2007-02-09 / Columnists

Simon says...

Saddened By Some Deaths

Lew M. Simon
Lew M. Simon Commentary From the Desk of Lew M. Simon, Democratic District Leader, 23rd A.D. Part B As we sit and write our column I still feel emotionally distraught about the 11th anniversary of my mom's death. Wednesday January 31 was the roughest day of the year.

To make matters worse a very dear friend who I would consider like a father, mentor and advisor was waked on this day.

George Rountree, who knew me all of my life passed away after a short illness. When I was going to JHS 198, I first met Rountree who worked with my mom in the school. He looked out for me and helped me many times when I was bullied by the tough thugs who abused many of the students at JHS 198.

Through the years we became even closer. We moved from Arverne to Bay Towers together where we were one big, happy family.

He has been there all during my political career to support, help and advise me. He and his lovely wife Virginia just celebrated their 50th anniversary. They were a loving couple who were a real team. During the summer they came to ask for my help in forming a tenants association for their new development, Rockaway Beach Towers.

When I spoke at the wake, it felt like my mom was in the room with me because so many of our dear friends were there. Some I had known for 40 years and some I had known all my life.

They were all there to pay their respects to the Rountree family. I give my deepest sympathy to the Rountree family.

Rountree must be advisor to all the angels up in heaven because he is a special angel with a lot of love and class.

It has come to our attention that the Q 53 bus makes too many stops. It used to be a great ride for Rockaway residents but the express bus became a stupid limited bus.

One stop, used by many of our residents, at 63 Drive was eliminated thanks to the infinite wisdom of Norman Silverman, the MTA official who is in charge of the bus lines taken over by the city. When Silverman was a guest speaker at our club last spring, he heard impassioned pleas to do away with the extra stops they created. He seems to have turned a deaf ear.

He took out a stop which is needed and left unneeded stops. To voice your concern or to give him a piece of your mind call 718-445-3100 ext. 3607. He is the decision maker.

Another major bus snafu was made by the NYC Department of Pupil Transportation. We received numerous calls from Rockaway Park, Roxbury and Breezy Point residents complaining that bus service for their children was not on time or not provided.

We have fought to make sure that the stop in Roxbury is restored. We will take them on about the schedule.

It was also ridiculous to give city bus passes to five year olds. We will work diligently to rectify these complaints.

Friday evening the St. Camillus Home School association had their annual card party chaired by Erin Rippe and Clare Amster. Committee members are Tara Ripp, Kathleen Biscaino, Sheila O'Brian, Joan Palinkas, Jeannie Pareja, and Anne Keane. Barbara Buffalino, President of the Home School Association, was also a committee member. This great committee worked diligently to make this event a huge success. Yours truly sold the 50/50's as usual and had a great time.

The State Comptroller contest has been narrowed down to three outstanding candidates selected by a panel of three retired comptrollers from NYS and NYC, Harrison J. Goldin, H. Carl McCall and Ned Regan. The original 18 applicants were narrowed down to three outstanding candidates. They are Bill Mulrow, an upstate businessman whom we supported in the 2002 Democratic primary for Comptroller, Martha Stark the NYC Finance Commissioner who has been very responsive and helpful to us, and Howard Weitzman, the comptroller who helped straighten out the financial mess in Nassau County.

It has also come to our attention that some members of the Assembly want one of their own members to be selected. Originally it was agreed that the screening panel would select up to five candidates and the Assembly members assumed at least one of their members would be on the list. As it stands now the Legislature can throw out the recommended names and select one of their members.

We are deeply saddened by the death of Ruth Fagin, mother of our great Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer. Ruth was one of the sweetest, kindest and most active individuals. She was one of the strongest advocates for her daughter. She reminded me of my own mom who was my best advocate. She was always smiling and sharing her love and is definitely a special angel in God's heaven. My heart goes out to Audrey and her family.

Audrey, as someone who has lost a wonderful mother, just remember the happy times. We must keep going on to fight for our constituents and make a difference.

You now have a guardian angel in heaven. She has now returned to heaven with your wonderful father Alex in peace and eternal life together as the special loving couple they were.

We love you.

Our heart is with you and its all right to cry. We all get those days.

If our pillow cases could talk.

God bless you.

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