2008-07-25 / Columnists

Simon says...

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

Pictured, from left, Democratic District Leader Lew M. Simon; Thomas J. Campbell, Project Manager Site Remediation, National Grid; and Douglas K. MacNeal, P.E. Environmental Engineer, Remedial Bureau, Division of Environmental Remediation NYS DEC. Pictured, from left, Democratic District Leader Lew M. Simon; Thomas J. Campbell, Project Manager Site Remediation, National Grid; and Douglas K. MacNeal, P.E. Environmental Engineer, Remedial Bureau, Division of Environmental Remediation NYS DEC. As we have been weathering a large heat wave recently we have been working diligently on many important issues affecting our community. We have stayed on top of the Rockaway Park JASA Senior Center move which is supposed to be from Temple Beth El on Beach 121 Street to a brand new home at 106-20 Shorefront Parkway.

Just this past Thursday we spoke once again with Queens Building Commissioner Derek Lee and an expediter on the case. In the next two weeks they are hoping that amended plans will be approved, open violations corrected and that a temporary certificate of occupancy (TCO) would be granted by the Department of Buildings. We are hoping that this time two weeks is two weeks.

We look forward to seeing the Rockaway Park JASA Senior Center in its new home. We have made sure to stay in constant contact with Center Director Nancy Fine, Marion Mainieri from the Senior Board of Directors as well as John Alvarez, who is in charge of JASA Senior Centers.

On Saturday, July 12 we had a great time with one of the best, State Senator Shirley Huntley, a brilliant, tireless, well-educated, hardworking and loving individual. She is a woman who cares with a big heart and has fought and succeeded in bringing home the bacon for funding for the district she represents, which includes Broad Channel and parts of Howard Beach.

Her second Family Fun Day was a hit in the community, with hundreds of smiling children and adults having a great time. Some of the funds she was able to obtain include $100,000 for the new building for the Broad Channel Volunteers on Crossbay Boulevard and $1000 each for the Broad Channel Historical Society and the Channelettes.

Every Tuesday evening from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Dancing Under the Stars comes alive on Shorefront Parkway and Beach 84 Street, sponsored by Sweet 'N Low and Lew Simon. Come join us and have a great time.

Special thanks to Rob Hehner Jr. at Brooklyn Window and Door, 1889 McDonald Avenue, Brooklyn, for once again coming to our rescue, and fixing the mechanisms in our windows free of charge, so that we can open them. We urge anyone in need of windows and doors to call 718-627-6400.

On Tuesday afternoon we had a meeting with NYS Department of Conservation' s Douglas K. MacNeal P.E., an environmental engineer with the Remedial Bureau, and National Grid's Thomas J. Campbell, the project manager. Our discussion was about the brown field located at Beach 108 Street and Beach Channel Drive, formerly occupied by a gas manufacturing plant that left the soil severely polluted.

We met to discuss our push to barge toxins out of our community. I was appalled to find out that approximately 60 to 75 trucks a day would be involved. They would operate from 9 to 2 p.m. starting in September for 18 months. They would barrel through our community, go over the Marine Park Bridge and through Flatbush to the Brooklyn Queens Expressway.

When we questioned them as to whether our neighbors in Brooklyn were aware of this, they stated there was no need to notify them. We were very much surprised that these trucks carrying toxins would move through densely populated residential communities, and local elected officials and community boards would not be notified. How do they get away with this?

We have urged the New York State DEC to contact adjacent communities. On Friday we received a call from Doug MacNeal asking me to put together a report on the cost effectiveness of barging v. trucking. We will be asking them to do this. We don't plan on backing down from this stand.

I would like to thank my longtime friend Barney Cassidy, member of the Board of Directors of the Breezy Point Cooperative, one of the nicest, most intelligent and kindest individuals you could ever ask to meet. I have considered him a mentor and a close friend, calling upon him on numerous occasions to discuss issues affecting the Breezy Point community. His vast wealth of knowledge and experience, resulting from seven years as president and 3 years as vice president of the Rockaway Point Association, has always been a great help. His wisdom, knowledge and persistence have made him an outstanding board member. We look forward to seeing him reelected and continuing to work as a team.

Our good friends, the nurses at Peninsula Hospital, have asked for help. We value the outstanding care we get at Peninsula and want to help the Peninsula family in any way we can.

In a representation election on May 14, the nurses voted 140 to 30 to end their representation by the New York State Nurses Association and be represented by Local 1199 SEIU. The Nurses Association filed objections to the election.

Although 8 of 10 objections have been dismissed, the change has not been made. The nurses want to work more closely with the other staff members at Peninsula who are already part of 1199 and the nurses at St. Johns who are 1199 members. They want the NYS Nurses to stop being vindictive and drop their objections.

In America we have freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. We have the right to choose those we want to speak for us and those with whom we want to join.

We look forward to assisting them in any way we can.

We are saddened by the loss of Rosemary Helen Diffendale, a very fine, outstanding lady. God must have needed a special angel in heaven. My deepest sympathy to the family that I know so well, which includes Wave columnist Erin Baumann, who is a young lady of class, stature and a heart of gold.

Our next Atlantic City trip will be on Saturday, August 16. The cost is $40 with $25 returned. We leave at 5:30 p.m. and return at 7:30 a.m. Bagels, cream cheese and soda are by Beach Bagels and Waldbaum's. Call for paid reservations at 945-1216.

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