Campaign Activity Escalates With Primary Day Only 13 Days Away
Just 13 days remain to the Sept. 12th primaries, so campaign activity is reaching a fever pitch with candidates announcing endorsements, blaring ads on radio, and still reaching out to contributors for campaign cash.
Michael Gianaris and Kimon Thermos, running for the Democratic Party nomination for the 36th Assembly District seat, announced endorsements last week. Queens Borough President Claire Shulman endorsed Gianaris as "an accomplished member" of Community Planning Board 1, covering Astoria, and as counsel to the United Community Civic Association (UCCA), watchdog over LaGuardia Airport activities.
UCCA president Rose Marie Poveromo, hosted an event for Gianaris, at which she and Gianaris trumpeted their strong opposition to old and new power plants in Astoria/Long Island City. City Council Speaker Peter Vallone, also at the party, reaffirmed his support for Gianaris, as did John Pellitteri, president of the Astoria Civic Association.
Thermos, meanwhile, highlighted his labor union support as he joined Communications Workers of America (CWA) members on picket lines as they struck against Verizon Wireless. At the 30th Street picketing site, Thermos ticked off his labor endorsements—CWA Local 1180, Painters Local number 9, and the Port Authority Police Benevolent Association.
Meanwhile, Vallone is sponsoring a get-out-the-vote rally for Gianaris tomorrow night (Thurs-Aug. 31) featuring former Governor Mario Cuomo. It’s at the Crystal Palace, 31-01 Broadway, Astoria from 6-8 p.m. Other speakers scheduled are Borough President Claire Shulman, former Congressmember Tom Manton (the Queens Democratic leader), Congressmembers Joseph Crowley and Carolyn Maloney, state Senator George Onorato and Assemblymember Denis Butler. This is a clear signal the regular Democrats in Queens are doing all they can to elect Gianaris and keep the 36th AD seat in their hands.
Thermos and Gianaris also pursued their campaigns with messages broadcast in Greek over Greek-language cable TV as they reached out for their Greek–American support, a crucial element in their expectedly close contest.
KOCH ENDORSEMENT: Former Mayor Edward I. Koch got involved in a Queens Democratic primary last week, endorsing challenger Patrick O’Malley, a Sunnyside lawyer, in his bid against incumbent Assemblymember Catherine Nolan in the 37th AD (Ridgewood).
Koch blasted Nolan for joining other Assembly Dems last year in supporting repeal of the commuter tax, which relieved surbanites who work in New York City of the income tax they had been paying into city coffers.
Nolan, a heavy favorite to win renomination and re-election, said she "expected it—he did it in a previous election." She said Koch’s action dates back to when she supported former Governor Mario Cuomo against Koch in a gubernatorial primary. "He never forgets," she said, referring to the former mayor in a benevolent tone.
O’Malley, 33, has been making the commuter tax repeal one of his main issues against Nolan. A former Queens assistant district attorney under DA Richard A. Brown, O’Malley is a member of the Anoroc Regular Democratic Club, county leader Thomas Manton’s home club. He’s also vice president of the United 40’s Civic Association. He’s hoping good luck at the polls runs in the family—his older brother, Martin, 37, was elected mayor of Baltimore last year, the youngest person ever to hold that post.
INDY FIGHT GOES ON: The struggle for the Queens Independence Party took another unexpected turn last Wednesday night when the incumbent leader, Gerald Everett of Woodside, and his fellow officers resigned in the face of a recall motion and costly court fight and former Queens leader Michael Niebauer was restored as county leader.
Everett, Secretary Molly Honigsfeld (Long Island City), Treasurer Anne P. Snyder (Woodside) and At-Large Member Donna Williams (Rockaway Park) all resigned when Niebauer, of Whitestone, made the motion to recall the slate, a move authorized under party rules.
Everett and the others had been installed as the Queens leaders several months ago after the courts had settled the state leadership question by ruling Frank McKay as state committee chairman. McKay, an Everett ally, then designated Everett and the others as party officers in Queens.
But at last Wednesday’s meeting, the aggressive Niebauer relit the controversy by invoking the parliamentary tactic of a recall motion.
Everett said that, rather than get into a costly court action to fight the recall, "we decided to resign our positions for 20 days and go before the voters on Primary Day and let them decide it." Everett and Niebauer and their respective slates will slug it out on the ballot in one of the few primaries to be decided on Sept. 12th.
Niebauer hailed the reinstatement as an "overwhelming sign of support by our state committee members," two-thirds of whom were present. "I will now take back the Queens Independence Party from the Manhattan-based new Alliance Party and their anti-Semitic hate agenda," he declared.
BIRTLEY CHALLENGES CROWLEY: Addressing an audience which included top Queens Republican Party officials such as state Senator Serphin Maltese and City Council Minority Leader Thomas Ognibene, chairman and deputy chairman of the Queens organization, Rose Robles Birtley formally announced her candidacy against Congressmember Joseph Crowley (D–Elmhurst) in the November elections.
Birtley, who ran once before for the 7th Congressional District seat and resides in Kew Gardens, made her formal announcement at the Grand Bay Marina Restaurant in Flushing Meadows–Corona Park. Among those present were state Senator Frank Padavan (R–C, Bellerose) and City Councilmember Alfonso Stabile (R–C, Howard Beach).
HILLARY OPPONENT WANTS DEBATES: Dr. Mark McMahon, the Manhattan surgeon who’s the lone opponent against Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democrates Party nomination for United States Senator, called for a series of debates with Mrs. Clinton last Friday, but at this writing, the nation’s First Lady had not agreed.
McMahon, who’s been doing a lot of campaigning in upstate New York, issued his debate challenge in Binghampton. While there, he visited a brother who resides in nearby Montgomery.
POLL WORKERS WANTED: The Queens Board of Elections is looking for workers to man the polls on Primary Day. In advertisements in several publications, the board offered $130 for the 5: 30 a.m. to 9 p.m. day of assisting at the polls, plus $25 for training. Qualifications: you must be an enrolled Democrat or Republican. For applications and additional information, call (718) 392-8989, ext. 237.
CAMPAIGNING WITH LAZIO: GOP Queens leader state Senator Serphin Maltese and Astoria leader Vince Tabone accompanied the organization’s vice chairwoman; Mei Lin Tan, when all campaigned with Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rick Lazio in Flushing recently. Maltese and Tan, a Chinese–American, said the Flushing stop was part of a campaign effort to attract Asian–Americans to the Republican cause, and what better place than Flushing, a true stronghold of Asian-American residents?
Tabone, who’s the party’s candidate for Assembly in the 36th A.D. (Astoria/Long Island City/Jackson Heights), said it was fitting that the appeal to a major ethnic group was made possible by a ride on the number 7 train, which daily transports a large variety of ethnic groups to their jobs and daily pursuits.
GARGANO IN MOVIE: Charles Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation and one of the most influential Republicans in the state, has a cameo role in "Serendipity," a new movie starring John Cusack. Gargano, whose main interest is economic development, plays the manager of the Chelsea Piers golf range on Manhattan’s West Side.