Report Manton Ailing, But Plans Re-election For Leader
As we reported last week, Queens Democratic Leader Thomas Manton has missed three important party functions in recent weeks and the apparent reason, revealed over the weekend, is that the 73year-old former legislator and political leader has been ill and weak following a 12-day hospital stay resulting from a fall down a flight of stairs.
According to a published report, Manton, who resides in Astoria and has led Queens Democrats for two decades, may be suffering from an undisclosed ailment, according to Sunday's Daily News.
But despite being under the weather, the former Marine and New York City cop is still planning on running for re-election as a Democratic district leader in Sunnyside/Woodside and presumably also for re-election to the county leader's post he's held since 1988 after succeeding Donald Manes after Manes committed suicide.
However, Manton's ailment, which caused him to miss a major county organization dinner, a meeting to choose candidates for this year's elections, and the recent convention in Buffalo to choose the party's statewide ticket, has stirred talk of possible successors.
No party leaders at Forest Hills headquarters have commented publicly on the tenuous situation, but Manton's expected successor over the past several years has been Congressmember Joseph Crowley, who is a very close political ally of Manton's and was Manton's personal choice to succeed him when he retired from Congress in 1998.
However, neither Crowley nor Michael Reich, executive secretary of the Queens Dems have returned our calls to discuss the present situation. From our long acquaintance with the players involved here, we see no threat to Manton's political leadership. As for Manton's medical problems, we wish him a rapid recovery and look forward to visiting with him at county headquarters when he is well. We've known Manton since his years in the City Council. The soft-spoken political leader has always been a friendly, gracious, congenial individual and we look forward to seeing him again soon.
CROWLEY FUNDRAISER BASH A SUCCESS: Last Monday night, Crowley celebrated 20 years in public office and held a re-election fundraiser at Caffee on the Green in Bayside.
A diverse group of guests, from the widely divergent South Asian and Latino communities that make up his congressional district to Queens pols and business leaders and family and friends turned out 500 strong and poured more than $250,000 into the Elmhurst lawmaker's campaign treasury.
In his brief remarks, Crowley traced his political roots from Woodside to Albany to Washington via Queens College. In his eight years in Congress, besides diligently representing his diverse district, he has risen also to Chief Deputy Whip in the House Democratic leadership and held important committee assignments, including his present assignment on the International Relations Committee. He also talked about the upcoming elections and the Democrats' hopes of cutting into the Republican majority in Congress.
He thanked all those who have supported him throughout his public service career and helped him to raise money to turn red seats to blue in New York State and around the country.
He declared: "The future is bright for Democrats who will return leadership to this Congress and for me."
Congressmember Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside), the dean of the Queens delegation, served as master of ceremonies. Colleagues from Congress were also on hand along with an overwhelming majority of Queens Democratic district leaders, Brooklyn Democratic Leader Vito Lopez, Council Speaker Christine Quinn and members of the city council and state legislature.
NOLAN'S ANNUAL AWARDS DINNER: Some 250 guests turned out this past Saturday night to help Assemblymember Catherine Nolan and her Ridgewood Democratic Club to hold their annual Awards Dinner, recognizing leaders in the community.
Domingo Santos, Ridgewood Property Owners and Civic Association, received the Man of the Year Award; Luke Adams, president of Sunnyside/Woodside Kiwanis received the Lifetime Achievement Award; Diane Ballek, president of the 108th Precinct Community Council, got the Community Service Award, and Patricia Clune, former school principal and former Democratic District Leader and "Shows from the Heart" founder, received the Woman of the Year Award.
John Torpey, president of the Steamfitters Union, received the Labor Leader of the Year Award; and Herman Hochberg, Ridgewood Local Development Corporation chairman and the Myrtle Avenue BID head was given the Business Person of the Year Award.
FLUSHING RACES SET: Opposing slates for the Democratic Assembly primary in the 22nd Assembly District, Flushing are set. Former lawmaker Julia Harrison leads the Democratic Club of Flushing team as Assembly candidate. Loretta Z. Weiss and Eddie Abrams are seeking re-election to the Democratic state committee. Ethel Chen is seeking re-election as district leader in Part A, and Sally E. Kahn and James Wu are running for district leader in Part B.
Opposing the Harrison slate is the Unity slate, headed by Assembly candidate Ellen Young. Donald Henton is running for the Democratic state committee; Councilmember John Liu is running for district leader in Part A with Martha Flores-Vasquez as co-leader. In part B, Ronald Kim and Mei-Hua Ru are running for the district leader positions.
Opposing Harrison and Young in the Democratic Assembly primary are Terrence Park and Grace Meng, an attorney and daughter of Jimmy Meng, who is not seeking re-election to the Assembly.
PETITIONING STARTS FOR PRIMARIES: Individuals who hope to run for congressional and state legislative seats and for governor, attorney general and comptroller and party positions started circulating nominating petitions last Tuesday. They have until July 13 to submit the signatures to the Board of Elections.
The Democratic statewide scramble pits party designee Eliot Spitzer against Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi, who trails far behind Spitzer in the polls.
In the race to fill Spitzer's state attorney general seat, challengers to Andrew Cuomo who are now circulating petitions are Mark Green, Charlie King and Sean Patrick Maloney.
Over the weekend, Cuomo picked up an endorsement from former Mayor Edward Koch, who praised Cuomo for his service as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Clinton presidential administration.
On the Republican side, gubernatorial hopeful John Faso will have no primary since William Weld withdrew from the GOP gubernatorial primary last week.
Now Republican leaders are trying to get KT McFarland to quit the U.S. Senate primary against former Yonkers Mayor John Spencer, but McFarland is determined to stay the course.
SHORT TAKES: FORMER MAYOR RUDY GIULIANI Testified last April before a Bronx grand jury which is investigating whether a contractor paid for more than $200,000 in renovations on an apartment owned by Bernard Kerik, Police Commissioner in Giuliani's administration, in late 1999 and early 2000. No allegations of wrongdoing have been made against Giuliani...Congressmember Carolyn Maloney (D-Queens/Manhattan) and actress-singer Queen Latifah last week announced National Women's Confidence Day, to be held every June to build confidence and self-esteem among the fairer sex... Governor George Pataki announced support for legislation that would bring about closer oversight of public authorities through a new budget office that would scrutinize agencies such as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the New York Racing Association and the Thruway Authority. Assemblymember Richard Brodsky (D-Westchester), chair of the Assembly Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions, called the bill a giant step in curbing abuses of authorities and could prevent, for example, the MTA from hiding a budget surplus while seeking fare hikes...Congressmember Gregory Meeks (D-Southeast Queens) continues among the most frequent junketers among his colleagues. According to an analysis by the Center for Public Integrity, Meeks and his staff rank in the top 10 of globe-trotting congressional offices... State Senator Frank Padavan (R-C, Bellerose) has been endorsed for re-election by the Detective Investigator's Association, the line organization of New York City Police Department detectives.