2009-08-21 / Columnists

Simon says...

Lew M. Simon Lew M. Simon The Good Government Regular Democratic Club is proud to announce the second in a series of Town Hall meetings to meet, greet and question candidates for citywide office. On Thursday August 27, we will meet the candidates for NYC Comptroller. The candidates are City Council Member Melinda Katz, Chair of the Land Use Committee, John Liu, Chair of the Transportation Committee, David Weprin, Chair of the Finance Committee, and David Yassky, Chair of the Small Business Committee.

The Comptroller is the Chief Financial Officer of the city and audits and examines all matters relating to the City's finances, registers proposed contracts, verifies budget authorizations and issues and sells City obligations. The current City Comptroller, William Thompson, is now a Democratic candidate for Mayor. The four candidates for Comptroller are giving up their Council jobs to run for this powerful financial position.

The meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. sharp at our headquarters, 112-20 Beach Channel Drive opposite Waldbaum's parking lot.

We welcome your membership in the only Democratic club on the peninsula that welcomes all the Democratic candidates. Yearly membership is $25. Bring your check to the meeting or mail it to the club. Make checks payable to the Good Government Regular Democratic Club. You do not have to be a member to attend these meetings. During the month of October we expect to have William Thompson, candidate for Mayor and the Democratic candidates for Public Advocate, Comptroller and Borough President as guests.

Who said that you can't take on major corporations and win? As you may remember in my last column, I had written about the unfairness of not being able to record programs on more than one channel through Time Warner Cable (twc).

After getting annoyed and threatening a class action lawsuit, they tried to force us to rent a DVR at $12.50 a month plus tax. The Scientific Atlanta 3250 had done the job for me. I reached out to Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, Chair of the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee. She put me in touch with Harriet Novit, Vice President of Public Affairs at TWC.

Novit was pleasant to deal with. She asked for some time to work with the Vice President of Engineering to get this matter settled. We went back and forth for three weeks while I kept threatening a class action lawsuit.

Last week she put me in touch with Joe, a top technician from Engineering. They installed new software and upgraded the box. You can now program your VCR. Your cable box and VCR work together as a team to tape the shows. You can tape up to eight or 10 shows on different channels each day. Joe was absolutely cool, calm and collected.

This is a big win for all TWC customers. We won't be forced to rent a DVR. A million thanks to Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer for putting me in touch with the right person at TWC. A million thanks to Harriet Novit who was extremely professional and did not ignore the problem of one consumer. Joe deserves a major pay raise for his patience, kindness and technical expertise. Thanks to all the people who took the time to give me their names for the class action lawsuit. It is quite obvious we have a great following with the readers of The Wave and Rockaway Point News.

After reading last Friday's WAVE about the future plans for the Beach 116 Street property used by the Beach Club catering hall, I wanted to puke. We have had enough of housing being built in the Rockaways. It is time to improve our transportation by reopening the Rockaway Beach line of the LIRR, get more runs on the local ferry, and extend bus service to Manhattan from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. seven days a week.

I followed up this story by researching the developer and his plans. Orin Evenhar told us he is in contract to buy the Beach Club pending approval of Community Board 14 to obtain a subsidy from the Housing Development Corporation. This agency, whose members are appointed by the Mayor and Governor, encourages investment in housing for families and individuals whose needs cannot be met by unassisted private enterprise.

The plans call for one hundred apartments for 1 or 2 people renting for $1263 or higher. Incomes must be between $46,731 and $53,400. For two bedroom apartments the monthly rent would be $1519 to $1603. Income must be between $56,203 and $92,160. Three bedroom apartments would rent for $1852 to $2100. Incomes must be between $68,524 and $106,920.

To make this project possible the developer needs to get tax abatements after approval by Community Board 14. This being a mayoral election year, we must send a message to Mayor Mike that our position is "Hell No. No more housing." We remember how the Community Board voted approval of the Oceanview plan for 10,000 units of housing in Arverne in 1987. They included 14 points that they wanted included to meet the minimum requirements of our community. Once their approval was given the conditions attached were forgotten and only the approval was reported to the Borough President, City Planning Commission and City Council. Fortunately financial problems forced the developer to abandon the project.

We hope to work with community leaders to form a united team to review this 116 Street proposal.

Let me set the record straight on aircraft noise. I live in Rockaway Park under the flight path from JFK. Planes sometimes shake the dishes in my home. In the 1970's I worked with Bryan Levinson of Howard Beach to protest the SST which was coming to JFK. We attended public hearings on flight patterns. Since 1981 we have supported requiring all flights to take off over Jamaica Bay and stay over the water until they are past the end of the peninsula at Breezy Point. When the flights of the SST were finally ended in 2003 or 2004 we lifted our glass of champagne (although I don't drink) and said God bless America. We will continue to fight aircraft noise pollution. Call me at 945-1216 if you can help.

Our next Atlantic City trip to Bally's will be on Saturday September 12. We leave at 5:30 p.m. and return at 7:30 p.m. The cost is $45 with $30 returned. Call now for reservations.

We are deeply saddened by the death of Patrick Hickey, a wonderful stand up guy who loved all and shared his love for the Rockaway community. He was one of the nicest people you could meet. Patrick was a wonderful husband, father and grandfather. We know God has a special place in heaven for Patrick as a great angel. My deepest sympathy to the family.

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