2006-05-19 / Columnists

It's My Turn

Beverly Baxter, Lew Simon And The RPHRA, Part I
By Linda Ruscillo


Beverly Baxter, a columnist for the Wave, to quote Beverly from her Dear Editor Letter of April 28, is a member and director of the Rockaway Park Homeowners and Residents Association.

Lew Simon is the elected Democratic District Leader and a lifelong resident of Rockaway.

I will attempt to cut through the mud, muck, mire and facts from fiction. As a child, I remember a saying "sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me." This behavior of name-calling is childlike. Wise advice my dear departed Mother gave me when I was a child, "If you can't play nice don't play together." Remember you don't have to like each other, but you do have to treat others with respect.

How lovely Beverly Baxter received a bouquet of flowers from a friend. To have a friend considerate and sensitive to your stress to exhibit such thoughtfulness is wonderful. Beverly Baxter does not name her friend; if it is who I have in mind this particular lady is intelligent, strong and extremely experienced in our community shenanigans.

I found Beverly Baxter's letter of April 28 amusing; she belittles the Dear Editor Letter as a spectator sport. (Quote) "The price you pay for admission is the 35 cents to buy the paper." However, she chooses to participate in what she calls spectator sport. Beverly mocks Dear Editor Letters as she submits her own. As a columnist for the Wave, it seems she chose this Dear Editor format rather than waste her own column on this nonsense.

Lew is LEW to say the least, a colorful Rockaway personality. I met Lew about eleven years ago, as a new Rockaway resident with a problem. The details are unimportant. I had observed a man in Waldbaum's with a name tag, "My Name is Lew Simon Democratic District Leader." At the time I found his name tag funny. I obtained his phone number, gave a call and left a message. My call was promptly returned. We met Lew at his old office and informed him of our dilemma. Lew immediately went into action. He made appropriate phone calls (I think he has the phone numbers of all city agencies and the individuals operating them memorized) and our issue was resolved. I know other Rockaway residents have similar stories of Lew jumping in on their behalf.

Beverly Baxter claims Lew Simon is despicable (vile deserving to be despised) and lewd (obscene indecent, given to unlawful indulgence). I think not; Lew is as much Rockaway as the seagulls that fly overhead and sit on our sand. Although his techniques at times leave much to be desired and may not be every ones cup of tea, this man lives for Rockaway.

My husband and I became involved with assisting him with his reelection and gathering signatures on election petitions. As the years passed I on more than one occasion have told Lew, "You are your own worst enemy." Lew has put his foot in his mouth.

My husband and I have grown in our love, knowledge and understanding of Rockaway's unique community life and our own passions for our adopted Rockaway. We could not imagine living where the ocean was not at our corner.

I have been informed by some Rockaway residents that Beverly Baxter does not reside in Rockaway. Have I been misinformed? (Fact or fiction) Where does Beverly Baxter live? If my information is correct does that discredit her as a columnist for the Wave? In my opinion definitely not, however that should discredit her as a board member of a local Rockaway Civic Association. I often read her column and it is frequently amusing, somewhat informative and at times heart wrenching. One particular column stands out in my memory. The column was about an autistic child and his family's never-ending pursuit on his behalf and on the behalf of all autistic children.

The point I am attempting to make is each of these individuals has their good along with their not so good.

Beverly Baxter claims in her letter of April 28 that Bernie Feuer is most likely Geppetto's puppet. I believe Bernie Feuer was simply a man annoyed at what he read and acted accordingly by sending his Dear Editor Letter. I submit Bernie Feuer was given a copy of this Newsletter even if he is not a member as Beverly Baxter claims. My husband and I are dues paid members of the Rockaway Homeowners Residents Association, but we did not receive a copy. We were given more than one copy from other members. Once information and/or claims of success are put into print, it may likely be passed on to others to read.

In a continuing attempt to distinguish fact from fiction, let's take some time for the Rockaway Park Homeowners Residents Association, specifically their March Newsletter. Beverly submitted an article in the Newsletter entitled "Get Involved Become A Member." I will quote the Newsletter regarding the porn shop on Beach 116 Street: "Because of our relentless protests we were successful in securing the closure of a Porn Shop on Beach 116 Street that would have posed a serious blight on the entire community." Does that not ring that this association closed the porn shop? (Who is our and we in this quote?) Bernie Feuer not seeing Lew mentioned and giving full credit to the Rockaway Park Homeowners Residents Association, obviously was more than he could quietly accept and I would agree.

Lew had called my husband and I to participate in his organized demonstration. We did not join his protest. We did not receive any contact from a Rockaway Park Homeowners Association member to join in this action.

The year when all this action took place was 2001. A very caring and concerned woman was president of this association at that time long before Professor Edward Re Jr. or Beverly Baxter had been active members.

I can't comment on the naming of the street for James Conway Sullivan. I have no knowledge of this endeavor. I will leave those facts to those who were pivotal with that action, since those involved are aware of what actually took place.

Now that controversy has been born concerning the Rockaway Park Homeowners Residents Association's March Newsletter, I will comment on those issues within the Newsletter that I do have first hand knowledge of. Dunes were another topic of the Newsletter written under the caption Presidents Message. Included was information concerning the man made dunes between Beach 138 Street and Beach 142 Street. The question was posed if after examining this area do you find them aesthetically pleasing and/or do they in fact contribute to beach preservation. Now I shall directly quote a portion of this message: "Several years ago our board voted to institute a policy of preserving all naturally made Dunes and stop creating anymore man made Dunes." As fiction this would be acceptable as reporting on the endeavors of the Rockaway Park Homeowners Residence Association it is NOT.

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