2007-07-27 / 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 On Tuesday evening our great State Senator, Democratic Leader Malcolm Smith spent a half hour on cable television's NY1 "Inside City Hall" program.

The hot topic was the plan for congestion pricing, which had just been blocked in the New York State legislature. Senator Smith indicated that he hadn't really changed his mind about the value of reducing traffic congestion in Manhattan. He said that Mayor Bloomberg had failed to work with Democratic members of the State Senate in submitting legislation that would affect their districts, spending more time talking with the four Republicans than with the 21 Democrats who represent New York City in the State Senate.

As Speaker Sheldon Silver had already decided not to call the Assembly into session to pass the legislation, Smith said he would not ask the members of his caucus to vote for a one house bill that was not going to be passed into law anyway. Senator Smith is looking ahead to the time when he will be leader of a Democratic majority in the Senate. Dominick Carter, the host, asked Smith if Senate Majority Leader Bruno knew that his days were numbered. Smith said that he knows because "I tell him all the time."

Two days later, Governor Spitzer and legislative leaders agreed to establish a 17-member commission to come up with a final plan to reduce traffic congestion in Manhattan, subject to approval by the City Council and the Legislature by next March. It is essential that Rockaway and other South Queens communities be represented on the commission. Improvement of transportation in this area is one of the ways to reduce congestion in Manhattan.

We tip our hat to our great Senator for standing up for the little people. Now is the time to demand the opening of the old Rockaway Beach line of the LIRR, which can be run as a regular train by the MTA. This would alleviate traffic from residents of the Rockaways, Broad Channel, Breezy Point, Howard Beach, Ozone Park, etc.

As a matter of full disclosure, I have to report that I work for Senator Smith as his Rockaway representative.

Somebody has suggested to me that it would be smart for businesses to receive deliveries after 10 p.m., which would remove most of the congestion and get the big trucks off the street. I wholeheartedly would support deliveries being made after 10 p.m.

We wish to thank 1-800-Mattress for once again stepping up to the plate and donating mattresses to an elderly, disabled man who needed an orthopedic bed. Just a few months ago they provided a family of four who were fire victims, with top-of-the-line bedding. We thank them for their kindness and generosity and we urge everyone to remember them.

We have been enjoying eating at the Last Stop Gourmet Shop on Beach 116 Street. The food is so delicious, affordable and the place is spotless. Stop in one day and try the delicious food. Try the Lew Simon open turkey with mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce, delicious.

We've been watching the major demolition on Beach 116 Street. What was once Flynn & Flynn, Century 21 and old George's Florist has been demolished to build a new Rockaway diner. In talking with the owner, Rafik Ahmad of Century 21 ESHA, he said the diner will hold 60 to 70 people, will be open to 11 p.m. on weekdays and 1 a.m. on weekends.

Talking about building, one of the empty lots on Beach 108 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard that has been overgrown with weeds now has action. They are currently building as we write. We are looking forward to the Trumps of the Rockaways, the Catanese Brothers, who own the abutting lot next door to start building their beautiful shopping mall. Tommy and Al are great guys and we know they will do the right thing for the Rockaways. We can't wait for these two brothers to start building this beautiful mall.

We wish a special happy birthday to my dear friend Vera Donatein, President of the Bay Towers Tenants League, who has worked diligently for so many years to improve the quality of life in the Rockaways. Donatein was formerly an 1199 union delegate who worked and fought for better health care, good wages and was always there to help her fellow brothers and sisters. Vera, you are the best. Happy birthday and many, many more.

Our next Atlantic City bus trip will be to Bally's Claridge Casino on the Boardwalk on Saturday August 18. The cost is $35 with $20 returned. We leave 5:30 p.m. and return at 8 a.m. Bagels are by Beach Bagels. Call 945- 1216 for required reservations.

It's coming to that time again. Night Out Against Crime is sponsored by the 100 Pct. Community Council and District 23 Transit. This year there will be fun and games at Beach Channel High School field on Tuesday August 7 from 4 to 8 p.m. Food will be sold and free bottles of water distributed. Council President Daniel Ruscillo has been working diligently to make this the best Night Out yet. Come one, come all. Bring your family. Due to the exorbitant cost of fireworks, we will not have them this year. We hope in the future, a sponsor will step up to the plate to help pay for the fireworks. We welcome those who are circulating an online petition for ferry service. We have been circulating a petition for some time. If you want to help circulate this petition or come up to sign it, call my office.

New Yorkers for Parks has found that too many of our beaches are without lifeguards, have broken drinking fountains, closed bathrooms, littered shorelines and a deteriorating boardwalk. We have called attention to these problems for years. We have invited City Councilman Joseph Addabbo to walk with us on the Boardwalk to see these problems. Addabbo is a member of the Parks Committee. We have not heard from him yet. How about it Joe?

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