2008-11-14 / 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 It's been an exciting week in politics. The United States of America made history in the 21st century by electing the first African American president. Barack Obama won an overwhelming victory with 364 electoral votes to 162 for John McCain. The winner in Missouri was not called as we write.

It is quite obvious that two things played a major role in the Democratic victory. One was the mistake by John McCain in picking Sarah Palin who was unknown and inexperienced as candidate for Vice President. The second reason was the state of the economy where we may be facing the second Great Depression.

Democrats now control the U.S. Senate where they have 56 members to 40 Republicans with three seats undecided. The House of Representatives has 254 Democrats with 173 Republicans. After many years of Republican control the New York State Senate is now controlled by Democrats. The State Senate will be led by our great State Senator Malcolm A. Smith. We are still waiting for the result of the election between Democratic Councilman James F. Gennaro and Republican State Senator Frank Padavan. Smith worked diligently to help Democrats win in districts on Long Island and upstate.

The best news was the election of City Councilman Joseph Addabbo to the State Senate representing Howard Beach, Ozone Park and other areas over the bridge. We wish him great success and a bright future which now leaves the 32nd City Council seat open. He will be sworn in on January 1. The mayor will announce a special election for the City Council in February or March.

Each candidate will have to collect a large number of signatures in a 12-day period. We look forward to making an announcement about this race.

Speaking of good news on Election Day we are proud to announce the opening of the Rockaway Park JASA Senior Center at 106-20 Shorefront Parkway which was formerly at Beth- El synagogue on Beach 121 Street. We received a call for help from one of the board members, Marion Manieri. We thank Marion for keeping in constant touch with us while we're getting the problems delaying the opening of the center solved. We had to keep up with the property owner, Department of Buildings, expediter, JASA and the New York City department for the Aging. Being the pit bull that I am I made sure this would become a reality and that all my senior constituents were not left out in the cold without a senior center.

For many years we have been screaming and fighting with Lilco, LIPA and National Grid about the toxic leaching under Waldbaum's and possibly under my office. We all remember the two year saga of the Mobil gas station on the corner of Beach 108 Street where they tried to put in new tanks. They had problems with DEP,

DEC and EPA concerning toxins in soil under the station. It was ironic that the 100th Precinct Community Council President Danny Ruscillo found the inspector who was inspecting wells and verified that toxins were found under the Waldbaum's site. Shame on National Grid for

not being honest and lying to our community. We are demanding an immediate investigation of the Waldbaum's property, my office, CITGO gas station and all adjacent areas. We are demanding answers before work is started.

We are saddened by the death of Veronica Bagley who was a neighbor of mine for more than 20 years. She was an outstanding lady with a big heart and a lot of love. She was one of the sweetest and kindest women you could meet. She was always smiling and happy and had a lot of love. She was a great friend and a wonderful neighbor.

James Byrne was an outstanding kind and wonderful gentleman. He was a great husband, father, uncle and grandfather who raised his family with great family values and a good Catholic upbringing.

Jacob Loof was a disabled veteran who served in the U.S. Navy in World War II. He was married to his lovely wife Kay for the last 63 years. He was an outstanding community leader, loving husband, father and grandfather who picked up his grandchildren every day to make sure they arrived at school safely. He was always giving loving care to his beautiful wife. He was always there smiling and happy.

We feel that these three outstanding individuals will be special angels in God's kingdom in heaven. To Kay and Mary your losses of your wonderful husbands and to the Bagley family on the loss of their wonderful sister and aunt, I give you my sincere sympathy and my heart goes out to the families.

There are still tickets available for our Saturday November 15 bus trip to Bally's Casino in Atlantic City. We leave at 5:30 p.m. and return at 7 a.m. with eight hours to enjoy, The cost is $40 with $30 returned. We give the most money back and the most fun time on the peninsula. Bagels and cream cheese are provided by Beach Bagels and soda by Waldbaum's. Come and join us and have a great time. Call 718-945-1216 for reservations.

Get involved in your community and local Democratic club. Dues in the Good Government Regular Democratic Club are $25 for a family and $18 for singles.

Send your check to 112-20 Beach Channel Drive, Rockaway Park, NY 11694.

If you are not registered to vote, or your name was missing in the book, make an appointment at our office now so you will be eligible to vote in the city wide election in 2009 and the special City Council election this winter.

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