Sears Out, Beltrani GOP Choice In Special Election; Peralta Support Swells
Despite the headline on this column last week, Helen Sears will not be running in the March 16 special election to fill the vacancy in the 13th state senate district created when Hiram Monserrate was booted.
Sears, a Democrat, had the Republican line against Assemblymember Jose Peralta and Monserrate, both Democrats. But her plan to try to get the Conservative and Independence party lines didn’t come off, we’re told, so she dropped whole idea.
Queens Republicans swiftly replaced Sears with
Administrative Law Judge Robert Beltrani, a Jackson Heights resident. He and his wife, Isabel, also an attorney, have four children age nine to 18, all of whom attended or attend St. Joan of Arc Elementary School and St. John’s Prep H.S.
To no one’s surprise, Beltrani will run as a family-centered, law-and-order candidate “committed to fighting for better schools, cleaner streets, affordable housing and economic opportunity”.
Beltrani next journeyed to City Hall in Manhattan, where he joined fellow Republican Vince Tabone who’s running for the Bayside Assembly seat against incumbent Ann Margaret Carrozza (D).
Beltrani and Tabone, along with Assemblymember Felix Ortiz, a Brooklyn Democrat, and survivors of domestic violence, pledged support for Ortiz’s bill, which would provide that any person against whom an order of protection is issued must wear an electronic monitoring device as long as the restraining order is in effect.
Ortiz has said the monitoring device would allow “pinpoint tracking” of an individual wearing the device, which could prevent violations of an order of protection and help to protect the person who had it issued as well as others.
Beltrani, citing Ortiz’s bill as “a much needed measure to help prevent domestic violence”, also cited domestic violence assault statistics, including 133 homicides in New York state.
Tabone said Ortiz’s measure has to be seen as both a women’s rights issue and in the best interest of children who are traumatized by growing up in households filled with violence.
ENDORSEMENTS GALORE FOR PERALTA: Meanwhile, Peralta, who has also made Monserrate’s domestic violence situation an issue, has picked up a slew of endorsements in the special election, which is only 10 days away.
Already endorsed by the Queens Democratic organization and its chairman, Congressmember Joseph Crowley, the Corona Assemblymember last week was endorsed by Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and former city Comptroller William Thompson and various labor organizations and women’s groups.
“New York will benefit greatly from having Jose Peralta in the state senate,” de Blasio declared, adding that the lawmaker “understands the needs of working New Yorkers and has been an outstanding advocate for tenants’ rights, services for seniors and a quality education for all students”.
Thompson stated that Peralta will restore stability to the 13th senate district, which includes Jackson Heights, Corona, East Elmhurst and Elmhurst.
Among the labor groups endorsing Peralta which offer the strong possibility of getting major turn-out-the-vote volunteers on March 16, were the state AFLCIO which represents approximately 13,500 members in the 13th senate district; Local 32BJ SEIU, the largest private sector union in the state, and Local 1199 SEIU, United Healthcare Workers East.
Leading the women’s groups flocking to Peralta were the New York State chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW), the Planned Parenthood of New York City Action Fund and NARAL Pro-Choice New York.
Also weighing in on Peralta’s side was the Queens County Young Democrats, headed by Costa Constantinides. The group includes college students and government staffers at every level. “We have an opportunity to help change Albany by helping to elect the Democratic candidate Jose Peralta,” Constantinides declared.
Already in Peralta’s corner are City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Queens Councilmembers Julissa Ferreras (Corona), Danny Dromm (Jackson Heights), Peter Vallone Jr. (Astoria), Mark Weprin (Hollis), Leroy Comrie (Jamaica) and Karen Koslowitz (Rego Park).
Peralta, an advocate for victims of domestic violence, is working with Ferreras to create a Queens task force on domestic violence. Ferreras once was Monserrate’s chief of staff.
Queens Democratic Chairman Crowley hailed Peralta as a lawmaker who has “distinguished himself in the Assembly as a voice for hardworking families in New York. In the senate, Jose will continue to fight for quality education for our children, support for our small businesses and equality for all New Yorkers”.
NEW DATE FOR SIMOTAS FUNDRAISER: Last week’s snowstorm caused postponement of a fundraiser for 36th Assembly District Candidate Aravella Simotas, an Astoria attorney. The new date for the event is Friday, March 19 at 6:30 p.m. at the Pancyprian Sports Lounge, 23-15 31st St., Astoria. Minimum donation is $150, payable to Friends of Aravella. Organizers of the event are John Catsimatidis, Philip Christopher, Peter Papanicolaou and Nikos Mouyiaris, in conjunction with Assemblymember Michael Gianaris.
GENNARO LAUNCHES NEW TERM FOR ENVIRONMENTAL PANEL: Noting that his council Committee on Environmental Protection has “passed into law more significant environmental legislation than any local govern- ment in the country” over the past eight years, chairman Councilmember James Gennaro gaveled to order his first meeting of his third term as chairman.
Gennaro (D–Fresh Meadows) said he looked forward to achieving new heights over the next four years, and to continued support from Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Speaker Christine Quinn.
In Gennaro’s first two terms, the committee dealt with an array of issues that affected not only the environment, but the health and quality of life of New Yorkers. Included were air quality, water quality and watershed protections, energy efficiency and conservation, brownfields, natural resources protection and noise pollution.
Praising Gennaro for his performance over the past eight years, Eric Goldstein, NYC Environmental Director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said Gennaro “had displayed strong leadership and a pragmatic can-do attitude “in his first two terms. Among his accomplishments, said Goldstein, were safeguarding the quality, and cost of the city’s drinking water, improving air quality, reducing energy consumption, greening the environment and enhancing the quality of life for all New Yorkers.