2008-10-03 / 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 L'Shana Tova, a happy, healthy and sweet New Year to all my friends of the Jewish faith.

The past week has been very strange. The electric power to my office was suddenly turned off. Linda Plummer, the Remax real estate broker in the next office, was being evicted for nonpayment of rent. She was responsible for paying the electric bill for our floor and did not pay LIPA. They put a lock on the box.

For the last three years it has been sheer hell in our office. We had no heat in the winter and no A/C in the summer because the heating and cooling unit went down three years ago. Linda Plummer was not my landlord, but she was responsible for paying the bill. My lease states that I would pay her my share of the electric bill, but that she was responsible for the repairs. For the last three winters we had no heat. My landlord told me that he gave her part of the money to make repairs, but she did nothing.

Now there is beautiful office space available next to my office at 112-20 Beach Channel Drive (2nd floor). It is desirable for a doctor, lawyer, accountant or similar professional. It overlooks Jamaica Bay and has a beautiful view of Manhattan. If you are interested call 945-1216 and I'll be glad to show it to you.

During all this, we were trying to send out invitations to our 23rd annual dinner dance. A million thanks to Terry Flynn Jr. and Mary Flynn for allowing our committee to use their offices two consecutive nights for folding and stuffing envelopes and being like wonderful family for me.

We'd also like to thank Sensei Bruce Hodes, World Championship Karate, for offering us assistance in using his electricity. You and your wife are great friends and an example of what fine Jewish people are. We urge all those who want to learn karate to join World Championship Karate, which is located directly under my office. They are real professionals and good hearted people.

Are we headed for a depression? This week Lehman Brothers, WaMu, Wachovia, Six Flags, Trump Entertainment Centers and many others are near bankruptcy. The House of Representatives voted against the bailout. Some of us questioned what it would cost the taxpayers. As I write on Monday evening the stock market is down 777 points. It is now time to tighten our belts. Many people have overspent their credit. People got mortgages on houses they couldn't afford. If the mortgage companies misled them, why should we the taxpayers bail them out?

Recently Wave editor Howard Schwach stated I have the power to make a judge. I had the honor and privilege of serving as campaign manager for Terry Flynn Sr. for Civil Court in 1995. He was a Republican who tried to get the Democratic line. I supported him because he was a real mensch and what a judge should be. Unlike my predecessor, Sy Sheldon,

and local leaders Geraldine Chapey, who selected Jim Dufficy, and others and Audrey Pheffer, who selected Marty Shulman and Marty Ritholtz, I have not done so. I have served as an elected delegate to the Judicial Convention where I have cast my vote for quality candidates

who are qualified and have judicial temperament. Just two weeks ago two outstanding Civil Court Justices, Lee Meyersohn and Bernice Siegel, were nominated for Supreme Court Justice. Lee Meyersohn is an outstanding individual and Bernice Siegel has spent long hours as attorney for SHAFT (Surfside Tenants) and other Queens tenants and saved them millions of dollars. One of the other candidates for Civil Court will be Carmen R. Velasquez, who has done pro bono work in matrimonial and immigration cases.

You still have time to register to vote in the November election. Your registration form must be at the Board Elections before October 10. If you have not registered, have moved or will be 18 by Election Day, call my office, 718-945-1216, to make an appointment to complete the form. It takes only a few minutes. You can get an absentee ballot by calling Barbara Conacchio at the Board of Elections 718-730-6733.

We are saddened by the deaths of two outstanding ladies of class. On September 13, Lena McManus passed away after a long illness with Alzheimer's. Lena was a great mom, grandmother, aunt and sister. She was a woman with a lot of love and a big heart. People may remember her from her days at Playland rides. I knew her all my life because I went to school with one of her wonderful sons. She will definitely be a very special angel.

On September 22, Mae Hegarty passed away after a battle with cancer. It is an end of an era. I always referred to Mae as Miss Rockaway. She was a lady of class, stature, wisdom, kindness and love. She was one who could tell you about the history of Rockaway back to horse and buggy days. She was very active in St. Francis de Sales, Colombiettes, Rotarians, professional women's business associations, and golden age clubs.

One of the biggest moments of my whole career was when we opened the Good Government Democratic Club in 1987. Mae Hegarty and May Fetcher joined our club and became advisors and confidantes. In 2004 we crowned Mae Hegarty with a beautiful tiara and named her Miss Rockaway for her outstanding efforts and achievement. We were shocked to find out that we were the only ones to have honored her. This petite woman had the voice of an angel. She loved to sing and entertain all. Rockaway now has a hole in its heart due to the loss of our Mae. Mae must be a really special angel, singing and entertaining with all the love she has. Our loss of these fine ladies is heaven's gain. My deepest sympathy to the families, but we are blessed to have such great guardian angels.

Our next Atlantic City trip will be on Saturday, October 11. We leave at 5:30 p.m. and return at 7:30 a.m. The cost is $40 with $30 returned. Call my office at 945-1216 now for reservations.

We wish to congratulate RockAway Baby boutique, one of the classiest places in Rockaway, formerly at Beach 115 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard. They are now at 114-07 Beach Channel Drive next to the Rockaway Park Post Office. We urge all to go there to buy beautiful baby stuff.

Our 21st Annual Dinner Dance will be on Thursday, November 13 at El Caribe in Brooklyn. The cost is $75 per person or $1,200 for a table of 16. We are honoring Vance Barbour, Captain Phylis Byrne, Dr. Stephanie Cooper, Msgr. Michael Curran, Gregory Floyd, Brendan Gallagher, Christopher McCabe, Daniel Mundy, Anthony Pugliese, Erin M. Rippe, Chief Edward Valentine and Timothy Warrington. RSVP by October 21. Call 945-1216 for information.

We think that the proposal to locate windmills to produce electricity in the ocean 10 miles off Rockaway is a great idea. It is an idea I had suggested a long time ago. I suggest LIPA give a discount for Rockaway residents and make a community agreement to provide money for community projects. Their gain should be our gain as well. We also propose that the old Keyspan gas site at Beach 108 Street be used. We should welcome a project that is environmentally sound and lowers our costs.

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