2010-04-30 / Columnists

Simon says...

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

Lew M. Simon Lew M. Simon As we write this column the Rockaway Park Hotel (158 Beach 116 Street) was sold for $2.5 million to Jay Deutchman. Current residents have been bought out and the building is vacant. While work was being done we heard rumors that a drug treatment program was coming in. Workers on the site told me it would be a drug rehab or halfway house. We noted bunk beds being brought in, when current rules allow only two persons in a room.

Saturday we talked to Mr. D. We told him that we would not support a drug program. He stated his proposal is to take people on SSI, some of whom have mental problems in 50 or 60 rooms. He said that some landlords in the area do that. Mr. D. said that he could not build condos because he could not get financing. He claims to own 400 properties, some of which have 400 rooms.

On behalf of myself and State Senator Malcolm Smith, I will reach out to the Department of Buildings and the Fire Department to verify if the plans are legal.

This is a real slap in the face to Rockaway. Just what we need is more people with no jobs, no services for them and no disposable income. It seems that this is another cash cow for someone. We are going to stay on top of this issue. We have 12 new batteries for our bullhorn. Be prepared to picket.

On Tuesday, April 20, Councilman Eric Ulrich held a meeting to explain the coming end of ferry service to Rockaway. Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson came to tell us that City Hall had no plan to continue ferry service. Wolfson claimed that the state has funds that could be used for the ferry. According to State Senator Malcolm Smith and Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer there is no such appropriation and Wolfson doesn’t know what he is talking about. Wolfson did bring Ross Perot type charts to explain why the city could not afford to subsidize our ferry.

We challenged Wolfson to check out our mass transit by taking the A train back to Manhattan after the meeting. We told him it might take him more than 2 hours to get home. There are those in Manhattan who think that they can run Rockaway. How stupid is it to end the ferry in June when the peak of the tourist season is starting. People from Manhattan come out with surfboards and to spend the day on the beach.

We in Rockaway have the lousiest transportation around. We have no express buses on nights or weekends as other communities do. We have no way to get to a Broadway show and get home at a reasonable hour. We have had constant construction work for the last 40 years. We have had to change at Broad Channel, switch at Euclid and take the Rockaway Park shuttle. It is time for NYC to give us a fair share and a free ferry for all.

Last time I looked we were all equal taxpayers in NYC. Why does Staten Island get more? Why does Rockaway always get the short end of the stick? We demand our fair share, Get on the phone. Call 311 to demand our rights. Call Councilman Ulrich’s office at 718- 318-6411 and Councilman James Sanders’ office at 718-471-7391. Tell them we have the right to a free ferry.

Our next Atlantic City bus trip will be on Saturday, May 15. The cost is $40 with $30 returned. We leave at 5:30 p.m. and return at 7 a.m. Bagels and cream cheese are provided by Beach Bagels. Enjoy your weekend and keep the Good Government Regular Democratic Club working for our community.

Club membership is $25 per year. Send your check to the club at 112-20 Beach Channel Drive, Rockaway Park NY, 11694.

There are a number of openings for election inspectors in the 23rd A.D. Part B in Howard Beach and Ozone Park. The pay is $200 per day. If you are a registered Democrat in our area, call 718-945-1216 for information.

I am available to help you. Don’t hesitate to call.

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