2013-03-29 / Columnists

Simon says...

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

We’d like to wish everyone a happy Passover and joyous Easter. After 17 years and thousands of long hours advocating for and speaking out for reactivation of the Rockaway Beach line, the reality may be closer than we think.

We are proud to stand with our outstanding elected leaders in support of the reopening of the Rockaway Beach line. As Chair of the Rockaway Transit Coalition, we have been advocating for the MTA to make it possible for my constituents in Rockaway, Broad Channel, Breezy Point, Howard Beach and Ozone Park to have direct service to central Queens and Manhattan. This is a great day in a fight we have been in since 1996.

This train is a win-win for all of us. Rockaway residents will get to Penn Station in 32 minutes. The running time from Howard Beach is 20 minutes and only 18 minutes from Ozone Park. This will improve our quality of life and our property values. It will get traffic off Crossbay Boulevard, Woodhaven Boulevard and the Belt Parkway. It would keep traffic from a possible convention from choking our streets.

We want to thank our great Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder for carrying this fight since we brought together a group of transit experts to advise him during his first campaign. We would like to thank George Haikalis, our senior engineer and statesman, who has devoted his career to improving mass transit throughout the metropolitan area. I thank Carl Perrera and Norman Silverman who have kept working with a small group of retired transit managers and advocates to keep updating and keeping the plan alive.

We thank our great members of Congress, Hakeem Jeffries and Gregory Meeks, for carrying this fight to Washington so some of the federal aid to NYC goes for better transportation for all of us. We look forward to working together until this line is a reality. Together we will win.

We would like to give many thanks to Ocean Promenade Rehab for hearing our pleas for a much needed office for ourselves and the Good Government Regular Democratic Club. This will be a living room for our friends, neighbors and constituents who I call my family. This facility is of fine quality and patients get the love and care that is needed. As of Thursday April 11, we will be hosting weekly meetings of the GGRDC from 7 to 10 p.m.. Look for the announcement of our ribbon cutting and visits from high ranking elected officials. You can join the GGRDC by sending your dues ($25) or a contribution of any size to the GGRDC c/o Ocean Promenade, 140 Beach 113th Street Rockaway Park NY 11694. Call 718-945-1216 for an appointment to come in to chat or get help with any community problem. We are currently looking for a contribution of a four drawer locked file cabinet, office desk and comfortable leather chair for the office.

We are in full support of our postal workers for the continuation of full delivery service six days a week.

We are proud to announce that we have secured a grant from Sweet N Low for the Zumba Fitness Under the Stars which will be starting the last week of June.

This election year we will be choosing a new mayor, comptroller, public advocate, council member and borough president. We will have a great opportunity to hear from and question the Democratic candidates in person on what they will do for our community in light of hurricane Sandy. We will make sure that every candidate we support has our needs on their agenda.

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