2010-04-16 / Columnists

Simon says...

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

Lew M. Simon Lew M. Simon The major issue that affects our community is transportation. In the Rockaway, Broad Channel, Breezy Point community we have been kicked around for too long by New York City politicians. For the last five decades we have been the dumping ground for the city. It is time we demand our fair share. We have the worst transportation in NYC and do not get a subsidy or free ferry as Staten Island does. Why do we have to hear some deputy from City Hall tell us that they have no money for a subsidy and the number of riders is too low?

Why are we second class citizens? Why doesn’t the city give us a free ferry and the number of passengers will be unbelievable? We pay just as much in taxes, if not more, than Staten Island residents. We don’t need a suit from City Hall. At the Town Hall meeting in Breezy Point run by Eric Ulrich, it was quite obvious that yours truly, (I), was not getting any credit for any part of the ferry service. I was told that I would speak after Speaker Christine Quinn. Then Eric said he wanted to hear from the people who rode the ferry.

Thanks to Board Chairman Joseph Lynch who went over to tell Ulrich that I should be allowed to speak, I was able to thank Speaker Christine Quinn who had spoken at the Good Government Regular Democratic Club in April 2008. At that meeting we asked Speaker Quinn for a meeting of the City Council Transportation Committee to discuss local transportation issues. We provided busses to bring people from Rockaway and Breezy to the successful meeting in Broad Channel chaired by Councilman John Liu. It was after that meeting that the reality of the ferry came about. Working together as a team, things get accomplished. If it wasn’t for yours truly, and the people who helped put together the rally we could not have saved the ferry. Give credit where it is due. No man or woman could do it alone. God bless America. We are working closely with Senators Malcolm Smith and Shirley Huntley and their attorneys to discuss the possibility of bringing a major lawsuit against the Cross Bay Bridge toll. Those who know me, know that I am a pit bull and won’t take this lying down.

Thank God for former Assemblywoman Gerdi Lipschitz and the late attorney Terry Flynn Sr. who worked for legislation that will keep the toll affordable, but it is not acceptable. Residents of Rockaway, Broad Channel and Breezy Point should cross free.

Congratulations to Congressman Anthony Weiner for getting funding from the Army Corps of Engineers to pump sand onto our beaches and prepare for the summer tourist season. We in the Rockaways are known for our pristine beaches and are very proud of our national resource.

On Friday evening Senate President Malcolm Smith had an outstanding 10th Anniversary Dinner celebrating 10 years as State Senator in the 14th S.D. It was a sold out event with over 500 people attending in Antun’s Catering Hall. There was a Who’s Who of politicians including Senate Majority Leader John Sampson, Comptroller John Liu, former Congressman Reverend Floyd Flake, Congressman Gregory Meeks, Assemblywomen Audrey Pheffer and Michelle Titus, and District Leaders Bob Simmons, Valerie West, Jacqueline Boyd and Henry McCoy and many, many others. Malcolm’s lovely wife, Michelle, gave an absolutely earth moving speech. His daughter Amanda spoke eloquently.

Members and former members of Malcolm’s staff Celeste Morris, Pat Rubens, Mortimer Lawrence and Chief of Staff Meredith Henderson participated. When Celeste Morris got up to speak of me she said there was never a day or night I didn’t call to advocate on behalf of my constituents.

One of the honorees was Belle Harbor Property Owners President Sylvan Klein who works hard advocating for the citizens of Belle Harbor. We had a conversation with Sylvan and his lovely wife, Rose. Also seated with us was Peninsula Hospital’s public relations person Liz Sulik. It was a success as Congressman Greg Meeks said they throw all the dirt at those who do the work and bring back the bacon. He mentioned Obama, Paterson, Rangel, etc. We are deeply saddened by the death of a dear friend and one of the best friends NYC has ever had, former Deputy DOT Commissioner Tony Fasulo. Tony suffered from cancer that reached his brain. You could never find anyone finer than Tony Fasulo. He always made sure our streets and roads were in great repair. When you speak of a gentleman of class you speak of Tony, He nicknamed me Pothole Louie because I used to call him daily and spent many wee morning hours checking various locations and making sure they were paved.

We know God must have a special place for Tony as chairman of the angels because he is definitely a great angel who will one day be a saint. We are also saddened by the death of Bernard Cassidy, father of Barney Cassidy, member of the Board of the Breezy Point Coop. Although I did not know Bernard, we know he instilled the proper family values in Barney. He will also be an angel in God’s heaven. Your U.S. census form should have been sent in already. Do it now if you haven’t done so. Proper counting will help us get our own City Council and Assembly Districts.

Our next Atlantic City bus trip will be on Saturday, April 17. We leave at 5:30 p.m. and return at 7 a.m. The cost is $40 with $30 returned. Bagels are provided by Beach Bagels. Call 718- 945-1216 for reservations.

We welcome your membership in the Good Government Regular Democratic Club. Send your dues of $25 to the club at 112-20 Beach Channel Drive, Rockaway Park, NY 11694. We’d like to invite everyone to Senator Malcolm Smith’s State of the State Address on Thursday, April 27 at 7:30 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus, 333 Beach 90 Street, Rockaway Beach. This is an opportunity to ask and get answers about what is happening in New York State.

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