2009-02-18 / Political Page

Gazette Endorses Ricatto, Ferreras In Special Elections

In the special elections to fill vacancies in two City Council Districts to be held next Tuesday, February 24, the Gazette endorses Mike Ricatto in the 32nd District and Julissa Ferreras in the 21st District.

Ricatto, 52 and a resident of Ozone Park, has been for most of his adult life a small business owner. The reason he is running, he has said, is to apply what he has learned as a businessman to running the city government. He would be a watchdog over the city's billion dollar expenditures each year, looking to eliminate unnecessary wasteful, duplicative, and overpriced payments for city services.

This is especially true, he feels, in bad economic times and during a recession. The Gazette agrees heartily.

Ricatto is a Republican but he will be listed first on Tuesday's ballot, not as a Republican but under the slogan, "Voice of the People". Party affiliations are not listed on ballots in special elections. Candidates for the elections will be listed from left to right; therefore, Ricatto will be listed first on the far left of the ballot. He earned that placement by being the first candidate to submit his nominating petitions.

Ricatto and three other candidates are running to replace former Councilmember Joseph Addabbo Jr., who was elected last November to the state senate.

The district includes Ozone Park and Howard Beach, Woodhaven, Broad Channel and parts of the Rockaways.

Ferreras was endorsed by the Gazette because of her experience in serving the district as chief of staff to Hiram Monserrate, who gave up the 21st Council District seat when he was elected to the state senate.

However, Ferreras also has a strong record as a community and school activist. In her school endeavors, she worked for several years as the Beacon Program director at P.S. 19, advocating for students and families in one of the city's most overcrowded schools.

As chief of staff to Monserrate, she was involved with uniting diverse communities, negotiating agreements for jobs programs and other housing and economic improvement efforts, such as the Willets Point redevelopment program.

Ferreras, who will be the first Latina from Queens elected to the city council if she wins on February 24, has received many labor union endorsements as well as the endorsement of the Working Families Party (WFP).

Ferreras will be listed first on Tuesday's ballot by virtue of being the first candidate in this election to have submitted her nominating petitions. The district includes Jackson Heights, Corona, East Elmhurst and Elmhurst.

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