2011-02-04 / Columnists

Simon Says…

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

As we write our column on Monday, January 31, it marks the 15th anniversary of the death of my mom, Jennie Simon. When I lost my mom, I lost my best friend and biggest supporter. Everyone knew my mom because she was as outspoken as I am. That’s where I got it from. She taught me to stand up for my rights and the rights of the people.

For many, many years she sold Avon products and I assisted her. She became the number one salesperson and a member of the President’s Club.

Mom did a lot of volunteer work through the years for HILI, HAFTRA Yeshiva where her dear friends Nina Listman, Flo Altschuler and I worked many bingos on Saturday evenings after Shabbos, and Thursday evenings on Beach 19 Street.

On Saturday evening I would first call bingo for Philip Port American Cancer Society, my mom’s favorite charity. She played bingo while I called. Then we proceeded to HILI on Beach 19 Street. My dad, Joe, and Flo’s husband, Al, would enjoy playing bingo while we called the numbers.

Nina and Flo made a great team with us. Both of them were outstanding mothers and grandmothers. Unfortunately, Nina passed away. Flo, thank God, is still going strong and she has taken over the duties of my mom.

I want to wish her daughter Michelle and son-in-law Benny a mazel tov on her son’s Bar Mitzvah last Sunday.

Just this past June my last aunt, Yetta, passed away in her sleep. I’m sure that my mom met her at the gates of heaven and welcomed her in. My mom and my aunt got along very well. Many times my aunt came from New Jersey to Rockaway and spent time with my mom. Although many times they disagreed, they loved each other and enjoyed each other’s company. I was very, very depressed when my last aunt passed away. We spent so many hours talking and getting together and reminiscing about my mom and the past.

My sister and I have a standing thought – if we had one more hour with my mom what would we do? I said I would take my mom out for prime ribs, her favorite. My sister said she’d have her make a roast beef rare and the best potato latkes you’d ever get. So many times I’d want to call my mom and tell her about someone I had seen. One of my mom’s good friends, whom I admire, rides around town in an electric wheelchair and shows that she’s a survivor and an outstanding mother and grandmother.

I remember one night when we went to the Bayswater Civic meeting and they were giving out awards to those who fought a homeless shelter for 200 men in the Arverne community. I coordinated bus rides to City Hall.

We demonstrated and rallied and won our argument. Then the late president of the Bayswater Civic Association, Gloria Warshofsky, praised and gave awards to all the elected officials who did nothing. She was part of the committee that worked with us to stop the project, yet she forgot to recognize me. My mother said, “What about my son who worked so hard and led the fight to stop this?” We were both escorted out by the 101 Precinct.

Through the years thick and thin, mom was involved with her favorite Hammels (now Seaside) Senior Center on Beach 90 Street. She was also president of the AARP and called bingo and was paymaster for the Yeshiva of Belle Harbor. My mom loved to go around with me to all the community meetings and events. I miss my mom dearly. The pain never goes away. It feels like only yesterday. I love you mom.

We have been working closely with SHAFT at Surfside Houses, 1 Beach 105 Street, 106-20 Shorefront Parkway and 107-10 Shorefront Parkway.

Back in October we had a meeting with the owner and management. They promised to repaint hallways, spruce up the gardens and improve security. We also demanded additional maintenance workers. I requested that Nick Conway meet with us on a Sunday and tour the buildings and work to fix the problems ASAP. Nick made an agreement but they have not kept their part of the deal.

Our friends in Surfside are fighting for the quality of life we should all enjoy. The going rents for studios are now $1100, one bedroom apartments are $1200 to $1500 and two bedroom apartments are $1800. They have waited for months after an agreement to solve the problems. Now they have decided that they will have to begin a rent strike to get their complaints heard. This is a legal way of putting their rent money aside until they get the repairs and services they need. We need tenants like these to fight to keep the kind of community we can all be proud to live in.

We’d like you to friend us on Facebook. We are asking everyone to join us in supporting making 9/11 a national holiday to remember those heroes and sheroes we lost in that horrific, unwanted attack. We must never forget and always stay vigilant and never let those bastards do it to us again.

Your membership is welcomed in the Good Government Regular Democratic Club. Become an active part of the community and help solve the problems we face. Send your dues of $25 to the club at 112-20 Beach Channel Drive, Rockaway Park NY 11694.

We look forward to the selection of our Assemblywoman, Audrey Pheffer, as the next Clerk of Queens County. If the Assembly seat becomes vacant, a special election could be held to fill the vacancy. I expect to be a candidate if this occurs. You can help by sending a check to Friends of Lew M. Simon at 112-20 Beach Channel Drive, Rockaway Park 11694. For more information call 718-945-1216.

I was very disappointed last Monday evening when I attended the Bayswater Civic Association meeting with Mayor Bloomberg and his commissioners. No questions were allowed from the general audience. The most important issue on the whole Rockaway peninsula and Broad Channel is the lack of good transportation. The transportation we have is a disgrace. We should have express buses running 7 days, 18 hours a day.

The lousy A train is not reliable. We lost an affordable ferry to Manhattan. It’s time the mayor comes and addresses the whole Rockaway community and allows discussion of the issues of importance to everyone.

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