2012-07-20 / Columnists

Simon says...

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

Wow, we did it. Because of all our great Democratic constituents who signed on my reelection petitions, we have gotten the highest number of signatures in Queens County. Because of your signatures and the absence of any challengers, I am very proud to announce that I’m going into my tenth term as Assembly District Leader of the 23rd A.D. Part B.

Many, many special thanks to members of the Good Government Regular Democratic Club. You guys are awesome. You have made us number one again, Your hard work and endurance in working through the heat, humidity and nights of rain helped us to achieve our goals. To those of you who thought we were nuts knocking at your door even though we had no opponent, I love what I do. I’m happy to serve our district with pride and enthusiasm.

I will make sure as usual that not one phone call will go unanswered. I will continue to go to every meeting, senior center and social event and be there to assist with doing the 50-50s whenever I am needed.

We do not receive one dollar in salary or for our office, nor do we receive a budget for our phone which is used for business. We need your assistance in keeping our office at the GGDRC open. When people call us for assistance we never ask what district you live in or what party you belong to except when we are collecting signatures from registered Democrats. Please help us by sending in your dues of $25 to the Good Government Regular Democratic Club at 114-20 Rockaway Beach Blvd. Rockaway Park NY 11694.

Our air-conditioned, accessible office is available for use for your group meeting, or space for your real estate, accounting, law, brokerage, defensive driving class or other purpose. Call us at 718-945-1216 if you have any proposals.

We are deeply disappointed with the closing statement issued by the NYS Department of Health last week. It looks like they were not listening to us at the public hearing that they held on May 10. The report does not answer the million dollar question of why the DOH did not reinspect the lab. We are in immediate danger with one hospital that does not have enough beds and an emergency room which is often in diversion. No disrespect to St. Johns but a recent study of New York hospitals showed Peninsula with a perfect score in infections and scanning and the second highest rating in NYC.

A Request for Proposal (RFP) was issued on April 18 for those interested in purchasing the nursing home, hospital and the real estate. We know that a number of bidders are interested. North-Shore-LIJ has recently been given approval for running a free standing emergency room facility on the site of St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan and has expressed interest in Peninsula. Dr. Robert Evans of Rochdale Village Health has expressed interest in operating a full service hospital at Peninsula. All responses to the RFP were due by April 24. Loeb & Troper LLP representing the Trustee for Peninsula has the actual bids. It is time the bids were opened publicly and the winner chosen.

New owners would need a certificate of need (CON). Peninsula’s CON was lifted when they closed. We want the State Health Department to assure the bidders that a CON would be available when the successful bidder is chosen. By selling off equipment, supplies and fixtures Trustee Lori Lapin Jones made the process of reopening the hospital take longer and bring in less money for the creditors who are waiting to get paid.

When other hospitals in Queens closed, State Senator Shirley Huntley wrote legislation which forced the DOH to hold the hearing and issue the report. She is with us in demanding a full state of the art hospital at Peninsula. United we stand, divided we fall.

Pick up your phone, pen or go to your computer to contact Governor Cuomo, Borough President Helen Marshall, Mayor Bloomberg, Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, and your favorite newspapers, TV and radio stations. At no time will we ever quit.

It is absolutely ridiculous and absurd that we are allowing a possible major catastrophe to occur along the beach in the Beach 90s and lower Beach 100s. Because of sand erosion the ocean is almost up to the boardwalk. Parts of the wooden wall behind the boardwalk were washed away. A hurricane, nor’easter or any major storm will bring the ocean pouring under the boardwalk, over Shorefront Parkway and into the homes across the street. Homeowners have major problems getting flood insurance. A big storm will cause millions in uncompensated damage and higher insurance rates for the rest of us.

Uncle Chucky (Sen. Charles Schumer) obtained $4.5 million for sand replenishment, but the sand will be dropped on Beach 36 Street not the 90s up to Beach 106 Street. We cannot let the Mayor off the hook. You can reach the Mayor’s office by calling 212- 788-3000. We are very sad to hear that Mayor Bloomberg and Interior Secretary Salazar do not want a fence rebuilt to separate Riis Park from the residential areas in Neponsit. This is unacceptable.

We are deeply saddened by the loss of a great outstanding gentleman and great friend, Walter Reiche. He was a brilliant inventor with numerous patents for TV camera lenses and kaleidoscopes. I got to know Walter in the ’80s when he and his wife, Barbara, were members of the Rockaway Beach Civics. We became instant pals.

Walter served in the Navy and was stationed at Bikini where he got the asbestosis that took his life. He and his lovely wife made a great team working for the community. Never a night would go by that Walter wouldn’t call with a great idea for our community. Walter’s smile lit up our room. As we see the completion of the elevated stations in Rockaway, we know that Walter was one of the people who made sure that State Senator Malcolm Smith put his money where his mouth was to repair the train stops. He was out on the Beach 90 Street platform with the 20 degree wind whipping us when we got MTA Executive Director Katie Lapp to promise the repairs. We can finally see the result when we see the beautiful new platforms and stations.

God must have needed a special, brilliant angel with scientific knowledge and military experience. He took the best from us. Deepest sympathy to our best friend and dinner chair Barbara Reiche and her sister-in-law Cecilia Terri Hausbrick. May he rest in peace. Our loss is heaven’s gain. We have a special angel looking over Rockaway.

We are very proud to have received a special grant from Sweet-N-Low for Dancing Under the Stars Zumba Fitness under the expert instructor Lisa G., one of Zumba’s greatest. Come one, come all to the Rockies Roller Rink at Beach 108 Street and Shorefront Parkway every Wednesday evening from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Admission is free and children are welcome.

We are proud to announce that we left our position with Senator Malcolm Smith and have moved on to Senator Shirley Huntley since she will represent part of Rockaway. Shirley has always put her money where her mouth is and proved that she loves the communities she represents. She is continuing to fight to get a new full hospital at the Peninsula site. Her longstanding support for education made her a champion among parents and children. She is committed to fighting for better transportation in the Rockaways, senior citizen benefits and entitlements as well as longstanding support for veterans.

If you need any help with a community problem or want to help our community, don’t hesitate to call my office at 718-945-1216.

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