Primary Elections Next Tuesday; Mayor Urged To End Term Speculation
The primary contests to be on the ballot next Tuesday in Queens has been reduced to three challenges to Democratic incumbents, and there's a possibility the list will be reduced further because as we write there are still candidate challenges going on in the courts.
Besides the three races to determine candidates in two senate and one Assembly district, there will also be contests for positions in the Democratic and Independence Parties in Queens.
The contests for public office still listed as scheduled involve state Senator Shirley Huntley (10th district) of Jamaica and opponent Allan W. Jennings of South Ozone Park, a former councilmember; state Senator Toby Ann Stavisky (16th district) of Whitestone, opposed by Robert Schwartz of Forest Hills, and Assemblymember Ellen Young (22nd AD) opposed by Grace Meng, both of Flushing.
Initially, Congressmember Gregory Meeks was facing a challenge from Ruben Wills of St. Albans, but Wills was knocked off the ballot. City Councilmember Joseph Addabbo Jr., seeking the nomination to run against state Senator Serphin Maltese, was spared a primary when Albert Baldeo pulled out of the race. And Marlene Tapper, who was poised to challenge Assemblymember Ivan Lafayette, lost him as an opponent when he retired from the Assembly. Tapper was then knocked off the ballot clearing the way for Michael Den Dekker to get the nomination.
PRESSURE ON MAYOR: Several city officials planning to run for other offices after their present terms are ended by term limits next year would like Mayor Michael Bloomberg to make a quick decision as to whether he'll seek to extend the present limits and run for a third term because his indecision is confusing their own future plans. Councilmembers John Liu (D-Flushing) and David Weprin (D- Hollis), both possible candidates for city comptroller next year, were among them. Another was the present comptroller, William Thompson Jr., who has announced his candidacy for mayor next year.
Thompson, of course, is directly affected by the mayor's plan because if the mayor decides to start a campaign to extend the present two-year term limit by another four-year term and is successful, and then decides to run for mayor once again, Thompson will probably not run for mayor. In his case, he might decide to run for comptroller again.
As for Weprin and Liu, there's a good possibility they would then run for the City Council again.
Thompson issued a statement on Monday saying the public was owed an explanation by the mayor and that it was time the mayor made his position clear.
Liu, who's also considering running for public advocate if the term limits law remains unchanged, was quoted in a press report as saying, "At some point, people just get tired of the ishe or-isn't-he game the mayor likes to play." he added, "This kind of playfulness doesn't serve the voters."
Weprin said that the indecision and procrastination could also bring an abrupt halt to the flow of contributions to all candidates.
Meanwhile, the mayor continued to stall on making a decision, offering some other innocuous comment on the issue.
Meanwhile, in a telephone poll of councilmembers conducted by the New York Times last week, 27 said they were in favor of extending term limits, eight were opposed and three were undecided. The 27 yeas are one more than is needed for the 51-member council to pass a bill.
MALTESE HAILS PALIN SELECTION: State Senator Serphin Maltese (R- C, Middle Village) last week applauded the selection of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin by presumtive Republican presidential candidate John McCain as his vice president running mate. He said the choice of the 44-year-old mother of five "demonstrates the Republican Party's commitment to strong conservative family values". Maltese said McCain "couldn't have been more progressive in selecting a running mate from far outside the Washington Beltway". He noted, "Palin has been a strong advocate of fiscal reform and high ethical values."
SCHUMER, CLINTON GET $2.4 M FOR JFK: A $2,467,706 grant to support the rehabili-
tation of Runway E at Kennedy Airport has been secured by NewYork Senators Charles Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton. The funds came from the federal Department of Transportation, which said the existing paved surface of the runway is in poor condition, requiring rehabilitation to ensure safe aircraft operations. The initial request for the funds came from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the airport.
VALLONE TARGETS HELL GATE VANDALS: After still another episode of vandals throwing large rocks down onto buildings under the Hell Gate Bridge in Astoria, Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. has called on Amtrak, owner of the trestle, to tighten up security on the elevated rail line.
"It's only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured," said Vallone (D- Astoria). "We need to be doing all we can to stop these types of incidents in the future." Vallone also expressed the fear that if young vandals can make their way on to the elevated rail line, terrorists could also get by security personnel and possibly do far greater damage.