2013-12-27 / Columnists

Simon says...

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

Lew M. Simon Lew M. Simon We'd like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and blessed New Year with peace, happiness, health and wealth to all.

On Monday evening we met with staff from Mayorelect de Blasio's team. As a Democratic District Leader and supporter of the mayorelect, we set up a meeting with me and a few board members of the Good Government Regular Democratic Club to discuss a number of issues affecting our community.

We made it clear that the boardwalk plays a central role in the life of our community. The boardwalk is our protection, recreation and the magnet which draws visitors that keep much of our business community alive.

Our residents turned out in large numbers for meetings on rebuilding the boardwalk and the rest of the community. Parks Department officials were present, but obviously did not listen. They installed expensive, ugly and poorly built life guard stations and rest rooms. We must have top Parks Department officials who listen to and work with our community and its rebuilding.

Residents of the Rockaway peninsula need better transportation to Manhattan. We must keep the subsidized Rockaway ferry. We must have express bus service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We must allow buses that leave from the Beach 49th garage to start picking up passengers in Rockaway. We must reopen the Rockaway Beach line. With the storm damage, we must have all of our streets repaved and resurfaced. We have fought to have the Crossbay Bridge tolls removed for Rockaway and Broad Channel residents and want them removed for all Queens residents.

We must have our comprehensive, community high school for the children of our community. We agree with the mayor-elect's plans to stop closing schools. We want an experienced New York City educator as the next Chancellor. We are glad that former District 27 Superintendent Kathleen Cashin is under consideration,

We need community hospitals in our isolated community. We fought to keep Peninsula Hospital open and expect the city to join us as we all fight to see that St. John's survives and gets the resources it needs to serve us. We told the de Blasio staff that reopening a city program at the Rockaway Beach Hotel would bring criminals and other disruptive persons on a commercial street that is struggling to recover from Hurricane Sandy.

Most of the commissioners and deputies of the de Blasio team have not yet been selected. We will set up meetings in our community so that they can become familiar with us and our needs as soon as they are available.

On Tuesday evening we attended the Community Board 14 public meeting which featured a joint presentation by NYC Parks and NYC Economic Development on boardwalk rebuilding. Greg Clancy, Sr. Vice President said that bids for pilings and baffle walls would be sent out this week. Bids for pile caps and concrete planking would be sent out on January 24th.

The existing concrete supports will be replaced. The baffle walls are not considered storm protection. Many of us have screamed for storm protection and we still don't have it. Boardwalk construction Phase I Beach 86th Street to Beach 97th Street is scheduled for spring 2014; Phase II will be Beach 98th Street to Beach 108th Street for summer 2014. We have concerns about the lack of final approval, traffic impact, foundation damage and priority given to Coney Island and Staten Island boardwalks.

Special shout outs to Julia of Strand's at Beach 103rd at Rockaway Beach Blvd. who has cut my hair for over 25 years. She is extremely professional and does men's and ladies hair and the Beach 116th Street Verizon store which sells notebooks, tablets as well as Triple Play. Remember to shop locally. Send your $25 dues to the Good Government Regular Democratic Club at 140 Beach 113th Street. Rockaway Park 11694.

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