2011-04-15 / Columnists

Simon says...

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

We would like to extend a joyous Passover and happy Easter to all. May this holiday season bring peace, happiness, wealth and health for all.

Are you as fed up as I am with the deplorable condition of Beach Channel Drive from Beach 59 Street to Beach 69 Street? For over two years the streets have been an abomination with people breaking axles, tires, front ends, transmissions and oil pans. It is time for the city to stop conning us and get to work. At the same time, I have been waiting more than three weeks for the DOT to repair potholes in our community under the Rockaway Freeway, Shorefront Parkway and near the Marine Parkway Bridge where one lane on the overpass from Rockaway Beach Boulevard to Beach Channel Drive is almost gone. Rockaway Beach Boulevard from Beach 91 Street to Beach 94 Street near the 100th Precinct needs repair.

It has been a very bad winter for our streets, with heavy snow, freezing and rain. At the same time we see damage to the concrete structure of our elevated A train which needs inspection and repair.

On Thursday evening the Jamaica Bay Task force held a terrific meeting to bring attention to the threatened plan to extend a runway from JFK Airport into Jamaica Bay. Under the leadership of Dan Mundy Sr., Dan Mundy Jr. and Don Riepe, it was a presentation of the use of Jamaica Bay, for fishing and a bird habitat. For Rockaway residents airport expansion would also mean more planes taking off and coming in for a landing over homes. For the Regional Plan Association, a respected, private organization to prepare a report for the Port Authority without consulting any of our local environmental experts or civic leaders is insulting and frightening.

Much of Jamaica Bay is federal property as part of Gateway National Park. It is not lawful to use national park property for an airport.

Officials of the Natural Resources Defense Council who were present could not recall when such a theft of park land had ever been allowed.

They strongly oppose this plan. Representative Anthony Weiner flew up from the debate in Congress to speak. He said that federal park land could not be used without passage of a law by Congress and that he would oppose such a change. Councilman Eric Ulrich said that there was no way in hell that he could support this plan and would vote against it if it came to the City Council. Representatives of Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer and State Senator Shirley Huntley were present. I will continue to keep Senator Malcolm Smith informed of our response to the proposal.

I would like to extend sincere thanks to Varsity Bus Co. which always makes itself available to our community for good causes. I was able to obtain a bus to transport people from Rockaway to the meeting.

Thanks to the Bayswater Civic Association headed by Enid Glabman for once again bringing one of the largest groups of constituents to fight this proposal.

When we had an opportunity for questions, I directed my question to the audience of well over one hundred people in the American Legion Hall. I asked how many people opposed the runway plan and more overhead flights. All present, except one, raised their hands. The one exception was identified as a environmental consultant for the Regional Plan Association. We expect to continue to work with our constituents as they fight to protect their quality of life and safety.

We are waiting patiently with baited breath for our Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer to be named County Clerk. Please God. We are looking for everyone’s support.

We are also in the process of moving our office to 113-24 Rockaway Beach Boulevard. It is a very spacious downstairs, handicapped accessible location with great heat and air conditioning.

We will also have parking privileges at lots on Beach 113 and 115 Streets.

We would like to invite everyone to join our Good Government Regular Democratic Club. Send in your dues now and be sure to be invited to the grand opening of our new club. Send your check for $25 to Good Government Regular Democratic Club, 112-20 Beach Channel Drive, Rockaway Park NY 11694.

We are ready to announce the plans for the new Dancing With the Stars for this summer. This year’s scene will be Zumba which is taking the nation by storm. Zumba will be led by Lisa G. It will be on Wednesdays from June 29 to August 31 at the Roller Rink at Beach 109 Street and Shorefront Parkway. On Friday evenings we will be inside at Peninsula Prep Academy (with air conditioning) from June 24 to August 24. Dancing is free thanks to the sponsorship that I get every year and coordinate for Sweet ‘N Low. God bless them.

We are deeply saddened by the death of so many outstanding individuals. Kay Loof was an outstanding, tough, strong, classy lady who, up to her last days, loved bowling on a regular basis always wearing her traditional six-inch high heels. She was an outstanding lady with a heart of gold who told it like it is and took no guff. She spoke her mind and let everyone know it. She was an outstanding mother and grandmother and my dear friend and supporter. She was a lifelong resident of Rockaway and my dear friend.

On another sad note, Joseph Bailey Sr. passed away. He was an outstanding father, grandfather and community resident. He was always there to assist and help those who needed him. He had a great big heart.

My deepest sympathy to both of these families on their loss. God has chosen two special angels. I know Kay’s late husband, Jack, was waiting at the gate to let her in. She will say, “I’m not ready to be here.” I’m sure Joe’s mother, Irene, will greet him in shock because he was only 53.

As we sit and think about Michael Bloomberg’s stupid choice of Cathie Black as Chancellor, we know we could come up with many better choices. Pat Tubridy, principal of Channel View Academy, is one of those who have the experience and common sense to do the job.

We’re hoping that Dennis Walcott shows his independence and brilliance for the children of New York City.

Good luck and best wishes. Please take care of our most precious resource, our children. Please forget about the foolish plan to target our most experienced teachers if layoffs are ever required.

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