2009-07-24 / Columnists

Simon says...

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

Lew M. Simon Lew M. Simon It's been quite an interesting week with lots of very important things happening. First in priority to us in Rockaway is that the walkway in front of the seawall at Beach 132 Street and Beach 141 Street at Beach Channel Drive has been replaced. There are plans to do a major reconstruction of the seawall in 2010. Thank you to Queens Department of Transportation Commissioner Maura McCarthy for keeping her word.

Although we do not represent the Beach 84 Street area, Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer should have had me in the picture of the new traffic light at Beach 84 Street and Shorefront Parkway.

After years of involvement, leading a rally and calling back and forth with Commissioner Maura McCarthy to reopen and restudy the placement of a traffic light at that corner, the light is there. Those who played a big part should get credit. Shame, shame on Audrey Pheffer and Community Board Manager Jonathan Gaska for not sharing the credit.

The recent nomination of Jay Walder as the new Executive Director of the MTA is a very hopeful sign for our community, although he has not yet been confirmed by the State Senate. Walder is a former Rockaway resident and the son of Bernie Walder, former editor of The Wave. Bernie was an outstanding individual who cared deeply about the Rockaways. Jay and I attended school together as well as Boy Scouts of America Troop 409, which met in the Edgemere Houses.

With his knowledge of Rockaway, he must be aware of the lack of transportation off the peninsula, the lousy ride on the A train and the constant track work on weekends, which causes the use of busses to replace our subway. We are very confident that when we get his ear we can look forward to the reactivation of the Rockaway Beach Line of the LIRR.

After a month-long battle for control of the State Senate by the Democrats and Republicans, the Democrats are back in control with a 32-30 margin.

We are proud to see the New York State Democratic Conference has stood up to the pressure to pass Mayor Bloomberg's control of New York City public schools without any changes. We feel that the mayor wants to control the schools with an iron fist and it is his way or the highway. The Democratic Conference feels there are many changes necessary in school governance such as giving parents a place where their concerns will be heard and taken care of.

We want to congratulate Senator Shirley Huntley, who represents Broad Channel and other parts of southern Queens, for standing up for the rights of parents, and not being afraid to take a stand.

Our governor took the unprecedented step of appointing a lieutenant governor, although he does not have this explicit power under the state constitution. We believe that Richard Ravitch, who formerly ran the MTA, was incompetent. He is the man responsible for the payroll tax that now supports the MTA. He supported tolls on the East River bridges. So much for a friend to our city. We wish the governor had found someone else to serve as lieutenant governor.

This past Wednesday we had the honor of being invited to speak at the Rockaway Rotary Club, where we gave an update about what is happening in Rockaway, Broad Channel and Breezy Point. After we spoke, we responded to questions. I would like to personally thank Chris Connolly, the owner of Deidre Maeve's Market as well as the Town Hall Catering in Breezy Point, for inviting me. Rotary is a group of very intelligent, hardworking local business people and doctors in our community. Congratulations to Lucas Hanson, son of William and Nancy Hanson, who will represent Rotary as an exchange student in Germany.

Our next Atlantic City trip to Bally's will be on Saturday, August 15. We leave at 5:30 p.m. and return at 7:30 a.m. The cost is $45 with $25 returned. Bagels are courtesy of Beach Bagels. Call 945-1216 now for paid reservations. Tickets are almost gone.

Seniors and disabled persons who live on their Social Security may not realize that there will not be any increase in their checks in January 2010. Social Security ruled that the cost of living has not gone up this year. If you have found that prices for the things you use have gone up, we urge you to call our members of Congress, Rep. Anthony Weiner at 718- 520-9010 or Rep. Gregory Meeks at 718-327- 9791, the AARP, or the NY office of the Social Security administration at 212- 264-2500. Urge them to work and lobby for COLA raises for 2010. It is quite apparent that many seniors cannot survive on their Social Security checks and have to choose among paying rent, prescription medicine, food and personal needs.

Many of the shareholders at Dayton Beach Park are outraged by the condition of the parking lot and children's park at 8100 and 8200 Shorefront Parkway. We visited on Monday and saw holes as bad as we had in Waldbaum's parking lot. We hope that the board and HPD get repairs going immediately.

Get involved in our community. Join the Good Government Regular Democratic Club. Join in helping our community and helping to elect the best candidates. Send your dues of $25 to the club at 112-20 Beach Channel Drive.

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