2005-11-18 / Columnists

Simon says...

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

Lew M. Simon

Last Wednesday evening was the Good Government Regular Democratic Club’s 18th annual dinner dance at Russo’s On the Bay. Over 800 tickets were purchased. It was quite an accomplishment for our organization. It felt like we finally arrived. People from all walks of life including residents of Rockaway, Broad Channel, Breezy Point, Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, South Ozone Park, Richmond Hill and other great parts of the city attended.

We opened our dinner dance with the Pledge of Allegiance. The Star Spangled Banner was performed by the Beach Channel High School Jazz Ensemble under the direction of former band teacher Barry Domfort and current band teacher Alan Licht. The band was superb as usual. 

Former Public Advocate Mark Green gave a champagne toast to our organization as well as a toast to my personal contribution and efforts on behalf of my constituents and the citizens of New York. Green, a candidate for Attorney General in the 2006 election, recalled his service as Commissioner of Consumer Affairs and as Public Advocate. He praised the volunteers who help make their community and city a better place in which to live.

State Senator Malcolm Smith was one of the hits of the evening with his interactive dialogue with the audience. He reminded everyone that I was the catalyst who took on the county and fought for county endorsement of his campaign for the State Senate. He requested that the audience respond to his statements by saying “That’s Our Lew.” Who is not afraid to speak from his heart? And tell you where to fly? “That’s Our Lew.” Who is not scared of taking on anyone or issue?....Who is the first to argue with you when you disagree?...Who calls you all hours of the day and night on behalf of his constituents?...Who’s got a lot of love in his heart and never says no?...Who won’t quit until he gets the Rockaway Beach line of the LIRR? “That’s Our Lew.”

For the first time in a long time they told me I turned a deep red in embarrassment. We love our Senator Malcolm Smith, the only elected official who stood with us and supported me in my 2001 bid for the City Council.  I spoke about 18 years of fun, enjoyment, pleasure and accomplishment. It was great to have the support of over 35 labor unions. I praised the unions that have made our country great.

We gave plaques to each of our honorees. Pat Tubridy, Principal of Channel View Academy of Research, received the educational leadership award. Pat spent many years running the ALPS program located in the J.H.S. 180 building. She had a dream that she could create a school to help the children of Rockaway. Channel View Academy serves grades 6-12.The school is on track for excellence. We know one day Pat will probably become a School Superintendent because of her love and caring for the children and parents.

Louis and Mary Romas combine service and leadership. For over 50 years this dynamic duo has worked diligently with the Daniel O’Connell Post 272 of the American Legion. Mary and Lou have been community activists fighting to improve the quality of life in the Rockaways. This duo shares their love and sense of family with all when they touch someone’s life. They do make a difference. 

Jodi Orlow-Mackoff received the Stephen Lefkowitz Memorial Award for legal advocacy and leadership. Jodi has been a great friend and inspiration to the residents of the 23 A.D. Her pro bono work as a lawyer on many community issues, her free consultations with community residents and her use of her legal knowledge to assist the Board of the Yeshiva of Belle Harbor has been outstanding. Jodi is the mother of three beautiful children and the niece of former City Councilman at Large Steven Orlow. She is always willing and able to help all who need her assistance.

Tom O’Keefe received an award for outstanding community leadership. He was recently reelected to a second term on the Board of the Breezy Point Cooperative. He is extremely active in fire safety. He has a heart of gold and is always available to help those who need his help. A former Steamfitter in Local 638, his love for his work in the union speaks for itself.

Michelle Lloyd-Bey received an award for educational leadership. She is a rising star. Her love for the children and parents of District 27 make the difference. Her strong family values were instilled by her parents. She is a fantastic educator, brilliant, knowledgeable and a lady of class. We know that one day she will become a Regional Superintendent when Dr. Cashin becomes Chancellor. Her speech was the speech of the night. Michelle spoke from the heart when she said that it is one thing to lead and another to serve. The service she provides to all in District 27 is definitely proved by the reading and math scores. Her availability to the parents and teachers of the district go above and beyond the call of duty.

Kevin Kelly received the Dominick (Mickey) Cincotta award for union leadership. This award is given in memory of Cincotta, a man who put his money where his mouth is and made a difference. Kevin Kelly is an exemplary Business Agent for Local Union No 46, Metallic Lathers and Reinforcing Ironworkers. This distinguished gentleman works each and every day to secure safe and sanitary union work for the members. He is an inspiration to all union members and leaders.

Kevin comes from a strong Catholic background. His love and compassion to help others was proven this summer when he stepped up with a check from his union to purchase much needed paint for St. Stanislaus school. He reached out to his union brothers at DC 9 Painters Union and they made themselves available. Kevin is always there to help all. He is a great union leader, wonderful son, husband and humanitarian. God bless you and your family.

 Our other award winners were Regine LiFranc, Assistant Principal Guidance at Beach Channel High School who received an educational leadership award; and Susan Bertolini, Chairperson of “Save” Saint Stanislaus BM School, who received an educational advocacy award.

Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer was on hand to congratulate the honorees. Audrey is an outstanding Assemblywoman. We look forward to her being an outstanding Borough President in four years.

It was great to have my brother Ed Williams, President of the Far Rockaway Branch of the NAACP, who fights for the rights of people. Ed is a gentleman, scholar, friend and confidante. It was also great to have CEO Bob Levine of Peninsula Hospital, a fantastic, loving, caring individual who makes a difference in our community’s health care.

My great friends Republican District Leaders Terry Ariola and Eddie O’Hare are two fine individuals who love and care about the 23 A.D. Anthony Allia, President of District 27 Community Education Council is always there for the children and parents of our district. He is a gentleman and a scholar.

It was great to have Dorothy Cincotta, widow of Mickey Cincotta, on hand to present their commemoration award. Dorothy has been a friend and like a mom to me. She is warm, charming and wonderful. It was great to have former City Councilman at Large Steve Orlow at our dinner. Barbara Smith, President of the Deerfield Area Association works day and night for her community. God bless her.

It was wonderful to have the Breezy Point Coop Board and members of the Board of the Rockaway Point Association with us. John Bill, President of the Broad Channel Athletic Club, and members of the board were with us. Thanks for all you do for the children of Broad Channel.

It was great to have Julia of Mr. Rocco’s or should I say Miss Rockaway. Julia is the best haircutter on the peninsula. Sitting in Julia’s chair is quite an experience of love.

I would like to recognize and thank the 2005 dinner dance committee. Let’s start by thanking our DJ Adam Funtleyder of Busy Bee Learning Store at Beach 113th Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard. A fantastic job as usual. The members of the committee are Grace D’Agostino, Leo Fahy, Terry Harris, Linda Ward, Andy McGee who did a beautiful job with photos he took for our dinner journal. He is a professional extraordinaire. John Socha was chair of our dinner journal. June Baehr and Irving Fiebert. Patty McCabe, who did our 50-50’s, helped us raise a large sum of money. Dinner co-chairs were Ginger Carson and Barbara Reiche.   We could never have made this evening so wonderful and exquisite without your diligent working above and beyond the call of duty. Your love and tireless work and effort made this a huge success.

We are saddened by the death of Alice Duck, a very dear friend of my mom Jennie. Duck was a loving, caring, fine individual. We spent many good times on her family boat, going on shopping trips and spending holidays with her. When you speak of a special angel, Duck has earned her wings. Her love, kindness and generosity made her glow.

We extend our deepest sympathy to her family.        

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