2010-10-29 / 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 get close to the general election on Tuesday, November 2, I’d like to give you my personal endorsement choices. U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, who we always call Uncle Chucky, has always been there to help all. He always has his face in front of the camera talking about major issues that affect us all. He is an excellent statesman, spokesman and legislator. He is probably one of the nicest and easiest people to speak with. We feel he deserves another six years.

Kirsten Gillibrand is a breath of fresh air. She shoots from the hip, transparent as transparent can be. She is charming, personable and a great legislator. In the short time she has been a U.S. Senator, she has proven herself.

For Attorney General we endorse Eric Schneiderman. His experience, knowledge and leading role in the removal of Senator Hiram Monserrate, who had been convicted of assault, show that he is a person of courage who will take on the tough cases.

We support the election of Andrew Cuomo who had the balls to go after the goniff Alan Hevesi. Hevesi attacked Liz Holtzman on an ethical question, but was the center of one of the worst scandals in our state. He also used taxpayer money to cart his wife around. People who violate the public trust should lose their state pensions.

I personally know that Tom DiNapoli is worthy of a full term as Comptroller. After successfully managing state finances and pension funds during very difficult times, we are sure he is up to the job.

Our local State Senator Malcolm A. Smith, who I have personally known for over 30 years, has always been there to help those who need him. I must confess that I am on his staff. Malcolm has brought the bacon back to our community. He has been helping Peninsula Hospital, which has been in financial trouble for many years. Whether it was Far Rockaway, Arverne, Belle Harbor or Rockaway Point, he has been there and helped. The beautiful curtains in the P.S. 114 auditorium, emergency fire and ambulance apparatus in Breezy Point and the beautiful Stop & Shop in Arverneby the-Sea received major help from Senator Smith.

State Senator Shirley Huntley has been a great friend to the Broad Channel community helping seniors, the firehouse, BCAC, veterans and P.S. 47. She is a strong fighter who puts her money where her mouth is.

My dear friend, Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, is around wherever you turn. She eats, sleeps and drinks her community.

I will stick with Congressman Anthony Weiner who I first endorsed in the 1998 Democratic primary, although the county organization did not. He is a tireless, tough and abrasive leader who fought diligently for those who got sick during the recovery and cleanup of the 9/11 site. Weiner sometimes gets under people’s skin, including mine. We’ve bumped heads, but he is a great fighter for our district and a rising star in the Democratic Party and the United States.

We urge all registered voters to do their civic duty and cast their vote in this election. The polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. After watching the gubernatorial debate, I am thinking of starting a new political party called “The bills are too damn high.” With no cost of living raises, we are all struggling.

We would like to give a sincere thanks to one of our top criminal attorneys in New York State, Joe Mure. Joe was there to protect our First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and assembly at our rally to eliminate the toll on the Cross Bay Bridge. We urge everyone to support Joe during his Little North Pole fundraiser at his home on Beach 144 Street and Neponsit Avenue during the Christmas season. Make a kind donation to Juvenile Diabetes.

On Wednesday evening we attended the meeting of SHAFT, which represents Beach 105 Street, 106-20 Shorefront Parkway and 107-10 Shorefront Parkway. 107-10 has a separate group that is run by self-proclaimed president Geraldine Chapey. SHAFT is run by Barbara Buffalino and Karen Nevirs, two sisters who give their all fighting against a landlord who doesn’t care, with the help of DHCR and tenants rights groups. This dynamic duo has been working diligently since the late 1990s.

At this meeting Sophia Valiotis, daughter of the owner, came to address problems such as rampant mice and roaches, poor security, reduced porter staff, and a closed laundry room. Ms. Valiotis asked me not to defame her again. I tell it like it is. She reminds me of the Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher. She is tough as nails, as well as charming, beautiful and brilliant. Basically Valiotis and Nick Conway, the operations manager, were trying to appease the people and it got very funny.

They said that nothing was wrong and they did a lot of great things. I asked Nick to set a time to meet with SHAFT and tour the buildings. On a Sunday morning tour they talked about landscaping, garbage disposal, decreased services and the need for more porters. Management will make a projected time line to solve the existing problems. They will meet again next month. The Senior Center needs a permanent Certificate of Occupancy which has been held up by existing building violations. SHAFT is asking all tenants to come to the next meeting and get involved in the work to improve their buildings.

Geraldine Chapey showed up at the SHAFT meeting, but sat there like a bump on a log; she did not participate in the tour, which included her own building which has major problems.

We are saddened by the death of Dorothy, sister of Maureen McGee, president of the St. Francis Golden Age Club. Dorothy was a class act, brilliant, charming and quite a class act. I had the pleasure of getting to know her and discuss world politics. We feel that God must have needed a special angel in charge of diplomatic relations. My deepest sympathy to Maureen McGee and her family.

This past Thursday evening was a major milestone for the Rockaway community. For the first time we have a new shopping center in Arverne, which has been vacant since the late 1960s. The Super Stop & Shop includes a new Citizens bank and a pharmacy. We had the pleasure of helping to cut the ribbon.

We welcome your membership in the Good Government regular Democratic Club. Keep up with what is happening in the neighborhood and have a voice in your community. Send your dues of $25 to the club at 112-20 Beach Channel Drive, Rockaway Park, NY 11694. We expect to hold our dinner dance in May.

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