislation requires that the city put up 20% of the funds and the mayor refuses to do so. If he is elected mayor, the ferry will be a reality. Weiner also pledged that the ferry would be operated by city employees of the Department of Transportation, not outsourced as our councilman has suggested.

Weiner assured city workers of his respect for them. His mother is a retired NYC school teacher. In negotiations he would demand concessions and drive a hard bargain, but he does not see city employees as a liability as Mayor Bloomberg does.

He described Bloomberg as anti labor.

In response to my question about reopening the Rockaway Beach branch of the LIRR to provide direct service from southern Queens to Manhattan, the Congressman said that transportation funds had been eaten up by the construction of the Port Authority’s Van Wyck leg of the Airtrain. He was also concerned that a handful of parking spots used by residents of the Forest Park Crescent Cooperative located on land leased from the city would be eliminated by reactivating the train service.

Norman Silverman, a member of the Rockaway subcommittee of the Regional Rail Working group, disagreed with the Congressman. The funds for the Van Wyck line came from the Passenger Facilities Charge used to improve airports, not from transportation funds. The small number of parking spots could be easily replaced by putting a deck over the remaining part of the lot. Silverman asked Katherine Graylin, a Weiner aide who was present, to set up a meeting with the Congressman and his own transportation advisers to discuss the matter.    

We wish a warm congratulations to  Edward O’Hare, Republican District leader of the 23 A.D., and his lovely wife Ginger on their adoption of a beautiful baby boy named Edward Vincent O’Hare.

We know that this loving couple will do a fine job in  raising little Eddie. I am so happy for you. You deserve the best.

We are saddened by the loss of a wonderful courageous woman, Esther Arikon, who worked for the NYC Department for the Aging for many years. She was always helping and advocating for Seniors in NYC. We had many lunches and dinners with her over the years. We will miss you deeply. We know god must have needed a special angel. My deepest sympathy to the family.

On Saturday afternoon I received the dynamite news that St. Virgilius of Broad Channel met and went over the goal of registered children required by the diocese.

The president of the Home School Association, Stacey Spataro, was ecstatic and thanked me for my part in helping this fine committee of parents and alumni in keeping the doors open. It is called teamwork. United we stand, divided we fall. 

On Sunday we participated in the Memorial Day parade in Broad Channel. The weather was fine and the parade was beautiful.

On Monday the Memorial Day parade was held in Rockaway. It was great to see Rev. Powell and her contingent from the First Congregational Church marching with us. It was also a pleasure to see and hear the Beach Channel High School band.

A great surprise was a new marchng band from M.S. 53 in Far Rockaway along with their music teacher Aminah Majied and their art teacher Norma Allende, who was just as wonderful as can be. Claude Monereau, principal of M.S. 53 marched proudly with his students and staff. He is doing a great job and making a great change in the school.

Our next Atlantic City trip will be on Saturday June 11. the cost is $33 with $25 returned. You have 8 1/2 hours to enjoy the Trump Marina. We leave at 5:30 p.m. and return at 8 a.m. Bagels and cream cheese courtesy of Beach Bagels.

We’d like to thank Rogoff’s Beach 116 Street for always being kind in donating prizes for raffles whenever we go to them.

Shop locally.

They have everything under the sun at good prices.

We are once again circulating petitions for lifeguards to be assigned from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Tuesday June 7 is the first day to sign nominating petitions for candidates for mayor, comptroller, public advocate, borough president and council member.

You must be enrolled in a party to sign a petition.

Signing a petition is not a vote.

It simply enables a candidate to get on the ballot.

Please take your time to do your civic duty by signing for the candidate of your choice.

Happy birthday to Andy McGee. Thanks for all you do.

We greatly appreciate it.

We love you dad. 

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