2005-11-04 / Columnists

Simon says...

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

The last few weeks were very difficult with all the rain and on top of that I had a cold and bronchitis with a cough so hard that your body hurts. Many of us were fed up with the flooding that occurred.

I thought I did a miracle by calling DEP and getting them to clear all the catch basins from Beach 113 Street to Beach 116 Street along Beach Channel drive.

Those of us who tried to go to the Post Office as well as any of the stores on the south side including the entrance to Waldbaum’s found it really wet. The DEP took swift action by cleaning the catch basins. Unfortunately the moron left all the dirt and grease that was taken out of the sewer in front of the Post Office and the other stores.

The next day, the heavy rains pushed everything back to the sewer and they flooded. Back to square one. We will keep on top of DEP until it is done right.

A major problem that is occurring for the residents of Breezy, Roxbury and Rockaway point as well as Neponsit residents and others is the loss of their Post Office.

Since World War II or earlier there has been a P.O. at Fort Tilden. They sell stamps, mail packages and have over 100 post office boxes.

The Post Office does not pay rent to Gateway National Park. the boiler is shot, and Gateway is demanding a rental fee, and payment for heat, light and other electrical use which is only fair. We have reached out to Steve Greenberg, Chairman of the Board of the Cooperative and Mrs. Farrell who is a private contractor who runs the Fort Tilden P.O. She claims it earns over $325, 000 per year in postal business.

We have reached out to Chris Connolly, owner of Deidre Maeve’s, to discuss the possibility of the P.O. being moved to his store. It has also come to our attention that the P>O. has come up with an alternative. They would provide a postal truck 3 days a week, which we find unacceptable. We have also reached out to Congressman Anthony Weiner. We are waiting to see and hear the outcome.

We have been appointed as a member of the Public Advisory Committee of the Lower Manhattan-Jamaica/JFK Transportation Project. Last Tuesday afternoon we traveled via the A train from Grant Avenue to Bowling Green which was quite an experience. Although it was 12:30 in the afternoon, the trains were crowded and dirty.

As many of you may remember we spoke about the plan to use part of the Rockaway Beach line to connect to the Atlantic Branch of the LIRR. They are proposing to run high speed service from JFK, eastern Queens and Nassau County on the Atlantic line to Lower Manhattan.

We were greeted and welcomed like family by Chris Bastian, Manager of Transportation Systems Research Planning Division of the MTA. He shook my hand and congratulated me and said he was flooded with E-mail, mail and phone calls about adding the Rockaway Beach line to the plans.

We made it clear that good transportation was essential to the continued growth of the Rockaways where each and every day new construction including Arverne by the Sea and other developments were filling every nook and cranny with some sort of housing.

People working or hoping to work in Manhattan suffer from the inadequate service and long traveling times. It was great to see that the alternate transportation that we have been fighting for years made the map. It was great to have the presence and full support of our Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, an advocate for us all and Norman Silverman whose heart and should has benn put into this project, as well as a great friend to our community, U.S. Congressman Jerold Nadler who was represented by Robert M. Gottheim Esq. who is his Brooklyn director and transportation policy analyst. Robert grew up in the Rockaways and his parents still live here. He is another fine advocate for us.

George Haikalis the respected engineer and transportation planner who wrote the original Apple Corridor plan to revive the Rockaway line sat with us.

There are a number of steps before a transportation plan is finally approved. Some involve public hearings and some welcome written public comment.

Many public officials have a voice in the final plans. Our efforts will need your support at these times.

At no time will this pit bull let his teeth out of the MTA and LIRR backside. We will continue with these planning sessions to make the old Rockaway Beach line a reality. They are planning for the next 25 years. We made it clear that we need immediate action to make safe rapid transportation to lower Manhattan available to residents of Rockaway, Breezy Point, Broad Channel, Howard Beach and Ozone Park available now.

The phone that rings in my office and home was down for 5 days. The problem was that the cables were rusted and flooded out.

We apologize if you were unable to get through. We only found out on Wednesday that they could transfer the calls to my cell phone. I hate to see the bill, but I’m determined to make sure that the phone company pays for it.

What is the post office doing? It has come to my attention that a number of people tried to send checks to my office at 112-20 Beach Channel Drive and the letters were returned to sender. This came after my recent article about poor postal delivery.

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