Bush Answers Lowey’s Call To Send Powell To Middle East
Almost simultaneously last Wednesday, Congressmember Nita Lowey called for Secretary of State Colin Powell to go to the Middle East to stop the carnage there and Powell stated, "I would not rule out any meeting with anybody where it would serve a useful purpose."
Powell also said his mind was open to meeting this week with Israeli and Palestinian officials during his visit to Spain and Germany.
Powell made his comments after President George W. Bush, indicating a change in policy, called on Israel to pull back from its scorching post-Passover attack and raking Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat, as well.
Lowey (D–Queens/Westchester), in her statement praised Bush for his strong support of Israel over the last week, but said it was now time to send Powell to the Middle East "to put his international stature to work on this issue."
Lowey, the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Operations Subcommittee, said of the present undeclared war between the parties, "as suicide bombers continue to stream into Israel on a regular basis, Prime Minister [Ariel] Sharon has the right and duty to defend his people from terrorist attacks."
She declared, "maintaining Israel’s security and regional stability remain key national security priorities for the United States. In the last six months, the importance of achieving these goals has only intensified. The administration must be prepared to risk some of its own prestige to try to end the terror in the Middle East and get negotiations back on track. A strategy of timid and tentative engagement will fail."
At about the same time Lowey issued her statement, the president shifted his policy to one of more involvement in the nearly out-of-control situation.
POLLACK GETS IMPORTANT POST: Howard Pollack, one of the best political operatives for local Queens officials in recent years, is moving to a more important citywide position—liaison to the Jewish community for the City Council.
Pollack is presently chief of staff to Assemblymember Michael Cohen (D–Forest Hills) and previously worked for Karen Koslowitz when she was in the City Council. He is a past treasurer and board member of the Queens Jewish Community Council.
In announcing Pollack’s appointment, Miller said, "he brings a broad range of experience in Jewish communal activities and governmental experience to this important position."
Miller added, "this is an especially crucial time for Jews in the city, Israel and throughout the world, and Howard will be a valuable addition to the City Council staff."
Expressing his gratitude for the appointment, Pollack echoed Miller’s views that the current situation in Israel makes his new position more important than ever.
"The Speaker [A. Gifford Miller] knows that our outreach has to extend to all sectors of an increasingly diversified Jewish community," said Pollack. "I hope to personally meet with religious and secular leaders and bring their views back to the City Council."
SEARS–LAFAYETTE TOWN HALL MEETING: Councilmember Helen Sears and Assemblymember Ivan Lafayette, both Jackson Heights Democrats, will hold a joint Town Hall meeting on Thursday, April 25 at 7:30 p.m. at the Jackson Heights Jewish Center, 37-06 77th St.
Sears said that Congressmember Joseph Crowley (D–Queens /Bronx) and Assemblymember Margaret Markey (D–Maspeth) had been invited to attend as had Inspector Christopher Jamison, commanding officer of the 115th Police Precinct.
Sears said, "it always helps when you can have all three levels of government present to address the variety of concerns from members of the community." Numerous city agencies will also be represented to answer questions and give advice.
For Sears, this is the second of a series of joint meetings with a local official who represents part of her district. She held another session previously with Assemblymember Jeff Aubry (D–East Elmhurst) in Corona.
MARKEY HOLDS JOB FAIR: Markey has lined up 20 employers for a job fair that will be held in conjunction with Woodside On The Move tomorrow, April 11 at St. Sebastian’s Parish Center, 36-60 57th St., Woodside from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Employers from the Queens business community will be represented, as will the Fire Department, Off-Track Betting, United Postal Service and Triboro Coach Corporation. Representatives of NYS Child Health Plus will sign up prospective members as well.
The job fair is free to the public.
Flyers for the event are available at Markey’s office, 84-32 Grand Ave., Elmhurst, and at Woodside On The Move, community boards, banks, unemployment offices and other locations
SCHUMER–HEVESI CO–OP: United States Senator Charles Schumer (D–NY) will have a representative from his office available at state Senator Daniel Hevesi’s district office at 70-17 Austin St., Forest Hills, next Thursday, April 16 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to discuss any problems regarding the federal government. Hevesi mentioned immigration and Social Security problems as examples. Schumer said that while officials at all levels of government in Queens are committed to serving constituents, "working together makes it easier to coordinate the handling of constituent casework and to resolve both individual and community problems."
PADAVAN, BROWN VISIT CONSERVATIVES: Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown and state Senator Frank Padavan (R–C, Bellerose) will address the April 18 meeting of the Queens Conservative Party, Chairman Thomas M. Long announced.
Long said the two officials are seeking the party’s endorsement for reelection in November, and urged his members and the general public to attend.
The meeting will be held at American Legion Continental Post 1424, 107-15 Metropolitan Ave., Forest Hills, starting at 8 p.m. For more information, contact Long at (718) 474-3826.
CHARGE PATAKI USES STATE ADS IN CAMPAIGN: Governor George Pataki’s would be opponents in the gubernatorial campaign are complaining that the governor is at it again, appearing in advertisements paid for by the state to promote a child health care program.
Pataki blithely ignored his critics, saying he’s interested in getting working families to enroll and refusing to "get into politics."
State Comptroller H. Carl McCall, one Democratic hopeful, called the ads "blatant taxpayer-funded self-promotion in an election year."
Andrew Cuomo, opposing McCall for the Democratic nomination, said Pataki has turned the state treasury into his personal campaign fund.
Ironically, Pataki criticized former Governor Mario Cuomo for appearing in state-funded public service ads during the 1994 gubernatorial campaign. More ironically yet, the Child Health Plus program was enacted during Cuomo’s tenure as governor and Democrats charge Pataki, a Republican, opposed funding it in recent years.
Meanwhile, Pataki picked up another endorsement from a labor union that traditionally has backed Democrats, the city sanitationmen’s union.
PAY BACK FOR ENDORSEMENT? Several weeks ago, Frank McKay, state chairman of the Independence Party, and also Suffolk County chairman, led his organization in giving Gov. George Pataki their endorsement, a big political plus. Last week, McKay’s wife, Kristin, had her salary almost doubled by Suffolk County Executive Robert Gaffney, a Republican, for whom Mrs. McKay works as head of his office of constituent services
Surprisingly, Democrats out there didn’t utter a word of criticism.