2009-01-02 / Letters

Simon Throws Hat In Ring

Dear Editor,

I am officially throwing my hat in the ring to be the councilman in the 32nd Council District. After serving the public for over thirty years as a community leader and activist, including the last fourteen years as Democratic District Leader, it is now time to get the official title after all the long hours and hard work put in for the people of the district.

I led the successful fight to eliminate the Cross Bay Bridge toll for the residents of Rockaway, Broad Channel and Breezy Point. Now we are once again leading the same fight to make sure that all Queens residents get the rebate.

We successfully took on slumlords and helped close illegal SROs. We worked closely with the Department of Buildings, community residents, neighbors and friends in these efforts. We took part in a lawsuit to close a slum building used as an illegal single room substandard hotel for families.

I have always been on the front lines with district parents and the UFT to fight budget cuts and solve safety issues for students and teachers. I have worked closely with the Office of Pupil Transportation to get needed school bus stops and get service for children who were denied school bus service. I worked to make sure that school bus stops were reinstituted after the fiasco by the Department of Education.

I took on the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and fought diligently to keep St. Stanislaus, now known as Divine Mercy Academy, open. I also worked with the parents to save St. Virgilius, but the school was closed after one year.

We worked on a daily basis with parent committees and children of the school raising funds by shaking cans, doing fundraisers, soliciting for new students and never taking "no" for an answer. I have spent many hours working in various parishes and synagogues selling 50-50s, raffles and journal ads at their card parties and fundraisers.

I worked with the community to get the Department of Transportation to install traffic signals in Rockaway, Roxbury, Ozone Park and Woodhaven. I have worked to obtain numerous stop signs, replacement of street lights and worked with DOT to fill potholes and DEP to install catch basins in flooded areas.

We are continuing to fight for reactivating the unused Rockaway Beach Line of the LIRR and to institute a Super A train. We worked closely in the successful fight to obtain an affordable ferry and will continue to fight for additional funds and services for our communities.

We have assisted seniors and disabled individuals in filling out paper work to get handicapped parking placards from the DOT. We fought long and hard to obtain handicapped access to post offices in 11693 and 11694 and will work to see that all post offices are accessible.

We fought diligently to help seniors convince the Department for the Aging and the landlord to repair and reopen the Seaside Senior Center on Beach 90 Street as well as fighting red tape to make sure that the Rockaway Park JASA would be able to move into their new location at 106-20 Shorefront Parkway. I have actively assisted seniors with applications for SCRIE and SCHRIE and make house calls when needed.

We worked closely with the Rockaway Music and Arts Council to raise money to present their concert series each summer. We have worked with DEP to solve errors in water bills and with the Department of Finance to correct STAR tax abatements for local residents.

In 1998 we were there to assist the residents and staff who were scattered by the sudden closing of the Neponsit Home. I was the leader and catalyst for helping the Neponsit day care program open in a new location on Beach 102 Street.

In 2001 I came second in a four way primary campaign for City Council. My experience speaks for itself. I have worked for former State Senator Al Waldon and now work for State Senate Democratic Leader Malcolm Smith as a community liaison.

I am a graduate of Beach Channel High School. While studying education at Brooklyn College one of my professors, who ran a private school, hired me as a teacher. This position, and many other private school positions, did not require a bachelor's degree or city or state certification.

I have experience working with city, state and federal agencies and the Democratic leadership on a regular basis. As a fiscal conservative, I have experience in serving the community using limited funds. This experience should be valuable in the current financial crunch.

I have helped thousands of people to find jobs through my contacts in business, unions and government. I have made it my business to help and assist residents with housing, employment and medical needs. When my phone rings, I answer, "How may I help you?" I don't look at district or party lines.

As your next City Councilman, we will be able to be more effective in bringing back much needed programs and funding for our district. Put us to the test now. Call us at 718-945-1216 with your problems and concerns. Let us know if you would like to volunteer to circulate nominating petitions, work in the office or host a house party.

We are fully committed to having two fully staffed, accessible offices in Rockaway and serving Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Richmond Hill and South Ozone Park.


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