2008-06-13 / 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 is once again the season to enjoy Rockaway's beautiful beaches, the diamond of the east coast. In the extreme heat our beaches have been crowded past 8 p.m., but once again so many of our beaches are without lifeguards. Once again, we will hear the bullshit that lifeguards will be there on July 4. That is completely unacceptable. I urge everyone to call Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe at (212) 360- 1305 and First Deputy Commissioner Liam Kavanagh at (212) 360-1307.

People who used the beach during regular hours have been penalized. No lifeguards were assigned to the beaches from Beach 121 to Beach 126 Streets. Aresident of Beach 124 Street was arrested by a Parks Enforcement Officer while swimming during regular hours. The resident was taken to the 100 Precinct and charged with failure to obey a sign and failure to obey an officer.

As we were going door to door with our reelection petitions the people have just been wonderful and welcoming. They have offered us a drink, something to eat and the use of their bathrooms.

Many of the people who sign our petitions have complained about the City Council slush fund. The City Council appropriated money in the name of fictitious organizations. Later this money was sent on to organizations chosen by council members. Two staff members of a Brooklyn council member have been indicted for taking the funds for themselves.

I think that elected officials should be held accountable. There are many fine outstanding organizations in this city that would welcome a member's item for their organization. The Department of Investigation should continue to investigate and the District Attorney should prosecute anyone who misused city funds.

As Democratic District Leader for the last 14 years we have never received one dollar for the work we do. When we raise funds for the Good Government Regular Democratic Club the money is used for rent, telephone etc. We never pay anyone and we are not paid. We serve our district with pleasure taking the good and the bad when the phone rings. My motto is "How can I help you?" never asking what your party affiliation is or which side of the political district line you live. We are always ready to assist.

We invite your membership in the Good Government Regular Democratic Club. Dues are $25 for a family, $18 single and $12 for seniors and Young Democrats. Send your check to the club at 112-20 Beach Channel Drive, Rockaway Park 11694. We are the only Democratic club that works to make a difference in the community.

This weather is a good time to try Maria's Special Milkshakes. Maria's truck is near the Marine Parkway Bridge. She makes 20 flavors. She helps our community and you can help your family to her delicious flavors.

The Youth Committee of the 100 Precinct Community Council is holding a spaghetti fundraiser on Tuesday, June 17 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus, 333 Beach 90th Street. A donation of $10 is required. Please come and support our youth.

Avery special happy birthday to a wonderful man who is like a father to me. Andy McGee is one of the nicest, most friendly, helpful people you could ask to meet. This gentleman is a licensed private investigator who always makes himself available to take pictures at various community events I attend. If you are ever in need of a great private investigator, call Andy. Happy birthday.

Congratulations to Marie Mazza, one of the finest women I know. Marie and her lovely daughter Johanna are responsible for helping me win my original race for Democratic District Leader, spending thousands of hours collecting signatures and going door to door with me. Marie served as Chairman of Program and Entertainment of the Good Government Regular Democratic Club for over a decade. She booked guest speakers, including many public officials, to speak at meetings. We remember the time we had Roy Innis when he was running for mayor. He acted like a clown, but he couldn't wait to meet Marie because she had spoken to him on the phone.

Marie is a great pillar of strength. Recently she became the newly elected president of the Resident council of the Peninsula Rehabilitation Center. Often called the boss by her family and friends, she shows her intelligence and love for mankind by always going the extra mile for all those who need help. We are extremely proud of Marie. We love you and wish you a long reign of power. God bless you.

Our next Atlantic City trip to Bally's will be Saturday, June 21. We leave at 5:30 p.m. and return at 7:30 a.m. The cost is $38 with $30 returned. Bagels and cream cheese are by Beach Bagels and soda by Waldbaum's. Call 945- 1216 for paid reservations.

Dancing under the Stars for 2008 will begin on Tuesdays at Beach 84 Street and Shorefront Parkway on June 24. We hope to see you and your family there.

As we write this, the Rockaway Music and Arts Council has been refused permission to continue its summer concert series at Fort Tilden.

For many decades, open air sunset picnic concerts have taken place in the park with ample parking for handicapped and seniors. Thanks to the infinite wisdom of Gateway General Park Superintendent Lisa Eckart the RMAC was told to move the concerts to the Riis Park bathhouse. Unfortunately, there would be no place to put the Wenger Wagon, which is the stage used by performers. Suggested parking would be in the far end of the Riis Park lot. It would not be conducive for seniors and handicapped to walk in the 90 degree heat. We do not know if the parking fees would be collected.

I called Superintendent Eckert on Monday and she returned my call. We discussed the concert location. It seems that Eckert was not familiar with the Riis Park area. She promised to tour the area on Wednesday. I offered to join her. We shall continue our efforts to keep the concerts in their current beautiful location.

I have enlisted the assistance of our U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, Previously, he enjoyed attending our RMAC concerts. On June 3, Schumer urged Superintendent Eckert to permit the RMAC to hold summer concerts in Fort Tilden, He stated that for decades the RMAC has provided wonderful service to Rockaway and surrounding communities through their annual summer concert series. "These concerts are a wonderful opportunity for young and old to come together and enjoy wonderful music in a picturesque setting. Many of my constituents have told me they look forward to the concerts each summer and Fort Tilden provides a perfect backdrop for these performances free from beach noise and close to parking."

He urges Superintendent Eckert to permit the concerts to be held in Fort Tilden and preserve the wonderful tradition. As we write this column there is an expected meeting on Thursday between RMAC officials and Gateway Park officials. We urge everyone to call Lisa Eckert at Floyd Bennett Field (718) 338-3338 ext.236 and tell her not to stop people from enjoying the park.

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