2006-04-07 / 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

It's great to see our weather is changing for the better. As I write my column on Sunday evening at 9:35 PM it's 65 degrees. My blood pressure seems to go up with the thought that I have to buy gas tonight. Rockaway and Nassau prices range from $2.73 to $2.79 while in Ozone Park gas is available for $2.59. What's wrong with this picture?

As you read in my last column, we are working diligently to improve the safety on Rockaway's beaches. Dr. Ernest Horowitz provided extensive notes and information for Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum to prepare her for a meeting with NYC Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. Now it's up to our Advocate to prove herself by making this a reality.

They need to hire and train full and part time lifeguards to provide longer hours of protection on our beaches. Evening hours could be extended to 8 PM early in the season, while 7 PM would be sufficient near the end of the season. Our Boardwalk must be open for evening strolls and sitting on hot summer evenings.

Our office phone has been ringing off the hook about the six extra stops on the Q53.

This bus is supposed to be an express bus. Most riders use the Q53 to reach the subway and LIRR. Rockaway residents pick up the E, F, R, 7, and LIRR. People choose to pay the extra fare to take this express bus because of the lousy service and indirect route taken by the A train to reach midtown Manhattan.

Many riders also met me on the street to voice their disappointment at their elected officials who are not doing anything about this. When the announcement came down, we immediately reached Sen. Malcolm Smith and asked for his assistance. Sen. Smith has an in with the MTA including Executive Director Katherine Lapp and crew. We need all those who use these buses to pick up the phone and call Sen. Malcolm Smith and voice your opposition to these changes. His phone is (718) 528-4290, fax (718)528-4898, e-mail masmith@ senate.state.ny.usRemember to put "Simon Says, Work for your constituents and stop this mess." We don't need duplication of bus service.

Another call you should make is to the gentleman who actually plans bus routes at the MTA. Norman Silverman can be reached at (718) 445-3100 ext. 3607. He is a long term transit professional who needs to know how his decisions affect your ride. (He is not our local community and transit activist.)

John McGovern, a local resident who follows transit matters, brought a recent article in The ESPA EXPRESS published by the Empire State Passengers Association to our attention. In addition to discussing a plan for a 90-minute train ride from NYC to Albany and three-hour New York -Buffalo service they mention a plan for the "establishment of a direct one-seat ride service from Penn Station to JFK Airport, reactivating the disused LIRR Rockaway Cut-off in Central Queens. A talented graduate student in Urban Planning at Columbia University has recently been engaged as an Intern to assist the Regional Rail Working Group in this effort. The broad right of way can be used for the rail line, and also can accommodate bike and walking trails, other public open space and noise barriers to minimize community impacts." We support this plan, but until it is done, we still need express busses to get us to the subway in Central Queens in the morning.

On Friday evening March 24, we attended the Oheb Zedek 76th Anniversary dinner honoring Mendy and Sharon Bauman, two of the finest pillars of our community. They are best described by the word mensch (a good soul, someone who gives to charity and always helps others). These two fine individuals are class, down to earth and loving individuals. When we heard Mendy's speech, we felt that he missed his calling and should replace David Letterman. He spoke beautifully and had everyone laughing.

On Tuesday afternoon, I spoke with the owner of Surfside Houses, Steve Valiotis. We asked him what's going on with the pool used by residents of 1 Beach 105 Street, 106-20 Shorefront Parkway and 107-10 Shorefront Parkway.

He made a commitment that the pool would be open for this summer. Repairs to the parking lot would be done as well.

On Wednesday March 29, we attended a spirit rally to keep the doors of St. Virigilius in Broad Channel open. We have made a strong commitment to help and assist in any way to keep the doors open. On March 31 we were glad to receive a phone call that a 30-day reprieve has been given to St. Virgilius. The school is not lacking money. It is desperate need of at least 20 new students for September 2006.

This great school is a great place for an outstanding education. The have small class sizes and a family atmosphere.

All are welcome.

Rockaway bus transportation is available. Please make St. Virgilius your choice so the children can be kept together. For the last few weeks, I've been doing what I do best; selling raffles to find a cure for cancer to benefit the Philip Port American Cancer Society ladies group.

Tickets are $2 a piece. There are over 100 great prizes. The money collected is used for research to find a cure.

If you see me, don't pass me by.

On Friday evening March 31, St. Francis Home School association had their annual card party. Talk about a long wonderful night. The doors opened at 7 PM and we closed at 1 AM. DJ Teddy Rauert made the evening. Great music, dancing and prizes.

A lot of love, great sharing and caring.

There is a wonderful, hardworking committee on which I worked closely with Mary Ryan, daughter of Chris and Mary Bowles who I love so much. She was the 50-50 chair. I worked my little feet off and shaking my groove thing to music to help raise almost $7,000 with the 50-50's. Thanks to all for your wonderful hospitality toward me.

On Sunday afternoon the Rockaway Point Association had a comfort food cookoff at the Colony theatre. This 1st annual cookoff was superb. Terry Cassidy, President of the Rockaway Point Association and her committee along with the participants made the day special. Yours truly did the 50-50's and received a beautiful trophy for my hard work. Thank you very much. I really appreciate it.

Our next Atlantic City trip will be on Saturday April 22. We leave at 5:30 PM and return at 8 AM. The cost is $33 with $25 returned. Bagels and cream cheese are served.

Tickets must be bought in advance. Call my office at 945-1216.

Membership in the Good Government Regular Democratic is open to all local residents.

Dues is $25 for a family, $18 single and $12 for Seniors and Young Dems.

Send your check payable to the club at 112-20 Beach Channel Drive, Rockaway Park 11694.

We are in the process of hiring Election Inspectors for the 2006 election.

If you are a registered Democrat in the 23 A.D. Part B you can work on the Election Board on Primary Day and Election Day.

The pay is $200 for each day. You also receive $25 for attending a training class and $35 if you work both days. Call my office if you are interested. 

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