2006-02-15 / Political Page

Mayor Making Maltese Into Scapegoat In Anti-Senate Campaign

By John Toscano

Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s threat to back a Democrat against Republican state Senator Serphin Maltese of Queens, as part of his campaign against the GOP-led senate for failing to support more financial aid for the city loses some of its luster when he fails to include Queens’ other GOP state senator, Frank Padavan, in his supposed political vendetta.

If the mayor’s motives for battling the senate and threatening the Republicans’ majority hold on that legislative body are to be believed, then he should be targeting not only Padavan (R–C, Bellerose) but also the other two GOP senators from the city, John Marchi of Staten Island and Martin Golden of Brooklyn.

Bloomberg may be making Maltese (R–C, Middle Village) his only scapegoat because Maltese, the Republican leader in Queens, supported his longtime friend and political colleague, Tom Ognibene, when Ognibene mounted a primary challenge to the mayor last year.

After Ognibene’s failed primary bid, which amounted to nothing in the larger scheme of things, Maltese led the Queens organization in endorsing the mayor’s re-election bid.

It should be pointed out that the mayor’s political relations with Padavan have always been totally amicable. Padavan was one of the mayor’s top supporters in Queens, although he has backed the community’s position against a mayoral initiative in certain cases. But for the most part the mayor and his administration cooperate on most issues that arise in Padavan’s Northeast Queens district.

Meanwhile, the fallout from the mayor’s reported campaign against Maltese, in which the mayor supposedly would back City Councilmember Joseph Addabbo Jr., a Democrat from Ozone Park, against the veteran lawmaker, brought a response from Maltese that in the past four years alone, he has delivered $7.1 billion in funding for various programs in Queens and New York City.

Maltese starts out by claiming that New York City has received nearly 60 percent of all new local aid in the entire state, while being home to only 40 percent of the statewide population. A chief beneficiary of this funding, Maltese says, is aid to education.

Maltese also states that he will support this year’s budget, in which Governor George Pataki has included another $1.44 billion for New York City.

Maltese also notes that in 2004 he sponsored legislation that authorized an annual $400 property tax rebate giving back $250 million each year to taxpayers.

Ironically, the mayor came up with a similar plan to alleviate the pressure on homeowners for a previous 18 percent tax increase.

Also last week, state Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, who would be the most threatened target if the mayor follows through with plans to help Democrats win some seats and weaken Bruno’s majority hold, directed some tough talk at the mayor.

Bruno, who’s known for his direct, unvarnished public statements, started by saying that anyone who felt the city was getting shortchanged by Albany was an ingrate.

Then he delivered this message to Bloomberg: “I know that people that know me know that the way you deal with us is not to bully and not to threaten.

“The mayor is smart enough to know that. And the mayor is also smart enough to know that bullies end up getting bloody noses.”

In response, the mayor said that he would continue to support candidates other than Republicans if it served the city’s interests.

“I will look at every race and decide who I think is going to do the most for New York City,” the mayor said.

RUDY BACK: After staying on the sidelines since campaigning for President George W. Bush last year, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani is coming back into the political spotlight again, this time to help Republican candidates get elected this year.

Giuliani will headline a fundraiser in Washington on May 2 for the National Republican Senatorial Committee headed by Senator Elizabeth Dole (R–North Carolina). Republican senators, like their counterparts in the House of Representatives, are facing the usual bugaboo about a party in power losing seats in an off-year election, plus several negative stories now in the news about party members under scrutiny or in some cases under indictment for being too cozy with lobbyists.

Giuliani has been spending most of his time building his consulting business and law practice while making frequent speeches around the country.

Meanwhile, polls on the 2008 presidential election show the 9/11 hero figure still maintains high popularity. To stay viable for a possible candidacy, events like the May 2 gig to help senators facing re-election allows Giuliani to build up chits to be cashed in later.

MONSERRATE PROMOTES ‘HEALTHY HEARTS’ ON VALENTINE’S DAY: Yesterday’s celebration of Valentine’s Day was the occasion for Councilmember Hiram Monserrate (D–Corona) to launch “A Healthy Heart For My Sweetheart” awareness campaign aimed at raising awareness of heart disease, the number one killer of women in the United States.

The all-day event brought together representatives from Neighborhood Health Providers, the American Diabetes Association, Elmhurst Hospital Center, the New York Fire Department and the Social Security Administration.

CONTINUES CAMPAIGN AGAINST OVERDEVELOPMENT: Continuing his campaign to stifle overdevelopment by approving rezonings, Councilmember Tony Avella (D–Bayside), chairman of the Zoning and Franchises Committee, reports that his panel approved major rezoning actions in the Sheepshead Bay and Homecrest communities in Brooklyn and the Woodlawn and Brush Avenue sections of The Bronx. He said the rezonings were approved to address rampant overdevelopment and out-ofcharacter construction.

Avella has won full approval to combat these issues in his Northeast Queens district and in other similar neighborhoods elsewhere in the city.

TOPS AMONG BLACKS: Included among the Most Influential Black New Yorkers in general and in the fields of religion, civil rights and politics were Queens officials Borough President Helen Marshall, Congressmember Gregory Meeks (Southeast Queens) and the Reverend Doctor Floyd Flake, Meeks’ predecessor in Congress. The list was compiled by the New York Daily News as part of a Black History Month observance.

BLASTS VIDEO GAME: A new video game which graphically illustrates the violent world of cops versus gang leaders must be taken off the market, Councilmember Eric Gioia (D–Long Island City) demanded last week.

Gioia said the “25 to Life” video game is especially poor taste in New York City where four cops have been killed in recent months.

“In a city like our city, where we clearly have a deep respect for the brave men and women who keep us safe every day, we shouldn’t be rewarding a game maker who glorifies cop killing,” Gioia declared. Gioia , at podium, joined Michael J. Palladino, President of the Detectives Endowment Association, retired New York City police officer Wilton Sekzer, and advocates from around the City to warn parents about the video gane,

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