2008-10-17 / 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 With the economy going into a major slump, the record fall of the stock market for the past week, it is quite clear we are headed toward a depression. With so many people losing their 401K and pension funds AIG had the audacity to go out on a junket and spend investors' money knowing they are using investors' money but expecting Congress to bail them out.

Most people today are concerned about the economy, investment banks and social security. Just this past two weeks alone we have spent numerous hours in our local Waldbaum's registering new voters including people who moved or just turned 18, as well as over 350 people changing their registration to become Democrats.

We are proud to say we have registered thousands of people in a record time. We personally make sure each and every new registration form is brought to the Queens Board of Elections and each one is clocked in. We keep a copy to make sure that all who are eligible actually get the right to vote. We verify their ID. We give a special thank you to Waldbaum's for allowing us to conduct a non-partisan voter registration drive. One lady in particular who enrolled as a Republican asked if I would throw her registration away. I assured her that her registration would be filed.

With the presidential election heating up and less than 30 days to Election Day everybody has their eyes and ears open. We are predicting a record turnout in the presidential election.

It is quite hilarious that the voting public had twice voted in a referendum for term limits and yet multi-billionaire Michael Bloomberg is trying to use his power and money to overturn this in the City Council. As someone who ran for the City Council in 2001, my term would have been up and I would have voted no to overturn term limits. We hope the mayor does not get away. We hope the City Council will do the right thing.

Let's set the record straight with the truth about the lease for the Good Government Regular Democratic Club and the truth will set us free from a lousy neighbor. My original lease drawn up by Terry Flynn Sr. stated the Good Government Regular Democratic Club would pay for a share of the usage for light, A/C and heat, but not for repairs. During the nine years we have been here, Ms. Plummer has tried to hijack us for repairs. One winter she played a game by turning the heat off and claiming it was broken. One day in February we came into the office and found the temperature was 98 degrees Fahrenheit. The second lease, put together by Terry Flynn Jr., has the same information.

Terry asked us to measure our office and estimate the portion of the area we occupied. Norman Silverman assisted me in measuring the square footage. We reached out to the landlord who did not have accurate plans to verify the area. I reached out to Dorothy Cincotta, the former owner,

who told me that I have 1/7 of the square footage. I have heard that Ms. Plummer has reached an agreement to pay the landlord the arrears on her rent payments over a period of three years. I look forward to having a new neighbor in the offices overlooking the bay.

On Wednesday afternoon, Scholars' Academy Principal Brian O'Connell, along with many parents and children, cut the ribbon for the brand new traffic light at Beach 104 Street and Beach Channel Drive after years of back and forth with the DOT. Yours truly, the pit bull, assisted with making this traffic light a reality. We are currently working on other hazardous conditions under the Rockaway Freeway near the school. Many cars drive through striping, ponding conditions, broken and missing sidewalks that put children at risk. We plan to work with DOT, DEP and Principal O'Connell to solve these conditions.

Before the ribbon cutting ceremonies, I was invited to tour the school, which is undergoing major renovation and modernization. I was extremely impressed with many great programs they have.

One of my favorites is the TV studio where all students are given a chance to participate in TV production. The beautiful state-of-the-art exercise equipment as well beautiful computers and classroom with electronic keyboards for two classes are really fantastic.

The music department and band are under the direction of Alex Leicht, formerly of BCHS, who brings his expertise and knowledge of musical arts and always goes the extra mile for the children. Mr. O'Connell told me that the Scholars' Academy now goes to the 10th grade and will add one grade each year until the 12th grade is available. It is quite an impressive building with bulletin boards filled with the outstanding work of the children.

We were invited into a number of rooms to observe children and teachers interacting.

There were lots of smiling faces of happy, enthusiastic students. We found unanimous love for the school. It was great to see Janet Brady, parent coordinator, who gives her all for the school.

Financing and keeping the doors of the Good Government Regular Democratic Club is our priority. We are always in the forefront of all community events.

Now we need your assistance in keeping our doors open. Our 21st Anniversary Annual dinner Dance will be held on Thursday, November 13 at El Caribe. We will honor Vance Barbour, Phylis Byrne, Dr. Stephanie Cooper, Msgr. Michael Curran, Gregory Floyd, Christopher McCabe, Daniel Mundy, Anthony Pugliese, Erin Rippe, Edward K.Valentine and Timothy Warrington. The cost is $75.00 per person or $1200 for a table of 16. RSVP by October 21. Call 945- 1216 for information.

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