Huge ‘Women’s’ Turnout For Meng’s Candidacy
Saturday was Ladies Day for Assemblymember Grace Meng as elected women officials, joined by hundreds of activists and other supporters, turned out for a rousing campaign rally for the congressional candidate who’s carrying the Democratic Party’s hopes to capture the new 6th CD seat in the November election.
At the rally in front of Grace for New York headquarters, the ralliers hailed Meng, from Flushing, as a fighter for women’s rights and called her the best candidate to advocate for women’s access to comprehensive health care, equal pay for equal work and protecting women from abuse and violence.
Meng, who would be the first Asian person from Queens elected to Congress, told the crowd:
“I am incredibly proud and honored to have the support of such a diverse, dynamic group of women. While women represent over half of America’s population, we make up only 17 percent of Congress. This needs to change, and if elected, I will make sure that the voices of those gathered here today, and so many women like them throughout our country, are more an equal part of the decision making that impacts all our lives.”
Among the speakers that followed her were Congressmember Carolyn Maloney, Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, state Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, Assemblymember Aravella Simotas and Councilmembers Karen Koslowitz and Julissa Ferreras.
Koslowitz, who emceed the event as cochair of Grace for New York, declared in leading the parade of women supporters:
“I stand strong with my friend Grace Meng in her race for Congress. Grace is a wonderful advocate for the rights of women. Her record in the Assembly, along with her advocacy in the community on behalf of women is second to none. We need Grace’s strong voice in the Congress to fight for women’s rights.”
Following Koslowitz closely was the acknowledged women’s rights leader in
Congress for almost 20 years,
Congressmember Carolyn Maloney.
Maloney was the sponsor of the Equal
Rights Amendment and former co-chair of the House Caucus on Women’s Issues.
Maloney, who was among several that endorsed Meng for Congress, stated: “I need colleagues like Grace Meng fighting alongside me in Congress. Grace will bring a fresh new voice to help us break through the partisan logjam that has impeded our nation’s economic recovery, and she will hold the Republican House majority accountable for its continued hostility towards women’s rights.”
One Queens elected woman who blasted the House GOP on a women’s rights vote last week, Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley aimed her tirade directly at Congressmember Bob Turner, Queens’ newest Republican lawmaker. Ms. Crowley’s remarks are covered later in this column.
Crowley is opposing Meng in the June 26 Democratic primary election, which will select the party’s candidate for the 6th District seat stretching across the northern border of Queens from Ridgewood to Little Neck. Other candidates opposing Meng, who is the Democratic Party’s choice in the contest, are Assemblymember Rory Lancman and Dr. Robert Mittman, a Bayside physician. The Republican candidate is Councilmember Dan Halloran.
Following Maloney, BP Marshall stated, “I proudly support Assemblywoman Grace Meng for Congress. With the recent attacks on women in Washington, DC and around the nation, Grace knows that we must stand up strong for women and fight back.”
State Senator Stavisky said: “I have worked with Grace on issues ranging from domestic violence to pay equity. She will be a strong voice for women in a Congress that has declared war on women.”
Simotas stated, “I am proud to endorse my colleague and friend Grace Meng for Congress. Grace has built an impressive track record of fighting for women and their families in the Assembly, and she will be a leading voice in Washington for expanding access to affordable health care, creating opportunities for women entrepreneurs and improving our education system to secure a better future for our children.”
Ferreras said, “Grace Meng is a true fighter for women’s rights and I am so proud to support her for Congress. Her advocacy on behalf of the women’s movement shows her steadfast dedication to the cause of equality.”
Former Councilmember Melinda Katz stated: “Grace will build coalitions and represent all of the people in the 6th Congressional District. She is a candidate I am proud to support because of her intellect and ability to be effective.”
Meng also received an endorsement from the Amalgamated Transportation Union (ATU) Local 1056, whose members are bus drivers and mechanics who work for the MTA in Queens.
COUNCILMEMBER CROWLEY SLAMS TURNER: Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley (D–Glendale), who’s seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination in the election for the 6th Congressional District seat, blasted Congressmember Bob Turner (R–C-Queens/Brooklyn) and his Republican colleagues for passing a women’s rights bill “that significantly weakened vital protections for domestic violence victims”.
Crowley, in a letter to Turner, scolded him and his Republican colleagues in the House for voting for and “rolling back protections for women who are victims of domestic abuse, and your decision puts the safety of half of your constituents—including myself—at risk.”
Crowley said the bill passed by House Republicans was a watered down version of the Violence Against Women Act by a vote of 222 to 205. Continuing, Crowley pointed out, “The GOP version of the bill you supported would violate the confidentiality that a victim of violence is entitled to by notifying her abuser that she has called the police.”
Crowley added, “Your vote for this legislation does not represent the views of your constituents. We need to do everything possible to protect women and ensure public safety. Your vote moves us in the wrong direction.”
Crowley is running against Assemblymember Grace Meng of Flushing, Assemblymember Rory Lancman and Dr. Robert Mittman, of Bayside, for the 6th CD seat in Queens in the June 26 primary election.
Turner is also running in a Republican primary that day which will decide who wins and gets to run against U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who is seeking re-election to a six-year term. Opposing Turner in the primary Maragos and Manhattan Attorney Wendy Long, who already has the Conservative Party ballot line.
Last week, Crowley was endorsed in the Democratic primary race by the New York City Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (PBA), which gives the councilmember a powerful Election Day ally which has 50,000 members. Crowley has always been a strong PBA advocate. PBA President Patrick Lynch, in his endorsement, singled out Crowley as a safe streets advocate who always espouses fair treatment for cops.
TURNER CALLS FOR SPECIAL COUNSEL TO PROBE FINANCIAL FIRM: Turner last week joined with 63 House colleagues who called on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint an independent or special counsel to investigate the MF Global financial firm bankruptcy filing. Turner said, “Many unanswered questions remain regarding what caused the massive shortfall in segregated customer accounts prior to MF Global’s bankruptcy. There are concerns that special treatment was granted to MF Global due to CEO John Corzine’s relationship with regulators.”
Corzine, the former New Jersey governor, is also a major fundraiser for President Barack Obama. Turner noted Corzine recently bundled more than $500,000 for Obama’s re-election campaign. Appointing a special counsel to conduct the MF Global case, Turner said “would remove even the perception of political favoritism by bringing in an outside special counsel”.
Turner added: “The issue has conflict of interest written all over it. It just doesn’t pass the smell test.” The Queens lawmaker said pointedly that the Obama/Corzine relationship “severely complicates this case” and Holder “should do what is right for the victims of this bankruptcy and appoint a special counsel immediately.”
CROWLEY, ACKERMAN HAILS DECISION TO KEEP COLLEGE PT. POSTAL FACILITY OPEN: Congressmembers Joseph Crowley (D–Queens/The Bronx) and Gary Ackerman (D–Bayside/Long Island), leaders in the fight to keep the U.S. Postal Service’s facility in College Point open and operating, hailed that decision announced by the USPS on Monday.
Both lawmakers said it would help residents and businesses alike and especially save about 700 jobs at the facility. The proposed closing was contemplated late last year because the USPS was facing bankruptcy at the time. Since then Congress has offered some financial aid and Crowley has proposed some legislation to ease the fiscal crunch.
Regarding the decision to keep the Queens Processing and Distribution Center open, Crowley declared: “Closing this facility would have severely impacted businesses and residents in this community that rely on the center day in and day out… and also would have stripped away hundreds of jobs from Queens at a time when we need every job we can get.
Ackerman stated: “The plan to move the center’s responsibilities to Brooklyn was a horrible idea that would have reduced the borough’s accessibility to a critical facility that hundreds of thousands of people rely upon.”
Crowley’s legislation would “free the postal service from pre-paying its pension obligations in an effort to alleviate the financial burden facing the Postal Service.” He led efforts to save community post offices in Queens and The Bronx and rallied against the proposed closing of the College Point facility and worked with postal service officials to settle the PO’s problems.
LIU TO CHASE: ‘CLAW BACK EVERY SINGLE DOLLAR…’ City Comptroller John Liu had a special interest in the $2 billion loss suffered by the JPMorgan Chase Bank last week: as custodian of the New York City pension funds under his control as of May 11, the teachers, police, fire, city workers and education department workers’ funds held about 11 million shares of Morgan/Chase stock in their portfolios worth about $401 million.
So Liu put out this explicit statement to the stricken bank’s board of directors last week:
“The JPMorgan Chase bank must assure shareholders… that the company will aggressively claw back every single dollar possible from the executives responsible for the $2 billion loss. Doing so will send a clear message to senior management that anyone who recklessly gambles with shareholder money is jeopardizing long-term value and will be held accountable. Skyrocketing executive pay should not be a reward for actions that put our economy at risk and undermine the retirement security of our pensioners.”
LIU ALSO CHARGES TUTOR OWES DOE OVER $850,000: Liu also charged that an audit of a student tutoring firm under contract to the Department of Education uncovered questionable payments for dubious bills amounting to $836,254 during the 2009-2011 school years.
Liu said, “Many of the submitted attendance sheets that the DOE paid did not have the required documents that would prove a student was in fact tutored. An additional set of payments went to tutoring services supposedly performed between ‘midnight and 5 a.m.’”
GENNARO GIVES TOP GRADES TO CITY’S FLUORIDATED WATER: Speaking after an anti-fluoridation rally at City Hall last week, Councilmember James Gennaro (D–Fresh Meadows) had high praise for the city’s water quality and prudent fluoridation policy and said he was “appalled at the despicable lengths that the organizations supporting this rally will go to in order to frighten and deceive the public to try to win converts to their anti-fluoridation position”.
Gennaro, a scientist who heads the council’s Committee on Environmental Protection, cited city, state and federal health agencies’ endorsements of the water fluoridation policy, one of which “proclaimed water fluoridation one of the top 10 public health advances of the 20th century”.
GOLDFEDER BILL WOULD PROTECT CO-OP HOUSING: When co-operative corporation or condominium boards successfully challenge an inaccurate city tax assessment, they should not have to pay excessive legal fees, according to a bill introduced by Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder (D–Rockaway).
“It is wrong that co-op boards have to pay legal costs to fix city errors in tax assessments,” said the lawmaker. “This legislation will help keep money in the pockets of co-op residents and ensure the city becomes more careful when preparing assessments.”
Currently, co-op housing boards that bring a court challenge are subject to legal fees for attorney representation, which could be so costly it could force boards to scrap the challenge.
Goldfeder says even if a board is successful in bringing a challenge, they run the risk that the next assessment will also be subject to challenge. But under his legislation, a coop would pay only 75 percent of their legal fees in a suit challenging an assessment.
Goldfeder has introduced another bill that would ensure co-ops would have two years in which assessment increases would be capped at three percent after a successful challenge, preventing the need for a proceeding the following year.
“Many co-ops pay up to 35 percent of the savings they receive from successful assessment challenges to attorneys,” says Goldfeder. “I am committed to working with my colleagues and the mayor’s office to make sure this does not continue and co-ops are treated fairly.”
TURNER HONORS COPS: Police officers across the nation were honored by Congressmember Robert Turner (R–C–Queens/Brooklyn) during National Police Week. Turner stated “police officers make great sacrifices to provide us with security and today have become “the frontline of defense domestically and against international terrorism”.
Turner also stated that, “The NYPD continues to do an amazing job of fighting crime and protecting New York from outside attacks. Their willingness to go above and beyond is exemplified by Detectives Michael Sileo, Fernando C. Almeida, Steven J. Browing, William Stevens and Christopher Condon who were recently named Top Cops by the National Association of Police Organizations for their heroic rescue of two West Point cadets.”
While we honor these five officers and many others like them, Turner said, “Let us all take a moment to join the police officers who came together in the Capital [Washington, D.C.] yesterday to honor the memory of officers that we have lost and their families. Their sacrifices should always be remembered.”
KOSLOWITZ THANKS MAYOR: Councilmember Karen Koslowitz (D–Forest Hills), chair of the Committee on Economic Development, thanked Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Commissioner Katherine Oliver and Rachel Sterne “for their continued efforts to foster this growing tech industry and create more good paying jobs for New Yorkers. The City Council is glad to work with the Bloomberg administration to diversify our city’s economic engine and ensure the stability and well being of our economy.”
MITTMAN GEARS UP FOR 6th CD CAMPAIGN: Dr. Robert Mittman will be making house calls the next few weeks, not to see patients, but to reach out to Bayside neighbors and other North Queens 6th CD voters as he seeks the Democratic nomination for Congress in the 6th CD.
The long-time Bayside resident and Queens college graduate says he decided to run, “because I believe that our government is no longer working in the best interest of the people… something is wrong in Washington and as a lifelong community resident, a parent, a voter and medical doctor, I am here to offer a prescription for a healthy economy”.
Mittman, who has his office on Bell Boulevard says he’s not a career politician, but a doctor, who diagnoses an illness and then prescribes medication. “I will apply these same techniques as a representative in Congress,” he says. “My candidacy gives the voters in the 6th Congressional District a real alternative to politics as usual.”
The district, newly drawn, runs from Ridgewood on the west to Little Neck and includes major areas such as Glendale, Forest Hills, Flushing and Bayside. Other candidates include Assemblymembers Grace Meng and Rory Lancman, Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley and Stephen Green. The Republican candidate is Councilmember Dan Halloran.
SEEK ROCKAWAY BEACH RESTORATION: With the summer swimming season virtually upon us, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D–New York) and Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder (D–Rockaway) are seeking federal funding to restore portions of Rockaway Beach that were eroded by Hurricane Irene and have placed “the homes and safety of Rockaway residents at risk”.
Basically Schumer and Goldfeder called on the Army Corps of Engineers “to fund the immediate dredging at the East Rockaway inlet, and also to work with the city Parks Department to place dredged sand on stormeroded Rockaway Beach”.
This would address firstly the onshore problems caused by Hurricane Irene this past winter, while offshore, they said, “Vital channels are clogged with sand, and without dredging, the East Rockaway Inlet’s vital channels will clog up and threaten safe passage for boaters, anglers and emergency response, as well as the viability of the commercial shipping industry.”
Goldfeder, who served on Schumer’s staff before he was elected to the Assembly, stated, “We have a huge opportunity for a two-step win-win here: first the Army Corps needs to direct available funding to dredge the rapidly clogging East Rockaway Inlet; then they need to work hand-in-glove with the New York City Parks Department to place this sand on storm-eroded Rockaway Beach.”