2008-10-31 / Columnists

Simon says...

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

Wow, Election Day is finally here. This house votes Democratic. We hereby urge our fellow neighbors, friends, constituents and family to cast their votes for the reelection of Congressmen Anthony Weiner and Gregory Meeks, State Senators Malcolm Smith and Shirley Huntley and Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer.

Pheffer has been Assemblywoman for the past 21 years. She is one of the most visible and responsive public officials in our community. She is a great leader, legislator and definitely deserves reelection.

Also deserving election or re-election are state Supreme Court Justices Martin J. Schulman, Bernice Siegel, Frederick Sampson, Lee Mayerson, Jamie Rios, Orin Kitzes and Sheri S. Rowan. We urge everyone to elect the following two people to the Civil Court bench, Terrence O'Connor, former Queens Commissioner of the Board of Elections and son of former D.A. Frank O'Connor.

Carmen R. Velasquez is a personal friend who has tirelessly provided pro bono work to secure the rights of young mothers who have been abused and threatened with loss of the custody of their children and helping those who have needed legal help to resolve their immigration status. She will be the first South American to be elected to the Civil Court, she is a lady of class, a scholar with a heart of gold and has outstanding judicial temperament.

If you go to the polls and have a problem such as buff card missing or you are a new voter and your name can't be found you may call Barbara Connachio at the Queens Board of Elections at 718-730-6733. If they can't resolve the problem, ask for an affidavit ballot. Do not lose your right to vote.

The second meeting on the toxic site of the manufactured gas plant on Beach 108 Street was another dog and pony show. Their sad attempt to cover a toxic brownfield with a bandaid is ridiculous. We are looking forward to working closely with community civic leaders and residents to bring a class action lawsuit to stop trucking and require the use of barges to remove the toxic material.

If you think traffic is bad now wait until 8 a.m. when 30 or 40 trucks come over the Cross Bay Bridge passing Beach Channel High School, going around Scholars' Academy to get to the toxic waste site. The trucks would be filled and take the Marine Park Bridge between the hours of 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. For shame on the Department of Education and Chancellor Klein for not demanding that work be done between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m. There is more to come.

Our 21st Anniversary Annual Dinner Dance will be held on Thursday, November 13 at El Caribe. We will honor Vance Barbour, Phyllis 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 now to 945-1216.

With everyone falling on hard economic times the Good Government Regular Democratic Club is having trouble paying our rent and telephone bills. We do not receive a salary as District Leader and are constantly putting in our own money to continue. Please step up to the plate and make a small donation to help keep our office and phone. Membership gives you a voice in your community. Dues are $25 for a family and $18 for singles. Send your check to the Good Government Regular Democratic Club at 112-20 Beach Channel Drive.

We have spent the last four weeks in the Rockaway Park Waldbaum's asking for donations for breast cancer research. You will notice a beautiful pink ribbon with the names of thousands of kind neighbors who have contributed at least $1.00 on the window. Please donate a dollar and continue research.

On Saturday evening we attended the 101st Anniversary Ball of Peninsula Hospital which was originally Rockaway Beach Hospital. The ball was held at El Caribe where the food, service and ambience were beautiful. CEO Robert Levine has done an outstanding job in bringing Peninsula Hospital into the 21st century with outstanding care and service.

Levine, along with his wonderful Board of Directors, which includes former Buildings and DEP Commissioner Joel Miele, Marvin Eisenstadt of Sweet N Low, Nancy Vardakis, Patty Bogen Roberts and Robert Mayer as well as Sheila Schwartz, president of the Ladies Auxiliary, who gives her heart and all to Peninsula, have ably led this institution.

The many volunteers have given so many hundreds of hours out of the goodness of their hearts.

Dr. Sadhana Gupta goes above and beyond the call of duty. He has a heart of gold and goes the extra mile for his patients, assisting them and making sure their needs for home care services and scooter lift chairs are met. Gertrude Oltchick is an outstanding lady of class who has given of herself unselfishly. She is a lady of valor who is a true inspiration. Others honored were Dr. Peter Guiney, Dr. Aaron Nesoff and Borough President Helen Marshall.

Our next Atlantic City trip will be on Saturday, November 15. We leave at 5:30 p.m. and return at 7:30 a.m. We have 8 hours to enjoy. We have bagels and cream cheese by Beach Bagels and soda by Waldbaum's. The cost is $40 with $30 returned. Have fun with us and help us keep our doors open.

We wish a special happy birthday to Marion Manieri, who just celebrated a special birthday. Marion is a loving, outstanding individual who is extremely active in the Rockaway Park Senior Citizen Center. She is a true pioneer who is working diligently for the opening of a new Senior Center at 106-20 Shorefront Parkway. Her love and devotion and heart of gold make her the best. Happy, happy birthday, we look forward to being at your 100th birthday.

It is a goddam shame and disgrace that term limits for city elected officials were overturned after the people voted for a two term limit, twice. We would not have minded if we voted in a referendum in February or March to determine the will of the voters provided Michael Bloomberg paid the $51 million to allow the voters to be heard. We need to send a clear message to all those who attempt to run again. It is time for Helen Marshall to step aside to allow Audrey Pheffer to be a real Borough President.

We look forward to lawsuits to stop this ridiculous crime.

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