2005-06-17 / Columnists

Simon says...

Lew M. Simon
Lew M. Simon

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

We will host another mayoral candidates forum on Thursday June 23. A Gifford Miller, Speaker of the New York City Council, and the Queens Democratic Organization candidate will be here to speak and answer questions.

For all those who have questions about their property taxes, lifeguards, public transportation, need for public schools, better infrastructure (streets, sewers, street and traffic lights) elimination of Cross Bay Bridge tolls for all Queens residents, economic development and jobs, this is your chance.

We invite you to speak out. The meeting will be held at 7:45 p.m. at our headquarters at 112-20 Beach Channel Drive opposite Waldbaum’s. Bagels and cream cheese courtesy of Beach Bagels, cakes by Key Food, and coffee by Wendy’s.

In light of the recent heat wave, record numbers of people have come to swim in our community. Just a week ago on Sunday, we had the tragedy of losing a 16 year old young man from Brooklyn, Jermaine Cohen. A Good Samaritan, Wade McDonald, who went in to assist, succumbed to a heart attack.

This occurred at 6:30 p.m. shortly after lifeguards went off duty.

Once again this has angered Rockaway residents and beachgoers who have demanded that lifeguards remain on duty until at least 8 p.m. We have been fighting Councilman Joseph P. Addabbo to get his support on this issue.              

On Thursday, the Daily News had an article about the beaches on the front page of the second section. Warren Woodbury interviewed me along with Councilman Joseph Addabbo and Rockaway community activist Virginia Carson Smith. Once again the big zero councilman gave the lame excuse that he needs to hear from a consensus of the people. Is he nuts or just deaf, dumb and blind?

It has been so obvious with rallies and petitions that we’re damn sure that sufficient letters have gone to his office as well. He said only four letters have gone to his office, yet my phone has been busy with calls about lack of lifeguards and unprotected beaches after 6 p.m. I requested that these angry people call the Councilman’s office.

They stated that he doesn’t care and hasn’t done a damn thing. I explained to them that they must continue to reach out to him and let their voice be heard. 

Last Sunday I was called to come to the boardwalk while the rescue was underway. Hats off and thank you and God bless you to all the volunteers, Good Samaritans, police officers, firefighters, scuba divers from the harbor unit, EMS and many others who go above and beyond to make sure we are safe.

On the boardwalk, I noticed Peter Stein, President of the Lifeguards union. We reminded him that we love the lifeguards and thank them for the work they do. We requested that they stagger the lifeguard tours on Rockaway beaches. We requested a time to discuss this further. He said that he would like to do that.

It was great to see community activist Janet Fash accompanying him. She gives her all as a lifeguard, supervisor and trainer in the Rockaways. Janet loves the Rockaways and really cares. Thanks for all you do.

We would like to know why if Councilman Addabbo claims that there is money in the budget to hire more lifeguards, they have not discussed having part time lifeguards as they do in Coney Island. It is time now for our Councilman to act. Although I do agree with WAVE editor Howie Schwach, that if lifeguards were there to 12 midnight, people might swim afterward.

For over a century Rockaway residents were able to swim without Parks Department harassment when lifeguards were not on duty. We hear about city liability, but everyone could swim at their own risk. We  also question why the ropes and barrels which assisted generations of swimmers were removed.

These ropes stretched 50 to 100 yards into the surf and gave swimmers something to hold on to while resting or waiting for rescue. I believe they can save a life.

We urge everyone to pick up a phone and bombard Councilman Addabbo’s office as well as putting it into writing. 

During the past few weeks the mail delivery at my office on Beach Channel Drive has become a major problem. Many of the businesses have not received mail because it was dropped in the wrong place. For example, my mail wound up at different offices. I have found that mail for the Karate school, Bel-Har travel, and the doctor in my box.

Friday afternoon we were wondering why we did not get any mail. At 4:30 PM I was told that the mail had just arrived. Dotty from Bel-Har Travel said her mail including travel agency tickets were in my box. We all went to the Rockaway Park Post Office to complain.

One of the ladies spoke to a mailman we knew as Ceasar. We asked why the mail was late. He stated that he didn’t want to be bothered because he was on overtime. He denied putting the wrong mail in my box although we saw him do it.

The question was where was my mail? Later that Bruce Hodes of the Karate school said that he got my mail delivered to him. Many, many residents of Dayton Towers East and West and Dayton Beach Park are constantly complaining of no deliveries or missing mail. It is time for the Rockaway Post Office to get their act together. I give them an F-.

We are deeply saddened by the death of an outstanding individual. John McLoughlin Sr. passed on Friday after his fight with non-Hodgkins cell lymphoma, an aggressive cancer that had spread throughout his body.

He was one of the nicest, loving, caring individuals and was a great husband, wonderful father, wonderful son-in-law, brother-in-law and uncle. John is survived by his daughter Melissa, and his son John, formerly an editor of Rockaway’s own WAVE. John’s lovely widow, Sherri, has also been battling cancer for a number of years. My heart goes out to this fine, outstanding family.

We believe John was needed to be a special angel in heaven. We are in the process of setting up a retire the debt fundraiser to help the McLoughlins pay the extensive medical bills and other items not covered by  insurance. We will be announcing this shortly. My deepest sympathy to the family.    

Our next Atlantic City trip will be on Saturday July 16. We leave at 5:30 p.m. and return at 8 a.m. The cost is $33 with $25 returned. They have free slot day. The first $50 you spend is guaranteed to be returned in a check for you to spend on our August trip. For reservations call 945-1216.

Calls were made to my office by some of the neighbors concerning construction work in the basement of an apartment building at 124-16 Rockaway Beach Boulevard. I immediately got on the phone to the Department of Buildings and District Manager Jonathan Gaska. We followed the letter of the law with this problem.

Last week District Manager Gaska got back to me with information about this location. As long as this is a doctor’s office as the owner claims, it is legal. We will be watching this and urge anyone who sees or hears anything suspicious to call us.

As we come closer to the primary and general elections it is a good time to make sure that you are properly registered to vote. If you have moved or not voted in the last election we can check your registration and send in a new one if required. Call my office for an appointment.


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