2009-08-07 / Columnists

Simon says...

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

On Wednesday, July 22 I received my monthly cable bill from Time Warner Cable. The envelope contained a brochure for a number of coming changes. There was a new navigator and everyone can get start over.

On Thursday morning at 10 a.m my TV went off and I looked at the cable box, which was rebooting. It took several hours for the TV to come back on. Time Warner told me to press the power button to get the TV on.

I usually tape two programs on two different channels each day. I found it strange that my VCR went on, but the Time Warner box did not go on to recording. After the first hour the videotape was blank. When I called Time Warner, they told me I could no longer tape two different channels at different times the same day. The equipment did not have the capacity to change channels. TW told me I would have to rent a DVR box at $12.50 a month plus tax. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up. I questioned why there was no written notification or public hearing. We had plenty of notice and hearings when the broadcast signal was changed from analog to digital. We stayed on top of this on behalf of all TW customers including seniors, disabled and other persons on a fixed income who are already paying $72 to $82 a month. They would have to pay $12.50 to see the programs they are used to. The TW regulatory department blew us off. We reached out to our Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, who is chair of the Consumer Affairs committee of the NYS Assembly. She gave me the phone number of Harriet Novit, who is a vice president of TW. I explained the problem fully and asked them to reprogram the boxes so that the recording feature can be set for different channels. I am awaiting a return call. We have made it clear that we are willing to go into a class action lawsuit to get this service back for all those who like to use it. Unfortunately, we do not have a choice of cable companies as Verizon is not yet in our community. Satellite and Dish go out when there is a little storm.

Local attorney Ira Seplow, who has been of great assistance to us in cleaning out many of the undesirable SROs, has agreed to help us with the preliminaries for the suit. Call my office if you want to be a plaintiff.

Last week we attended the public hearing on ferry service for the City of New York. We couldn't make the Queens meeting, but made the meeting at Kingsborough Community College hosted by Councilman Mike Nelson. We spoke on the record in support of continuing our Rockaway ferry and adding more runs during the day, evenings and weekends. We also proposed a ferry landing at Beach 108 Street with a large parking lot to be constructed after the Manufactured Gas Plant site is cleaned up. We also favor a ferry from JFK with stops in the Bayswater Far Rockaway community and Beach 108 Street. It is vital that the subsidy for the ferry be continued. A Kingsborough administrator proposed that the ferry include a stop at the community college. Many Rockaway residents are students there and without a car have a long trip. We have no community college in Rockaway and more students would be able to attend if the trip was more convenient.

I publicly questioned the Kingsborough administrator if they had a problem with graffiti vandalism and gangs. This issue had been raised by Prof. Geraldine Chapey during the special election for City Council. The administrator, who was there for 32 years, said that he thought it was the craziest thing he ever heard. Dr. Chapey would improve her credibility by telling the truth about Kingsborough and paying her campaign workers. We attended the annual fundraiser at Tribute Park on Beach 116 Street. Thank God the weather was beautiful. We give thanks to Nadia Murphy, who hid her blessed rosary beads in the bushes and prayed for good weather. Nadia works tirelessly to make Tribute Park look as good as it does. The park is one of the most beautiful spots where I enjoyed the Fourth of July fireworks. We are deeply saddened by the death of an outstanding tireless worker, Frances De Rosa, who has worked diligently for many years on the Board of the Rockaway Point Association, as well as with the Golden Age Club and Blessed Trinity Church. She was always there and ready to assist. Her beautiful smile lit up the room. She was a class act with a heart of gold. She is definitely an angel in God's heaven. At her wake we saw a beautiful stuffed grey kitten who will take the journey with her to heaven.

We are saddened by the death of Dr. Howard Cooper, a well known and outstanding member of our community. His loss was our loss. His knowledge, skills and love for the Rockaway community will be lost to us. Definitely he will be a special angel assisting God with all miracles. My deepest sympathy to both families.

A personal note to Dr. Stephanie Cooper, his lovely daughter, that we are aware of how extremely difficult it is to lose a parent. Sometimes we would like to say something to them, but they are not there. Stay strong and continue all the good work you do following in his footsteps as a wonderful surgeon. August 11 will be a milestone in my life, my 50th birthday. We are accepting cards and gifts. August 13 is our great Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer's 21st birthday. We wish her a healthy, happy birthday and many more. Our next Atlantic City trip will be on Saturday, August 15 to Bally's. The cost is $45 with $30 returned. We leave at 5:30 p.m. and return at 7:30 a.m. Bagels are by Beach Bagels. For paid reservations call 945-1216. Get involved with the only working Democratic club on the peninsula. Send your dues, $25, to the Good Government Regular Democratic Club at 112- 20 Beach Channel Drive.

Please remember to stop by and say hello and have a great meal with Maria at the Breezy Dog on State Road in front of Fort Tilden. She has 27 great flavors of milkshakes. Her food is fresh and her truck is kept neat and clean. Tell Maria Lew sent you.

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