I On Politics
With 35 days remaining until Election Day, the campaign by state Senator Serphin Maltese to win re-election and help the senate GOP to retain control of the upper house in Albany will get a major boost when former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani comes to Maltese's district to campaign with him.
Coming on the heels of Maltese being endorsed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently, it appears the veteran Middle Village lawmaker is ramping up his campaign to repulse Councilmember Joseph Addabbo's bid to unseat him.
Further evidence of that was Maltese's announcement coinciding with Giuliani's visit of a Democrats-for- Maltese operation aimed at draining votes from Addabbo, a Democrat.
Next Tuesday, Giuliani and Maltese will visit the Peter Cardella Senior Center on Fresh Pond Road in Ridgewood, with the two-fold objective of getting the popular former mayor to convince the large senior voting bloc, particularly those from his Italian- American group, to turn out at the polls and vote for Maltese, who is also of Italian descent. It's a certainty that Maltese's campaign staff will have a standing-room-only audience at the senior center for Giuliani's appearance.
In announcing his visit to Queens to campaign for his erstwhile strong political ally, Giuliani called the senator "a great legislator and dedicated public servant who has done a terrific job of representing the people of the 15th District, and I hope he will continue to do so for many years to come".
Responding in kind, Maltese said it meant a great deal that "one of our city's best mayors is supporting my effort". He also alluded to Giuliani's record of accomplishments during his eight years in office and added he had been proud to partner with him on a number of initiatives and to help push his agenda through the gridlock in Albany.
Last but not least, Maltese paid tribute to Giuliani as "America's mayor for
guiding our city through the darkest days of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center." Up to this point, Giuliani has not, to our knowledge, campaigned for any other candidate in the upcoming elections, including Republican presidential candidateJohn McCain. There are good reasons for his taking time to campaign for Maltese, though.
Giuliani ran for mayor three times, in 1989, 1993 and 1997. In each election he had the support of Maltese, who was the Queens County Republican chairman. The support was available from start to finish in each case—getting crucial assistance from a small army of petition-gatherers, of which Giuliani had none, who then followed through with the leg work upon which a campaign depends for its success.
Giuliani lost in 1989, but he came right back four years later to win the mayoralty and again in 1997 to win reelection. In his two victories it was the Queens vote, coupled with that of Staten Island, that shaped his victories.
In those three elections, Vince Tabone played a key role as field general of the Queens GOP's campaign. He recalls the borough "went for Rudy in a big way. You've got to have Queens for a Republican candidate to win an election in this city, and we were critical to Rudy's victories".
Tabone also recalled that Maltese, a chairman of the Cities Committee in the senate during Giuliani's reign as mayor, helped Giuliani immensely on several key programs.
Giuliani is not one to forget the political debt he owes to Maltese and Queens Republicans. It will also burnish his credentials with statewide Republicans if he helps the state senate to retain its majority if he decides to run for governor in the future.
As for Democrats-for-Maltese, the effort is being headed by Co-Chairs Pat Clune, a former female Democratic district leader in Maltese's senate district, and Jack Zwerenz, also a Democrat. Other co-chairs are Kathy Masi and Enrico Ferzola.
Zwerenz has been active in the Glendale Property Owners Association and the Glendale Civil Observation Patrol, among other community groups. Claire describes herself as a "former educator for 30 years" and cited Maltese's successful efforts to increase school aid from Albany by 97 percent over the past 10 years.
MAYOR'S TERM LIMITS GAMBIT WORKING: About two months ago, Bloomberg was reported to be making the rounds of the city's major newspaper board rooms sounding out publishers on whether they would support changes in the term limits law.
The mayor wanted to know, it was reported, because members of the business community were urging him to seek a third term in 2009 because those who had declared their intention to run for the office did not possess the capability to see the city through expected tough financial times.
On Monday, the Daily News was the first of the major dailies to respond to the mayor's enquiries. As for next year's mayoral election, it ended its editorial with "Run Mike, run."
In the editorial, the newspaper stated that New York City "is only beginning to weather the damaging effects of the worst financial crisis to hit the U.S. since the Great Depression".
Therefore, "New Yorkers deserve to select the person they feel is best qualified to pull the city through this crisis from among a full field of candidates. "Bloomberg must be in the pack."
But, the editorial went on, to enable Bloomberg's third term, the term limits law must be amended to give voters the choice to extend Bloomberg's leadership for four more years, should they so desire.
For his part, the mayor must first declare his intentions. His coyness must end and he must show the courage to support rewriting a law that was twice approved by the voters.
After noting that New York City faces very tough times ahead, and that the mayor has performed well in the past, the editorial concludes that the decision on changing term limits should be entrusted to the public and to the mayor himself.
CON ED HIT WITH $9M PENALTY: Con Edison was ordered last week to pay a $9 million penalty for failing to meet reliability standards in 2007. The utility got no sympathy from Assemblymember Michael Gianaris and Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr, both of whom include Astoria in their respective districts.
Commenting on the Public Service Commission's (PSC) action, which grew out of the Manhattan explosion of a Con Ed steampipe, Gianaris stated: "Nine million dollars does not even begin to scratch the surface in terms of holding Con Edison accountable for its mistakes. For an unaccountable monopoly that paid its CEO $5.5 million last year, this so-called penalty is a drop in the bucket."
Vallone commented: "Another day, another fine! Con Ed was allowed to massively raise the already highest rates in the country for what has been officially declared to be shoddy service. Something needs to change."
WEPRIN DENOUNCES AHMADINEJAD: Councilmember David Weprin (D- Hollis) led a protest on Monday against the visit by Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the United Nations General Assembly, which the Iranian leader was to address.
Last year, Weprin led a similar protest against Ahmadinejad at Columbia University.
Weprin declared at the UN (United Nations): "We are outraged that Ahmadinejad is once again coming to New York to spread his message of hate and intolerance towards Jews and non- Jews, along with contempt towards the United States."
GIOIA TO WORLD LEADERS: 'PAY UP': As the world leaders descended on the UN, Councilmember Eric Gioia was there to protest that the visiting diplomats and their countries owe New York City millions of dollars in outstanding parking tickets, along with nearly $60 million in unpaid property taxes. The Long Island City lawmaker delivered a bill for $1,926,728.61 from the people of New York to the door of the Egyptian Mission to the UN, the worst offender.
LAFAYETTE GETS STATE JOB: Assemblymember Ivan Lafayette, who retired from his Assembly seat earlier this month after representing the Jackson Heights/Corona area for 32 years, has been appointed to the New York State Insurance Department as deputy superintendent for Community Affairs. As such, he will lead the agency's education and community outreach programs. His salary is reported to be $147,000.
During his Assembly career, Lafayette served as a member of the Insurance Committee and chair of the Subcommittee on Automobile Insurance. He was also a member of the executive committee of the National Conference of Insurance Legislators and chair of its Financial Services Committee.
MALONEY CALLS FOR ECONOMIC STIMULUS PACKAGE: Citing an upsurge of unemployment in New York state in recent years, Congressmember Carolyn Maloney (D- Queens/Manhattan) has called upon the federal government to approve an economic stimulus package to shelter American families from the worsening downturn in the economy. Maloney cited the recent August state employment data showing that the unemployment rate in New York state rose to 5.8 percent in August and that 4,300 jobs have been lost this year. The state now has 552,800 unemployed workers, she said, and the current financial crisis will add to this total.
"By providing aid to the states, we can preserve health care for families, increase energy assistance, and create jobs by investing in our crumbling infrastructure," Maloney declared.
NOLAN HOLDS STATE FAIR: Assemblymember Catherine Nolan (D- Ridgewood) will hold a state fair this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at St. John's Ridgewood United Methodist Church, 17-37 Linden St., Ridgewood. Local residents can obtain information about different local and state government services.
On October 4, Nolan will hold an open house at her new Sunnyside office, located at 41-02 Queens Blvd.