2000-01-26 / Political Page

Women Dems Throwing Party For Hillary In LIC


On what would ordinarily be a quiet Sunday afternoon in Long Island City, the area around 21-03 45th Rd. will be jumping with activity on Feb. 6th as First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton comes to town as guest of honor at "an interactive houseparty" sponsored by three Democratic women.

But the women involved really set the event apart from what generally is described as a campaign coffee klatsch. All are very closely allied with Queens Democratic leader Thomas Manton, and one is particularly close. That would be Diane Manton, the Democratic leader’s wife. The other two are Marie Konecko, Manton’s longtime Democratic district co–leader in the Sunnyside area, and Fran Farrell Kraft, a member of Manton’s local organization inner circle going back many years.

Thus the house party for Hillary in essence has the all but official endorsement of the Queens Democratic organization so it should be especially well attended. County Leader Manton will attend, and he will head what is expected to be an SRO crowd.

Mrs. Clinton hasn’t officially announced she’s a candidate for the United States Senate yet, but it can be anticipated she’ll have strong support from Manton and the Queens Dems.

The houseparty will be held from 3 to 5:30 p.m., tickets are $25 a piece, and Fran Kraft is accepting RSVPs at (718) 784-3667.


Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who’s expected to be battling Mrs. Clinton as her Republican opponent in the Senate campaign, last week got into a dispute with the state’s Republican leaders, whose full and unquestioned support he will need in his campaign.

The mayor, at a City Hall press conference last Tuesday, declared he favored an open Republican presidential primary on Mar. 7th and U.S. Senator John McCain should be given the chance to oppose frontrunner George W. Bush in the balloting for presidential convention delegates. The Texas governor has the support of the state’s Republican leaders from Governor George Pataki on down, and the GOP leadership is seeking to keep McCain off the ballot.


Among the McCain delegate slates being challenged is the one headed by Kathleen Ashton of Woodside, who is coordinating McCain’s campaign in that district. The Ashton slate’s petitions are being challenged at the Board of Elections by Anne Gentile.

Ashton, a registered nurse, wasn’t too optimistic about getting the required number of signatures late last month. "With less than a week, it will be an uphill battle to secure enough signatures to qualify John McCain to be a candidate in this district," she said in a release.

"I’m sure there are other McCain supporters in Queens who share my conviction that Senator McCain should not be shut out of the New York primary for President of the United States."

According to a list of challenges to delegate petitions provided by the board of Elections, the Ashton challenge is the only one being brought among the borough Republicans. The 7th Congressional District comprises parts of western Queens and a portion of the Bronx. The 9th CD also comes into the Middle Village–Forest Hills areas of Queens. Parts of that general area are fairly strong Republican enclaves. For instance Councilmember Thomas Ognibene, a Republican–Conservative is the local legislative representative and his area includes Ridgewood, Glendale and Middle Village all of which are in either the 7th CD or 9th CD.

Despite the harm that can befall the mayor from his pro–McCain stance on this issue (he’s actually supporting Bush for president), he said he took it because, "A political party that’s open to primaries ends up being a much more active and growing political party."

Besides the effort by McCain to block the Republican leadership’s bid to disqualify his petitions in about half of the state’s 31 congressional districts, he has also sued in federal court to get on the ballot.

As for the mayor, you can either applaud his backing of a place for McCain on the ballot or call him unwise for possibly weakening his party support in his Senate bid. Actually it looks like a "can’t lose" situation for all the Republicans involved. If McCain gets on the ballot, Bush will probably win most of the delegates, McCain supporters will then get behind Bush and the ballot fight will hardly be remembered. The same will apply to the mayor. He needs the party’s support and, more importantly, the party can’t pass up the opportunity to win a U.S. Senate seat so they’ll have to give him total support in his bid against Hillary Clinton.

Other than the Republicans, the Independence Party of Queens is engaged in a furious battle for delegates. Gerald R. Everett, who succeeded Michael Niebauer of Whitestone as county leader, has challenged Niebauer’s attempt to become a delegate and other Niebauer allies seeking to become delegates for Donald Trump are also being challenged.

Everett explained that Niebauer is sort of on a fool’s quest anyway because the Reform Party, with which the Independence Party is affiliated, does not use the delegate system of nominating a presidential candidate.

Everett said one can only run as an uncommitted delegate in any state, so Niebauer is in error since he’s trying to become a delegate committed to Trump.

"In our party," Everett explained, "every member of the party gets a chance to vote for their choice of a presidential candidate and the results are then disclosed at the party’s national conventions’


Longtime Jackson Heights Democratic leader and community activist Helen Sears had a fundraiser recently but, she says, she doesn’t have her sights set on any public office at the moment.

In response to a question whether she’s planning to run for the seat held by Councilmember John Sabini, who is her Democratic co–leader and cannot run for re–election because of term limits, Sears responded: "I am concentrating on what’s going to happen this year and I’ll be devoting all my time to Vice President Gore’s candidacy."

Sears drew an impressive turnout for her fundraiser. County leader Manton, Council Speaker Vallone, Borough President Claire Shulman, Congressmember Joseph Crowley and his co–leader Assemblymember Marge Markey, state Senator George Onorato, former Board of Eduction President Carol Gresser, and Assemblymembers Ivan Lafayette and Brian McLaughlin were among those who attended.


Congressmember Carolyn Maloney (D–Manhattan/Astoria) visited the Mount Sinai Hospital of Queens in Astoria last Friday to look in on its family health center.

Maloney also met with hospital officials to discuss their plans for upgrading the emergency room and patient care areas. At the family care center the lawmaker read to children there as part of the "Reach Out and Read" program, which she described as "a national model of progressive health care."


State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky (D–Flushing) won some interesting committee assignments as she started her senate career recently. She was appointed the ranking Democrat of the Consumer Protection Committee and also to the Education and Higher Education Committees, with which her late husband, Leonard, was so closely identified.

Stavisky was also happy to be appointed to the Transportation Committee because it will give her closer oversight of the subway construction renovation at the Main Street station in Flushing, which she feels is not being done properly.


City Council Speaker Peter Vallone and Councilmembers Walter McCaffrey (D–Woodside) and Karen Koslowitz (D–Forest Hills) last week led the effort to pass legislation that prohibits banks from charging two fees when a customer uses an ATM machine at a bank where he or she doesn’t have an account.

Commenting on the bill’s introduction, Vallone said, "We are not opposed to banks charging a reasonable fee to cover the cost of an ATM transaction. However, the surcharges are nothing more than extra and unnecessary fines to customers."

Koslowitz, noting customers aren’t even aware they’re being charged two fees, said, "They shouldn’t be slapped with the extra surcharge." Koslowitz heads the Council’s Consumer Affairs Committee.

McCaffrey, a chief sponsor of the bill, declared, "The banks complained when we legislated safety requirements at ATMs and they will complain when we ban surcharges. But, like the exorbitant fees they charge for checking and savings accounts, they see a cash bonanza with ATMs."

The bill seems assured of passage.

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