2014-02-21 / Columnists

Simon Says...

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

Lew M. Simon Lew M. Simon This has been the winter from hell. Enough is enough.

After the 2010 winter storms, Mayor Bloomberg changed snow plowing procedure. Sanitation plows primary roads. Plowing of secondary roads, beach blocks and dead end streets is contracted out to private companies. The private drivers do not have GPS connected to the Sanitation system and no one can keep track of them. We have asked Mayor de Blasio to have Sanitation provide the good service we are entitled to. We were told that they have a two year private snow removal contract. Hats off to Commissioner John Doherty who always does the right thing.

Who will remove the snow from the central medians on Beach 116th Street? Several people have been injured, including broken hips, from falling on the ice while trying to reach the Muni Meter.

A week ago I sent a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo requesting that the Crossbay Veterans Memorial Bridge toll be made free for all Queens residents. Our guests and visitors must pay and are deterred from visiting our community. Rockaway residents pay more for goods and services because bridge tolls are passed on to the consumer. The tolls are a deterrent to the revitalization of local business that we are all trying to help. When the bridge was built and rebuilt we were told that it would be free after the construction costs were recovered. We appreciate the continuation of the rebate program, but it is time that we move toward ending the toll.

While we are happy to see businesses reopening on Beach 116th Street, we are now taking 10 steps back. Jay Deutchman has reopened 158 Beach 116th Street and put in sex offenders. Now we need to get together and picket his home as we have done to other slumlords in the past.

Thanks to Eddie Pastore who presented me with a brand new bullhorn after my office burned, we're prepared to put it to use again.

We are saddened by the death of a great community activist Mary Lenihan. She was a lady of class, style and integrity. Her late husband Ben and son John spent thousands of hours working for the betterment of the Rockaway Park community. I feel that her husband Ben met her at the Gates of Heaven where she is a special angel looking out for our community. My sympathy to the whole family.

A proposal was brought to Community Board 14 to make the former Peninsula Hospital into a shelter. The speaker did not know who would utilize the shelter or where she could get grants for its costs. A board member stated that she had received other grants but did not actually provide services. I am determined that we reopen the Peninsula emergency room to relieve the overcrowding at St. Johns and provide better service for the middle and west end of our peninsula. Opening and closing of hospitals are under the control of New York State. It is the responsibility of Governor Cuomo to direct State Health Commissioner Shah to work with health professionals on the Rockaway peninsula to provide high quality emergency rooms and the medical and surgical services we need. Stop playing games with our health care.

The St. Patrick's Day Parade is coming on Saturday March 1st. We would appreciate it if anyone who has a convertible can drive me in the parade. The honorees were announced at the Queens County St. Patrick's Day Anniversary Ball. They include Donal O'Sullivan, CEO Norvill Contracting who brought volunteers after Sandy, Thomas Giblin, Business Manager Operating Engineers #68, Borough President Melinda Katz, Capt. Ed Bowles NYFD, Keith Woods, Stephen Valenti, Colin Mathers, Laura Brennan Angeles, Veronica Barry, Lily Corcoran, Major Terrence Flanagan, and Andrew Koslosky and Philip McManus NYPD and Div 21 AOH, Chair of the Queens Transit Coalition. Supreme Court Justice Tim Dufficy is Gael of the Year. I had a great time, sold the 50-50s and escorted NYS Regent Geraldine Chapey and spoke with her daughter, my co-leader Geraldine Chapey.

I am available to help with community problems. Call (718) 945-1216 for an appointment. My office is at the Beacon Rehab 140 Beach 115th Street. Send your dues of $25 to the Good Government Regular Democratic Club c/o Beacon.

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