2012-11-30 / Columnists

Simon says...

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


Lew M. Simon Lew M. Simon Oh my God. What is going on? My heart goes out to each and everyone of my neighbors, friends, constituents and family, We never in a million years expected anything like this.

On a personal note, I feel everyone's pain. My office at the Good Government Regular Democratic Club was burned down to the ground. My home took a major pounding with water up to the first floor and the roof torn off. I lost everything, but not my heart and soul.

I have been working day and night helping residents of Rockaway, Broad Channel, Breezy Point and Howard Beach . We would like to give a personal thanks to the Ocean Promenade Nursing Home which took me in to sleep and fed me as well as never abandoning any of their patients. They brought in hot food and had all staff working around the clock with very little sleep. The Director, Laurie Paladino, with her staff did an awesome job taking care of their residents.

Mayor Bloomberg should be arrested in my thoughts. Approximately one day before the storm, FEMA wanted to come in and President Obama wanted to aid the city. Bloomberg told Obama and FEMA to stay out. Because the residents of Rockaway did not heed the warning to leave, this arrogant little dictator attempted to punish us.

LIPA stuck it to the residents of Rockaway and Breezy. For many of us there is still no power, heat or hot water. All our food has spoiled. Due to their lack of rapid response, not showing up for a week, I've been calling for a class action lawsuit on behalf of the residents of Rockaway and Breezy. It’s time for LIPA to go. We need to obtain a pro bono lawyer who can bring our own lawsuit in conjunction with those on Long Island. United we stand, divided we fall.

Shame on the Red Cross for their lack of immediate response and being too late. If it wasn't for Peter Corless, a former Rockaway resident, who reached out to me via Facebook on the Rockaway Hurricane Sandy Relief page where Peter worked with me tirelessly and connected me with Mike Schultz and Karen Frost we might still be waiting. We had to tell them where much needed canteens for food and water could be placed.

God bless Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder whose own home was partially destroyed and uninhabitable who was my partner in crime and worked tirelessly in helping the people. We worked together on getting rid of tolls on the Marine Park and Crossbay Bridges while recovery was going on. Phil lost his Rockaway office, but we expect it will be rebuilt at New York State expense. We also have to give accolades to our outgoing State Senator Malcolm Smith who did not have to do anything for Rockaway, but brought in food, water and clothing.

Borough President Helen Marshall moved to Rockaway on a daily basis and her Deputy Barry Grodenchik coordinated help for Rockaway from his Borough Hall office even on weekends. Also a million thank you’s to Congressman Gregory Meeks, who was back and forth in Rockaway, lobbied President Obama for federal aid and appeared on national TV to speak on our behalf. Shame on Mayor Bloomberg for bringing President Obama to Staten Island but only flying over Rockaway.

More than a billion thank you’s to Council Member Elizabeth Crowley for organizing trucks, trucks and truckloads of needed clothes and food supplies. Special thanks to Judge Carmen Velasquez who helped to organize along with Jose Peralta, Francisco Moya Danny Moya, Danny Dromm and other elected officials the donation of much needed things. Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. and his staff personally called every day to ask what we needed and got the things we needed. It was amazing to see former Congressman Anthony Weiner and his wife out here helping. Others who came to help us included Comptroller John Liu, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Howie Pollack who represents Council Speaker Christine Quinn and even President Bill Clinton and his daughter Chelsea. Selevena Brooks, a former staff member for Senator Smith and a City Council candidate, was out there every day bringing food, water and supplies. I apologize to those whose names I've omitted but thank you all.

A billion thanks to the Verizon Wire-less outlet at 273

Beach 116 Street. Although they were destroyed by the surge they contacted me via my Facebook and got my 718-945-1216 calls sent to my cell phone so that my constituents could reach me. They are restocking with cell phones, battery chargers, and portable chargers. They are also experts on home phone lines. They expect to reopen on Monday December 3.

Many, many great thank you’s to Cozy Bowl bowling alley in Ozone Park for bringing truckloads of clothes and supplies to Rockaway. The owner's daughter Lisa Warnke coordinated the collection. A billion thank you’s to Lisa Long of Rockapup Pet Shop on Beach 116 Street who helped to save many ani-mals and provided free food and supplies. We want to thank the tens of thousands of volunteers from all over the world who have come to assist in our recovery.

We are urging all to attend the Ready for the Jetty rally to be held on Sunday December 2 at 1 p.m. at Beach 86 Street and Shorefront Parkway. We must have the jetties and additional sand in place before another storm arrives. We need your support.

We are calling for immediate action from the U.S. EPA to study air quality issues in Rockaway, Broad Channel and Breezy. Many people have a “Rockaway cough” respiratory infection. We do not need another 9/11 and have cancer deaths in later years.

All mail for the Good Government Regular Democratic Club and for District Leader Lew Simon including donations to help us rebuild can be sent to us care of the Ocean Promenade Rehabilation Center, 140 Beach 113 Street, Rockaway Park, NY 11694. Send your dues of $25 or whatever you can afford.

A special get well to our President Emeritus Sara S. Berger. She took a terrible fall during the hurricane and may have suffered a slight stroke. We ask everyone to keep her in their prayers.

Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder in a team with Assemblyman Mike Miller got a table of 10 sponsors at the Avenue Restaurant 71-22 Myrtle Avenue where I and members of my Democratic Club were able to have a beautiful, hot turkey dinner together, Dytis Kezys, owner of the establishment, welcomed us. The food is super delicious and the prices are reasonable. Thank you to both Assemblymen for making our Thanksgiving brighter.

We have been working diligently morning, noon and night, many days without sleep on the phones and Facebook (Lew M. Simon) reaching out to help all including getting phone calls from people from all over the U.S. checking on local family members. During this catastrophe we didn't see any political lines. It was beautiful to see Breezy Point's own Anne Heslin on TV after her own and her family's home burned to the ground still smiling and sharing all her love and plans to rebuild for the future.

May God bless each and every one of us. We are going through major tough times with the mass devastation that has occurred. We need to work together, stand strong and tough. We will rebuild and come back even stronger. Love you all. Call me even if you just want to chat. I am as heartbroken as we all are.

Oh our beautiful boardwalk. We hope it will be put back rapidly for our enjoyment. We must rebuild the trestle for the Rockaway line and want it above the reach of storm surges and with capacity for subway and LIRR trains. Governor Cuomo, heed our prayers and get this started now.

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Dear Lew, Amen! You

Dear Lew, Amen! You couldn't have said it any better!! I, too, have suffered a great many losses and, unfortunately, will have to leave my "Beloved Rockaway" looking for a new home. I do not want to leave Rockaway to find an apartment, but it would appear I have little choice. My husband and I have had a difficult time the past month trying to locate anything along the lines of what we had or close to it. I can no longer stay in my rental apartment in Belle Harbor. I am still without heat, electric & water and am living with severe mold and mildew throughout the apartment walls and closets. I have been experiencing a very bad upper respiratory cough, which has yet to let up since the beginning of this terrible hurricane. The next couple of weeks I was feeling so bad with fever and my chest/head cold living in such horrid conditions the 17 days or so without heat or hot water (before getting a hotel room) had really done me in coupled with my asthma and bronchitis already. I am sure I am one of many with a similar, if not, same problem. I am praying we can all fully recover from this in good health. I do not want to leave Rockaway to find an apartment for I have been back living here 16 years now, but it would appear I have little choice. My husband and I have had a difficult time the past month trying to locate anything along the lines of what we had or close to it. I hope I will be able to come back one day soon. Thank you so very much Lew for always taking such great care of your neighbors!" May God Bless You Always...! Always your "Rockaway Playland" Friends, Kathy & Chris McKeon


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