Gottlieb Quits 6th CD Race, But Inter Dem Fight Goes On
As quickly as Jeff Gottlieb got into the race for the new 6th Congressional District seat, he apparently abandoned the idea. But if the 70-year-old former teacher and Queens historian is truly out of it, fear not. There could be two more hopefuls in the Democratic primary field, although the two frontrunners for the party’s nomination remain Assemblymembers Grace Meng, of Flushing and Rory Lancman, of Fresh Meadows.
And, for a certainty, Republican Dan Halloran, the councilmember from Whitestone, is in the race, having submitted a slew of signed nominating petitions to the Board of Elections last week to cement his entry into the race, no matter who his Democratic opponent turns out to be.
Gottlieb made a big splash last week, announcing he was seeking the nomination for the new seat which runs from Ridgewood and Glendale to Bayside. His entrance sparked an uproar from Lancman, who charged Gottlieb was merely in the contest to split the Jewish vote and help Meng to get the nomination. But Gottlieb’s action sparked some interest in the press, including a story that Gottlieb had been charged with second degree arson for allegedly torching his Flushing apartment in 1971. He eventually pleaded out to a lesser charge to dispose of the case.
However Gottlieb, now retired from teaching and employed at the Board of Elections, reportedly lost his appetite for the congressional race after the 40-year-old case was exposed and he decided to quit the race.
According to a press report, Gottlieb is to be replaced as the prospective candidate reportedly by Stephen Green, a Queens attorney. Like Gottlieb, Green comes out of the John F. Kennedy Regular Democratic Club in Kew Gardens.
Besides Green’s possible entry into the race, the field already had grown by one even before Gottlieb’s departure. The announced new candidate is Dr. Robert Mittman, of Bayside, an allergist we were told.
In a statement issued by him last Wednesday, Mittman said he had filed nominating petitions with the Board of Elections the previous Monday.
“I consider it an honor to seek elected office in the community that I was born in, raised in, lived in, volunteered and worked in for over 40 years,” he stated.
Mittman said he looked forward to the Democratic primary campaign and discussing issues, “In particular, as an internist and family doctor, I am eager to discuss the current crisis in our healthcare system which desperately needs reform.”
DEM MAYOR HOPEFULS ENDORSE MENG: Also last week, four Democrats expected to fight it out next year for their party’s nomination for NYC mayor—City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, City Comptroller John Liu, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and former City Comptroller Bill Thompson—endorsed Meng for the 6th Congressional seat.
Quinn stated, “New York City’s strength is its diversity and I know, in Congress, Grace will be a leader for all New Yorkers because she’s been exactly that kind of leader for the Queens neighborhood she’s been representing for years.”
Liu, a neighbor of Meng’s in Flushing, stated, “Grace is an experienced legislator, lawyer, community advocate and mother who understands the serious issues facing hard working families…”
De Blasio: “Grace has a proven record as a champion of the middle class, a leader in state government, and a fighter for fairness and equality for all New Yorkers. Our working families need a strong and clear voice to cut through all the noise in Washington and fight for us…”
Thompson: “We need representatives in Congress who will make the hard choices necessary to build our middle class, educate our children and protect seniors. That is why I am supporting Grace Meng for Congress.”
Meng also announced numerous endorsements for local political, community, civic and ethnic groups from throughout Queens.
HALLORAN: ‘VOTERS OF QUEENS WILL HAVE A CHOICE’: Councilmember Halloran (R–C–Whitestone) hailed a small group of volunteers who collected signatures to help place him on the ballot for the 6th CD race.
“Today we assured that the voters of Queens will have a choice this November. They can choose the same old failed policies of President Obama and the Democratic Party that have gotten us $4 gasoline, no jobs and weakened national defense. Or they can vote for me and choose to create new energy sources, grow our economy and protect our ally Israel.”
He also thanked “the people who signed my petitions and the grassroots team of concerned local citizens who helped in this effort”.
Queens Republican Party Leader Phil Ragusa also hailed Halloran’s ballot effort. He stated, “Bob Turner was able to get his message out and stun the nation with a win last year, and we believe that Dan can do the same. He won as an underdog in 2009, and we believe with hard work and community support he can do so again this year.”
DENOUNCE ANTI-SEMITIC GRAFFITI: Four Queens lawmakers— Councilmember Karen Koslowitz (D–Forest Hills), Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi (D–Forest Hills), state Senator Toby Ann Stavisky (D–Whitestone) and Assemblymember Grace Meng (D–Flushing) and CB 6 District Manager Frank Gulluscio (Ozone Park) reported on April 13, during the recent Jewish holidays, that anti-Semitic graffiti was found at the Grand Central Parkway service road by 64th Avenue and 64 Road. Images of the swastika and racial slurs were largely spray painted across the base of the overpass. The incident, they said, was reported to the 112th Precinct in Forest Hills around 10 a.m. Images were promptly removed.
Councilmember Koslowitz stated: “I am utterly disgusted and angered at such expressions of hate and bigotry, especially during the week of one of the holiest religious observance for Jews. These images serve nothing but a terrible reminder of the prejudice that still exists today. It breaks my heart to know that someone would stoop so low to evoke fear and dreadful memories of the past. They should be ashamed of themselves and know these actions of hate will not be tolerated here or anywhere else. I commend the NYPD 112th Precinct for their immediate response in having these images removed.”
Assemblymember Hevesi: “I am absolutely appalled to see such malicious and offensive actions taken against our community. This sort of hate-filled message is in no way reflective of our diverse and inclusive neighborhood. We will not tolerate bigotry of any form, be it race, religion or anything else in our community.”
Senator Stavisky: “This crime of hate is a crime against us all. New York City is the melting pot of the world, where people of all backgrounds live without fear of bullying and threats of violence. Hate speech must be dealt with quickly and decisively. Hate is a four-letter word which must be stricken from our vocabulary.”
Assemblymember Meng: “Such hateful acts have no place in our community. These callous cruel words strike at the heart of our diverse neighborhoods, and their intent is to divide and intimidate. We reject them and with pride remind everyone that Queens is the most diverse county in the United States. We must cherish and embrace this fact and together stand strongly against these bigoted acts.”
DM Gulluscio: “The hate crimes demonstrated the inappropriate behavior and irresponsibility of a few during Passover. It has affected the quality of life of Christians and Jews this holiday season. Our community can only hope and pray that these crimes can be solved.”
WIESENFELD BOOSTS BOEHNER: An old friend, Jeffrey Wiesenfeld, formerly of Forest Hills, wrote us recently to inform us that a breakfast/fundraiser was held yesterday for Republican House Speaker John Boehner. The event, to raise funds to help re-elect Boehner and a Republican Congress, was held at the Regency Hotel in Manhattan.
Wiesenfeld’s letter, which dealt with U.S. relations with Israel and the respective Democratic administration and Republican policy positions was generally pro- Republican.
Regarding President Barack Obama, Wiesenfeld states: “From the very beginning, our President has placed his relationships with misogynist and repressive regimes on the same plane with America’s closest ally—Israel. In fact, the current White House has gone to great lengths to manipulate Israel and create ‘daylight’ between our two nations.”
Describing Boehner’s position, Wiesenfeld states that the Speaker “understands that Israel stands as the one true beacon of freedom and opportunity in the Middle East—and that it is under constant threat. He believes it’s America’s duty to stand by Israel’s side, not as a broker or observer, but as an ally and a partner”.
Wiesenfeld, who once was a close aide to then –U.S. Senator Al D’Amato, currently is a principal in a Wall Street firm.
TURNER WARY OF IRAN: Congressmember Bob Turner (D–C–Queens/Brooklyn) issued a statement yesterday “highlighting the importance of Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, and the dangers of Iran’s public statements of intent to annihilate the Jewish people and state.”
The Rockaway Park lawmaker, urging “Recognition of History’s Lesson”, then describes the history of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party, which “made their intentions of a Jewish genocide widely known”.
“Their threats were dismissed as rhetoric, and many believed they had little power to make the threats of ethnic cleansing a reality,” Turner notes.
Now, less than a century later, Turner declares, Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently reminded the world of a similar threat being posed to the Jewish people today by Iran and its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.”
Turning to the present, Turner points out that there is an abundance of evidence confirming the plans of Iran’s leader to wipe out the Jewish people and the State of Israel. At the same time, Turner warns, “The Iranians are hard at work trying to develop the tools to carry out their threats. We cannot sit idly by, unwilling to recognize the lessons of the past. We must stand, shoulder-to-shoulder with the Jewish people and the State of Israel and actively seek to uphold the credo “Never Again”.
GIANARIS, STAVISKY CELEBRATE ‘EARTH DAY’: This past Sunday, April 22, was Earth Day, an event to remind us of our obligation to protect the planet. State Senator Michael Gianaris (D–Astoria), a longtime advocate of clean energy and an improved environment, celebrated the day by announcing Lucas McGarkey, a kindergartner at P.S. 166 in Long Island City as his district’s winner of the New York state senate Earth Day 2012 Poster Competition.
Lucas’ poster can be viewed at www.nysenate.gov/earth-day-2012-poster contest-winner.
“Earth Day reminds us we need to do more to ensure our air is clean and pollution free, as well as the importance of ‘green initiatives,” said Gianaris.
The senator authored the state’s Clean Energy Law, has been a leader of planting more trees in Western Queens to improve air quality, and helped to open P.S. 84’s new, outdoor classroom, called the Learning Garden in Astoria. He’s also a member of the newly formed coalition, Smart Power NY, which promotes renew- able energy products.
In celebration of Earth Day, state Senator Toby Ann Stavisky encouraged everyone to make a commitment to protecting the planet, ensuring clean air and fresh water for generations to come.
“Protecting the people of New York goes hand-in-hand with protecting the environment,” Stavisky explained. “By working together to GoGreen, we can protect our neighborhoods and communities, as well as create countless job and economic development opportunities to propel our economy through the 21st century.”
GOLDFEDER URGES SUMMER VACATION STUDIES: During the summer vacation, school kids and their parents should plan on continuing the children’s educational development, and the best way to do it is by participating in the NYS Assembly’s Summer Reading Challenge.
The Assembly coordinates its program with the state library’s “Summer Reading at New York Libraries” Goldfeder (D–Rockaways) says:
“There are so many activities for children to enjoy in the summer months and reading should be at the top of the list.”
CONSERVATIVES OPPOSE STATE CAMPAIGN FINANCING: In a strongly worded statement, the New York state Conservative Party has urged the state legislature to vote against public funding for state election campaigns. Its position is that “full disclosure is the only viable campaign finance reform”.
The statement comes as legislation has been proposed for public financing of campaigns, but Conservatives argue that the state is still in debt and it would cost about $40 million-a-year to finance it. Worse still, it says, “It takes ordinary citizens’ money and gives it to candidates they may not support.”
The party’s statement on the proposal declares: “Forcing taxpayers to fund campaigns they do not support is not a wise use of taxpayer’s dollars, especially when New York taxpayers are already paying some of the highest taxes in the nation. How candidates spend campaign funds is especially disappointing; throughout the years there have been many published reports of how candidates spend campaign money, reviews of campaign-finance records show how even lawmakers who lost continued to dip into their campaign accounts for meals, expenses and even $10,000 for a car.”
It adds: “How can any legislator even consider adding an additional burden on taxpayers to fund their elections?”
COUNCIL EXPANDS BRAMER’S LIBRARY CARD ACT: In an effort to provide every child in New York City with a library card, the City Council voted last week to expand Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer’s (D–Sunnyside) Library Card Act. The four city agencies that would participate in the new legislation are: the Department of Youth and Community Development, the Administration for Children’s Services, the Human Resources Administration and the Department of Homeless Services.
The new bill will also require the Department of Education to distribute library card information starting when a student enters pre-kindergarten.
“Library cards are great equalizers, offering all people the opportunity to better their lives,” said Van Bramer. They represent a passport to knowledge and hope for a brighter future. It is my goal that every young person in New York City has a library card in their pocket.”
Since Van Bramer’s Library Card Act was enacted in 2010, mandating the DOE to distribute library card applications to new students, over 100,000 young people received cards in the first year alone, Van Bramer said.
LAWMAKER SPONSORS TEA DANCE IN PARK: Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley (D–Glendale) is sponsoring the first tea dance ever in Forest Park’s Oak Ridge on May 15. The event, between 1 and 3 p.m. will offer assorted ballroom dancing, tea, coffee and cake for up to 60 people. But there will also be fun stuff, like line dancing lessons by Pat and Fred Gundell of the Middle Village Adult Center. Buses will also be provided to get guests there and back. Crowley and the Forest Park Trust are co-sponsoring the event.
HEARING ON SEVEN PERCENT WATER RATE, TURNER SAYS: Congressmember Bob Turner (R-CQueens/ Brooklyn) is spreading the word: the city Water Board will hold a public hearing for Queens homeowners on its proposed seven percent rate hike (due to start on July 1) at Christ the King H.S., 68-02 Metropolitan Ave., in Middle Village, starting at 7 p.m.
Turner emphasizes the importance of local residents to attend to have their voices heard on decisions that will affect them financially.
According to Turner, the city Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has stated that the proposed rate hike, if implemented, and based on an average consumption of 80,000 gallons per year, “The typical single family homeowner will see an increase from $877 per year to $939 per year for water and sewer bills.”
In addition, he said, an average multifamily unit with metered billing will have an increase from $571 per year for each dwelling unit to $610 per year for each unit.
Addressing Queens residents, Turner said, “I encourage them to register and express their opinions. These are tough economic times and any water rate increase can be burdensome to hardworking families.”
To register to speak, contact Diane Easparro at the NYC Water Board at 718- 595-3591, or via e-mail at: deasparro@ dep.nyc.gov.