2005-07-01 / Columnists

Simon says...

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

The heat is on. I’m praying for snow. The heat wave needs to go and bring back mild, cool beach weather.

On Monday evening we attended a doubleheader at Beach Channel High School. We attended the welcoming of the incoming freshman class of 2009. It was great to see a packed auditorium of anxious 9th graders and their parents. We then followed up by attending the closing meeting of the PTA and an awards presentation. These great parent advocates work night and day to help the students of Beach Channel High School.

Tuesday evening was another busy night. We attended the last meeting of the season of the Ozone Park Civic Association, followed by the Belle Harbor Property Owners Association’s annual meeting. Congratulations to Barbara Larkin who was reelected as president, Sylvan Klein, the new executive vice president and all the board members. Thanks for all you do for our community.

On Wednesday evening St. Stanislaus Bishop and Martyr School had a family spaghetti dinner to celebrate the continued existence of the school. Sister Francis Marie, the Principal, recognized me for my role in helping to keep St. Stanislaus open. I will continue to be part of the committee and work diligently.

I was recognized for my many hours working in support of St. Stans. I am very proud of our team’s accomplishment. Our committee is the best. This could never be done without all of their help. Thank you to Sister Francis and the committee.

On Thursday evening members of the Good Government Regular Democratic Club and other community members crowded our headquarters to meet and question Gifford Miller the Speaker of the New York City Council, and the mayoral hopeful endorsed by the Queens Democratic organization. Before our guest arrived we started discussing some of the problems in our community. Why are tickets being given to people who are walking on and enjoying the beach? Why haven’t enough lifeguards been hired to protect our beaches? Why aren’t the planes taking off over Jamaica Bay?

When Gifford Miller arrived he praised our club’s reputation for getting petitions to get our candidates on the ballot. He told how his father had served in the administrations of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B, Johnson and how his mother designed gardens in Rockaway, Bryant Park and around the city. He is proud of the two sons he and his wife are raising and his 10 years on the City Council.    

Miller took on Mayor Bloomberg. On issues that are tough, he rated the mayor mediocre. He pointed out that scores on standardized tests went up for 4th grade students in parochial schools and others not under the mayor’s control and that drill for test preparation was not real education. The way to improve education is through smaller classes, better pay to keep our best teachers, after school programs and safety in all our schools.

To finance these programs, Miller would extend the personal income tax surcharge on incomes over $500,000. These people should be happy to pay more to help improve our city. He pointed out that under current law insurance companies pay no New York City taxes.

Miller and the Council have appropriated $300,000 to support ferry service for Rockaway. Miller told us that the mayor has made no move to use these funds to help Rockaway transportation. Joe Hartigan, a local transportation activist, pointed out how the mayor catered to Staten Island by increasing funds for the Staten Island ferry while denying any help to Rockaway commuters.

After telling a cute story about how the Millers tried to show their 3 year old about voting, the candidate urged his audience to vote for themselves, that is to vote for the person who will make your life better. He promised lifeguards on the beaches, to reduce class size, and to  use fiscal equity money to raise teacher pay for those who volunteer to teach in the difficult schools.

Charles Meier, a local resident for 41 years and vice president of the Belle Harbor Property Owners, urged Miller to improve our subway transportation. Norman Silverman, a member of the Rockaway subcommittee of the Regional Rail Working Group, gave the candidate a copy of the group’s plan to reopen the Rockaway Beach line to give direct service to Penn Station.

When a local educator urged that parents be held accountable for their children’s attitude toward education, Miller told how he favored a plan to use internet based E-mail to communicate with many parents at the same time. The candidate told how he and the Council forced the mayor to return 1.3 billion dollars to the school construction budget. I made it clear that we wanted a real college in Rockaway, not just a branch with a couple of courses. When the candidate had to leave for another appointment, Howard Pollack, an assistant to the Speaker, and a Democratic District Leader from Queens continued to take questions.

We would like to give a special thank you to one of our Board members, Matthew Kessler, owner of Peninsula Memorial Chapels for assisting the family after the passing of Marilyn Silverman, formerly of Nameoke Street, who was so active with her husband the late Jack Silverman and her daughter Pauline S. Dibarri.

When I received a phone call from Pauline that her mom had passed and Pauline was sick in the hospital, and had no money to bury her mother, one call to Matt Kessler and he paid for everything. God bless Matt. He is a mensch. If anyone ever needs a funeral to be done, his phone is (718) 471-2475. Marilyn will be missed. My heart goes out to the family.

On Saturday evening we attended the West End Temple’s 66th annual dinner dance honoring Rabbi Marjorie Slome. She is a breath of fresh air, kind and wonderful, a loving and spiritual person. Sara Berger and I were the invited guests of Harold and Ronni Schwab, who ae the nicest people you could ask to meet. He is a great trial lawyer and his wife is an education advocate who was a member of the former Community School Board 27.

Hats off to Marsha Weber, President of the Shul, who looks fantastic. This Board of Education principal gives so much to the education of children and her Temple. Her mother, Evelyn, is also a former principal who instilled the right values in her daughter.

Committee co-chairs were Emily Cennamo, Lori Creamer and Ronni Schwab. Members are Elaine Gelda, Chaya Kircheir, Lucy Pearlman, Florence Spierere, Charlie Thau, Evvy Thau and Marsha Weber. The DJ, Gary Rothstein of Trio Productions and his staff made this a great party as they danced and put open a wonderful show. Gary dressed as a rabbi, a chef, a waiter and a woman with curlers. He was funny and a great singer. If anyone needs great entertainment call Gary at (718) 236-1558.

Many local newspaper readers know John McLoughlin as a writer and editor. His father, John McLoughlin,

lost his life to cancer on June 10. Unfortunately the family was left with substantial medical debts. A friend in need benefit will be held on Sunday July 31 at West End Temple from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. The requested donation is $25. Tickets can be reserved from my office at 945-1216, from John McLoughlin Jr., Melissa McLoughlin or at West End Realty.


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