Is Weiner Planning Run For Mayor?
Weiner’s not discussing the possibility—not on the record anyway—but many friends have been fueling the comeback story, mostly in the New York Post, which ran three consecutive stories last week, making it look like a wellplanned effort to make the comeback a reality for the former Forest Hills resident.
The stories—planted or not—make this case for the exiled ex-pol either to get into the mayoral race or run for public advocate:
•Money is no object because Weiner has $4.5 million left over in his campaign war chest since resigning his seat. And city matching funds for 2013 are due shortly, which will add about another $1.5 million, for a total of $6 million. This would place Weiner at the top of the field, equaling Speaker Christine Quinn’s leading total at this point.
•Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, appears to be all in favor of a comeback after she urged her spouse to sit for a “mea culpa” interview in which Weiner would openly admit his transgressions, a la Bill Clinton after the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Mrs. Weiner, who now serves on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s staff, feels Weiner’s full confession would clear the air once and for all and clear the way for a comeback.
•Another strong factor creating the political comeback scenario is that since the sexting scandal broke early last year and ultimately forced Weiner to quit Congress, he has been relegated to a stay-at-home-dad duty, caring for his young son. He has not been able to land a job, despite making efforts to get one. All he’s done in his lifetime has been politicking and holding public office.
•Lately, Weiner has started to come out of his shell. He did an interview on WNYC during which he said he had paid a high price for his foolish behavior and had let a lot of friends down. When the healthcare decision was issued by the Supreme Court, he made the rounds of TV and radio stations, lending his perspective to the issue, and getting back into the political swim, so to speak.
•Another sign that Weiner might be ready to take the plunge for political office again is that he still has a Manhattan office space at the ready with a telephone system in place.
Talk of a possible mayoral campaign brings back recollections of Weiner’s great performance in the 2005 Democratic mayoral primary when he ran a very close second to the favorite Fernando Ferrer. Weiner could have challenged Ferrer in a run-off election, but bowed out as part of a party unity strategy. That made Ferrer the candidate against Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who easily won a second term.
Weiner’s long term plans at the time were to get into the 2009 campaign, but he eventually passed up the opportunity when Bloomberg decided to go for a third term.
Meanwhile, the field of Democrats preparing to seek the party’s nomination at this point are City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, the frontrunner, who also leads the pack financially with a bankroll slightly below $6 million, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio ($3 M) and City Comptroller John Liu ($2.5 M). Others in the field are former Comptroller William Thompson and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.
CONVICTED HAGGERTY IN ULRICH CAMPAIGN: Top political campaign operative John Haggerty of Forest Hills, who’s appealing his sentence after being found guilty of stealing about $750,000 from Mayor Michael Bloomberg in the 2009 mayoral campaign, is working in Councilmember Eric Ulrich’s state senate campaign.
Ulrich is involved in a tough Republican primary against Juan Reyes to gain the nomination to run for the Southeast Queens state senate seat held by state Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr., a Democrat from Howard Beach. The district includes Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Richmond Hill and the Rockaways.
Ulrich, who’s favored over Reyes said Haggerty is only a volunteer in the campaign and is not involved in dealing with any campaign funds.
Ulrich, responding to a reporter’s questions, stated, “John’s been a friend of mine for a number of years. He’s paying the price of the crimes he’s been convicted of. I’m not going to throw him under the bus.”
The primary will be held in September.
Haggerty, who worked in several of Bloomberg’s campaigns, in 2009 was given a large sum of campaign money from Bloomberg to set up an election day operation and to pass some along to the Independence Party. But Haggerty was convicted of keeping $750,000 of the funds although Bloomberg didn’t authorize it.
Haggerty was sentenced to 18 months to four years last December.
ULRICH BACKS NYPD’S ‘STOPFRISK’: In another matter, Ulrich issued a statement urging continuation of the NYPD’s stop and frisk program. Ulrich stated the position after almost a dozen New Yorkers were killed in random shootings that occurred during the July 4th celebration.
The lawmaker from Ozone Park noted that the stop and frisk program last year resulted in the police seizing nearly 800 guns. He said, “The worst thing the city could do is to abolish a successful program that has saved lives and contributed to making New York City the safest big city in America.”
Ulrich warned specifically against adopting “Chicago style policing that has plagued residents with record-high homicides and gang violence.” He declared:
“Stop and Frisk works—it’s as simple as that.”
BARS SEX OFFENDERS FROM KIDS’ LIBRARY ROOMS: Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. (D–Astoria) have introduced a law to bar sex offenders from children’s reading rooms in public libraries.
“This problem is real and it’s happening where parents will trust their kids will be safe,” said de Blasio. “A children’s reading room should be off limits for a sexual predator—just like a playground.”
Vallone stated: “It’s just common-sense that we keep sexual predators away from areas where young kids congregate.”
De Blasio and Vallone have singled out children’s reading rooms for protection because courts have overturned prior attempts to bar sex offenders from libraries completely.
CONCANNON ON BALLOT FOR STATE SENATE: Largely with the aid of his home club, the Northeast Queens Republican Club, Joe Concannon filed nearly 1,700 petition signatures to get on the ballot as the Republican candidate for the state senate, Concannon announced. A minimum of 1,000 valid signatures is required to get on the ballot.
Concannon is seeking to challenge incumbent state Senator Tony Avella (D–Bayside) in the fall elections. The Concannon release announcing this also stated that “more than 20 members of the Northeast Queens Republican Club gathered over 840 signatures from registered Republicans. The nearly 1,700 signatures were almost double the number filed by the Queens County Republican Party leadership…”
FIVE DEMS SEEKING 40TH AD NOMINATION: At least five Democrats are planning to run in the September 13 primary to try to win the party’s nomination for the newly created 40th Assembly District seat in Flushing. One candidate, Yen Chou, announced last week he had filed qualifying petitions with more than 3,200 signatures to the Queens Board of Elections.
Other candidate hopefuls for the 40th AD seat, which covers a large part of Flushing, are: Peter Koo, a councilmember who was previously elected as a Republican; Ethel Chen, a former Assemblymember; Ron Kim and Myung Suk Lee, publisher of the Korean American Times, a Korean-language newspaper.
ACKERMAN OPPOSES BAYSIDE POST OFFICE CLOSING: Congressmember Gary Ackerman has complained to post office officials about the proposed closing of the Bayside Post Office and moving it to a more remote location. He also questioned why they did not meet with the local community to hear their views on the proposed actions.
Ackerman (D–Bayside/L.I.) stated:
The USPS is proposing to close the P.O. presently centrally located at 212-35 42nd Ave., just off Bell Boulevard and behind the Long Island Rail Road station, and to move it to an isolated postal carrier annex at 41-29 216th St. at the corner of 42nd Avenue in a much less convenient location on the edge of a residential neighborhood.
TURNER VOTES AGAINST HEALTH CARE TAX: Last week when the Republican majority in Congress voted to repeal the Obamacare health plan law, Congressmember Bob Turner (R–Queens/Brooklyn) was among those voting to pass the legislation. However, it is generally felt the repeal will not pass the U.S. Senate.
Turner said he voted to repeal the controversial law, that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court several weeks ago, because it prevented an opportunity to develop common-sense, consumer based healthcare solutions.
Turner stated: “Today’s vote against Obamacare is a vote against bad policy and a dangerous law. It is a reminder that in its current form, Obamacare will take $500 billion away from Medicare, will impose a tax on all Americans, and is a plan that will continue to become more expensive and increase our already historically high deficits.
“The only way to prevent Obamacare from inflicting more harm on our economy is to fully repeal the current law and replace it with common sense, consumer-based solutions that actually address the cost of healthcare.”
At the time the Supreme Court upheld President Barack Obama’s landmark legislation, Democrats such as Congressmember Carolyn Maloney (D–Queens/Manhattan) praised the plan as “a huge win for the American people”.
Maloney stated at the time that “We’re already seeing some benefits of the Affordable Care Act, like lowering prescription drug costs for seniors, preventing children with pre-existing conditions from being denied coverage, and allowing young adults to be covered by their parents’ plan until age 26.”
Maloney said the new law would provide, when fully implemented: “more coverage; lower costs for the middle class and small businesses; safeguards for those with pre-existing conditions and better accountability for insurance providers.
CROWLEY SUPPORTS CON ED WORKERS: In the on-going labor dispute between Con Ed and one of its unions, Congressmember Joseph Crowley (D–Queens/The Bronx) issued the following statement last week:
“I am concerned at the depth and duration at Con Ed, which is now in day 12 and has affected over 8,000 employees and 3.2 million Con Ed consumers, In these tough economic times, these on-going negotiations have left thousands of New York families with uncertainty. Not to mention the fact that the possibility of service disruptions during this heat wave could put the safety of New York residents at risk. While I am pleased that both sides are coming back to the table, workers never should have been locked out in the first place, and I urge Con Ed to move swiftly to help put these workers back on the job with the pay and benefits they earned, as well as assure New Yorkers that crucial services will not be disrupted.”
Since the walk out started, Con Ed management staffers have been pressed into service to maintain service levels.
CONSTANTINIDES ENDORSED BY WFP: A key endorsement in next year’s race for the City Council seat covering Astoria went to Costa Constantinides last week when the Working Families Party announced it was endorsing him.
The WFP has earned a reputation for mobilizing grass roots and institutional support for candidates and has been behind many winning candidates in recent years.
Constantinides, the 36th AD (Astoria) District Leader who works on the city council staff, is seeking the seat presently held by Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr., who must give up the seat under the term limits law. The district covers Astoria, parts of Long Island City and Woodside.
Another prospective Democrat who has announced he is seeking the post is Tony Meloni, a longtime community activist in this area. It sets up a possible primary fight for the Democratic Party nomination.
Constantinides, also a grassroots community organizer and an attorney as well, welcomed the WFP endorsement, saying that organization “fights for working people—the people who have always been the heart of Astoria…” where he has lived his entire life.
Among his advocating activities, Constantinides lists organizing food drives, saving the Grand Avenue post office, and traffic safety. Politically, Constantinides recently led the Queens County Young Democrats, which worked on campaigns throughout the borough.
In his present job as a Deputy Chief of Staff for the city council, Constantinides has worked on formulating legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to protect our wetlands and to improve the quality of the city’s drinking water.
LIU ENDORSES IANNECE: In City Comptroller John Liu’s endorsement of Community Leader Jerry Iannece for the 25th AD seat in Queens, Liu cited Iannece’s long standing civic and community work.
Liu stated: “Jerry has spent his adult life working to protect middle class families in Queens. He has built a business and raised a family in Queens while continuing to serve his friends and neighbors here in the community. I am endorsing Jerry today because he is a tireless public servant who will hit the ground running to deliver results for Queens.”
Iannece, who has the official endorsement for the 25th AD post by the Queens Democratic Party, the Bayside resident has been a Community Board 11 member for more than 15 years and a former president of the Bayside Civic Association.
The 25th AD seat is presently held by Assemblymember Rory Lancman (Fresh Meadows) who decided not to seek re-election to that post. Instead he chose to seek the 6th District congressional seat, but lost to Assemblymember Grace Meng, who is now running against Dan Halloran for the congressional post.
HALLORAN PROTESTS BAYSIDE P.O. CLOSING: Postal officials are contemplating closing the Bayside post office at a busy and key location and Councilmember Dan Halloran opposes the idea, he said in a statement.
“Closing the Bayside post office would be a huge blow to Northeast Queens, said Halloran. “Its location right off Bell Boulevard, in the busiest commercial strip of Northeast Queens, is convenient for shoppers, LIRR commuters and business owners alike.
The Whitestone lawmaker also noted, “The businesses in Bayside Village will now have to go all the way to the Bay Terrace or Little Neck post offices for postal service. This is a major burden on small businesses that are already having a hard time paying their bills.
Halloran concluded, “To make matters worse, the government has been less than transparent about their process. I didn’t hear about the closure until a few days ago. To my knowledge, it wasn’t on any list of potential closings. The residents and business owners of Bayside deserve to have their voices heard before any action is taken.”
ULRICH APPLAUDS RACINO’S EARNINGS: Responding to reports of Genting’s (Resorts World at Aqueduct) impressive April-June profits, Councilmember Eric Ulrich stated, “They are a win-win for our community and we should all root for its continued success.”
The Ozone Park Republican continued, “Resorts World has committed to sharing a small percentage of its net profit with the community and today’s report shows that they are well on their way toward achieving that end. I will continue to communicate with them the need to spend those dollars on the genuine needs of the community. In the end, the residents living nearby Aqueduct Racetrack deserve to benefit the most from having the casino here.”
ADDABBO APPLAUDS GOOD NEWS REPORT ON CONDOS, CO-OPS: Speaking late last week state Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. (D–Howard Beach) applauded agreement to provide new tax relief for condominium and co-op owners.
Addabbo, who has long sponsored legislation to provide such benefits, stated:
“It was very disappointing when the state legislature ended its regular session last month without addressing the need to provide more equitable tax treatment for co-op and condo owners, and without taking action to extend the J-51 tax abatement program,” said Addabbo.
But he quickly added, “It now appears, however, that the legislature will return to the state capital before the end of the year to address those vital housing issues. I look forward to reviewing the legislation and voting to provide New York City co-op and condo owners with the tax relief they have long deserved.”
Under the terms of the reported agreement among the governor and legislative leaders, Addabbo said, tax abatement rates will be lowered for co-op and condo owners who use them as their primary residence, and the rates that expired on June 30 will be made retroactive to July 1.
GIANARIS DEMANDS QUEENS BE INCLUDED IN ANY MTA SERVICE RESTORATIONS: As part of his ongoing effort to improve transportation in Western Queens, state Senator Michael Gianaris is calling on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to include two previously terminated Queens transit routes on the agency’s list of services to be reinstated.
Gianaris is sending a letter to MTA Chairman Joe Lhota requesting the W subway line and the QM22 express bus, both of which were eliminated in 2010 due to budget cuts, be returned to service. Prompted by recent reports that the MTA is looking to restore services, primarily in Brooklyn and The Bronx, Gianaris would like to see the same consideration given to terminated services in Queens.
“Recent transit cuts have been a burden on Western Queens residents, who rely heavily on mass transit to get to and from work every day,” Gianaris said. “While it is nice to hear the MTA speak of restorations, service improvements must include Queens, which has suffered as much as any borough due to recent cutbacks.” Since the 2010 cuts, the senator has fought for better service in Western Queens, including ensuring that necessary subway construction take place during off-peak hours, the provision of shuttle buses for commuters needing access to stations closed due to construction, and addressing unreliable and lengthy waits for the subway. He also advocated for the reinstatement of the QM22 bus, having participated in a petition drive and sent a letter to the MTA calling on the agency to restore the line last year.