2007-10-05 / Columnists

Simon says...

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

Governor Eliot Spitzer reviews the proposal to reactivate the old Rockaway Beach line with Democratic District Leader Lew M. Simon. Governor Eliot Spitzer reviews the proposal to reactivate the old Rockaway Beach line with Democratic District Leader Lew M. Simon. The Independent Judicial Election Qualification Commission is a new official body, which reviews the qualifications of persons seeking election to judicial office. The criteria for evaluation include professional ability; character, independence and integrity; reputation for fairness and lack of bias; and temperament, including courtesy and patience.

The Good Government Regular Democratic Club is very proud to have Jodi Orlow, one of our counsel, on the list of candidates approved for judicial office. Orlow has proven her skills in various cases in our community. She successfully defended my right as Democratic District Leader to oppose the people who tried to bring an assisted living facility to 402 Beach 134th Street.

Orlow has a superior knowledge of the judicial process. Her judicial temperament will help her become one of the best judges serving Queens County. We are looking forward to helping elect her to Civil Court or State Supreme Court in the next three years.

This past Monday afternoon, we had a meeting with our great Governor, Eliot Spitzer. We met with the governor to present him with a proposal for the reactivation of the old Rockaway Beach Line of the LIRR, which is supported by Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer and State Senator Malcolm Smith.

We explained the plan for a one-seat ride from Beach 116 Street to Penn Station in 32, minutes and how it should be part of Mayor Bloomberg's congestion pricing proposal. It would also help make the plan for video lottery terminals at Aqueduct successful.

It is now time to step up to the plate and revitalize transportation that is currently an abomination. I made it clear to the governor that other either rail or subway service would be acceptable, as long as the cost would be one MetroCard fare.

Governor Spitzer said that he would facilitate meetings with Lee Sander, Executive Director of the MTA and Marc Shaw, Chair of the Congestion Pricing Commission. To say I was elated would be easy. I was overwhelmed with joy to see the governor would assist us in reaching our goal. We must stay united and work as a team. We cannot allow our community to be crushed again.

That evening we attended the Judicial Convention as a Delegate with Jodi Orlow and Eva Farro, who gives a lot of volunteer time in improving the quality of life in our community, as an Alternate Delegate.

We proudly supported the candidacies of three current Civil Court Judges to be promoted to the State Supreme Court. Kenneth C. Holder has been a friend to the Rockaway community. He served as District Attorney Richard A. Brown's chief of the Narcotics Trial Bureau. Whenever we reached out to him on a narcotics matter, he responded positively and took prompt action and gave great advice. Steven W. Paynter, who has sat on Civil Court since 1996, is a man who has definitely proved himself as an outstanding judge.

The third choice was the Honorable Dennis J. Butler, who was assigned to Civil Term in May 2003. His father is former Assemblyman Dennis Butler, a well-respected gentleman and scholar. He and his wife have recently fallen ill. When Dennis Sr. got up to speak about his son with pride, there wasn't a dry eye in the house. It made us very proud to cast our vote for Dennis Jr. to be a State Supreme Justice.

We'd like to congratulate our newly elected Republican State Committee members, Jane Deacy and Eric Ulrich. I was extremely proud to be the person who trained Jane, when she was a Democratic inspector, who obtained signatures to get candidates on the ballot. Her wisdom, knowledge and charming personality helped her to become the Leader. The Democratic Party's loss is the Republicans' gain.

I met Eric Ulrich when he was just a young boy at St. Stans' annual bazaar, where I volunteer each year. He was a nice young man who dreamed of becoming a priest. I was looking forward to his ordination, but instead, at age 22, he was elected as Republican State Committeeman. Congratulations. We look forward to working together to improve the quality of life in our community and to obtaining your endorsement for higher office.

I tip my hat to David Weprin, who attended a rally and press conference to denounce Iranian President Ahmadinehad. He made it clear that Ground Zero was off limits and admonished him for not believing the truth of the Holocaust. Weprin is Chair of the City Council Finance Committee and will be a candidate for City Comptroller in 2009.

We are deeply saddened to have lost four outstanding individuals last week. Roxbury's own Janet Neibel was a lady of class who was very sweet and always smiling. John F. Sheehan Sr. was a gentleman and a scholar who would love to sit down and tell a good story. He was an old- fashioned gentleman with a capital G. Agnes M. Laskawski was a very sweet, kind and wonderful lady who came back to Rockaway in the summer and enjoyed going on our Atlantic City bus trips.

Joseph J. Burns, the uncle of the late Republican leader James Conway Sullivan, was often referred to as Uncle Joe. Sullivan was the founder of the Rockaway St. Patrick's Day Parade. Burns was a former priest, a loving husband and father and a dynamic speaker who always made sense. He was a long-time supporter of mine and always made sure to tell the truth about issues, ideas and people. He was one of the best you could ever meet.

We know God has chosen these four people to serve as angels in His Kingdom. We know Uncle Joe must be a peace and decision-maker and have a special role as a lead angel. My heart cries out in sympathy to all the families. I love all of you and I'll keep you in my prayers.

Our next Atlantic City bus trip to Bally's Claridge will be on Saturday October 20. The cost is $35 with $20 returned. We leave at 5:30 p.m., and return at 8 AM. Bagels by Beach Bagels. Call 718-945-1216 for reservations.

On Thursday, November 15, we will hold our 20th Annual Dinner Dance at El Caribe in Mill Basin. We will honor Andrew Baumann, Kyle Bragg, Terry Cassidy, Edward Figueroa, Sheila and Michael Finnegan, Martin Ingram, William Rahilly, Mary Romski, David J. Rosenzweig, Honorable Malcolm Smith and Rabbi Boaz Tomsky. Tickets are $75 per person and $1,200 for a table of 16. Make your check payable to the Good Government Regular Democratic Club and send it to 112-20 Beach Channel Drive, Rockaway Park, New York, 11694.

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