2006-06-30 / Columnists

Simon says...

Lew M. SimonLew M. Simon From the Desk of Lew M. Simon, Democratic District Leader, 23rd A.D. Part B As we continue to chug along collecting Democratic petitions, standing at our local supermarket, it has been quite interesting, some Democratic constituents have complimented and praised us on various issues and signed our reelection petition. Others who praised us were not eligible to sign because they lived outside my leadership district or were registered in another party.

There are those who claim to be registered Republicans who work for a living and state that all Democrats do is collect welfare. Some made snide remarks about Senator Hillary Clinton. Some say that they are not registered to vote and their vote really doesn't count.In 1920 women received the right to vote throughout the United States after a 70-year struggle. In the 1990's we cheered as millions of South African citizens walked miles to cast their first votes for their new government.

It is quite amazing to see voter apathy in the United States of America. In this day and age with the war going on, constant threats of terrorism, unemployment, an education system that constantly needs repair, lousy transportation, rotten infrastructure etc. etc., you would think people would use their God given right to vote and hold all elected officials accountable.

People who argue and scream about issues and do not vote should take the time to register to vote, lobby and fight for their beliefs.

Some of the issues that came to the forefront as I spoke to thousands of people who we approached for signatures included homeowners insurance and flood insurance; fatal accidents and traffic lights on Shorefront Parkway; loss of traffic lanes on Shorefront Parkway; traffic lights on Newport and Cronston Avenues; lifeguards on the beach until 8 p.m.; walkways to allow seniors, disabled and parents with strollers to reach the shore; reactivation of the LIRR; more express buses to Manhattan on weekdays and weekends; need for a diner on Beach 116 Street again; jobs for youths; parking for customers on Beach 116 Street and Beach 129 Street on Sundays; dunes or no dunes; overdevelopment; down-zoning or not; elimination of the Marine Parkway bridge toll for residents; and a pet friendly hurricane evacuation policy.

We held a rally to try to obtain traffic lights on Shorefront Parkway at Beach 73, Beach 77 and Beach 84 Streets. Unfortunately, not enough people came out to show their concern with this issue.

Now the Department of Transportation is planning to close one lane in each direction permanently. This idiotic plan to make Shorefront Parkway one lane east and one lane west needs to be stopped now.

We urge everyone to reach out to New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Iris Weinshall at 40 Worth Street, New York, NY 10013, (212) 676-0868 and fax (212) 442-7007.

The Queens DOT Commissioner is Maura McCarthy (718) 391-2705 and fax (718) 391-2709. You should also contact all of our local officials. Call Councilman Joseph Addabbo at (718) 318-6411, Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer at (718) 945-9550, and State Senator Malcolm Smith at (718) 528-4290. Don't wait until it's too late. (The names, addresses and phones of all our public officials appear on the editorial page of the WAVE each week.)

Please send a copy of your letter to my office at 112-20 Beach Channel Drive, Rockaway Park 11694.

One of the most common complaints we are hearing is about cancellation of homeowner's insurance. In light of recent hurricanes Katrina and Rita, a number of large insurance companies have been declining to renew insurance on barrier islands surrounded by water like Rockaway.

John Lepore of Allstate has always been great in helping write insurance when other companies did not want to write insurance for Rockaway residents.

Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer got the Assembly to pass a helpful bill. We have spoken to Wayne Ruggierre of Woodhaven at (718) 847-2323. He can and will write homeowners and flood insurance for local residents.

Many people have given us kind and gracious praise. Many are not aware that we are not eligible to be paid, receive grants or get any funding for an office or volunteer staff. We keep our office open by collecting dues from members. Dues for families is $25, $18 for individuals and $12 for Seniors and Young Dems.

Our next Atlantic City trip will be on Saturday July 22. We leave at 5:30 p.m. and return at 8 a.m. and have 8 1/2 hours to enjoy.

The cost is $35 with $25 returned.

Proceeds also help to support our office at 112-20 Beach Channel Drive, Rockaway Park 11694.Call (718) 945-1216 for reservations.

Our annual dinner dance will be on Thursday, November 16 at the El Caribe in Mill Basin.

Donations are always accepted by the Good Government Regular Democratic Club. Rent, phone, heating and cooling are not cheap. I always prided myself on returning every call we receive. We don't ask if you are a registered Democrat or if you live within my zone. We try to be available at all hours.I thank all my readers for their continued support and love.

We thank those who may not always agree with me.

They keep me on my toes.

We have helped over 350 people to register to vote while doing our petitions.

Many are switching from Republican to Democrat.

We hope to get more of Rockaway after redistricting.

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