2008-06-27 / 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 It has always been our pleasure to help make a difference in our community. It is also a great pleasure to write for The Wave and Rockaway Point News. Several elected officials reminded me that I am an elected official, not a newspaper reporter.

It is a great feeling to have your finger on the pulse and break leading stories such as working diligently to bring back the Rockaway Music and Art summer picnic concerts. I personally enlisted the assistance of our US Senator Charles Schumer who made it quite clear to Gateway Superintendent Lisa Eckert that the concerts should continue where they are.

Last week we quoted from Senator Schumer's letter to our do-nothing Gateway Superintendent Eckert. We have been in constant contact with Stephen Yaeger, president of RMAC. Our last column urged everyone to call Lisa Eckert and Lee Dickinson to save the concerts at Fort Tilden.

On Friday afternoon I received an outstanding phone call that the wicked witch of Parks who destroyed our summer concert series will be transferred to Horace Albright Training Center located at the Grand Canyon. This is a lateral move, not a promotion. It is a great place to dump her so that she does not hurt any other community organization.

Eckert has also told Alcoholics Anonymous that they have to leave the Fort Tilden Chapel, which they have used for meetings for many years. This is a very important program to help people keep their sobriety. Gateway should not have the right to interfere with their meetings.

Eckert claims she will transfer in mid to late August. We urge everyone to call Lee Dickinson at Gateway 202-513- 7092 and tell her to have the transfer effective immediately so we may have a peaceful summer.

Good luck and good riddance.

Thanks for ruining our summer. We are hoping that RMAC will be able to have at least four concerts this summer. We will have further information to follow. We are very proud to have great relations with Senator Charles Schumer and proud to have been one of the first people to have signed to support him in the Democratic primary for Senate when the Queens organization was supporting Ferraro. Audrey Pheffer and I stood together and helped Chuck win.

In doing my ritual of knocking on doors to get my name on the ballot, my dear friend Marion, who is an active board member of the Rockaway Park JASA center on Beach 121 Street, asked for my intervention.

The center wants to move to 106-20 Shorefront Parkway. She had the director of the center, Nancy Fine, reach out to me to try to assist with obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy for their new home. I immediately reached out to the owner of the Surfside development, Steve Valiotis, to see what was going on.

I followed up with the call to Stephen Figueiredo who is in charge of intergovernmental relations at the Queens Department of Buildings. He made me aware of a number of violations at this property. I spoke to the owner who said that they were working diligently to correct this.

I also reached out to Queens Building Commissioner Derek Lee. I received a call back from Figueiredo putting me in touch with an expediter who said that it would take a month to a month and a half to correct the violations.

I have made a commitment to stay on top of this matter and follow up to make sure this becomes a reality for seniors as soon as possible. At the same time I have made it my business to share this information with Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer and State Senator Malcolm Smith who are also working diligently.

As I went door to door to collect signatures, people have been just wonderful. Hannah Ratner gave me a beautiful doormat spelling our Happy Hanukah with beautiful dreidels. It is absolutely one of the nicest gifts I have received. A million thanks for your kindness.

Miriam Sorger, who was in a Nazi concentration camp during the Holocaust, gave me a copy of the book she wrote with the assistance of Stuart Mirsky. This book is quite moving and will bring tears to your eyes. This beautiful woman had endured so much pain at a young age by that miserable Hitler and the SS. I would urge everyone to purchase this book and pass it on to a neighbor. This book should be used by the Department of Education to make sure these life experiences during the Holocaust are never forgotten.

Many of our beaches in Rockaway are once again without lifeguards. Year after year we put up with the constant lies of Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe and his puppet Deputy Commissioner Liam Kavanagh who is controlled by Peter Stein, president of the lifeguards union. It is very sad that after all the meetings in the world take place nothing gets done. We urge everyone to call 311 and keep calling 311 as well as Commissioner Benepe 212-360-1305 and Deputy Commissioner Kavanagh 212-360-1307 and file a complaint that your beach is closed.

During this shortage there should be a fair and equitable system of keeping as many beaches open and swimmers protected. The lifeguards should be spread out so that all can enjoy this beautiful beach weather. It is also important that the Parks Department alert the press and TV so that they can inform visitors that many beaches are closed.

We are proud that we have once again received a grant personally from Sweet 'N Low to support Dancing under the Stars. The programs will be at Beach 84 Street and Shorefront Parkway on Tuesdays from 7-9 p.m., at St. Thomas More on Wednesdays from 7 to 9 p.m. starting on July 9, and Friday evenings at Walter Ward Park (P.S. 207) in Howard Beach.

Our next Atlantic City bus trip will be on Saturday, July 19. We leave at 5:30 p.m. and return at 7:30 a.m. The cost is $40 with $25 returned. Bagels and cream cheese are from Beach Bagels and soda is from Waldbaum's. Call 718-945-1216 for paid reservations.

You are welcome to join the only working Democratic club in the community. Dues for the Good Government Regular Democratic Club is $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.

A happy birthday to Julia of Strand's Hair Salon.

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