2006-07-28 / Columnists

Simon says...

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

Lew M. Simon
Lew M. Simon This heat wave has been a killer. Many people have been forced to stay indoors with either their air conditioner on or a fan which blows hot air. The result of this heat wave was felt on the Rockaway A train where people sat for hours when the train was stuck on the overpass coming from Broad Channel to Rockaway. It was quite obvious that an emergency plan is needed. We talk about hurricane preparedness. Good luck.

A number of Rockaway residents were also left without light for one or two evenings. Thank God it was not as bad as the West Queens area served by Con Ed. With the explosion of building in our community, with every nook and cranny being overdeveloped, what is the contingency plan for LIPA? When they moved their transformer from one end of the property in Rockaway Park to another they promised us that no blackouts would occur.

Sure, right. We had a blackout in the summer and on Christmas Day in 2003. There were frequent smaller blackouts at various times. LIPA and Con Ed need preventive maintenance before the next blackout hits.

Thursday, August 3 will be a huge Town Hall meeting with Congressman Anthony Weiner and Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer. They will address many issues that you have put forward to me including affordable ferries to Manhattan, reactivation of the Rockaway Beach line of the LIRR, extra stops on the Q53, more Manhattan express buses, overpopulation,schools, needed traffic lights and coastal insurance.

We will be proud to bring you an insurance broker, Wayne Ruggiere from Ohlert-Ruggiere who will speak about home and flood insurance he writes for Rockaway, Breezy Point and Broad Channel. This meeting is a chance for all to be updated on the work our representatives are doing. It is your chance to vent and to respectfully ask any questions you would like.

Our meeting will take place at 7:45 p.m. sharp at the Good Government Regular Democratic Club 112-20 Beach Channel Drive (2nd floor). We invite all. Refreshments will be served. Cake to be donated by Key Food and bagels by Beach Bagels. Casual attire accepted.

Another major problem on the peninsula is being caused by Department of Transportation engineers who are cutting down the lanes of traffic moving through the community. Unfortunately the population is increasing and the traffic is increasing. They have made Beach Channel Drive from Beach 35 Street to the Crossbay Bridge one lane. What is next? What the hell is going on? We urge everybody to continue to call 311. Call Transportation Commissioner Iris Weinshall at (212) 676-0868 and Queens Transportation Commissioner Maura McCarthy at (718) 391-2705 to voice your outrage.

Tell them we are not second class citizens. Remind them of the population explosion as well as beach use by the people who are down for the day. If you can imagine a beautiful beach day when a sudden rainstorm hits, you cannot get off the peninsula using either bridge. Just recently a festival at Riis Park caused them to close off Crossbay Bridge. This is a disgrace.

Another transportation problem is the lack of enough express busses. We have four to five buses in the morning, but none during the middle of the day and no weekend service. The QM 15 from Howard Beach runs every hour on Saturday from Lindenwood to midtown Manhattan from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. We have none. As someone who represents both communities, I feel that it is extremely important that they extend this service into the Rockaways as well.

Everyone should have their fair share of convenient affordable service. Call Norman C. Silverman, who is in charge of bus service at (718) 445-3100 ext. 3607 and voice your opinion.

We are saddened by the death of Queens County Democratic Leader Thomas Manton who passed away on Saturday. Manton was a former Congressman who replaced Geraldine Ferraro in 1984. He spent most of his life in public service in the U.S. Marines, NYC Police Department, NYC Council and in the U.S. Congress. 

This powerful leader was soft spoken, kindhearted, hardworking, tireless and an advocate for all the Democrats in Queens. He worked quietly in the background to secure a fair share for the Queens Democrats. We are proud to have worked closely with Congressman Manton since 1996. In the summer of 1997, Rep. Manton installed the Board of Directors of the Good Government Regular Democratic Club in the huge back ballroom of Mary Park's Park Theatre. He was amazed by the large crowd and said that the 80 member Board was the largest he had ever seen.

We are heartbroken by the loss of this fine leader who will surely be missed by many. We extend our deepest sympathy to the Manton family.

On Saturday, July 29 at 1 p.m. sharp, the family of Goldie Maple cordially invites all for the proud renaming of Beach 57 Street as Goldie Maple Way. Maple was a strong fighter for quality education for all the children. She was a dynamic, strong and loving leader. Her daughter Yolanda and I went to school together. I'm proudto say I spent my whole life knowing Goldie and loving her. The renaming ofJ.H.S. 198 as Goldie Maple Academy is an honor worthy of the honoree.

Our next trip to Atlantic City will be on Saturday August 12. We leave at 5:30 p.m. and return at 8 a.m. We have 8 1/2 hours to enjoy. The cost is $35 with $25 returned. Bagels and cream cheese are served. Call (718) 945-1216 for reservations.

A million, million thank you's. It's official. No one is running against me. That means two more years of representing the people of the 23 A.D. Part B. Iheard that they even raised my salary as of 9/12 which will be the start of my 13th year in office. They tripled my pay to $0.00, which means that I still have to continue begging and going out with my pencils on the corner to keep our office and phone going.

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