2009-04-17 / 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 We're hoping everybody had a great holiday season whether you celebrated Easter or Passover.

Once again Rockaway is on the map for more disastrous proposals. The proposed Liquid Natural Gas site which is 15 miles off our coast is a major disaster in the making. Potential terrorism or a leak can blow Rockaway off the map.

It is quite apparent that for the first time in a long time the residents of Rockaway seem united to say no. We need a strong message to Governor David Paterson to veto this proposal.

There is no need for additional gas. This is the gas for heating or cooking not for cars. We urge you to come out to the public hearing on Sunday and voice your opposition. We give thanks to Congressman Anthony Weiner and say "God bless you" for setting up this meeting.

Join the only Democratic club on the peninsula that works for it's constituents. Get involved. Become a member. The dues are $25 for a family, $18 single and $12 for seniors and Young Democrats. Send your check to the Good Government Regular Democratic Club, 112-16 Beach Channel Drive, opposite Waldbaum's.

It has been wonderful that so many people come up to me and tell me that they voted for me in the special election. They urge me to run again in the September primary. All those who feel they would like to see me run should call and let me know if they will make a contribution, raise money or volunteer their time. Without that you can't run. Please make that call and let our phones start ringing.

Our next Atlantic City trip will be on Saturday, April 18. We now go to the Taj Mahal. The cost is $40 with a coupon for $30 returned. The coupon must be used at the tables. That is the new way casinos in Atlantic City give back their bonuses. We leave at 5:30 p.m. and return at 7:30 a.m. Bagels and cream cheese are courtesy of Beach Bagels. Call 718-945-1216 now for paid reservations.

All money raised helps us to keep our office going. We do not receive subsidies, member items, etc. Each month we are responsible for paying our rent, electricity, phone bills and office insurance. It is quite expensive to keep our office open. Come May 1 we are due for a very large rent increase. We run a tight budget and stick with it. We have a yearly fundraiser and our membership dues.

Come and get involved in your community. Show us that you care. The Good Government Regular Democratic Club under the leadership of President Sara S. Berger and me will continue in our 22nd year.

On Saturday, April 4, we attended a fundraiser for a new organization called the Rockaway Jetty. This is an organization of local Rockaway residents who share in our desire to provide assistance to those in need. This group includes men and women who are local business owners, stay-at-home parents, union tradesmen, retirees, war veterans, city employees, local politicians, etc.

Some assistance may include a skilled tradesman assisting in the repair of a damaged home or a teacher tutoring a student. Other times they will hold a fundraiser to raise money to pay costly medical expenses.

This organization will provide help to children in need of school supplies, books, clothing, vacation day camps, day trips and toys. The group holds meetings every eight weeks to discuss details of their work, vote on important issues and introduce prospective members.

If you are interested in speaking to a current member of the Rockaway Jetty you can call 718-474-2534, send an e-mail to info@therockaway jetty.org and see their website www.therockawayjetty.org.

I helped sell the raffles and raised a lot of money and had a great time. All the money collected goes to help Rockaway, Broad Channel and Breezy children. If you know of a child in need, contact the Rockaway Jetty.

We attended a meeting the other night on day care centers. It is absolutely ridiculous to cut any funding for day care centers. Parents have to work and most parents in our community do not get home until 6 or 7 p.m. The proposal to eliminate the Universal Pre-K program from day care centers is absolutely absurd. As one young mother said, "I don't want to go on welfare, but my children need a place to stay."

Most of the day care centers are licensed to care for more than 100 children. If their registration falls to 70 the license can be lifted and the program closed. All day care teachers and directors are certified like public school teachers. There is a need to put stimulus money into day care programs as closing centers will increase unemployment. There should be zero cuts to day care centers.

Stimulus money for New York City should be used for building new schools and repairing others, repairing our roads and bridges and for improving our disastrous transportation system. It should be used for reopening our Rockaway Beach line of the LIRR and to continue subsidies for the Rockaway ferry. It can help pay for express buses to Manhattan from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. seven days a week.

Our Y should have an enclosed gym and a full size Olympic pool with at least seven lanes for training and competition. Rockaway, Broad Channel and Breezy deserve the best and it is time to get our fair share. Doing anything less is giving us a band-aid. Our boardwalk needs to be repaired from one end to the other. Stimulus money should really put us on the map.

Please do not hesitate to call. We are always here to help you.

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