2007-08-08 / Political Page

Rudy A Frequent Target, But He's Weathered Attacks

Let's face it- Republican presidential aspirant Rudy Giuliani must have been let down by the disclosure on Monday that his daughter, Caroline, had joined an online support group for Democratic hopeful Barack Obama.

It was the latest personal embarrassment suffered by the former mayor since he started campaigning for president earlier this year.

Giuliani has been a steady target of his opponents, both Republican and Democrat, and their supporters, who have nailed him on many issues, from the abortion question to what some critics charge were his failures during the 9/11 crisis.

But despite the steady battering on personal as well as political matters, Giuliani has kept his temper in check and responded to each charge in a polite and even-handed manner. What is more important, the shots by his opponents and others have failed to dislodge him from the favorable poll ratings he has enjoyed since the campaign began, which have made him the frontrunner in the field.

WILL GALLAGHER'S PROBLEMS HURT GOP IN 2009?

Queens Republicans hold only a single seat in the City Council, presently occupied by Councilmember Dennis Gallagher.

The lawmaker, who's now facing a rape indictment, is presently in his sixth year as a councilmember. His council career is scheduled to end because of term limits at the end of 2009.

The question is: will Gallagher's present personal problem hurt Republican chances of retaining the Eastern Queens seat in the 2009 elections? The GOP has occupied that 30th District post for more than 10 years at this point; Thomas Ognibene represented it for several terms before being succeeded by Gallagher.

Gallagher won the seat easily in the 2001 election, defeating Elizabeth Crowley of Glendale, the Democratic candidate, by a 3- to-2 margin. There are reports that Crowley, a cousin of Congressmember Joseph Crowley, is gearing up to run again for the seat. The district covers Middle Village, Glendale, Ridgewood and parts of some adjoining areas.

WEINER CONCERNED OVER RAIL INCIDENTS: Congressmember Anthony Weiner (D- Queens/Brooklyn), whose district includes Glendale, is concerned about several freight rail road accidents that have occurred recently. Constituents who reside near the Atlantic Railway tracks contacted him after recent derailments.

Weiner noted: "The expansion of our community has pushed citizens right up against rail tracks and rail yards." He feels the operator of the rail line should make some improvements in infrastructure and employee training to better ensure the safety of the community.

MAYOR SIGNS VALLONE'S GRAFFITI BILL: A bill introduced by City Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. (D- Astoria), which severely limits the sale and possession of graffiti instruments by persons under 21 years of age, was signed into law by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The new law prohibits possession of aerosol spray paint cans, broad-tipped indelible markers or etching acid with intent to create graffiti, the sale of graffiti instruments to anyone under age 21 and possession of graffiti instruments on someone else's property.

Vallone, chairman of the Public Safety Committee, had offered the bill in order to satisfy concerns raised by the courts which disallowed parts of a previous bill.

The mayor said Vallone's new bill "will provide us with the tools necessary to combat the graffiti problem and improve our quality of life".

Another Vallone bill which reaffirms the right of children to take cellphones to school, was passed by the council. The bill was in response to the Department of Education confiscating students' cellphones, a practice which had sparked complaints by parents.

Vallone, the parent of two young children in public school, stated: "Cellphones can act like a lifeline to the people who can help our children most. I've heard every argument against this idea and, frankly they are all ridiculous. We cannot allow these small concerns to keep us from keeping our children safe."

GENNARO FIGHTS HILLSIDE AVE. OVERDEVELOPMENT: City Councilmember James Gennaro (D- Fresh Meadows) reports that during the next month, he will fight to win further modifications to create a plan for the Hillside Avenue corridor that will not overwhelm but instead will allow for reasonable growth and new investment while ensuring that the character of the community is protected.

Gennaro noted that recently the Bloomberg mayoral administration and the Department of City Planning had proposed a dramatic upzoning along Hillside Avenue as part of a broad-scale rezoning of the Jamaica commercial district. The plan included proposals that would have permitted much greater density, building heights and population-"much more than the area could accommodate", Gennaro said.

Gennaro opposed the changes and fought to scale back the plan and won a modest victory. His present announcement will continue the effort to rein in overdevelopment on Hillside Avenue.

PADAVAN CITED BY ENVIRONMENTAL GROUP: Environmental Advocates of New York, one of the leading environmental advocacy groups in New York state, recently praised state Senator Frank Padavan (R- C, Bellerose) for his support of four "Super Bills" during the 2007 legislative session.

The group's executive director, Robert Morre, said Padavan was one of several lawmakers who stepped up and made protecting New York's precious natural resources a priority in this year's legislative session.

Padavan responded, "Investing our time, energy and resources in protecting and preserving our environment is vital to our future."

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