2011-05-27 / Columnists

Simon Says...

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

We want to congratulate our former Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer for 25 years of outstanding service. Thank you for all you have done for our community and being our friend and colleague in government.

At this time we need poll workers for Primary and Election Day. The base pay is $200 with extra for training and working both days. If you are a registered Democrat in the 23 A.D. Part B call my office at 718-945-1216. There are currently openings in Howard Beach and Ozone Park.

The transportation to and on our peninsula is an abomination. Why is Rockaway the dumping ground for New York City? Why don’t we have express bus service to Manhattan at all times? Why does it take two hours to get to Manhattan some days? Why haven’t we restored service on the Rockaway Beach line of the LIRR that could get you from Rockaway Park to Penn Station in 32 minutes and from Ozone Park in 18 minutes?

It is time that politicians sit down to work and get these things done. We have a bus depot at Beach 49 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard. The bus leaves empty in the morning, does not pick up passengers in Rockaway, but stops for passengers in Howard Beach and runs express to Manhattan.

I represent Rockaway as well as parts of Howard Beach. Rockaway riders should get the same service as other communities. Some of us need to get to Manhattan on weekends. Why shouldn’t we have express bus service on the weekend? MTA bureaucrats must hear from us. The bus service on Q22, Q35, Q53, Q21 and Q113 is abominable. We are constantly hearing of buses passing people waiting at bus stops in the morning.

We are the only community where we pay a toll to go from one part to another in our own community. The Cross Bay Bridge toll is an unfair burden on all of us. We will be organizing a massive rally for one evening in the summer. It is time to at least restore the resident rebate program we had since the 1990s. Jay Walder, MTA Executive Director, grew up in Rockaway. Why doesn’t he do anything? This issue will play a pivotal part in the election of our new Assemblyman.

We believe that an illegal toll is being collected on the Marine Park Bridge. Both ends of the bridge are on Gateway National Park property.

The federal government does not allow local governments to collect tolls inside national parks. It is time to take back our community bridge. We have publicly asked Congressman Weiner to work on this problem. We will need the help of Uncle Chucky (Sen. Schumer) and Sen. Gillibrand.

Once again the main road across the Rockaway peninsula is an abomination. After a sewer installation on Beach Channel Drive from Beach 59 Street to Beach 71 Street the whole area needs to be repaved. It is time for the Department of Design and Construction to finish their work as many people have had major damage to their cars. We have a short time before the summer season when visitors will join local residents in trying to drive through this area. We are requesting an immediate start to this reconstruction.

We are deeply saddened by the death of Frances Fahey. Frances was a retired schoolteacher who served as a nurse in World War II. I knew her from the Golden Age Club. Her son, Leo, often attends meetings with me and is sometimes called Lew Jr. Frances instilled proper values in her son who is also an educator. Frances is survived by Leo, his wife Karen and grandson Sean. This wonderful family loved and cared for each other. Frances was a fine, pleasant woman active in the Breezy Point community. She must have a special place in God’s kingdom. My deepest sympathy to the family.

Congratulations to Shannon Buffalino on her high school graduation. I met her in Fran’s where we were both having our hair done. Shannon was preparing for her Senior Prom. I have had the honor and pleasure of watching Shannon grow up and go with her mother, Barbara, to community meetings. She instilled the proper values in her daughter and should be mother of the year. Shannon looks absolutely beautiful. We wish her great success in her future in college. Here comes our next political leader.

We are very proud to announce the introduction of a new Dancing Under the Stars program. Zumba is the program that is taking the country by storm. We are proud to have it in our community thanks to the generosity of our great friend at Sweet’N Low. We will be at the roller rink at Beach 109 Street on Wednesdays and Fridays at 7:30 p.m.

Instruction will be led by Rockaway’s finest, Lisa G., who is extremely professional and gives you a great workout. Lisa currently teaches at Peninsula Prep Academy on Tuesday and Friday at 7:15 p.m. and at Misy Elaine on Beach 116 Street at 7:15 on Thursday.

Our next Atlantic City trip to Bally’s will be on Saturday, June 25. We leave at 5:30 p.m. and return at 7 a.m. The cost is $45 with a voucher of $30 returned. We provide bagels from Beach Bagels. For reservations call 718-945-1216 now.

It is amazing that the Department of Education found a way to save and improve John Adams and Richmond Hill High Schools but is still trying to close Beach Channel High School. We won’t have a community high school. Where will our children go? Shame on the Department of Education and Mayor Bloomberg and his Chancellors Joel Klein and Cathie Black.

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