2006-05-19 / Columnists

Simon says...

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

Lew M. Simon
Lew M. Simon Since my last column, I thought I was having hot flashes, but actually I was getting sick.

After spending a week in bed, and do you actually believe that I spent a week in bed, somehow I received a punishment of a late seasonflu. It was a killer to be locked in my house and not be able to go to community meetings and be face to face with the public.

But have no fear, thank God, my office phone rings at home. We were able to conduct business and were able to help all those who needed my assistance via the phone. Thanks to the great people who assisted me by bringing food and tissues; Mary C. Park, Tommy and Al Catanese and Richard Lyman who drove me back and forth to the doctor. Thanks for caring and sharing your love.

One issue that is near and dear to my heart was saving St. Virgilius School. The Broad Channel community has a great little schoolhouse made up of wonderful children from the Broad Channel and Rockaway community. It has a real family camaraderie where the children become like brothers and sisters. We feel the diocese is making a great mistake in not sticking to the five year business planthat was accepted by St. Virgilius.

We are aware that the plan called for 113 children for next year. Currently there are 96 or 97 enrolled. The diocese should have made a commitment to give the school until at least August 15 to enroll the additional children. This would not have been a problem if the diocese agreed to stick to the plan which would have helped to increase the enrollment. Then parents would have felt safe that their children could attend for another three years.

If you are as outraged as the parents at St. Virgilius and myself start calling Bishop DiMarzio and tell him you are surprised that when people choose to educate their children with a religious background, and hope some of the children will become priests and nuns, it doesn't seem right or the Christian way ofloving, sharing and turning the other cheek.

Although I am not a Christian, I think it is sacrilegious to close this small community school and ask them to be paired off with a Rockaway school. We are by no means downgrading any another school. This small school is unique. We must unite together and send a clear message to the Bishop. This is unacceptable and we will not accept it. The two offers made were to send the children to a Rockaway Catholic school or to become a privately financed independent Catholic school. It is very difficult, in a small community to be an independent Catholic school.

We have heard from key people in Washington concerning our transportation problems. A gentleman with experience with federal rules told us that he came across our column in the WAVE concerning local transportation. He told us that service cannot be altered or fares increased without community input. Signs on the busses do not conform with the rules of the Americans with Disability Act.

We expect to discuss these issues with MTA officials and State Senator Malcolm Smith at our meeting on May 18 and report to you in our next column. We intend to stay in touch with these experts to make sure that the rights of local passengers are protected. If you have any information about loss of service or fare increases due to the MTA takeover please call our office.

It broke my heart that I could not attend the meeting of Community Board 14 on Tuesday. Had I not been sick I probably would have been taken out of the meeting in handcuffs by the 100 Precinct. It has been my trademark to speak up against the stupidity of the Department of Transportation plan to make Shorefront Parkway one lane each way and to widen the median.

Let's look at the Rockaway Freeway, Rockaway Point Boulevard (State Road) or Beach Channel Drive from Beach 35 Street to Beach 44 Street. Who is going to tell the jackass driver who doesn't want to wait in line because someone is going too slow and decides to pass them illegally on the other side.

The hairs on my arms stand at attention when drivers shoot past me under the Freeway or in Breezy Point. This is just another accident waiting to happen.

As we look around the Rockaways we see major construction of condos and high rise buildings everywhere. With DOT's plan to close the Rockaway Freeway how are we going to get around without a traffic jam? Think of a beautiful beach day and a sudden rainstorm. I feel sorry for anyone who had a heart attack that day. They may not make it to the hospital due to traffic. Had we lived in another Part of Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan or Staten Island, DOT's plan would have been shot down. Who was the moron who allowed this to happen?

In the original plan for Arverne, Shorefront Parkway was scheduled to be a six-lane highway, which would connect with Seagirt Boulevard. We are continuing to overdevelop each day and there is no plan for the infrastructure in Rockaway.   

We would like to personally thank our new Queens Commissioner of DOT, Maura McCarthy, for keeping her word and beginning to resurface the Rockaway Freeway from approximately Beach 35 Street to Beach 73 Street. On Friday evening we attended a party to congratulate the Department of Education's Secretary of the Year, Marie Rudolph of Belle Harbor, who works in Far Rockaway High School. Each and every day she goes beyond the call of duty.

This outstanding public servant is well educated, has a dynamic personality and a heart of gold. She is a great wife and wonderful mother who has made Rockaway her life. Congratulations and keep up the fantastic work. We love you.

Election inspectors are needed for the Primary Election on Tuesday September 12 and Election Day, Tuesday November 7. The pay is $200 per day plus $35 for working both days and $25 for attending a training class. You must be a registered Democrat in the 23 A.D. Part B.Call my office.

Our next trip to Atlantic City will be on Saturday June 24.

The cost is $35 with $25 returned. Other Atlantic City bus trips charge as much as $52 and have only 6 hours of fun while we have 8 1/2 hours to share a good time and put up with me.

All funds raised go back to support our community services.Call my office now for reservations at 945-1216. 

Putting a Rumor To Rest

Democratic District Leader Lew M. Simon met with Rev. Patrylo of the House on the Rock Church that will be moving into the old Rockaway Beach Hardware store on the Boulevard. It will not be a soup kitchen.

He will not run one.

At Simon's meeting was Dr. Morton Nussbaum the chiropractor, and Adam Funtleyder of Busy Bee.

Everyone left happy and wished Rev. Patrylo good luck.

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