By John Toscano
If Mayor’s Popularity Holds Up, Watch Out When He Starts Spending For Re-election
The Democratic candidate who faces Mayor Michael Bloomberg in his re-election bid next year might have a rough time winning judging from recent economic indications and the public’s perception of the mayor’s chief issues.
If these conditions persist and the mayor’s popularity remains at anywhere near a respectable level, and then you factor in something in the neghborhood of a $100 million campaign war chest, Bloomberg will be a formidable candidate.
Polls show the mayor’s popularity has improved since he was at his lowest point last June. The city has collected about $500 million more in taxes than had been expected during the first three months of the year. And the most recent New York Times poll found voters agreeing with him on the social promotion issue in the schools and the smoking ban in bars and restaurants.
Also the city’s budget surplus is soaring, although some of it will have to pay for a labor agreement with city workers that probably won the mayor some friends.
The Times poll also showed voters in favor of the city’s pursuit of the 2012 Olympics as well as the new Jets stadium on the West Side of Manhattan that is a key to getting the Olympics.
Taken altogether, the mayor is building a respectable record on which to run next year, and, we repeat, he hasn’t even taken the rubber band off that huge bankroll.
If he stays within fighting distance, there’s no telling what will happen when he fills the airwaves from morning to night time. Democrats will need a supertight effort to have any chance of winning, and that’s never guaranteed.
CONSERVATIVE CANDIDATE VS. SCHUMER: Polls show United States Senator Charles Schumer (D–New York) a strong choice for re-election this year. Republicans and Conservatives are far apart on uniting behind a candidate to oppose him.
Last week, the Queens Conservative Party endorsed Dr. Marilyn O’Grady, a Long Island opthalmologist, as its choice to oppose Schumer. Previously, the Nassau conservatives had endorsed her.
Meanwhile, Governor George Pataki and the state Republican organization are backing Howard Mills, a third-term Assemblymember. But O’Grady has such impressive Conservative backing that Mills won’t have a chance against her in the primary.
In O’Grady’s corner is state Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long. Mike’s brother Tom, the Queens party chairman, is also firmly behind O’Grady. Tom Long says O’Grady’s platform is pro-life, tough on immigration and in opposition to the Bush tax cut, which will enable her to confront Schumer head on.
Mills has had Conservative backing in the past, but if he’s forced to run without it against Schumer, state Republicans fear that Schumer will win so convincingly it will set him up for a gubernatiorial run a few years down the road.
NOLAN IS LEGISLATOR OF THE YEAR: As chairman of the Assembly Labor Committee, Assemblymember Catherine Nolan (D–Ridgewood) took a firm position protecting health care employees who speak out about inferior quality of patient care. It so impressed the state’s pharmacists that she recently was named "Pharmacy Legislator of the Year."
The award was made by the Pharmacists’ Society at the recent Pharmacy Day in Albany.
In accepting the award, Nolan said it was special because her father-in-law, John Marsicano, had been a pharmacist for 40 years and she knew first hand how he had served the community over that stretch of time.
MONSERRATE TAKES ON NIELSEN: Expressing concern that proposed changes in the Nielsen television ratings may cause under counting of black and Hispanic viewers, Councilmember Hiram Monserrate (D–Corona) called for further study before the ratings giant’s new technology is implemented.
At a recent Consumer Affairs Committee meeting, Monserrate, co-chair of the council’s Black and Puerto Rican Caucus, demanded the delay to "ensure our voices are heard, both now and in the ratings process."
Monserrate stated, "In the most diverse city in the world, Nielsen Media Research must ensure customers and communities they hold the public’s trust. Without documentation and an open, collaborative process with communities of color, Nielsen will not fulfill that mandate."
INDY PARTY FETES DEM POL: Gerald Everett, Queens Independent party chairman, and the organization’s Executive Committee will present the Independent Spirit of Queens Award to City Council Deputy Majority Leader Leroy Comrie (D–St. Albans) at the third annual Chairman’s Reception at Taverna Zenon, 34-10 31st Ave., Astoria on Saturday, May 22 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The event also serves as a fundraiser for the political organization. For information, call 718-721-4170.
Avella Announces New Light: College Point will be getting a new traffic light at 20th Avenue and 126th Street courtesy of the Department of Transportation, City Councilmember Tony Avella announced.
"With the increased traffic congestion in College Point this additional light is absolutely necessary," Avella said in thanking DOT for the improvement. Avella said the light is expected to be installed by July 31.
Mayersohn Welcomes MetroCard Van: The MTA MetroCard van will be at Assemblymember Nettie Mayersohn’s Flushing office on Friday to assist seniors and other residents with MetroCard purchases and provide transit-related info.
The van will be at the Democratic lawmaker’s Flushing district office at 159-06 71st Ave. from 10 a.m. to noon. Of the van’s visit, Mayersohn said, "There aren’t many places to refill a MetroCard in this part of Flushing, this event will be helpful to my constituents. I am thankful to the MTA for bringing these important services to the community and I invite everyone to take advantage of this special opportunity.