2006-11-17 / Columnists

Simon says...

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

Lew M. Simon
Lew M. Simon It has been a very busy time of year. As we write our column we are completing work on the 19th annual dinner dance of the Good Government Regular Democratic Club on Thursday.

Election Day was the best thing that happened in 12 years. We knew Democrats would take the House but we weren't sure about the Senate. We can't wait until 2008 to take the White House.

Congratulations to Governor Elect Eliot Spitzer, Lt. Governor Elect David Patterson, U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Attorney General Elect Andrew Cuomo, State Senator Malcolm Smith, State Senator Elect Shirley Huntley, and Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer. We hope current Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and Governor Pataki pursue the Hevesi scandal "Driving Mrs. Hevesi."

We recently won a major decision in the federal courts regarding 402 Beach 134 Street, the home of the late Estelle Simon (no relation). If you remember they tried to put an assisted living facility at that address. Thanks to the great counsel of Orlow & Orlow, Jodi Orlow, Attorney-at-Law and a Rockaway resident, the counsel for the estate of Estelle Simon agreed to voluntarily dismiss the case against us. Jodi Orlow worked diligently on our behalf. We definitely recommend her. She is a fighter and she will not stop until she wins.

As you are well aware, this pit bull will always fight for justice and the right thing for his community and district. I will always pick up the phone and consult with the Department of Buildings or other agencies needed to make sure our community stays the best of the best.

Rockaway is the Riviera of our country. I will always love, eat, sleep and think about the Rockaways. I am proud to have stood steadfast on my efforts to make sure that things that are not legal are not brought to our community.

Another thing near and dear to my heart is the Neponsit Home. After calling LaRay Brown, Vice President of the Health and Hospitals Corporation, they used their infinite wisdom to move the public hearing into the Rockaway community.

The Public Hearing will be held on Tuesday, November 28 at 6 p.m. at the Neponsit Adult Health Care Center, 230 Beach 102 Street. It concerns the transfer of the three buildings and 5.6 acres of land of the former Neponsit Health Care Center, 149-25 Rockaway Beach Boulevard in Neponsit. Speakers are asked to register in advance for an assigned speaking time of five minutes or less by writing or calling Patricia Lockhart, Secretary to the Corporation, NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation, 125 Worth Street, Room 519, New York NY 10013 or call (212) 788-3360.

We would like to thank LaRay Brown for always being there in assisting our community. She worked closely with us to find a site for the Neponsit Adult Health Care Center at the Sands Point Medical Center.

On Thursday afternoon, LaRay and I had an extensive conversation about why the HHC is attempting to give the land back to the city at this time. After lengthy conversations with Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer and Senator Malcolm Smith they have made it clear to me that state legislation is required to take this property from HHC (and the Parks Department) to become an R-1 zone for one family homes. The process can take up to seven years.

I asked why HHC could not wait for the legislation to pass and then transfer the property. My biggest fear is that no one will be responsible for the maintenance and security of the property during this period. Currently HHC polices and maintains the grounds. If HHC gives the property back to the city either NYC Parks or NYS Parks would be responsible. Both agencies made it clear they have no money to maintain and secure the property. Will we have to worry about squatters, vandals or fires? How do we know if the next city administration in 2009 will change the zoning to allow development which does not fit in with the make-up of the community?

We urge the community to raise their concerns at the HHC hearing. We urge that HHC delay their vote until the legislation passes. We note that if the city sells the property to a developer all proceeds will go to the HHC to use at various other sites. I smell a rat. If anyone has questions call me at (718) 945-1216.

Our next Atlantic City trip will be on Saturday November 18 at 5:30 p.m. We return at 8 a.m. The cost is $35 with $25 returned. Bagels and cream cheese courtesy of Beach Bagels, and movies are served on the bus. Call now for reservations.

We are deeply saddened by the death of an icon in our community, Rockaway's own Mildred Shulman. Mildred worked as a librarian in the Arverne, Seaside and Peninsula branches for over 35 years. When I was a child in Arverne, we worked together to keep the Arverne branch open when the city was cutting the library budget. Mildred and I attended Brooklyn College together when she returned to school so that she could advance on the job.

We spent many hours debating issues and talking about our love for the Rockaways. Many of her beautiful poems and letters were published in The Wave. She and her late husband, Al, loved to sing and entertain at various temple and community shows. The community now has a hole in its heart. We know God must have a special place in His Kingdom for this wonderful angel. We will truly miss her, but not forget her.

On Thursday, November 30, the Good Government Regular Democratic Club will have a major Town Hall meeting with a key speaker from city government. Look for details in next week's Wave. We will be at 112-20 Beach Channel Drive at 7:45 p.m.

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