2002-07-31 / Political Page

Petition Period Ends,

Too Soon To Call Primary Races
By John Toscano

Would-be candidates started handing in nominating petitions to the Board of Elections last Thursday, but as of yesterday, a board official reported that master lists of submitted petitions had not been completed.

Our readers will have to wait until next Wednesday’s issue to learn who’s challenging whom around the borough. After that, the board will scrutinize the lists to see if each petition has enough valid signatures to withstand any challenge to get on the September 10 primary ballot.

Meanwhile, a few Queens pols had comments relating to the coming primaries.

Assemblymember Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) reports he has already received $200,000 in contributions to place among the top 10 recipients in the state, "maybe a record for someone running for a second term," Gianaris said.

Former legislator Julia Harrison, who’s competing with Toby Stavisky and Marcia Lynn of Forest Hills for the Democratic nomination in the new Flushing state Senate district, says she and her slate submitted 3,500 signatures. These cover assembly and Democratic district leader positions in the new 22nd Assembly District, also covering Flushing.

Some early talk maintains that Democratic gubernatorial hopeful H. Carl McCall may challenge the petitions of his chief rival, Andrew Cuomo, but it’s too soon to see where this will wind up.

Meanwhile, if Cuomo does qualify for the ballot, expect to see his dad, former Governor Mario Cuomo, out on the campaign trail.

GOP BID FOR WOMEN’S VOTE:

Vince Tabone and his Kenna Republican Club in Astoria hosted his party’s candidate for Attorney General, Dora Irizarry, at a backyard barbecue last Wednesday to make a strong pitch for the women’s and Hispanic vote in this year’s elections.

Irizarry, a former Queens resident, is a Democrat turned Republican and the first Hispanic to run for a statewide office. She is also one of two women on the GOP statewide ticket, joining Lieutenant Governor Mary Donohue, who’s running for re-election with Governor George Pataki.

Irizarry was the first Hispanic appointed as a Court of Claims judge and also served in the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court.

In keeping with the evening’s women theme, Irizarry was introduced by 36th Assembly District Vice Chair Stephanie Zcaljic, who pointed out that the Democrats do not have any women on their statewide ticket while the GOP has two "women of distinction, integrity and accomplishment."

The club’s first vice president, Marie Lynch said, "As a woman, as an immigrant, and as a proud Hispanic American, I couldn’t be more pleased and we are going to give Dora 110 percent."

Irizarry, who faces a tough task against incumbent Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, the Dem candidate for re-election, spoke of her experiences as a crime fighter, prosecutor and judge in Queens and The Bronx, as well as her appointments by Pataki and former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

She said she became a Republican because of the critical role the GOP played in passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and also because of how Giuliani and Pataki made New York safer and more livable.

Tabone said Irizarry’s candidacy clearly demonstrates the party’s commitment to inclusion, excellence and leadership.

CROWLEY’S HIGH PRAISE FOR SCHOOL DISTRICT 30: School District 30, which registered the highest increase in math scores this year among city schools, won high praise from Congressmember Joseph Crowley (D-Queens/Bronx) in a speech on the floor of Congress recently.

Lauding teachers, parents, students and District Superintendent Dr. Angelo Gimondo, Crowley declared, "Some suggest a child cannot get a good education in today’s public schools." He disputed this, saying, "Children can get a great education in public schools, and District 30 stands as proof of that fact."

Gimondo, who has been at the district’s helm for about 15 years, said he was delighted with Crowley’s remarks, but also praised his teachers and staff.

NEW GAY DEM CLUB: A new Democratic club has been formed in Queens to advocate for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and the transgendered (LGBT). A release from the group, which announced its inception on Monday at a Borough Hall rally, said it will be named in honor of a prominent gay activist, whom it did not immediate identify. Joining leaders of the gay community in making the announcement was City Councilmember Hiram Monserrate (D-Corona).

Serving as president of the organization will be Phil Velez, a writer who is active in the Latino LGBT community. Jimmy Van Bramer, the first openly gay candidate for City Council last year from Jackson Heights/East Elmhurst, will be a vice president as will Pauline Park, a strong advocate of the transgender rights bill enacted into law in April.

Other founding officers include Raymond Ho, secretary and Raymond-Anthony Penko, treasurer. The group includes four at-large members, Andres Duque, Charles J. Ober, Fausto Paez and Betty Santoro, who was a leader in the first lesbian and gay march in Washington in 1979.

MAJOR CANDIDATES’ NIGHT: Aspiring candidates will get an opportunity to strut their stuff before a countywide audience on Thursday, August 8 at 7 p.m., when three prestigious community groups, the Queens Civic Congress, Citizens Union and the Forest Hills Community House, sponsor Community Conversations, a candidates’ night, at the Kew Gardens Community Center, 80-02 Kew Gardens Rd., Suite 202, Kew Gardens.

The format is one of discussions in an informal setting between the candidates and the public on a wide range of subjects. Queens Civic Congress President Sean Walsh said that 400 persons participated in a similar event last year.

The sponsors expect this to be an exciting election year because candidates will be running on newly drawn district lines. Of special interest are two new Assembly districts in Flushing and Corona/Jackson Heights and the new state senate seat covering Jackson Heights, Corona and East Elmhurst.

COOPER LAUNCHES NEW EMT VEHICLE: Assistant Parks Commissioner Estelle Cooper of Whitestone last week launched a new EMT emergency park vehicle to patrol Flushing Meadows-Corona Park on weekends. Taking part in the send-off were Queens Parks Commissioner Richard Murphy and John Sciontino of New York Hospital Queens.

ANTI-TERRORISM TOWN HALL: Congressmember Anthony Weiner (D-Queens/Brooklyn), a member of the House Task Force on Homeland Security, introduced the FBI counter terrorism chief for New York City Joseph Billy to some of his constituents last Sunday evening at a town hall meeting on terrorism at Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills. Many legislators and New York Police and Fire Department officials were also on hand.


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