Tabone Hails Bloomberg Victory
Vince Tabone, Astoria/Long Island City Republican leader, says that based on "results we collected" on Election Night, Mayor-elect Mike Bloomberg "carried this area strongly, at least two to one."
Tabone, who was the Bloomberg campaign director in northwest Queens, attributed Bloomberg’s stupendous showing to his endorsement by Mayor Rudy Giuliani and the candidate’s decision to work closely with Republican leaders on the local level.
"I can’t remember a citywide campaign where a guy was so locally focused," Tabone said. "He came here four or five times during the campaign, and not just to say hello and goodbye—he hung around and talked with everybody. It made quite an impression."
Pointing out that this is a working class neighborhood, Tabone said, "Giuliani’s endorsement really mattered a lot." He feels the bad economy and widespread job losses gained votes for Bloomberg because people feel he can deal with those matters because of his success as a businessman.
"People voted for Bloomberg to continue the Giuliani focus—pro-business and pro-middle class," Tabone said. "Helping business creates jobs and helps the working class, which all helps the city, and that’s going to be Bloomberg’s policy."
Tabone credited Queens Republican leader state Senator Serphin Maltese (R–C, Middle Village) for energizing Bloomberg’s campaign in the borough, which helped Republicans in some local races.
Dennis Gallagher was the only Republican to win a City Council seat, in the 30th District (Glendale/Middle Village) but Bloomberg’s coattails nearly made a winner of Dennis Saffran against Tony Avella in the 19th District (Bayside/Whitestone), and Sandra Vassos ran very well, against a powerful candidate, Tabone said.
GIOIA’S VICTORY: Eric Gioia won a difficult victory over the Queens Democratic organization and four opponents to take the 26th Council District primary and followed up with a 94 to 6 percent triumph in the general election.
Buoyed by his victories in his first try for public office, the 27-year-old Woodside attorney now appears to be eyeing new conquests upon taking office in January.
The greatest prize available when the first term limits council meets to organize will be the powerful position of Speaker. The job is wide open as 37 members of the 51-member overwhelmingly Democratic body are brand new office holders.
Gioia said in a recent release, "While the combination of a new mayoral administration and a new City Council has sparked speculation about the eventual balance of power, there appears to be great potential for enterprising legislators to attain leadership positions." As one of the youngest elected officials in New York City, Gioia stands prepared to assume the mantle of young Democratic leadership in Queens and in the City Council.
Gioia didn’t return our calls for comment to try to get further amplification of those statements. Mainly, we would like to know how he would hope to overcome some major obstacles for anyone aspiring to get the 26 votes needed to get the Speaker’s job, if that’s what he’s got his eye on.
For one thing, Queens Democratic Leader Thomas Manton has acknowledged having talks with several other county leaders in the metropolitan area, particularly Brooklyn leader Assemblymember Clarence Norman. With Brooklyn’s 16 Councilmembers and Queens’ 14, there’s 30 votes, four more than the 26 needed to elect a Speaker, so there’s a four-vote leeway.
Manton has made his peace with Gioia, who once worked on Manton’s staff, since Gioia defeated Matthew Farrell, Manton’s candidate in the primary. Manton and the Queens organization endorsed Gioia in the general election. Manton didn’t single out any prospective Speaker candidates when we last spoke so we don’t know if Gioia is on the county leader’s short list or not among the possibilities, but he can’t be ruled out.
Another problem for any Speaker hopeful to be concerned about is the Fresh Democracy Council (FDC), a 17-member group of first-time Councilmembers who reportedly want to reform the Council’s rule to check the Speaker’s powers. The names of the 17 are not known. If the reform group can pick up nine more votes, they can elect their own speaker, change the rules and run the show for two years, which is the term of the Councilmembers to be sworn in January.
Other than Gioia, the other prospects from the Queens delegation we’ve heard mentioned as possibilities are Tony Avella, Melinda Katz, David Weprin and Peter Vallone Jr.
BOTHERED, CONFUSED: Mayor Giuliani is the most popular public official in the state, with an 89 percent rating to 82 percent for President George W. Bush and 78 percent for Governor George Pataki in a Quinnipiac University poll released last week.
In the same poll, 57 percent of those polled said Giuliani should run for governor next year. But the mayor said flatly he will not run for governor and he’s voting for Pataki.
We’re confused because Giuliani will end his career as mayor on Dec. 31 and for a man who loves a challenging fight, a run for the statehouse would seem to fit him to a tee.
It’s highly unlikely that Giuliani would be looking at the 2004 presidential race and a primary challenge to Bush. The only possible resumption of his political career would be to run for mayor again in 2005. That’s always a possibility, even with Bloomberg, a current friend and Republican, likely to run for a second term. But a lot can happen in the first three years of Bloomberg’s term to entice Giuliani into running.
Meanwhile, the mayor acknowledges he’s considering several lucrative job offers from major firms and he’s not giving any indication of political plans for the future, if any.
We’re both bothered and confused by the mayor’s decisions. We’re confused as to why the mayor would forgo a primary challenge to Pataki next year when he’s at the height of his popularity which, if successful, could set him up for a future United States Senate or presidential try. We’re bothered because we revel in covering juicy, interesting races, and a Pataki–Giuliani campaign would be unparalleled. We hope the mayor changes his mind.
CRASH VICTIMS: Two of the five Belle Harbor residents who were victims of the Flight 587 crash on Nov. 12 had ties to Queens government activities.
Thomas Concannon, 79, was the state lobbyist for the Chase Manhattan Bank and was often seen at Queens Democratic Party functions. Concannon and his wife, Helen, who were married 49 years, both perished in the plane crash.
Another victim, Christopher Lawler, 24, a second-year law student at St. John’s University Law School, did a two-month summer internship in Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown’s office recently.
Lawler and his mother, Kathleen, were in their Belle Harbor home when it was struck by the plane as it landed in that area.
NED ARNOLD DIES: Former Queens Chamber of Commerce President Ned Arnold has passed away, Chamber President Joseph Farber reported last week. No further details were available.
Arnold, who had been a member of the Chamber since 1949 and served as president from 1977 to 1983, was also a well-known businessman as operator of a well-known automobile tire firm, the Tire Distributing Corporation on Northern Boulevard in Woodside.