2013-07-26 / Columnists

Simon says...

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


Lew M. Simon Lew M. Simon We are very proud to have championed the cause by asking our Congressmen Gregory Meeks and Hakeem Jeffries to get the rules changed so that homeowners who did not accept loan offers from the Small Business Administration (SBA) will be eligible for grant money for the repair of their homes. Many local residents followed the advice given by FEMA and other authorities for everyone to make an application. They were later told that they were no longer eligible for grant funds. Please let us know if the funds arrive.

During the heat wave this past week many of us missed the chance to sit on the boardwalk benches and cool off in the evening. Boardwalk repair is a city issue and your local Council Member should be pushing the Parks Department to get the job done this summer. The members of the City Council Parks and Recreation Committee get to question the Parks Commissioner and top staff when the budget is due. Four of the seven members of the committee are from Queens, but our current Council Member is not. If elected to the Council, I will make getting a seat on the committee my highest priority. Maybe then we can get Parks to find a way to keep lifeguards on duty until 8 p.m. during a heat wave.

We'd like to commend the Graybeards for being a real charity for all who need it. NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is investigating a number of other groups that raised millions to help Sandy victims, but gave little to people actually in need. The people of Rockaway, Broad Channel, Breezy Point and Howard Beach can really use the cash donated for storm victims.

On Sunday evening, we stood with our great friend Phil McManus, in our community to continue the fight for better transportation. I am the only candidate for city council in the 32nd who supports reactivation of the Rockaway Beach line. We spoke out at recent hearings to keep our ferry running and affordable or even free. We were the only elected officials to appear at the Transportation Committee of Community Board 14 when the MTA Vice President, Operations Planning, Norman C. Silverman (not a local resident) heard from numerous local residents who were suffering from poor bus service and planning. I supported my community and sharply questioned MTA bus service in our community. We have seen some improvement, but there is much more to be done.

Every time we pass the closed and dark Peninsula Hospital, we think about where we would go, and how long would it take, if emergency strikes. We will fight for a brand new state of the art hospital. We must now fight to stop any loss or reduction of services at St. John's Hospital.

Every year as the city budget comes due we threaten to close Senior Centers, or replace Meals on Wheels or Access A Ride. We should never even think about cutting off our seniors.

As we work to keep slumlords and zoning violators from destroying our community, we need a Building Inspector assigned to follow up on problems brought to our Community Board and local elected officials.

The Department of Education has wasted millions on closing and reopening schools, salaries for half a dozen principals and administrators in a single building and busing students all over the city. We will insist on a fair share of funding for our schools. We must have properly trained teachers for technology and laboratory science so our children will have a chance to compete for the jobs of the future.

We need your help in order to win our bid for the City Council. We need to work as a team. Our fundraiser will be on Thursday August 8th at the Irish Circle from 7 to 11 p.m. For $50 you will get a buffet dinner, a DJ and beer. My victory will be our victory. We need your help. Call (718) 945-1216. Checks must be made out to Lew M. Simon 2013. Campaign finance rules require a contribution card that must be filled out.

We are out every day talking with residents of our district. If you would like to drive or come with us, call my office. Election Board inspectors are paid $200 a day for primary, runoff and elections day. If you are a registered Democrat in the 23 A.D. call my office.

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