2013-04-26 / Columnists

Simon Says

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


Lew Simon and friends cut the ribbon and make it official. His new offices are open! Lew Simon and friends cut the ribbon and make it official. His new offices are open! As we continue through the rebuilding process at the Good Government Regular Democratic Club, we will be holding forums for the candidates for city wide office.

On Thursday, May 2nd, we will hold a major forum with the Democratic candidates for Borough President. The candidates are State Senator Tony Avella, Councilman Leroy Comrie, Deputy Borough President Barry Grodenchik, former Assemblywoman and Councilwoman Melinda Katz, State Senator Jose Peralta, and Councilman Peter Vallone Jr.

The forum will be at our new headquarters at the Ocean Promenade Rehab Center, 140 Beach 113th Street at 7:30 p.m. sharp. The meeting will give you a chance to hear from the candidates personally and ask your own questions on issues. We would appreciate a large audience so the candidates and our city will know that Rockaway, Broad Channel and Breezy Point are still on the map. We have a beautiful, large room, are handicapped accessible and have a parking lot adjacent to the building.

We will accept a donation of $2.00 or more. Membership dues of $25 are welcomed. We do not receive any grants from the city, state or federal governments. All of our support comes from our members and friends.

Last Thursday we had the Grand Opening of the new headquarters of the Good Government Regular Democratic Club. Over 200 people were in attendance at various parts of the evening. Our Congressman Gregory Meeks, State Senator Joe Addabbo, Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder County Clerk Audrey Pheffer, our former Asemblywoman, Deputy Borough President Barry Grodenchik, Deputy Public Advocate Lydon Sleeper representing Public Advocate Bill deBlasio and George Funhall representing Comptroller John Liu.

Congressman Meeks spoke and answered questions about FEMA and the costs of rebuilding our community. After telling us about the rough week in Washington with the Boston bombing and the Senate defeat of expanded background checks for gun purchases, he told us that he is working to make Sandy victims whole. There are many questions that have not been settled.

As the new maps are completed, we will find out the exact boundaries of the flood zone. Meeks is working closely with his House colleagues, particularly Rep. Michael Grimm (R Staten Island). They are trying to get an extended phase-in of increased insurance rates and trying to keep increases at no more than five percent a year. Grimm lobbies Speaker Boehner while Meeks lobbies the administration.

The mayor’s Community Assistance plan may provide help but this has not yet been approved. The Congressman’s new Rockaway office is at 67-12 Rockaway Beach Boulevard. The phone number is 347-230-4032. Residents who have questions about federal issues should contact the Congressman’s office.

We thanked Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder for purchasing and donating new American flag for our meeting room. Deputy Borough President Grodenchik spoke individually with many of our members and publicly endorsed the reopening of the Rockaway Beach LIRR line. Senator Addabbo told us that he was glad to be back in Rockaway which he represented as a member of the City Council. Audrey Pheffer told us that she would like to come back to discuss the importance of jury duty.

Last Tuesday evening we attended the monthly Community Board 14 meeting. One of the big topics was a FEMA presentation. In the audience, we expected answers to our questions. We need to know how high we must raise our houses to keep our flood insurance. Instead we heard the FEMA representative answer every question with “I don’t know.” We remember the Watergate hearings when witnesses said they didn’t know or couldn’t recall. Talk about a waste of time.

Dan Mundy Jr., President of the Broad Channel Civic Association, knew more facts and necessary information than this clown did. God bless Dan Mundy Jr. and his father, Dan Mundy Sr., who have more and better answers because they do their homework.

One of the most important questions that came up was if barriers were constructed, would we still have to meet the height requirements to qualify for insurance? We are all in the same mess. We are concerned that insurance rates can go up to $30,000 or more.

Thanks to WAVE editor, Kevin Boyle, who has been doing extensive homework and trying to get answers to our questions. Kevin has done a superb job. We must all stay united and continue to attend meetings no matter what. If we do not, our community will get nothing. Thousands of residents of Toms River, NJ have joined a group called STOP FEMA NOW. They are against the expansion of flood zones. They say that the preliminary maps FEMA released are riddled with errors. They ask why their representatives voted for the Biggert-Waters Act and they want the Act revised.

On Thursday afternoon we attended the grand opening of Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder’s new office. Also attending were State Senator Joe Addabbo, County Clerk Audrey Pheffer, Deputy Borough President Barry Grodenchik and Rockaway’s other Assembly member, Michelle Titus. Many of our community and civic leaders including our own John Cori attended. Yours truly made sure to speak and publicly thank our great Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder and his wife Esther for the tens of thousands of hours that they have given the community in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

The Goldfeder home was destroyed in the storm. Esther, with their two young children, Asher and Eliana, has been so understanding and works as part of the team to help rebuild our district. Thank you for all you have done. The office is located at 214 Beach 96th Street.

Voter registration may be a problem this year. Make sure that you are registered to vote in the September primary. Call 718-945-1216 or see us at the meeting if you need help. We need a desk, 45L, 30H and 24 depth with locks as well as a two-drawer file cabinet for our office. Let us know if you can help.

Last week I took a personal tour of the Breezy Point community and spoke with many of the shareholders. I was crushed and devastated to see that close to 600 homes have been burnt, destroyed or demolished thanks to hurricane Sandy. There was another fire last week. My heart and soul go out to my family in Breezy.

I am available to help with any community issue. Call 718-945-1216. We intend to hold meetings at Ocean Promenade each Thursday evening. We will send notices to our local newspapers. If you give us your phone or e mail we will send you a notice each week.

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