Nominating Petition Filings Usher In Primary Season Battles
In coming weeks, more filings will follow as the filing period draws to a close, revealing still other exciting contests will be settled on Primary Day.
Topping the list of early filers last week was Congressmember Carolyn Maloney who, seeking her ninth term, filed more than 23,500 signatures, more than 18 times the required number of signatures.
The powerful Queens/Manhattan lawmaker is facing a serious challenge in the primary from newcomer Reshma Saujani, a Wall Street hedge fund operative.
Maloney’s massive, door-to-door, neighbor-to-neighbor campaign was conducted by an army of supporters enlisted for Maloney, senior member of the House Financial Services Committee and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Maloney said she was honored by the overwhelming grassroots support across the district. “As I’ve petitioned with my volunteers to get on the ballot, I’ve heard from voters about their priorities and concerns. Their ideas inspire me to fight even harder for New Yorkers in Washington.”
Maloney was first elected to represent the 14th Congressional District in 1992 and is the only woman to represent it. She went on to become the first woman to chair the powerful Joint Economic Committee. Maloney also co-founded the House 9/11 Commission Caucus and has worked tirelessly to get health coverage for thousands of World Trade Center post 9/11 workers who became seriously ill from their labors at Ground Zero.
MONSERRATE SEEKS PUBLIC OFFICE AGAIN: As expected, Hiram Monserrate, after being dumped from his state senate seat and losing his bid to regain it to Jose Peralta, last week filed petitions to run for Peralta’s former 39th Assembly District seat.
Monserrate has been promised a tough contest by Francisco Moya in the September Democratic primary. Moya, a government affairs officer for Cablevision, has the backing of the powerful Queens Democratic organization and also has much community backing in the Corona/Jackson Heights district. Moya also has the support of the Working Families Party.
Monserrate, a former City Councilmember, still has to overcome the resentment of the heavily Hispanic residents following his conviction on domestic assault charges against his girlfriend, Karla Giraldo, with whom Monserrate has since reconciled.
Meanwhile, Moya has been endorsed by Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and former City Comptroller William Thompson Jr.
FIRMS UP, CIAFONE GETS GOP NOD: Nominating petitions were also filed in the primary for the 36th Assembly District Astoria-Long Island City seat. Organization-backed Aravella Simotas will be opposed by John Ciafone. Jeremiah Frei-Pearson, a late arrival on the scene, withdrew from the race on July 17. “After the past week’s developments, we still have a path to victory, but that path would require us to run a negative campaign against a fellow Democrat. That is a path that I am unwilling to take,” he declared in a statement. Before his withdrawal from the race, Frei-Pearson filed more than 3,300 signatures and also boasted a $150,000 campaign treasury to start his campaign. Frei-Pearson was endorsed by American Democracy for New York City, Marriage Equality New York and theJim Owles Democratic Club.
Simotas, an attorney and community activist, remains the favorite in the race by virtue of her endorsement by the Queens Democratic organization and the Taminent Regular Democratic Club.
Ciafone, also an attorney and local activist, has pledged to spend “up to $100,000” on his primary campaign, but has also firmed up a challenge in the November election if necessary. Previously endorsed by the Conservative and Independence Parties, Ciafone last week added the Queens Republican Party endorsement to his resume. It makes for a very interesting race.
GILLIBRAND GETS PRIMARY CHALLENGE: Through much of last year, United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who was appointed to the Senate by Governor David Paterson, waged a defensive action to avoid being challenged in this September’s primary. She got strong backing in this from President Barack Obama.
But last week, a New York City attorney, Gail Goode, thrust herself into the primary fight. Goode admits she’s an unknown and has little financial support to wage her challenge, but did manage to file 45,000 signatures, three times the number required for a statewide battle.
There was no comment from Gillibrand, who replaced Hillary Rodham Clinton when Obama named Clinton Secretary of State, and has a good start in winning the Democratic nomination and being elected to fill out Clinton’s original term.
REPUBLICAN IN RACE AGAINST ADDABBO: State Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. won his Ozone Park/Howard Beach seat from Serphin Maltese two years ago. At this time, we don’t know if he’ll be challenged in the Democratic primary in September. If Addabbo gets the Dem nomination and runs for re-election in November, he will have a challenge from Republican Anthony Como, who filed his nominating petitions last week.
Como, formerly a city councilmember and who has been closely allied with Maltese over the years, filed for the Republican, Conservative and Independence Party lines, so he’s set up to bring a realistic challenge against Addabbo.
However, the incumbent has wasted no time in his initial term. As chairman of the senate Elections Committee, Addabbo has waged a campaign to get ready for computer voting and has set in place system changes designed to make computerized voting a success when it gets its first airing.
Addabbo has not forgotten his local district responsibilities either. He’s been working hard to bring a racino to Aqueduct Racetrack and, along with Assemblymember Audrey Pheffer and community board officials, has worked to assure that any plan adopted for the racino will create jobs for the local labor force and provide a part of the action for local businesses.
VAN SERVICE REPLACES LOST BUS LINE: Through the efforts of Councilmembers Mark Weprin and Dan Halloran, bus riders in their Eastern Queens districts who were left stranded when the Q79 line was abolished by the MTA are getting livery van service as a replacement resource.
Weprin (D–Oakland Gardens) said that Taxi and Limousine Commissioner David Yassky had approved his request to set up the livery van service along Little Neck Parkway as part of the TLC’s new livery van group ride pilot project.
Weprin noted that the Q79 elimination left many constituents, especially students and seniors, without connections to other bus lines and the LIRR. The livery van service will provide “a viable option”.
Halloran (R–C, Whitestone), praised the TLC action, saying he was “thrilled” to see that the agency “intervened where the MTA came up short”. He added, “I am confident this pilot program’s success will show how badly these underserved areas need more public transit options.”
Weprin said that as the only northsouth bus line in Eastern Queens, the Q79 had provided connections to six bus routes and the LIRR which, in turn, brought riders to shopping areas such as Northern Boulevard, the Horace Harding Expressway, Union Turnpike and Hillside and Jamaica Avenues; to cultural amenities such as the Queens County Farm Museum; and medical facilities such as Long Island Jewish Hospital, the Little Neck Nursing Home and Brandywine Senior Living.
HALLORAN WINS TRAFFIC TIX BEEF: Besides scoring points in the Q79 replacement, Halloran also won a victory in his controversial traffic ticket case as a judge dismissed a parking violation the lawmaker had received from a zealous traffic agent.
In the June 14 case, agent Daniel Chou gave Halloran a parking ticket, but the judge ruled that Halloran’s car was idling, not parked. Also, Halloran, as a city councilmember, is protected from getting tickets in certain parking situations while performing council duties, the case on that day in Whitestone.
That same day, Halloran reported that Chou was observed driving recklessly, running stop signs and then parking illegally, blocking a crosswalk in front of a Dunkin Donuts.
After an internal New York Police Department review, Halloran said, Chou lost vacation time as punishment, had his NYPD vehicle taken away, and was transferred out of the Northeast Queens district.
“The streets of Whitestone are a better place today, now that this agent has been removed from them,” Halloran said.
DROMM AIDS IMMIGRATION FRAUD VICTIMS: Councilmember Daniel Dromm, chair of the Council Immigration Committee, held a workshop last Sunday in Jackson Heights to aid thousands of immigrants who were victims of a wide-reaching scam and now have a chance to recover some of the money they lost to the scammers.
Dromm (D–Jackson Heights) identified the culprit organization as the American Immigrant Federation (AIF), which had ben accused of charging huge fees for immigrant services and giving out false information, misfiling papers and using non-lawyers improperly.
AIF was investigated by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s office. Last April Cuomo’s office reached a settlement with AIF under which AIF agreed to pay $1.2 million in restitution to its alleged victims and agreed to stop all immigration services and cease operations, Dromm said.
Last Sunday’s legal workshop was held by Dromm to assist the victimized immigrants to recoup money they had lost to AIF. But the lawmaker said anyone claiming to be a victim of AIF must submit a complaint to Cuomo by July 30.
ACKERMAN WOULD HONOR COLLEGES FOR IMMIGRANT AID: Congressmember Gary Ackerman has filed legislation which recognizes colleges and universities throughout the U.S. that offer immigrant assistance programs. Among these, he said, are Queensborough Community College, in his district in Bayside, and Queens College and St. John’s University.
The assistance programs include teaching immigrants to navigate this nation’s complex immigration system, as well as preparing immigrants for citizenship exams, helping them to apply for green cards and teaching English language courses.
Ackerman (D–Bayside/Long Island) said these programs are invaluable, “particularly in Queens, one of the most ethnically diverse areas in the nation”.
GIANARIS BLASTS CON ED SETTLEMENT DEAL: A study, recently released by Pace University found that Consolidated Edison had paid for less than a 10th of damages to residents and businesses affected by the July 2006 blackout in Western Queens, drew a sharp response from Assemblymember Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria). “This study proves what our community has known for the last four years. The deal made with Con Edison severely undercompensated us for damages caused by the blackout,” Gianaris declared. “The only way to avoid continuing abuses in the future is to dramatically reform Con Edison, once and for all.” The study found that the nine-day power outage affected 174,000 people and created about $188 million in damages.