Sponsor Vallone Jr.’s Fundraiser
By John Toscano
"The Hometown Friends of Peter Vallone Jr." are sponsoring a fundraiser for the freshman Astoria lawmaker, who has set his sights on re-election next year and is building a war chest to help him achieve that goal.
The fundraiser is set for next Wednesday, October 2, at Riccardo’s from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. It features actor Tony LoBianco as emcee and singer Michael Amante as the entertainer of the evening. We’ve seen and heard Amante and we recommend him without hesitation. He has a powerful and melodious voice and is equally at ease with anything from pops to opera. Tickets are pegged at $75 per for the event dubbed "An Astoria Celebration."
The councilmembers who took office last year, the first group elected under the Term Limits law, must run for re-election next year because new City Council district lines are presently being drawn up. This requires an election to be held for the local seats. Incumbents will be running for another two-year term.
ACKERMAN’S WOULD-BE FOE IN COURT CHALLENGE: During the summer, Perry Reich of Forest Hills, a Republican seeking to run against Congressmember Gary Ackerman for the 5th Congressional District seat, was knocked off the ballot when Ackerman challenged his petitions in an Albany court. Now Reich, an attorney, is seeking to get reinstated on the ballot in federal court in Suffolk.
Reich’s attorneys argue there that allowing the Democrats to challenge Republican petitions was unconstitutional.
Ackerman’s attorney, Emanuel Gold, the former state senator, calls Reich’s effort "a ridiculous case." Gold said the petitioning law requires would-be candidates to get the required amount of petitions in order to show they have a semblance of support in the district, and the law is constitutional. Reich submitted 1,400 signatures and only 1,066 were ruled legitimate, leaving him 184 signatures short of the required 1,250.
Gold added that there was nothing in the law which prohibited one party from challenging the other party’s candidate who was trying to get on the ballot.
Gold also noted that Reich is a specialist in election law and has in the course of his career brought cases against petitions filed by other party candidates.
The newly drawn 5th CD covers much less of Long Island and more of Queens, including Bayside, Douglaston and parts of central Queens.
GIOIA STARTS MAMMOGRAM HEARINGS: The first public hearing of the city council Access to Screening Mammograms Task Force, headed by Councilmember Eric Gioia, took place last Friday with its objective of speeding up mammograms and increasing their availability throughout the city.
The Task Force was formed last month after a survey by Gioia’s Oversight and Investigations Committee discovered that in some cases, women must wait as long as two months for a mammogram appointment. The survey was made up of Councilmembers, health advocates and health care providers.
LIC Y HONOREES: Assemblymember Brian McLaughlin (D-Flushing) will be one of three honorees at the third annual Frank J. Tempone Service to Youth Dinner-Dance on November 14 at Terrace on the Park in Corona. McLaughlin, who is also one of the city’s top labor leaders, will receive the Tempone Youth Award, along with Joseph Previte, a former Republican Party leader and Queens Chamber of Commerce president, and Al Samilenko, president of an electrical firm. The late Frank Tempone was one of the leading advocates for a better LIC Y. This year’s Tempone dinner coincides with the 150th Anniversary of the YMCA of Greater New York.
MALONEY ACCOMPANIES McCALL TEAM: When the victorious Democratic ticket of Carl McCall and Dennis Mehiel took a victory flight around New York state following their Democratic primary victory earlier this month, one member of the group making the trip was Congressmember Carolyn Maloney (D–Queens/Manhattan). The McCall team leased a Boeing 727 from supermarket mogul John Catsimatidis to jet around the state.
RABBI LEADS CONGRESS IN PRAYER: When Congress convened today in Washington, Rabbi Melvyn May of the West End Temple Sinai congregation in Rockaway offered the prayers opening the session, a congressional tradition.
Rabbi May had been nominated by his Congress representative, Congressmember Anthony Weiner (D–Queens/Brooklyn), to lead the House in prayer. Weiner said, "During this time of difficult foreign and domestic challenges, I believe Rabbi May is exactly the right person to lead the House in its morning prayer."
SEARS SEEKS ACTION ON RAPE CASES: As promised, Councilmember Helen Sears (D–Jackson Heights) has introduced a resolution urging Congress and President George W. Bush to pass legislation introduced by Congressmember Carolyn Maloney which would provide funding for DNA testing of a backlog of rape kits involved in a large number of sexual assault cases.
"Hundreds of thousands of rapes have not been prosecuted because rape kits just sit on shelves," Sears said. Many police departments lack the training or funding to complete the DNA testing, she said, but the pending legislation would provide the means to train personnel and pay for the tests.
PADAVAN ENDORSED: The Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA), which represents 320,000 public sector employees throughout the state, and the Public Employees Federation (PEP) have endorsed state Senator Frank Padavan (R–C, Bellerose) for re-election in northeast Queens’ 11th district.
Accepting their support, Padavan said, "I value my strong relationship with the working men and women in our city and state governments and I understand that the overwhelming majority of them are committed to providing necessary services to the people."
RFK DEMS TO HEAR FROM SLIWA: Early morning radio talk show personality Curtis Sliwa will be the guest speaker at tomorrow evening’s meeting of the RFK Democratic Association at 8 p.m. at club headquarters, 65-05 Yellowstone Blvd., Forest Hills. Councilmember Melinda Katz, district leader from the club, and co-leader Louis Brandt invite the public to attend.