2007-05-04 / Columnists

Simon says...

Lew M. Simon
Lew M. Simon

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

History was made on Tuesday, April 24. We were successful in making sure that our voices were heard. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn kept her word and held a public hearing on the abominable transportation to and from our community.

We start by thanking the members of the Good Government Regular Democratic club who came out in strong support as well as residents of Rockaway, Breezy Point, Broad Channel, Ozone Park and a number of people from Howard Beach.

The representative of the MTA alluded to a report of 25 years ago concerning reactivation of the Rockaway Beach line. I could have gotten out of my seat and screamed at her for her lies, propaganda and misinformation. With the city and MTA spending billions on the 2nd Avenue subway and extending the #7 line how can they question reactivation of the Rockaway Beach line which would be a one seat ride and could connect the two NYC airports. Imagine Rockaway to Penn station in 32 minutes, 22 minutes from Howard Beach and 18 minutes from Ozone Park. We have been proposing that they run state of the art subway trains on this line.

We are very proud of our great elected officials. Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer has stood with us from the beginning. Senate Democratic Leader Malcolm Smith wholeheartedly supports this project. State Senator Shirley Huntley made a commitment of support during her campaign. Republican District Leader Eddie O'Hare has given his support. We now need to use our clout to meet with MTA officials and make this a reality.

Councilman Joe Addabbo chose to speak about eliminating the toll on the Cross Bay Bridge from May 15 to September 30 for all who cross the bridge. We do not know where he stands on the railroad he once supported as a candidate in 1997. We heard no comment about the fairness of buses not running all day to 1 a.m. and 24 hours on Friday and Saturday. Where do you stand on these issues? Your constituents would like to know.

Many people were annoyed by the long presentation by the MTA and DOT and the questions from Council Members which took one hour and 49 minutes. To make matters worse, we were allotted two minutes before the bell. Our statement fell on deaf years as the MTA representative did not remain to listen to us. DOT left a lower level representative in place of the commissioner. Shame on the MTA.

For those who laugh and say it will never happen remember when my community and I advocated for and forced the elimination of the Cross Bay bridge toll for residents of Rockaway, Breezy Point and Broad Channel.

A million times thank you to Varsity Bus for providing us with three buses to transport people back and forth. Thanks to Gerry Romski of Beechwood Benjamin, Arverne By the Sea, who took my call and came to testify for the railroad. Thanks to Jonathan Miller, another great developer in our community who took the time to send a rep.

I told the Council members that Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that he would like to charge $8 to drive in certain areas of the city. He feels that this would stop air pollution and help with asthma. Well it's quite obvious that our railroad can and will make a major difference in people not driving into the Manhattan community. I suggested a panel that represents residents of our district to keep the City Council Transportation committee abreast of the transportation needs of our community.

It's that time of year again. You will see me selling raffles for the American Cancer Society. Raffles are $2. There will be over 100 great prizes. Please buy a raffle and help us find a cure for cancer.

On Saturday evening we attended the Ladies AOH Division #25 First Annual fundraiser. Lisa Murphy was awarded the Kay Kinane Memorial Scholarship and received a check for $1,000. Father Vincent O'Connell received an award for religious excellence. He is an outstanding priest. We are sorry that he is leaving to return to Ireland. We love you. God bless you. The Graybeards who do dynamite work received an award for community excellence. Maureen O'Malley Byrnes, T.C.R.G. who is class personified and a great, outstanding woman received an award for Irish culture. Lilly Corcoran Pineiro and Virginia Minardi do great work as President and Vice President of LAOH. The colony theatre in Breezy Point is beautiful. Yours truly did the 50-50.

The Rockaway Point Volunteer Fire House has been chosen as one of the ten finalists in the Across America contest. Please log on to www.fire dog.com and cast your vote for them. Whether it was 9/11, 11/12, nor'easter, bombing of the WTC in 1993 or the Golden Venture, they are always there.

We would like to congratulate Sister Frances who has been chosen to continue as principal of the Divine Mercy Catholic Academy. She served 21 years as principal of St. Stans Nativity School. She is a hardworking, loving and tireless educator who is committed to striving for excellence in her school. During our fight to keep St. Stans Bishop and Martyr school open in 2005, her love and compassion for her children, staff and school parents shined through her heart. At the same time it broke my heart to observe Sister Frances crying at the closed meeting held with the diocese and the Save the School committee.

We wish you continued great success. We look forward to working with you on fundraising or whatever else we can. We would also like to thank Sister Margarita Torre for her many years of devotion and loyalty to the children and staff of nativity. Thank you for everything.

We are saddened by the deaths of two outstanding individuals. Dorothy Jackson was my mom's best friend. Each and every day my mother enjoyed talking and spending time with Dorothy while on Atlantic City trips or other activities. Dorothy was a great wife, mother, and grandmother who shared love with all and was always there for anyone who needed her. We know she will be a great angel in heaven.

The other person is Anne Levine, an outstanding, courageous lady of class who has devoted her time and life to many causes such as her long involvement with the West End Temple and as president of the Ladies Auxiliary of Peninsula Hospital. She was a teacher and widow of Morton Levine, a World War II veteran.

Her son Robert Levine is the CEO of Peninsula Hospital. He is an outstanding individual who loves and helps all, a trait I'm sure he must have learned form his two great parents. His sister, Rose, is an educator who also has a lot of love and compassion for all. Anne is also survived by another son, David.

Just two weeks ago, I had the honor and privilege of calling Anne on behalf of the Good Government Regular Democratic Club to ask her to be one of our 2007 honorees. Being the class act she was, she was shocked and humbled by the honor. Anne probably has one of the biggest jobs as an angel of peace in God's heaven.

Our community has suffered a major loss in this community leader with a hands on approach.

Our next Atlantic City trip will be on Saturday May 19. We leave at 5:30 p.m. and return at 8 a.m.

The cost is $35 with $25 returned. Bagels by Beach Bagels.

Call 718-945-1216 for reservations.

Your membership is welcome. Send your dues, $25 family, $18 single, $12 Senior or Young Dem, to the GGRDC at 112-20 Beach Channel Drive,. Rockaway Park 11694. Computer literate interns may get school credit. Call us.

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