2013-06-07 / Columnists

Simon says...

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

We are currently running for the City Council in the 32 C.D. with the support of the Queens Democratic Organization. We call on all registered Democrats in the district to sign the petition to get my name on the ballot. If you would like us to come to you with a petition or contribution envelope with a card which must be filled out call 718-945- 1216.

A few months ago we sat at a meeting at Beach Channel High School. We gave our thoughts, ideas and suggestions concerning the future of our beaches, boardwalk and bay barrier. We all agreed on protection, protection, protection. We agreed that we need a new boardwalk with a height of 8 to 10 feet, with a seawall on both sides and a double dune system, 6 to 8 foot walls from Beach 126 Street to Beach 149 Street and 6 to 8 feet along the bay. As the hurricane season approaches, everyone's heart is racing and we are praying there is no recurrence of the storm we had.

On Wednesday evening we met again and basically got the shaft. We got a beautiful slide showing protection systems used in other states and nations. We were told that there was no plan other than use of the trap bags which have already exploded during rainstorms. The sand is still blowing in our eyes and down the streets. The city is still dragging its feet. There is absolutely no talk of replacing the boardwalk any time soon. We are angry, outraged and disgusted.

This past weekend the beaches from Beach 86th Street to Beach 108th Street were suddenly declared unsafe and closed due to lack of sand. We called Rockaway Parks Administrator Jill Weber who confirmed that the beaches will be closed until sand replenishment is done which could be the end of June or later. Overcrowding was a factor in serious fights which broke out on the beach.

On Tuesday afternoon we spoke out at a public hearing of the City Council Transportation, Economic Development and Waterfront Committees. We made our voices heard that the ferry should continue not only through the summer but forever with seven days service. We questioned why it could not be free like the Staten Island and Red Hook ferries. If we continue the subsidized $2.00 fare, it still costs the city less than express buses. It was great to see so many of our neighbors speak out. We were extremely impressed and pleased that Karen Koslowitz, Chair of the Economic Development Committee, spoke out loud and clear that this ferry should stay alive. After the meeting the mayor announced that the ferry would continue for six more weeks.

Last weekend everyone in Rockaway, Broad Channel and Breezy Point was Irish. The 1st Annual Irish Festival sponsored by the Hibernians Division 21 had great Irish music and step dancing. Everyone shared in the good times. The Hibernians did a dynamite job and raised lots of money for St. Camillus and Blessed Trinity parishes. Hats off and thank you.

On Tuesday evening we attended the Neponsit Property Owners meeting. Everyone is angry with the lack of protection and the lack of needed help. On Monday, June 10th, Congressman Gregory Meeks will host a Town Hall at 6:30 p.m. at St. Francis de Sales Church with city and state officials discussing Sandy recovery block grants. We need Election Inspectors for Primary Day, September 10, Runoff, October 1 and Election Day, November 5. You must be a registered Democrat in the 23 A.D. Part B. The pay is $200 for each day plus $100 for a required training class. You may call me at 718-945- 1216 for more information.

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