2010-12-24 / Columnists

Simon says...

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

We’d like to wish everyone a blessed Merry Christmas, happy and healthy New Year and peace for the world.

On Monday evening we had the distinct honor and pleasure of meeting with our Governor, David Paterson. We discussed elimination of the Crossbay Bridge toll by bringing back the resident rebate. He made a joke saying that he remembered when he spoke at Far Rockaway High School and I held up a big sign saying No More Crossbay Bridge Toll. He reminded me how sorry he was that he couldn’t see it. I told him that if he wants to go out a hero in my community, that he would eliminate the toll for us.

He asked if we had any legislation available. I immediately brought that up to the President of the State Senate, Malcolm Smith, Broad Channel State Senator Shirley Huntley and Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer. I would hope that a miracle would happen for the New Year and the toll would be eliminated. I am very tenacious. I will continue to fight for the elimination of this unfair toll.

We are deeply saddened by the loss of a courageous lady, Elizabeth Edwards. She was a strong advocate against poverty, an outstanding lady of valor who fought for the underdog without enough recognition even while fighting a battle against cancer. Our loss of this special angel reminded me of the loss of my late mom, Jennie. I also urge everyone to keep the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, in their prayers. She just had surgery for pancreatic cancer. I hate the word cancer. I lost too many loved ones from it.

The 24th Annual Dinner Dance of the Good Government Regular Democratic Club will be held on Thursday, June 2 at the El Caribe in Mill Basin. Tickets are now available at $75 a head. A table of 16 is $1200. Kosher food will be available. The honoree list is in formation. For reservations call 718-945-1216.

We support Rose Marchetti in her campaign to save so many dogs and cats from being euthanized. Rose tries to help find homes for these animals. If you are thinking of adopting a pet you can call Animal Control at 718-272- 7201 in Brooklyn or 212-722-4939 in Manhattan. They will explain how the adoption works. Pictures of some of the pets are on Facebook at urgentpart2 and petsondeathrow. Mixed breeds and pedigree puppies, kittens and adult dogs and cats are available. I tip my hat to Rose and I name her humanitarian of the year 2010.

In the next couple of months the Rockaway Beach community will be getting new sewers. The Department of Design and Construction (DDC) will be overseeing the project. We urge everyone in the affected areas to get a digital camera with a date. Take pictures of your sidewalk, home foundation, walls, ceilings, china cabinets and other valuables. From past experience such as the project now being done in the 60s along Thursby Avenue and Beach Channel Drive we know that some residents will have problems.

The construction is being done by the same company which did a job in Belle Harbor a few years ago. They left open trenches, blocked access to driveways and did not do a survey to find out where disabled residents required accommodations. They installed new water pipes above the frost line. A couple of years later the pipes froze and stopped the water supply. This cost the city additional funds to rectify the problem. Yours truly uncovered the problem and worked like hell to get it fixed. Some grateful homeowners sent letters to The Wave thanking me.

It was very sad that at a recent meeting of the Rockaway Beach Civic they had engineers and managers from the DDC to discuss the project but only a handful of neighbors attended. We urge all people in the affected area to attend the next meeting and let their voices be heard.

Do you have a problem going to the supermarket to shop? Seniors, disabled persons, and those without time in the day to shop can call the Key Food on 105-38 Beach Channel Drive at 718- 634-1544 and they will be happy to accommodate you.

John Baxter is an actor, producer, musician, TV host, editor, environmentalist and political leader. He also owns a hotel on Beach 116 Street. He feels that he has gotten a raw deal from the press and some in the community. John tells us that the residents of his hotel are working people. He does not accept those on Section 8 and does not participate in other programs that place homeless persons in some hotels. He told us that no developer ever offered him one dime for his hotel.

John Baxter says that his hotel at 160 Beach 116 Street has a clean record with the Police Department, Fire Department, Building Department and any other departments who serve our community. He believes that former convicts and persons undergoing drug rehabilitation are in a neighboring facility. Police are often making arrests nearby. Baxter urges the press and neighborhood civic leaders to check the records to see that he runs a clean operation. He has been running the hotel for 28 years. The hotel should be judged on its record, not on misguided stories that have been spread around.

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