2012-08-31 / Columnists

Simon Says . . .

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

Where did summer go?

All you had to do was blink and it was over.

As we enter the fall, the frying pan gets hotter in our community.

On Sunday August 26, we went to the home of the owner of the proposed new transient hotel that might become a “hot sheet” motel that is rented out by the hour or perhaps, Mayor Bloomberg’s new homeless shelter. At no time are against the homeless, we want permanent housing for them.

On Sunday there was unity in our community, Our neighbors from the beginning of Far Rockaway to the tip of Breezy point boarded a bus sponsored by State Senator Shirley Huntley, as well as a caravan of over 25 cars. At the home of Gurbhej S. Sandu, we were greeted by a lovely young Hispanic lady who spoke broken English who told us that we had the wrong neighborhood.

All of the residents of the Edgemere community recognized the van belonging to he owner, who had visited the hotel site frequently. Within eight minutes of arriving we were surrounded by the Nassau County police cars from the Fourth Precinct.

We were asked what we were doing. We explained that we were there to protest to the owner of the planned hotel in Rockaway and that we had come to his home to do so.

We were accompanied by local lawyer Jacques Leandre, who was there to protect our right to protest. Leandre volunteered his services as needed to protect the community. We worked closely with the Frank Avenue Civic Association which represents the Edgemere community where this hotel is planned.

Those who know me or have followed me on Twitter know that I like to get to the meat and potatoes of an issue by going to the owner’s home to stop it. We, the community, stood in unity, towards Sandu.

“Not in our Backyard,” we chanted. We also called out on our bullhorn for Mr. Sandu to come out to meet with us or to invite a small number of us to speak with him inside his home.

We stood there and gave him the old Rockaway cry. Noticeably absent was City Councilman James Sanders Jr. who seems to have cut a deal with the owner, asking for a free community room which is not needed in this area. The community has used rooms in St. Gertrude’s Church for over 100 years. The proposed hotel is six stories with 98 rooms. The developer has increased the number of available parking spots from two to twenty- five.

On Monday, we attended and spoke at two great associations in Breezy Point. We went first to the Point breeze Association and then on to the 100th Anniversary of the Rockaway Point Association. It was great to see so many of my family, friends, constituents and neighbors. Like I always say and said there, whether you are a summer resident or year around, you are my family.

As we are writing this column on Tuesday evening it has come to my attention that the old Stella Maris High School will now become the home of 270 troubled youths in a not-for-profit school. The Martin de Porres School will be opening when school starts. They claim to be as of right and do not need the approval of our community board.

We are looking to plan a rally and demand answers. The property is owned by the Sisters of St. Joseph. We are urging alltopickupaphoneandcallBorough President Helen Marshall, State Senator Malcolm Smith (he still represents the Rockaway peninsula) Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder, and State Senator Joe Addabbo, (who is running to represent Rockaway). Let’s work together as a team.

It has also come to our attention that St. John’s Boys Home will be operating a non-secure (detention) group home funded by the NYC Department of Criminal Justice. They currently operate a 10 bed facility in Richmond Hill, Queens. It serves as a residence for adolescent males as they await Family court outcomes. They will be housing 12 in the old St. Johns Home.

What will be next? Why is Rockaway continuing to be the dumping ground for NYC? Just when we thought we were coming out of the dark, cloudy days brought on by the dumping by the Lindsay administration and Rockaway was coming back with the development of Arverne-By-the-Sea and a beautiful new Social Security office on Beach 113 Street and Rockaway Beach Blvd., we get hit again. 10 steps forward and 20 steps back. Oh, boy here we go again.

While we are on the issue of the new Social Security office, it has come to my attention that the office will not issue copies of Social Security cards to residents who come in. They are being told to go to the office on Sutphin Blvd. In Jamaica. What kind of BS is this? Why should Rockaway residents have to go to Jamaica to pick up a card?

Membership in your local Democratic club is a basic part of effective government. We give you a chance to help work for a better community. We need a small amount of money from a large number of people. $25 a year keeps you in good standing. Send your check to the Good Government Regular Democratic Club at 114-20 Rockaway Beach Blvd. Rockaway Park NY 11694. We receive no city, state or federal funds. We help all regardless of residence or political party affiliation.

We have a beautiful office that is available for use by community groups and professional in our area. If you need an accessible meeting place or a local law, accounting, broker, or tax preparation office call my office at (718) 945-1216. The bus stop and subway station are around the corner.

You still have time to register to vote in the November Presidential election. State elected officials U.S. Senators and members of Congress will also be on the ballot. If you are not currently registered or not sure if you are registered, call my office. You can make an appointment for free, fast registration.

We are saddened by the death of two fine individuals, Mario Bacchia and one of my dear friends, Brenda Suslik. Both were healthy and were suddenly stricken and passed on. We know god must have needed two special angels.

During the next few months we expect to host a number of the candidates for election in 2012 and 2013. Keep in touch with my office and check my column for details. I am beginning my 10th consecutive term and 19th year as Assembly District Leader. We thank you for your consistent support. We will never let you down.

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