Hevesi Launches Rebound Bid; Gianaris Grand
Hevesi Launches Rebound Bid; Gianaris Grand
Marshal At Greek Parade
BY JOHN TOSCANO
From an early line favorite to a consistent last in the polls, even if its still eight months to the election, was finally reason enough reason for City Comptroller Alan Hevesi to formally announce his candidacy for mayor yesterday.
The 61-year-old Forest Hills resident, adopting a "better safe than sorry" stance, announced what has been common knowledge for several years, but it seems like a wise move. Hevesi must still overcome the damage done by the polls to his previously bright image, so the dramatic move was the right one to give his election effort a kick start.
In recent days there has been evidence that the Hevesi camp had picked up the pace of his campaign effort to get him further into the public limelight, such as his blast last Sunday at Governor George Pataki’s nursing home policy.
During the City Council hearings on the ill-fated term limits repeal bill, which was defeated last Thursday, Councilmember Julia Harrison (D–Flushing) unleashed a barrage of criticism aimed at Asian–American constituents in her district.
City Comptroller Alan Hevesi, one of four Democratic mayor hopefuls, took exception to Harrison’s remarks and wrote her a letter scolding her for her "insensitive, unwarranted, and divisive" remarks.
Describing himself as "disappointed" about Harrison’s comments, Hevesi noted:
"The Asian–American community contributes enormously to the city’s economic, political and cultural vitality, and you—as a representative of one of the city’s largest Asian-American communities—should know this better than anyone."
Hevesi reminded Harrison, "Elected officials in the most ethnically diverse city in the world must build relationships with immigrant communities, not break them down."
Harrison did not respond to Hevesi.
Several years ago, Harrison issued a similar tirade against this ethnic group. Hevesi responded by withdrawing as keynote speaker for a pending Harrison dinner. Later, Hevesi refused to endorse Harrison for reelection in 1997.
GIANARIS LEADS GREEK PARADE: Assemblymember Michael Gianaris, the first Greek–American to represent Astoria’s large Greek population in Albany, has been selected to lead the Greek Independence Day Parade on Sunday, Mar. 25, as Grand Marshal. The parade is the largest celebration of Greek Independence in the U.S.
The annual event, which is organized by the Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York, will step off at 1 p.m., going up Fifth Ave. in Manhattan from 53rd to 79th Streets.
"It’s a great honor to have this opportunity to be a Grand Marshal at this year’s Greek Independence Day Parade," Gianaris declared. The son of Greek immigrants, Gianaris said he was "looking forward to joining with other New Yorkers in celebrating the contributions of Greek–Americans to this country."
Joining Gianaris as Grand Marshals will be Academy Award winning actress Olympia Dukakis and Phil Angalidis, California state treasurer.
VALLONE HONORED: Council Speaker Peter Vallone (D–Astoria) was among four people honored at the recent 19th Annual Golden Lion Awards dinner of the Order Sons of Italy In America, New York State Grand Lodge Foundation.
Vallone was cited for "spearheading the City Charter revisions to establish an independent legislature, balanced as an equal partner in government with the Mayor" and for many other achievements in his 25-year Council career. He was also lauded for his active support of many Italian–American organizations and causes, among them the effort to teach in schools about the mistreatment of Italian–Americans in Wold War II as well as Italian efforts to rescue Jews during the war.
MARKEY FUND RAISER: A fund raiser for Assemblymember Margaret Markey (D–Maspeth), with Queens Democratic leader Thomas Manton and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver as chief drumbeaters, will be held at Dazie’s Restaurant, 39-41 Queens Blvd., Sunnyside, on Thursday, Apr. 5 from 6 to 8 p.m.
CROWLEY ON KEY Rx DRUG TEAM: Congressmember Joseph Crowley, one of the leading proponents of prescription drug aid for seniors, has been named a member of a key Democratic leadership team in Congress charged with driving the party’s goal of a prescription drug benefit for seniors under Medicare.
House Democratic leader Richard Gephardt (Missouri), in making the announcement, said the group will respond to President George W. Bush and Republicans on the issue of drug costs.
Crowley immediately blasted the GOP attempt to "ram through" the Bush plan for huge tax cuts for the wealthy, which if passed, could seriously hurt the chances of prescription drug benefits winning approval.
"By paying back their wealthy supporters before helping our seniors, Crowley (Queens/Bronx) stated, "Bush and the Republicans take away the opportunity to provide a prescription drug benefit for seniors.
"Big tax cuts for the wealthy will do nothing to assist middle class seniors in Queens and the Bronx who pay hundreds of dollars a month for their prescription drugs."
In another action, Crowley reintroduced a bill which would expand incentives for modernization of public schools throughout the city by providing tax incentives for corporations to participate with school authorities in neighborhoods which are in great need of physical improvements to schools.
MALONEY FOR PARKS HELP: Also reintroducing a bill last week was Congressmember Carolyn Maloney (D–Manhattan/Queens). She submitted her RECIPE (Revitalizing Cities Through Parks Enhancement Act) for creating small parks by making $10 million available to non-profit groups to obtain leases for vacant municipally owned lots and transform them into small community gardens and parks.
Maloney said these "safe, green community spaces" would be a place for children and older citizens to enjoy. They would also beautify communities, she said.
‘CLOSE W.H. DOOR TO ARAFAT’: That, in effect, is what Congressmember Anthony Weiner (Brooklyn/Queens), Gary Ackerman (Bayside/Long Island), and Jerrold Nadler (Manhattan) urged Bush to do last week.
The three Democratic lawmakers said the president should keep Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat out until he takes public steps to stop the ongoing violence in the Middle East.
The trio pointed out that Arafat, who had visited the White House more often than any other world leaders during the Clinton administration, had indicated that he is no longer interested in pursuing peace with Israel and has urged his followers to continue their undeclared war against the Jewish state.