2006-03-03 / Letters


Terrorists Are

Laughing At Us

Dear Editor,

My sister lost her 23-year-old son, Charles Heeran, on 9/11 at the World Trade Center. 

Our families have been supporters of the Bush Administration’s war on terror and quest for democracy in Iraq.  I was stunned to learn the OK was given by this administration regarding the possible sale of six major U.S. shipping ports to the Dubai Organization owned and operated by the United Arab Emirates.  This country may tolerate us in the world of commerce and finance, but make no mistake, they are NOT our friends.  They abhor our culture and the way of living and are sympathetic to radical Islamic Jihadists.  Remember, this is a country that homegrew two 9/11 hijackers, laundered money to finance 9/11, and recognized the Taliban. 

Head of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, has been on the TV asking for the trust and support of Americans assuring us all needed security will be in place.  At the same time, former CIA Director Michael Woolsley warns this is a huge security risk and should be put on hold until further review, God forbid if the next disaster strikes and involves any of these six U.S. ports, Bush will be long gone and Chertoff replaced by a new administration.  Who will be held accountable? Will Bush once again blame his advisors for bad information involving the deal?

  I can see terrorist cells worldwide looking at each other laughing in disbelief at our lack of common sense.  I urge everyone to call or write your local politicians to oppose this deal.  At the risks of sounding inflammatory, your lives may depend on it. 


More Planes Over Rockaway

Dear Editor,

Rockaway residents, especially those who live in Arverne, should be aware that the FAA is going to have a public hearing on a massive “Airspace Redesign” involving JFK Airport’s routing of planes.

I find it outrageous that it is being held in Lawrence, Long Island (March 13th) - when Rockaway residents get much heavier noise impacts. From looking at the Draft Environment Impact Statement (DEIS), it appears to me that the FAA is not only going to continue, but increase, the diversion of planes away from Lawrence and over Rockaway. The FAA carefully avoided doing population studies and maps to hide this fact, using instead old, inaccurate “land use” maps that show much of Arverne as vacant land. Arverne residents should contact their Congressman Gregory Meeks, and ask why the new plan will continue and increase the number of planes that get diverted over their homes.

Maybe Meeks isn’t bothered by JFK plane noise. I see he just got back from a trip to Jamaica on a plane owned by a Stanford Financial Group. Meeks sits on the Financial Services Committee, which is responsible for overseeing companies such as Stanford Financial, and drafting laws affecting offshore banks such as its Antiguan subsidiary, Stanford International Bank Ltd.

I hope all Rockaway residents rally and support the Arverne, Bayswater and Rockaway Beach residents who are being unfairly discriminated against by the FAA’s racist routing policies. Show the FAA that they can’t continue to get away with playing Rockaway communities against each other.

The plan can be accessed at:



Pastor Ventura

And ‘The Rock’

Dear Editor,

I truly regret the passing of my friend, Pastor Donald Ventura. I have known Pastor Ventura since 1993. Pastor Ventura served as a CPR, First Aid and Emergency Medical Technician Instructor for my organization, the Lifesaver Training Institute, Inc. In 1997, Pastor Ventura and I decided to pool our resources and training equipment and start the Rock Volunteer Ambulance Corps. 

Ventura and I co-founded Rock VAC. He chose the name “Rock” for the ambulance service; I processed the applications and used my 22 years of experience as a Paramedic and 18 years in EMS management and operations to fulfill the required Certificate of Competency (public record) with the New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Emergency Medical Services. I traveled to Albany and substantiated the Certificate of Need for a volunteer ambulance service in the Rockaways. In the beginning of February 2002, the Rock Ambulance Corps received its operating certificate from the New York State Department of Health. In 2003, I elected to take a leave of absence from the Lighthouse organization to pursue my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. After Pastor Ventura’s unfortunate death, the ambulance corps and EMS training center have stayed idle.

It was always my dream that volunteer applicants from all over the Rockaways would become members of Rock VAC. Rock VAC has such great potential. Under my leadership, it will become an organization for young and not-so young residents to participate in the emergency care of their neighbors. 

I am attempting to find the members of the legal Lighthouse Board of Directors so I can assume control of Rock Volunteer Ambulance Corps before the Bureau of EMS cancels the operating certificate. If anyone has information as to the mailing address or phone number for the Lighthouse Board of Directors, please contact me at (718) 734-ROCK (7625) or via e-mail at LifeCPR@aol.com.



Political Leaders Responsive

Dear Editor,

On February 2, we lost phone service. After two days, we had service routed to our cell phone. 

For many days, we tried to reach Verizon and reached machines or were cut off.  Since I have a ninety year old mother who lives in Brooklyn, we were filled with worry and anxiety.  

On February 21 and 22, we stayed home and waited for service to no avail. At three p.m. of February 22,  we called the offices of Audrey  Pheffer, Lew Simon, and Anthony Weiner.  We were told to get in touch with Mr. Martin at Verizon and had service by five thirty.  Our political leaders in Rockaway were very responsive.


Handicapped Access

At PS 114 Pushed To 2009

The following letter was sent to Mayor Michael Bloomberg from Councilman Joseph Addabbo, Jr. on February 21,2006.

Dear Mayor Bloomberg,

I hope this letter finds you well. I am writing to you today with a serious concern I have for my constituents in Rockaway.

PS 114 in Belle Harbor was scheduled for a major capital accessibility project in Fiscal Year ‘05. Due to a variety of setbacks with the contractors it was not awarded. Now that they are ready to award this contract the money has been pulled from the five-year plan and pushed out to 2009.

This is unacceptable to me as well as my constituents. Students with a variety of handicapped conditions do not have access to PS 114 and must be bused to schools in another community. I believe that all students should be able to receive the education they are entitled to in their own local community school.

I would appreciate you investigating this situation. Since PS 114 was already approved for this accessibility upgrade I find it disheartening that the project has been postponed to 2009.

If you need any additional information please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you for you assistance and I look forward to your timely response.


Simon Gets The Real Results In Rockaway

Dear Editor,

It amazes me that people who have nothing to do with the improving conditions in our community look for credit.

The only person I know who works diligently and gets results is Lew Simon. He should be given an award for the time spent contacting the proper departments, making them aware of our problems.

As community activists, many of us followed Lew to picket the following:

-Went to the home of the owner of SRO’s and the Lawrence Hotel.

-Demonstrated against the porn shop on Beach 116 Street.

-Prevented a methadone clinic on Beach 125 Street from opening.

If you need a friend, call Lew.


Credit Due To Lew Simon

Dear Editor,

In a recent newsletter from the Rockaway Park Homeowners Organization, there was an article by Beverly Baxter claiming credit for closing down the porn shop on Beach 116 Street.

As a participant in the protest, I want to set the record straight. It was Lew Simon who led the protest and the demonstration that closed down the porn shop.

Lew Simon and John Baxter even picketed the home of the owner.

It was not Beverly Baxter and the Rockaway Park Homeowners Organization who led the fight against the porn shop. It was Lew Simon.


Give Credit Where It’s Due

Dear Editor,

A neighbor recently shared a newsletter with me from the Rockaway Park Homeowners/Residents Inc.

Upon reading it, I was quite surprised to see that Beverly Baxter erroneously credits this organization with securing the closure of a porn shop on Beach 116 Street.

In my opinion, it was Lew Simon who spearheaded that campaign. Since I believed in the cause I was a faithful demonstrator. As a faithful demonstrator, I witnessed Lew consistently in charge. Lew notified people in the community of the existence of the porn shop, asked for volunteers to demonstrate, led the line of march, guided us with the bull horn, secured barriers, notified us of date and time of the next demonstration and organized a ride to the store owner’s home in New Jersey for further demonstration.

There was a representative or two from Rockaway Park Homeowners/Residents, Inc. in the line of march with the rest of us, but they did not lead this effort. As a matter of fact, I do not remember seeing Beverly there at all.

It appears to me that Beverly and the Rockaway Park Homeowners/Residents, Inc. think they have the right to take credit for the accomplishments of others and put it under their banners. To me that is dishonest and a cheap shot.

Give credit where credit is honestly due. Thank you, Lew.


Can’t Take Credit

Dear Editor,

It has come to my attention that the Rockaway Park Property Association in their newsletter mentioned that they were responsible for the closing of the Pornographic video store on 116 Street.

I would like to compliment the Rockaway Park Property Association for all their support in closing this establishment. I would also like to remind the community that Lew Simon was instrumental in organizing the community to fight this intolerable, immoral location. He was in this location many times with his bullhorn. The committee brought their placards and picket signs. Lew Simon organized a trip to the owner of the sore at his home in Staten Island. The only local leader that I remember seeing at the rallies was Lew Simon.

Due to the 9/11 terrorist attack and crisis in our city at that time, many members were unable to continue the public demonstration to close down this store. As a result of these demonstrations and with all groups involved, we were able to have this store eventually closed. I want to thank everyone who supported the closure of this indecent establishment.



Chief Hayden Embodies FDNY Tradition And Honor

Dear Editor,

I am writing in response to Denis Hamill’s article in the Daily News on Friday, February 24, 2006 titled “Bravest Beret Ban Still Stands.” As I read the article, I wondered where Mr. Hamill got the unmitigated gall to talk about the tradition of a department that he was never a part of. Your readers should know a bit more about the FDNY Chief of Department, Peter Hayden.

I have known Peter Hayden for the better part of 50 years, even before we went to Probie School together. We stood on opposite sides of an illegal strike in the 70’s and beside each other when the North Tower fell on September 11. I watched Chief Peter Hayden have his eyes blown to the back of his head when the North Tower fell, and rather than tend to his own injuries, Chief Hayden disregarded his own well being and safety to attempt to assist the trapped members of Ladder 6. He was unaware of the fate of the other leaders of the department or his own sons but stayed focused on saving his brother firefighters. Two months after the attack on the World Trade Center, Chief Hayden was finally attempting to enjoy his first day off when a plane crashed just blocks from his home in Rockaway Beach. As we dredged knee-deep through diesel fuel and bodies all the eyes turned to Chief Hayden for direction and leadership, and he did not disappoint. I watched, as the entire city watched, Chief Hayden walking taller than Finbar Divine into the City Council to defend his beloved department and the members of it at the risk of his career.

Tradition in the FDNY has nothing to do with a green beret. It has to do with all of the qualities that Chief Hayden has displayed during his almost 40 years on the job. Tradition in the FDNY is about loyalty, unity, brotherhood, strength in family, the disregard for one’s own safety to assist others and the courage to stand up for what is right and good no matter what the cost. Chief Hayden has easily and naturally displayed these traditions on more occasions than I can count over his decorated career. He has passed on these traditions to a countless number of young firefighters throughout the years. Chief Hayden never faltered once in his leadership, courage and true understanding of tradition to keep the people of this city and his brother firefighters safe.

The members of the FDNY should be proud and honored to wear their uniforms as they walk up Fifth Avenue on March 17 in respect of tradition and in respect for a Chief who has devoted his life to creating and maintaining the tradition that is the FDNY. The uniform demonstrates brotherhood and unity. For the almost 40 years of service and all that Chief Hayden has done to make this job one of the most coveted in the country, if he asked you to walk backwards up Fifth Avenue, you owe it to him.

So to all of you out there who think that tradition is about a hat for a parade: take a good hard look in the mirror and remember what tradition is really about.

This is the last time Peter Hayden will march up Fifth Avenue as Chief of the Department he loves so well. This is a last chance to say “Thanks Chief” for a job well done. In closing, Mr. Hamill, you can take your Paddy Whack Award and take your temperature with it.


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