2013-01-25 / Columnists

Simon Says...

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

As we look to rebuild our community, we all have many questions that need to be answered. It is quite unacceptable for those who live on the Peninsula and in Broad Channel that you cannot buy a stamp or pick up a parcel post package. As the pit bull I am, I took the initiative of reaching out to our new Postmaster, Cassandra Louie. She agreed to a meeting which we had on Wednesday evening at the Far Rockaway Post Office.

She presented us with a stock speech as though reading it out of the manual. She is a typical bureaucrat who toes the line. As we listened we felt that she was talking down to us and reminding us that she is the boss. I reminded her that under the leadership of Representative Meeks, a postal advisory council met once a month and then quarterly to discuss solutions to problems and initiatives for improvements in the whole Far Rockaway Postal area (11090-11697). She stated that there were no problems that needed to be discussed.

Ms. Louie officially became Postmaster on November 1st, just after the storm

We disagreed and said that the whole postal system on the Peninsula had to be rebuilt. We reminded Ms. Louie that we would reach out to our Congressman and the Triboro District to get work started on getting the postal services our constituents deserve.

We specifically demanded that service up to 7 or 8 p.m. be provided at each location at least once a week.

Ms. Louie told us that the refusal of Verizon to reinstall damaged phone lines made it difficult to provide many services that require secure phone lines. She suggested that retail stores apply for a permit to sell postage stamps.

Ms. Louie reviewed the situation in each zip code area. 11096 (Inwood) and 11691 (Far Rockaway) were functioning normally except for overcrowding causing long lines for buying stamps and picking up packages All the other stations were damaged. Electrical and phone problems continue. 11693 (Rockaway Beach) and 11694 (Rockaway Park) are owned by landlords who must make repairs. 11693 suffered foundation damage, but was not condemned.

A postal truck will be parked behind the Rockaway Park office. We objected that customers would have to stand out in the cold while waiting for service. We suggested that they rent the vacant store next to the Post Office so that service could be more convenient and secure lines could be run into the existing office while repairs continue. Pick-ups are supposed to be made from all street boxes unless the city declares the street is impassible.

The Far Rockaway Post Office lost all their inventory in the damaged offices. Mail that was in the system at that time has been disposed of as sewer water was included in the flooding. We asked for some official notice available to all affected local residents who are facing late charges and similar problems due to failure of the mail delivery. Ms. Louie will see if she can implement any late window service. She stated that it is difficult due to union rules.

If you are unable to get the postal services you need, you can call the postal service number at 1-800-275- 8777. If they cannot help you or if you have any ideas for improving service you may call us at 718-945-1216. We look forward to our Congressman reactivating the committee and shall continue to work on this until proper service is restored.

On Thursday evening we testified at the Moreland Commission hearing to pull the plug on LIPA. We were disappointed to find that several members of the Commission were not able to attend. Former Representative Rev. Floyd Flake spoke by telephone. Former Attorney General Bob Abrams and former Public Advocate Mark Green were not present. We hope that they read our statement and the other statements made at the meeting.

We were impressed that Benjamin Lawsky, Co-Chair of the Commission, Kathleen Rice, who is the D.A. of Nassau County, and Commission Staff Director Regina Calcaterra, who is Deputy Suffolk County Executive, listened and asked questions.

We had tried to encourage more local residents to attend and speak up at the hearing. The CB 14 chairperson said that the commission had already made its decision. Ben Lawsky stated that they had issued an interim report. While it is likely that the present structure of LIPA will be gone, there is a great deal more to be done to set up a new public or private entity to provide power for Nassau, Suffolk and Rockaway.

We suggested a new public advisory board for our electric utility. It was sad that the room was not packed to capacity after the treatment we got from LIPA.

Concerned parents have reached out to me about the destruction of play areas along Shorefront Parkway. We suggested a raised park 15 to 20 feet high between Shorefront Parkway and the old boardwalk. This would be a play area with access ramps and also protect the community from the next storm flood. We need a seawall and jetties before the next storm. Our children are our future.

The Good Government Regular Democratic Club needs your dues and contributions. Send your check to the GGRDC c/o Ocean Promenade Rehab, 140 Beach 113th Street, Rockaway Park 11694.

We are deeply saddened by the death of two outstanding individuals. Dr. Morton Nussbaum, was a chiropractor who treated me and my mom. He was a great friend to the Rockaway community and was a devoted father and uncle with a heart of gold.

I met Mary Romski over 20 years ago while campaigning to be District Leader. She was very involved in community, church and civic matters. She had a major problem with Con Ed which did not repair the streets and sidewalks after they dug them up. We worked together and solved the problem. Mary worked for us as an Inspector for the Board of Elections and was a Board member of the Women’s Democratic Club. She instilled the proper values in her children. We all know Gerry Romski Esq. the successful developer of Arverne by the Sea. He was always there to help his mom.

My deepest sympathy to both families. God must have needed two special angels.

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