Tag Archive: Lew Simon

Oct 31 2013

Simon Says: It’s Go Time!

Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 8.28.21 PMLongtime community activist, Lew Simon has all the pieces in play to take back the 32nd City Council District.

This evening I had the chance to chat with Democrat Lew Simon about his path to victory. While Simon has run before and lost, this year he is more organized by hiring an experienced campaign staff from Red Horse Strategies. 

“We’ve been on the phones, going door to door and we will be pulling them out on Election day,” Lew said describing his campaign’s strategy as focused – not only having identified the support he intends to pull out but concentrating on a large-scale ground operation.  

Lew is running against incumbent Eric Ulrich, a one term Councilman who Simon said failed to serve the entire community during his tenure. Simon cites Ulrich’s poor attendance record at Borough Board and stated Council meetings, as well as his reputation for ignoring constituents pleas for help, as grounds for removal.

“He has one of the fifth lowest attendance at meetings! That’s unacceptable when you’re being paid,” said Simon who went on to explain that if elected as a member of the Democratic party, he would be empowered to chair a committee (Simon set his eyes on Parks and Recreation) unlike his Republican rival that while in the minority party cannot chair any committees thus limiting his ability to accomplish an agenda.


Lew Simon speaks at a local rally.

Counting on his experience as a longtime Assembly District Leader, Simon feels he’ll be better able to communicate with constituents. He mentioned the support his campaign received as proof, calling it a “fusion” including members of ethnic coalitions, civic organizations, even members of his opponent’s party.

“I never would have expected Republicans to come over and work with me and I’m proud to have them,” said Simon.

His agenda for City Hall is pretty robust. “My first priority is rebuilding after the hurricane.” Simon vowed to make sure his district gets everything available “by not playing favorites” and calling participatory budgeting “a great thing”.

Neighborhood safety is also a major priority. “There are many parts of the district that have not gotten help… We need better lighting, additional police, the old-fashioned way of police officers walking the beat, not cameras, cameras that don’t do anything,” Simon explained.

In terms of supporting the Community Safety Act, Simon said “it is ridiculous to threaten police officers with lawsuits,” and pointing to the Civilian Complaint Review Board, which is already in place, by giving it an enforcement mechanism by appropriate legislation.

Recently Simon had two stints placed in his heart, however the downtime had not taken him off the campaign trail entirely, in fact he made the most of it and campaigned right from his bedside.

“For the few days I was out, I’ve done more by phone, and the staff are working hard. Field operations are doing a superb job and I thank them.”


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/10/lew-simon-says-its-victory-time/

Oct 28 2013

Saffran Sinks His Campaign With Secret Ulrich Alliance


As if Dennis Saffran didn’t have enough problems  trying to get from Douglaston to Whitestone without a GPS, he’s lost all local GOP “muscle” for his bid to replace Dan Halloran in CD19.

By aligning with a paper tiger, Dennis Saffran might as well throw in the towel and avoid the embarrassment on Election Day.

According to a North Queens GOP insider, word on the street is that Dennis Saffran is getting no support from the Queens Republican County organization and relying on a skeletal campaign staff from Nassau county.

There was a time when Dennis Saffran was seen as a rising star, but those days are over. The rift allegedly began when Saffran publicly switched his support mid-primary from John Catsimatidis, who was supported by the Queens GOP, to Joe Lhota and thus aligning himself with whom many insiders call one of the biggest pompous and delusional politicos in Queens county, none other than power-hungry boy wonder Eric Ulrich.

Digging a little deeper, a “friendship” was quickly born. Rumor has it Saffran and Councilman Ulrich became best friends, at least that’s what Saffran was lead to believe — Mr. Saffran has been overheard taking multiple calls from Ulrich under the auspices of Ulrich offering this seldom-seen opportunist his amateurish “advice,” which Saffran bought hook, line, and sinker. As a matter of fact, Ulrich has been seen in this northeast Queens district more times than Saffran who has been missing in action for the past 10 years, but that’s not the point here. Saffran’s switch was a political embarrassment — and now when the time has come when he needs help on the ground and volunteers, he’s not getting anything, resorting to second-rate campaign staff from Nassau and Suffolk county that don’t even know the district, but that’s still not the point. In the final days leading up to the election, his campaign has certainly atrophied in desperate need of the limited resources he could have gotten from the Queens GOP, but they’re not coming.

Eric Ulrich Daily News PhotoQuestions remain. Did Saffran really think aligning himself with Eric Ulrich would help him in the North? Considering the storied history of Ulrich and his cronies resorting to a barrage of endless legal tricks and political maneuvering to steal control of the Queens GOP, lining himself up with Ulrich would have severe political consequences and it wouldn’t be that hard to foresee this would be a huge mistake to come back and cost him — especially considering the GOP is headquartered in CD 19 — but obviously he didn’t get the message. And let’s not forget the Southern GOP rebels are going to have enough trouble with Democrat Lew Simon, he may win so how exactly are they going to help Saffran? As it turns out, no one is. And Saffran can only thank his own imbecility.

Meanwhile, and here’s the ironic part, Ulrich made his disdain of Saffran crystal clear to political insiders. Still, questions remain like aren’t there potholes on Cross Bay Blvd to worry about? How can you serve constituents while you’re busy pretending to be a party boss and meddling in elections on the other side of town?

Ulrich has zero influence in this part of Queens, but no one told Saffran and now he’s screwed on all sides.


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/10/dennis-saffran-sinks-campaign-w-ulrich-alliance/

Jul 23 2013

The Rise of Lew Simon, Hurricane Sandy Hero


2013 is the year of political comebacks.

Democratic District Leader Lew Simon’s ship may have landed after Hurricane Sandy.

According to our sources from the Rockaways, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy’s destruction, Lew Simon organized the community and played an instrumental role in advocating for the recovery and rebuilding of the Rockaways.

The voting constituency has taken due notice thereof.

Now let’s be real; Simon lost a few elections in the past, however his colorful antics have become legendary in South Queens – he’s known by everyone. But now the tides have changed -and with a missing in action Republican councilman in a pivotal reelection year – the smart money is stating that Lew Simon may actually have his day in the sun and defeat incumbent Republican Councilman Eric Ulrich.

Rumors of an in-house poll placing Lew Simon neck and neck with Eric Ulrich have circulated the political establishment and may have played a pivotal role in reassuring Democratic leadership that Simon could actually pull it off this time around.

He is running unopposed in the primary and will face off with Ulrich in November.

In the meantime, rain or shine, he’s pressing the flesh and going door to door spreading his message of advocacy for increasing public transportation options, storm relief for The Rockaways, Broad Channel, Breezy Point, and Hamilton Beach, plus construction of sea barriers, including a new boardwalk and a new hospital for the Rockaways and in south Queens as well.

It’s ironic that the individual who was sometimes seen as the misunderstood activist of the Democratic Party could finally put the nail in the coffin of the Southern faction of the Queens GOP. In On The Waterfront Marlon Brando’s character yelled, “I coulda been a contender,” but in this city election on the Rockaway waterfront, yes Lew Simon, you are finally a contender.


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/07/the-rise-of-lew-simon/

Nov 03 2012

DEMS Respond to call for help in South Queens

Political offices are being used as supply depots and relief centers like the office of Democratic Assemblyman Mike Miller pictured above.

Several Democrats have rolled up their sleeves to pitch in and help with what is being called a war zone in Southern Queens.

Thousands are still without power, food, water, and shelter. The gas shortage is breeding tensions as patience is wearing thin. More and more people seem to be at the breaking point looking for relief. Luckily a few super Democrats have mobilized to volunteer and assist the distressed residents of the Rockaways, Broad Channel, Breezy Point, and Howard Beach.

“So far the biggest issue was getting food to the people who need it,” said Nick Roloson, President of the Queens County Young Dems. “I just came back from Rockaway and it looks like a war zone. The streets are covered in sand and mud. The air stinks of gas, and no one had food.”

Roloson has mobilized the Young Democrats and recruited friends and other elected officials to help with the disaster response. “We’ve been collecting food from all over Queens and Brooklyn making sure that these people get fed. We had pizzas, cereal, everything. It felt great when you got to see the smiles on the faces of the people who hadn’t eaten in a while.”

Democrat Steve Behar of Bayside drove his truck all the way down to the Rockaways to volunteer with City Councilman (Senator-elect) James Sanders. Together they surveyed the Rockaways helping to cut away trees and meet with people in the district. “We’re trying to get them in tough with the right people to help them,” said Behar who described a makeshift table set up in front of Sander’s office which lost power during the hurricane to help assist people. Power has not yet  been restored.

“My office literally burnt to the ground,” said Lew Simon, a District Leader from  23rd Assembly District and constituent liaison to Senator Shirley Huntley. “There’s a lot of anger and people are looting and fighting over water. It’s a war zone and people are in a total panic,” he said with a sense of exhaustion. Simon traveled to one of the worst hit areas in the Rockaways to volunteer, but said “he couldn’t be much help due to the severity of the situation and went online to assist and help people locate their loved ones.”

As far as other elected officials, many of them have taken to the Internet and social media to help spread the word, for example, posting notifications of the next available dry ice drop, or relief center stocked with donated food and cloths. But some elected officials may have been missing in action. According to Simon, “Well I have not seen or heard from Eric Ulrich, but I did hear from Joe Addabbo and Malcolm Smith.” Simon also alleged, “Eric was in the command center in Manhattan during the entire storm which is unacceptable.”

Many other pols have chipped in. City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley sent a truckload of food and Senator Jose Peralta, City Councilman Danny Dromm, and  Assembly members Michael DenDekker and  Francisco Moya were down there with rolled up sleeves lending a hand wherever they could.

Despite the dire circumstances, the disaster is bringing out the best in some people and everyone seems to be putting politics aside to pitch in to help their neighbors, even strangers.

“Hey, I run a political club but as Gov. Christie showed the other day – when people’s lives are in danger you have to rise above it and use your political skill for something greater,” said Roloson.


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/11/dems-react-to-disaster-hurricane-sandy/

Oct 17 2011

Lew Simons of The World Getting Attention

Hon. Lew Simon. Democratic District Leader 23rd A.D. Part B, best known for chasing raccoons says he will keep the mustache at all costs. This is an important man.

Shocking: Democratic clubs with ten members get to choose Mayoral Candidate.

Who’s canoodling for attention these days? I’ll tell you. The following ‘candidates’ are competing for Queens party boss Joe Crowley’s attention – and to a lesser degree Brooklyn party boss Vito Lopez.

How are they doing it? Visiting local Democratic Clubs, flirting with District Leaders, even the one’s with a few screws loose, according to insiders.

District Leaders heavily influence the Democratic party’s nomination process. In Queens, it’s tantamount to election. Political hopefuls, or more often than not, party insiders get the endorsement, which some call a corronation. Many of these clubs barely qualify as clubs. It’s pathetic, but standard procedure.

It’s that time of year. So expect a visit from these candidates at your local political club.

For those of you in multiple clubs expect to hear the same speech.

Here they are:

  1. Quinn
  2. Liu
  3. Thompson
  4. Avella
  5. de Blasio

“Joe Crowley will need disinfectant because everyone will be kissing his ring.”

What is a District Leader?

A District leader is an unpaid elected party position. District Leaders often arise from political clubs. Each Assembly District has a male and female post and they serve for two years. Republicans too. Sometimes it’s a patronage post (have this so you stop crying about wanting to run when we already picked someone) and sometimes it’s a springboard for higher office. It’s like getting your foot in the door. DL’s reward loyalty by hiring poll workers. Some DL’s are more vocal and do great things for the community while others have questionable residencies. Generally I see them as little party whips. They play a role for endorsements during campaign season, help elected judges, and are generally political insiders.

For a great article on the duties of a District Leader read M. Burgo’s blog post on How To Pick A District Leader.


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2011/10/lew-simons-of-the-world-getting-attention/

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