2012-06-22 / Columnists

Simon says...

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

We’d like to thank the so many Democrats in our district who signed our reelection petitions. If you have not already signed, you can call us at 718- 945-1216. For those who would not sign my answer is that I work for you 25 hours a day, 7 days a week to help all. I’ve never taken a vacation or personal day or ignored anyone’s calls or problems.

We really need everyone’s help to keep the doors of the Good Government Regular Democratic Club open. I have been very tenacious in helping all, but not tenacious enough in asking people for dues. Now we must ask because financially we are in need. We have to keep the Good Government Regular Democratic Club office which I use as my office as Assembly District leader. This we consider to be as our living room to serve all those who need our service. Our phone is not free. We are looking to rent space for meetings, defensive driving classes, nursing recruitment, weight watchers or real estate, etc. If you have any ideas call my office.

As you probably know the Crossbay Bridge toll rebate program went into effect April 1 for all those with EZ passes for cars registered in Rockaway, Breezy Point and Broad Channel. We are very proud to have led the fight and will continue to fight along with Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder for the permanent elimination of the toll. Don’t be surprised if one day there is a traffic jam on the Marine Parkway Bridge and it is yours truly protesting to eliminate the toll there.

As we are all aware the Peninsula Hospital life support plug was pulled. We have had a number of drownings and fatalities and we feel if Peninsula Hospital was open some of these victims would have been saved. We would like to plan a major rally to bring the message to Lori Lapin Jones’ neighbors and associates that she is destroying our hospital for her own financial gain. We urge her to postpone any sale of the hospital equipment and beds in the hospital until all responses to the RFP have been studied and a new operator of the hospital is chosen.

We have heard that there were several responses to the Request for Proposals from potential operators.

RFPs are usually advertised and the winning bidder is chosen. If no information is made public it will appear that they have something to hide. We must use all our resources to stop this misuse of our community hospital. Please call if you can help get the facts about what is happening.

As we write this column we are congratulating the Queens Civic Congress for holding a public forum on the reopening of the Rockaway Beach line. Our panel is led by Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder, Community Board 14 Chair Dolores Orr, Board 14 member Vincent Castellano and mass transit advocate John Rozankowski. This is something I have been working on for years.

We asked Norman Silverman to invite George Haikalis, chairman of the Regional Rail Working Group, to brief Phil on the plans for reactivating the line. George has worked on improved mass transit throughout the New York/New Jersey area since the administration of Governor Nelson Rockefeller. A senior citizen, George always travels by mass transit out to Rockaway to help us when invited. Phil picked up the ball immediately and is really running with it. Phil performed a major miracle by getting Assemblyman Mike Miller, who represents Woodhaven and Ozone Park, to join our team. We have been working closely with future Congressman Hakeem Jeffries who will represent part of the area served by the Rockaway line. You can help by signing the petition supported by Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder at www.RockawayBeachrail.com .

There was a Gateway National Park meeting last week regarding lease agreements and rent of fields in Fort Tilden for soccer and other youth sports. They are holding them hostage for major dollars. This is the only park that is not youth friendly. I wish I knew and was invited to the meeting. They should have been working with Congressmen Bob Turner and Gregory Meeks as this is a federal park. It is ridiculous how they give grief and want exorbitant rates from the Rockaway Little League. The rates were so high that the RMAC, which provided free concerts every summer weekend and a beautiful art and craft fair every September for years, was forced to end their programs. Our community and the visitors who came from surrounding areas are the losers. Gateway officials don’t seem to know the difference between non-profit community organizations and the large commercial businesses that make big profits using our public parks.

As of Wednesday, June 27 Zumba Fitness will resume from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. every Wednesday into September. They are supported by a grant I obtained from Sweet-N-Low. It is a good way to keep in shape and lose weight while dancing. They are at the Rockies Hockey rink at Beach 108 Street and Shorefront Parkway.

Our office is open every Thursday evening at 114-20 Rockaway Beach Boulevard. Come in with your ideas for our community or if you need help with a problem.

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