2008-11-21 / Letters

The Simon Senior Shakedown

This letter was sent to the Queens County Board of Elections.

Dear Editor,

My wife and I are poll workers for the Board of Elections in the Borough of Queens. As there were numerous changed put in place for this presidential election, my wife and I received cards to attend work classes. Shortly after, I received a notice to work by my wife did not. My notice was sent erroneously as there was no primary in our district. My wife called the Board of Elections and was told to call the District Leader, Lew Simon.

I called Mr. Simon and in our conversation he asked me if we had ever carried a petition for him. I responded, no, and I did not know that I was required to carry petitions for him. I explained that my wife was 72-yearsold and I was 73-years-old. In the last 10 years, either my wife and/or I have had a major surgery every year and we were not up to doing that. I delineated all the volunteer work I have done during the past 30 plus years. I told him I had been a Financial Secretary, the Second Vice President, First Vice President, President and finally the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Marine Park Civic Association. I also did volunteer work for Councilman Leon Katz and attended many of his fund raisers in addition to numerous other work. I volunteered to stand at the Canarsie subway station at 6 a.m. handing out buttons and pamphlets for Borough President Howard Golden's re-election. I was appointed to the Board of Directors of Planning Board 18 for 12 years. I was on the Board of Directors of the Greater Sheepshead Bay Development Corporation for numerous years. I also did volunteer work for then Congressman Charles Schumer. I was on the Board of Directors of the Flatlands Ambulance Corps.; belonged to, and did volunteer work for the Thomas Jefferson Democratic Club of Canarsie under Meade Esposito. I have been president of the Viceroy Condominium Association for more than 18 years in Freeport, Grand Bahama, and lastly, I have been the block captain for the last 10 years of the Rockaway Point Association in Breezy Point, NY.

I finally explained to Mr. Simon that my wife and I were not physically up to doing further volunteer work. I had resigned from all of those positions due to medical reasons. The only civic duty my wife and I are able to perform is working for the Board of Elections. His response to me was that I did not do any volunteer work for him. I re-iterated that physically I was unable. His response was that he has a 106-year-old woman who sits in front of Waldbaum's and collects petitions for him. I asked him if that meant we would not be able to work this presidential election because we did not carry petitions for him and his answer was, "yes." He then said, "That's the way it is now and that's the way it should always have been." I could not believe my ears. During my years of volunteer work, I saw corruption of every sort - pressure to vote on certain projects, judgeships handed out to big financial donators, etc. I was never a party to that. I voted for what in my opinion was best for the people. I was threatened on more than one occasion to change my vote or I would not get a no show, paid job on the school board. In my opinion, this beats them all. I always thought that the Board of Elections was run by the Board of Elections and not some small corrupt politician.

We recently changed political parties so we could work this important election. We are very dedicated to making sure that every voter gets to cast their ballot. We work all aspects at the polling site to make sure that the election process runs smoothly for the voters.

We normally spend our winter vacations in the Bahamas. We leave the last week in October but because of this important election, and assuming that we would be working the election after we had attended class, I ordered our tickets for the Bahamas

two months ago. Had we known that Mr. Simon was going to

influence our working the election, we would have left as usual and used an absentee ballot. This means we will lose three weeks of our winter vacation.

The other disturbing factor is that both presidential candidates are urging the American people to be more involved in civic duty. Somebody should inform Mr. Simon that this is what we are trying to do. This will be the last time my wife and I work the elections and I feel thoroughly disgusted with our whole political process. I only hope that by bringing this to someone's attention, this type of political corruption will end.


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