2010-01-08 / Columnists

Simon says...

Commentary From the Desk of Lew M. Simon, Democratic Dis trict Leader, 23rd A.D. Part B

We’d like to wish everyone a happy and peaceful New Year. May this New Year bring everyone good health, wealth and happiness and only good things for our community.

It is now time to start working on a number of issues facing our community in 2010. Let’s start with the MTA doomsday plan.

This plan must have been made by a bunch of retards. What are they thinking in this day and age to attempt to take bus passes away from school kids? They will have to pay half fare this year and full fare in 2011. How much will this add to the dropout rate?

The second part of this proposed budget will take Access-A-Ride away from handicapped and disabled persons who need rides to work, medical appointments, community meetings and shopping. They will be taken to a subway station which is handicapped accessible. In Rockaway only the Rockaway Park station at Beach 116 Street is accessible.

How will people in wheelchairs, scooters, walkers or two canes get off at all the stations in Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan, which have long flights of stairs up or down? Access-ARide has allowed many handicapped to hold jobs, keep appointments and be part of the community.

The third group of outraged citizens is the residents of Rockaway, Broad Channel and Breezy Point. For the second time in a year, the MTA is planning to restore the toll on the Crossbay Bridge for local residents. As many of you are aware, during the late 80s and early 90s I was chair of the Rockaway, Broad Channel Bridge Toll Commit - tee. Our goal was to eliminate the bridge toll for Rockaway, Broad Chan - nel and Breezy Point residents. With the assistance of Lew Kargman, Nor - man Silverman, Sol Meyers and Abe Mintz, along with hundreds of others, hundreds of us marched over the bridge a number of times.

Thank God for Dorothy and Mickey Cincotta. Dorothy proudly marched with us and put her check book up front if I needed bail. God bless Florence Krakauer, God rest her. She was a lovely lady, close to 80 and very sick with cancer, but feisty enough to fight the bridge toll. Many in our group called her the Firecracker. Sara Ber - ger, president of the Good Govern ment Regular Democratic Club, who was over 65, marched with us.

Broad Channel is part of our community. They are part of the 11693 zip code and share our post office, fire house, police precinct and schools. Broad Channel residents would be taxed for attending community meetings, picking up a child at school or shopping at a supermarket. How ridiculous.

Local businessman Dan Tubridy fought the toll with a motorcade and by paying the toll with pennies. We recall that he received a ticket for making a U-turn while picking up his kids at the bridge. His kids, now adults, spoke out loudly and proudly against the toll. Borough President Helen Marshall held a press conference at the toll plaza with State Senator Malcolm Smith and Assemb - ly women Audrey Pheffer and Michelle Titus and Joseph Addabbo, who was then a City Councilmember. Smith and Pheffer worked diligently on the budget in Albany to make sure to find much needed funding to stop reenactment of tolls. State Senator Smith has vowed to bring a lawsuit if necessary.

We are calling upon all community residents, leaders and activists of all parties and religious beliefs, races and sexual orientations to call me at 718- 945-1216 immediately so that we can brainstorm and plan a community meeting, rallies and attend public hearings as needed.

We will be calling on my fellow public officials to get involved. We need a team effort to win. United we stand. Divided we fall.

As a proud graduate of the second graduating class at Beach Channel High School, we remember when they had marine biology, oceanography, auto mechanics, a TV studio and was one of the most celebrated schools in the city. It was a zoned school and only those admitted to the oceanography program could come from outside the area. With the closing of Far Rock a - way High School, BCHS became a dumping ground for students who were not admitted to other schools. They had to accept these students al - though they were not given proper resources or assistance.

The school, however, did receive a rating as proficient until this year when they were mysteriously given a D. We are suggesting that BCHS once again become a state of the art community school. Bring back the oceanography and auto mechanics. Make this a school where parents will be proud to send their children.

Where will Rockaway, Broad Chan - nel and Breezy Point children go if there are no transit and bus passes?

As the school is phased out, the teachers will be phased out as well. They may be put in an absent teacher reserve and after a year lose their jobs entirely. There is nothing wrong with these teachers.

Some have over 20 years of satisfactory teaching. It is extremely unfair to these qualified educators who will get the shaft.

We are urging every graduate, parent, teacher and retired teacher at the school to speak up loudly and demand a public hearing at BCHS as well as a community rally.

I think it would be best to do one outside the school and one at the Tweed Building with the other schools that are on the chopping block. We are looking forward to hearing from the PTA Board and Student Council to help organize. Shame on the Chancellor for refusing to meet with Chris Petrillo, a BCHS senior, who was invited to meet with him at the Tweed building.

The Chancellor forgets that he is paid with our tax money, not out of Mayor Bloomberg’s pocket.

We urge Chancellor Klein to come to our community and meet with Chris Petrillo and all of us.

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