2009-09-04 / 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 is time for the Democratic primary election on Tuesday, September 15 from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. You may vote at your usual voting places. This is the slate of candidates we are supporting.

We support Mark Green for Public Advocate. He had eight great years of experience in that job, after serving as Commissioner of Consumer Affairs. He built an office that provided a voice for communities around the city. Mark brought his staff to the peninsula and worked to assist residents with a variety of problems. Mark and his staff exposed and helped to break up the mob that controlled the private garbage industry. He sponsored a law to protect victims of domestic violence from losing their jobs. After Mark spoke against the Joe Camel ads that led youngsters to start smoking, the FTC banned the ads.

After the death of a young woman caused in part by mistakes made by exhausted hospital residents, Mark got hospitals to reduce the working hours of young doctors. Green's office exposed crooked home contractors and poor enforcement of laws to protect homeowners from fraud. Mark proposed the 311 system to assist local residents to resolve problems with city services and get official information. The plan was adopted by Mayor Bloomberg who has given Mark credit for the idea. We need Mark Green and his ideas working for us for the next four years.

We support John Liu for NYC Comptroller. John is one of the brightest new faces on the city scene. He has served as City Council member from Flushing and as Chair of the Council Transportation Committee. He brought the Transportation committee for a public hearing in Broad Channel which resulted in an affordable ferry serving Rockaway. He told us that he will try to hold a hearing this year on the transit improvements we need in Rockaway, Broad Channel and Breezy Point. John has the professional experience for the job as Comptroller. He worked as an actuary for Price Waterhouse before entering the City Council. Liu has received the endorsement of the Uniformed Firefighters Association after he fought the mayor's plan to shut firehouses. He received the endorsement of Local 1199 after he supported giving a living wage to homecare workers. He favors improved subway service for areas with poor access to mass transit. John has promised to conduct an audit of every city agency within six months of taking office and make city contracts available to the public online.

We are urging everyone to vote for our friend William C. Thompson who is running for mayor. As President of the Board of Education, he worked with parents, teachers and students to improve education in NYC. As city Comptroller he ran an effective office paying the city's bills, protecting the city's credit rating and safeguarding the pensions of retired and active city employees. An opponent of the mayor's arrogance in using his money to change the election laws to overturn term limits, Thompson is giving up his job as Comptroller and will give voters a chance to enforce term limits on the mayor by electing William Thompson as mayor. Thompson has come to speak at our club regularly and we expect him to visit us during the general election campaign.

Our current Borough President, Helen Marshall, has been a complete zero. She promised us a CUNY college, but we lost the few college courses available on the peninsula. The Borough President told the Good Government Club a few years ago that she had formed a task force for the improvement of Rockaway. We still have not been able to find out who, what, where or when. We believe that this committee does not exist.

I have been very impressed with Marc Leavitt who is opposing Marshall in the Democratic primary. He probably stands no chance, but we in Rockaway, Broad Channel and Breezy Point can cast an opposition vote. We hope whoever becomes Borough Presi- dent remembers our community deserves better transportation, a real college, timely repairs for our boardwalk and economic development for all parts of our community.

Last Thursday evening the Good Government Regular Democratic Club held a candidate's night for NYC Comptroller candidates. Councilmember David Weprin, son of former Assembly Speaker Saul Weprin, told of his background as Deputy Superintendent of Banking where he required banks to clear checks faster and increase local community investment. Weprin, Chair of the Council Finance Committee, promised to work with NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapoli to audit the MTA and to open offices in each borough to be closer to the people. He promised to look into the possible improper use of city funds by a local elected official who receives money through member items requested by local elected officials.

Councilmember John Liu told the club about his work as Transportation Chair of the Queens Civic Congress, where he tried to settle a dispute about reopening the Rockaway Beach line of the LIRR. After immigrating from Taiwan with his family at the age of 5, he went to NYC public schools, University of Binghamton and became a pension actuary. He promised to invest city money in plain vanilla investments, not the fancy stuff that gets us into trouble. As Comptroller, he would now have the power to audit educational claims made by the Department of Education.

Special thanks to 9-year-old Princess Randolph who hand delivered her original handmade birthday card for my 50th birthday. The card showed a spitting image of me with my famous bullhorn and an "I love Rockaway" slogan.

We are deeply saddened by the death of an outstanding U.S. Senator, Edward M. Kennedy, who served in the Senate for 47 years. He fought diligently for all. The last of the great liberal lions in the Senate, I ran as a delegate when Kennedy ran for the presidency in 1980. Ordinary Americans have lost a great advocate.

Last Wednesday evening we met with local civic leaders to discuss a ridiculous proposal to build affordable housing on the old Beach Club site. Orin Everhar, who is in control of the property, called 45 minutes before the meeting to cancel because he felt The Wave had lied about him. He said my column was accurate and he would reschedule the meeting at a later date. We reiterated that we wanted no more housing. We would like to thank the administrators of Ocean Promenade Nursing Home for having the meeting and providing beautiful refreshments for all. Special thanks to computer whiz Scott Ruscillo for helping me get my brand new monitor working. We urge everyone who needs computer repairs done or resolving problems to call Scott at 646-322-2379. Our next trip to Bally's in Atlantic City will be on Saturday, September 12. The cost is $45 with $30 returned. Call 945-1216 for reservations. LIPA is offering energy assistance of $200 for seniors who qualify. Call 1-800-490-0025 for details.

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