2010-04-02 / Columnists

Simon says...

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

During the last few months we have worked morning, noon and night on the major transportation issues facing our community. The number one priority was keeping the toll rebate program for Rockaway, Broad Channel and Breezy residents. After back and forth conversations with Executive Director Jay Walder, public hearings and rallies we received a call on Friday, March 19 at 5:53 p.m. Jay Walder reached out to tell me he would be continuing the rebate program with one major change. One must pay for one complete round trip at our discount rate of $1.13 each way each day before being allowed to cross the bridge without charge for the rest of the day. As I said to Jay, I am outraged that he would even suggest this in view of the fact that he was born and raised in the Rockaways. I told him that this was absolutely unacceptable. I reminded him that I would be working with State Senator Malcolm Smith to bring a lawsuit if necessary. He stated that the budget being what it is, with no additional money coming in from Albany, he had to do this. We need everyone to call their state elected officials to get money for the MTA in the new state budget. Our state legislators are Senator Malcolm Smith, Rockaway peninsula, 718-528-4290 and Senator Shirley Huntley, Broad Channel, 718- 523-3069. Our Assembly members are Audrey Pheffer 718-945-9550 and Michelle Titus 718-327-1845.

On Friday evening, March 19, we led a rally to save Rockaway’s ferry. We worked diligently in the preparation and planning for this major event. We were very glad to receive phone verification that the ferry would continue to the end of June. It is very important that everyone picks up the phone and calls the Mayor’s office, 212-788-3000, Council Speaker Christine Quinn, 212- 788-7210 and Council member Eric Ulrich 718-318-6411.

Once in a lifetime, the city throws us a bone with a ferry. We need a ferry which stops in downtown and midtown Manhattan and has a late morning trip for those going to the theatre and shopping as well as a trip after an evening show and weekend service. It goes to show you that working together as a team you can succeed. We have to be the squeaky wheel to get the grease. If you don’t keep pressure on key elected officials, they just continue to dump instead of performing. I believe in the old fashioned way; going out and making noise and having a rally and letting your voice be heard.

We want to thank the hundreds of people who showed up at Riis Landing in support of keeping the ferry. Thank you to City Councilman Eric Ulrich for thanking me for my major role in saving the ferry. Teamwork counts. We must stay vigilant and be prepared to fight on. We are very proud and honored to cut the ribbon at the opening of the Rock Jetty Wine and Spirits, 97-10 Rockaway Beach Boulevard. They are community residents who support the community. We urge you to visit their beautiful store and shop locally.

We would like to give a special thank you to Citisleep which has been gracious a number of times in helping needy individuals by donating top of the line new box springs and mattresses. They helped a gentleman who was moving from a shelter to a new apartment with his wife and baby. The second time they helped a soldier who returned from Afghanistan to set up his first apartment with a bed, living room and kitchen furnishings. Joe and his partner Abdul are Rockaway residents who love and care for mankind. When we’ve called them for assistance for anyone in need, they have graciously done the right thing. They have quite a showroom with name brand furniture and mattresses at 84-08 Queens Boulevard, Elmhurst. Their phone is 877-Citisleep.

We are deeply sorrowed by the death of an outstanding person – Al Kuhn, husband of one of the great board members at Dayton Towers, Ginger Kuhn. He was an outstanding husband, father and grandfather who had been ill for some time. His love of life and family made him fight on. My deepest sympathy to his family.

Maria of Breezy Dog is back on State Road. She has 60 different flavored milk shakes. One is better than the other. Her chicken kebab is to die for. Maria is a hardworking individual who always donates back to the community. She just recently went through a major crisis with her truck. Her generator went and it cost her $13,000 for a replacement. We should all go and thank her and tell her that Simon says thank you Maria.

Our next Atlantic City bus trip will be on Saturday, April 17. We leave at 5:30 p.m. and return at 7a.m., with 8 ½ hours to enjoy. The cost is $40 with $30 returned. Bagels and cream cheese are courtesy of Beach Bagels. Get on the bus and keep our Democratic club going. Please don’t hesitate to call 718- 945-1216. We are here to help you.

Happy Passover and Blessed Easter to all. May this season bring peace and happiness to everyone.

We urge everyone to do their civic duty by filling out their census form. It will help to get money appropriated for our community and make Rockaway, Broad Channel and Breezy Point one City Council and Assembly District. Let your voice be heard. Get counted.

We are once again proud to support SHAFT, the Surfside Tenants, which is led by Barbara Buffalino and her sister Karen Nevirs. Their wonderful mother is a special angel in heaven shining down. They have been going after the owners of the development on lack of security, overcharging on parking spots and bad choices when screening tenants. We are also prepared to step in once again to support the Local 32BJ workers in their contract negotiations with the owners.

Barbara and Karen are a godsend and have always done the right thing for their buildings. We would urge the residents of 107-10 to join SHAFT and not get the shaft from their self-proclaimed president, Dr. C. During the campaign she promised the tenants that she would work diligently on their behalf. She was never around during the toll or ferry fights. She is an ineffective leader who does not respond to the people. It is a shame that our community doesn’t have a better representative.

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