2008-05-16 / 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's been very busy in the Rockaways the last two weeks. On April 21, the Department of City Planning certified a rezoning plan for 280 blocks in the Rockaways. The zoning will encompass five neighborhoods; Rockaway Park, Rockaway Beach, Somerville, Edgemere and Far Rockaway.

Everybody seems to be happy with all the changes except for the R7A zone, which allows you to build eight-stories with underground parking. The R7A is proposed for the Beach 116 Street area including the Park Inn property on Beach 115 Street and Ocean Promenade and going all around to the Lawrence Hotel property on Beach 116 Street. Many angry tempers flared against this proposal due to the number of units that could be built on this site. Some residents have calculated that 350 to 750 units of housing would be allowed under this new zoning. The property would have a commercial overlay allowing stores to be built as well.

The other controversial site involves Beach 103 Street to Beach 105 Street on Rockaway Beach Boulevard where the Cyberzone Health Club, Queens County Savings Bank and other businesses are located.

In 1987 Community Board 14 (Rockaway and Broad Channel) approved a plan for 10,000 market rate housing units in Arverne. Our Community Board felt very strongly that a new school, firehouse and a community center with Olympic training facilities, including a pool for competitive swimming be included. The late Glenda Morris, Kevin Callaghan, Michael Tubridy, Janet Brady, the All Rockaway Planning Council, and Beach and Bay Association kept up the fight. The Board approved the plan with the requirements that the community facilities be included. City officials (the old Board of Estimate) gave final approval, but ignored the requirements that our community demanded. We once again got screwed. No school, firehouse or Olympic training pool was built. We are still waiting.

Two weeks ago we worked with Congressman Gregory Meeks to hold a Town Hall meeting on Rockaway Post Office problems. The meeting was held at Far Rockaway High School. Many Rockaway residents came to voice their anger against the lousy service, poor management and called for the resignation of Postmaster George Buonocore. I feel this meeting was a waste of time. The officials who attended were the local manager and district manager.

It was a bunch of boloney and public relations tactics by the U.S. Post Office. The big wigs from Washington were no where to be found. Shame on the U.S. Post Office for not caring or attempting to make a difference. It is now time to dump George Buonocore and send him packing. We must stay vigilant and work together as a team to bring back quality service in the Rockaways.

We are in desperate need of an advocate in the Post Office, somebody specifically set up to hear our problems and follow up on them. We are tired of our problems falling on deaf ears. We urge everyone to pick up the phone and call his or her Congressman, Gregory Meeks or Anthony Weiner, and tell them to get the word out that George Buonocore and his flunkies must go.

We have strongly advocated making all Post Offices accessible to the handicapped with ramps and sliding doors. The postal officials did say that they had consulted an architect concerning installing a ramp at the main Post Office in Far Rockaway.

Last Friday we brought the 100th Precinct Explorers on a fantastic trip to Cozy Bowl at 98-18 Rockaway Boulevard, Ozone Park. In light of the closing of bowling alleys including Rosedale, Van Wyck and the potential closing of Woodhaven, it is great to have Cozy Bowl, which is a wonderful place to bring your family. Thanks to the owners Diane and Mike who allowed the 100th Precinct Explorers youth program to bowl and get their shoes free of charge. They really helped a great program for our children.

We urge you and your family to bowl at Cozy Bowl and remember to thank them for being there for our children. At the same time we'd like to remind the parents of our community that the 100th Precinct is still signing up boys and girls as Explorers. For information call the 100th Precinct at 718-341- 4100.

We are deeply saddened by the death of an outstanding lady, Adele Cohen, who was one of the kindest, most loving individuals who I respected all my life. Her daughter Beth and I went to elementary school and high school together and have continued to stay great friends. Adele always shared her love with all the people around her.

As a young child, I can remember delivering the newspaper to her house in Arverne. She always hugged me and thanked me. She is a true example of a real mother. Her love for her children and grandchildren was always obvious. It is quite obvious that God needs another special angel in His kingdom and has a special job for Adele. My deepest sympathy to her family and a special hug and kisses to her daughter Beth and granddaughter Jillian.

Now is the time to call our office if you would like to work on the Election Board. One must be a registered Democrat living between Beach 95 Street and Breezy Point, west side of Broad Channel, Howard Beach and Ozone Park. The pay is $200 with an extra $35 if you work both on Primary Day (September 9) and Election Day (November 4). There is an extra $25 for attending a training class. Call my office at 718-945-1216 if you are available to work. I am available to assist you in registering to vote. Call my office to make an appointment.

We would like to invite everyone to Kutting with a Kause, the 3rd annual celebration, on May 31. They are looking for generous, hardworking people like you to join forces to fight against children's cancer. Working closely with St. Baldrick's, they are looking for people who would like to donate their pony tails for Locks of Love, to make wigs for kids with cancer. Professional haircutters will be there. You may make a tax deductible financial contribution. The event at the Irish Circle, 101-19 Rockaway Beach Boulevard will start at 2 p.m. until … There will be a great line-up of entertainment. If you want to donate your hair or get sponsors e-mail Troy Ratter at Kutting4aKause@ya hoo.com. I look forward to seeing you there.

We are very proud of fighting for and supporting a ferry for the Rockaways, although we would have liked a nonstop ride. We would like to personally thank ferry expert Joe Hartigan who should be credited for his fine work in the fight for Rockaway ferry service. We are aware that Joe is not happy with the single location and type of boat being used which he considers a fishing boat. Finally Rockaway has made the map positively and not as a dump. We will not sleep until we get the Rockaway Beach line reopened as the most efficient, effective way to travel in a timely fashion.

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