2008-09-19 / 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 We have been quite busy the last few weeks spending long, tireless hours advocating the improvement of the quality of life in our district. On Sunday, September 7 I attended a meeting of the Roxbury People's Association where it was stated that a pole was erected specially for NextG Networks Inc. This is the company that is attempting to start a brand new wireless network in the very near future and for some reason has chosen to spread its wings in the Rockaways.

The crowd in the room at the Roxbury firehouse voiced their anger and animosity at how this pole could be placed in their community. It was déjà vu all over again. After many months of fighting back and forth with this company as they attempted to place their cell top pole in the Neponsit and Belle Harbor communities, they are now trying Roxbury.

It was suggested that the cell antenna be placed on the Rockaway Beach Boulevard overpass located near the Marine Park Bridge. This is city owned property controlled by the Department of Transportation. Supervision of the city's cell installation contract is under the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DOITT) and the mayor's office. Neponsit Property Owners President Peter Sammon, yours truly, local attorney Joe Mure and Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer all support this alternative. Why would NextG choose a residential area instead of an unpopulated city road?

Last Sunday afternoon we also attended the First Annual Rockaway Park Estates (Beach 98 Street) block party. President James Carmen, treasurer and special events coordinator Joyce Lucas, Henry Jefferson, D.J. Eddie Postare and Rubin Management helped put together the program. It was one of the best block parties all summer with 100 percent participation of the residents. There were great games and rides for the children. There was an excellent DJ and plenty of food. It is great to see Rockaway Park Estates flourishing, enjoying and adding to the betterment of the Rockaway community.

On Tuesday, September 9 we attended a meeting of SHAFT (Surfside) under the leadership of the great Barbara Buffolino and Karen Nevirs. This dynamic duo has made a great deal of difference in improving major problems in the development. Penny La Forest, Ida Pollack and Florence Fisher of QLOUT, the Queens League of United Tenants, came again to assist the residents by informing them of their rights.

Numerous complaints came up about security, faulty windows, laundry rooms in need of repairs, and reductions in maintenance work affecting cleanliness. They have only one superintendent for 750 tenants instead of three. They have neglected to paint hallway doors and railings and the maintenance and cleaning of elevators. Emergency lighting, landscaping,

grass and weeds have been neglected. The on-site garbage area has not been tended. While there is a diminishing quality of life they continue to charge luxury prices. Many of the residents are completely outraged that they pay such a high rent and do not get the services

they desire.

The next day I attempted to call Steve Valiotis, the owner of Surfside, to discuss the ongoing saga of the Rockaway Park Senior Center that will be located at 102-20 Shore Front Parkway. For almost one year it has been delayed by the failure to obtain signatures from licensed contractors of completed work. The call was taken by his daughter, Sophia, who told me she is tired of hearing from me and my letters. I asked her to please give me an update of progress on this project. This lady was rude and condescending. As we finished our conversation I told her to read my column in The Wave next week.

The next morning I received a call from Sophia trying to be so pleasant and telling me that they are working diligently to get these good tenants in. During both of these conversations I reminded Sophia that the location had to be available for the senior center by the end of October as renovation of their present location would begin on November 1 and the seniors would be homeless. We have suggested to JASA that their lawyer demand an immediate review to make sure that the seniors are not homeless. Look for more information to come. All these problems are caused by the Department of Building's self certification program. If there were proper inspections done, this might not occur.

Congratulations to reelected State Senator Shirley Huntley in trouncing her opponent. We know Senator Huntley will do a great job for all the residents of her district.

Congratulations to Anthony DiCervo, the gentleman who was arrested at the beginning of the summer for wetting his feet in the ocean at Beach 124 Street. We stood by him and urged him to fight the ticket. We helped him to obtain the great counsel of Joseph Mure who won the fight. Anthony received an ACD in which he agreed not to get into trouble during the next six months and his record would be cleared. Congratulations.

The Good Government Regular Democratic Club will hold its 21st Annual Dinner Dance on Thursday, November 13 at El Caribe. The cost is $75 a ticket with a table of 16 for $1200.

The honorees include Dan Mundy, the community activist from Broad Channel who is doing so much to save Jamaica Bay and the lifeguard program; Gregory Floyd, president of Teamsters Local 237; Anthony Pugliese, business agent Local 157 Carpenters and Joiners; Timothy Warrington, coordinator and director of the apprentice program of Mason Tenders Local 77; Msgr. Michael Curran, Blessed Trinity Parish in Breezy Point; Chief Edward K. Valentine of the Rockaway Point Volunteer Fire Department; Vance Barbour, president of the Woodhaven Block Association; Dr. Stephanie Cooper, local plastic surgeon; Erin M. Rippe, president of St. Camillus Home School Association; Captain Phyllis Byrne of District 23 Transit; Brendan Gallagher, board member of the Breezy Point Cooperative; and Chris McCabe, a brave 16- year-old who has undergone 90 surgeries for spina bifida. Call 718-945- 1216 for reservations.

Our next Atlantic City trip will be on Saturday, September 20. We leave at 5:30 p.m. and return at 7:30 a.m. The cost is $40 with $30 returned. Bagels and soda will be provided by Beach Bagels and Waldbaum's. Call now.

On Monday afternoon we attended a HPD public hearing on a proposed 24 percent increase in carrying charges for the shareholders of Dayton Beach Park. In these tough economic times I questioned the wisdom of this increase in one year. The usual going rate of increase is between 3 and 6 percent. Why was Phipps Management asleep at the wheel and did not notify the residents of outstanding water bills?

We urge HPD and management to come up with a financial agreement with DEP to eliminate penalties and interest and make payments over a 5- or 10-year period. At the many coop meetings I have attended over the years, stockholders were given an accounting of all monies paid and owed, and projections for future years. It was great to have Warren Gardner, district director for State Senator Malcolm Smith, there to speak up for the stockholders. Martha Avon, Queens community coordinator for Comptroller William Thompson also attended. The comptroller is doing a major investigation of the mess.

Congratulations to the Peninsula Hospital nurses who are now officially members of Local 1199.

I am so happy to have assisted the nurses in making this a reality. Now they will have a better chance to get the benefits that other hospital workers in the community receive.

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