Letters to the Editor
GOP New York Officials
To The Editor:
Allow me to add another story to the always insightful “Eye on Politics” (John Toscano, August 1). There is more to the recent passing of 80-year-old Fioravante Perrotta who held various positions working for both Republican Mayor John Lindsay and Governor Nelson Rockefeller. He ran on the Republican and Liberal party lines in 1969 for city comptroller, losing a close race to Democrat Abe Beame. This was a fusion ticket with Lindsay for mayor, after losing the Republican party primary to Staten Island state Senator John Marchi, who won a three-way race against Marchi and Democratic City Comptroller Mario Procaccino. Along with Sanford Garelick, a registered Democrat running for city council president with Lindsay, Garelick won on the Republican and Liberal party lines. It was a time from the 1960s to 1970s, when Republicans were far more successful than today’s GOP in winning public office both within the city and statewide.
New York had Republicans Nelson Rockefeller as governor, Louis Lefkowitz as attorney general, Senators Jacob Javits and James Buckley (who won on the Conservative Party line in 1970, joining the Republican Senate Caucus in Washington, but lost his re-election bid in 1976 running on the Republican and Conservative lines), a majority of the congressional delegation, control of the state senate by a healthy margin and competitive numbers in the state Assembly. There were major setbacks after the Johnson landslide over Goldwater in the 1964 Presidential elections and the Watergate 1972 scandal. While this gave Democrats significant gains in the 1974 elections, the GOP bounced back. Republicans statewide held many public offices. They also remained competitive in many neighborhoods in the city. At different times during those decades, the city had Republican Borough Presidents Joseph Perriconi (The Bronx) and Robert Connor (Staten Island), Congressmembers Paul Fino (The Bronx), John Lindsay (Manhattan), Sy Halperin (Queens) along with GOP state senators and assemblymembers elected from all five boroughs.
Perrotta, running with Lindsay, came very close to beating Democrat Abe Beame for NYC Comptroller. After 1969, the last effective GOP challenger for city comptroller in NYC was businessman Richard Bernstein, who ran with former Mayor Ed Koch in 1981. This also applies to former Brooklyn Democratic Assemblymember Jules Polenetsky, who ran for Public Advocate with former GOP Mayor Rudy Giuliani in 1997. This office was created after abolition of the old NYC Board of Estimate which included the offices of city council president and five borough presidents. The last Republican city council President Sanford Garelick won in 1969. The last Republican city comptroller was Joseph D. McGoldrick who served from 1938 to 1945.
Fast forward to today. Democrats currently hold all statewide offices. They have an overwhelming statewide enrollment advantage outnumbering Republicans by 2,821,021 voters. There are 5,649,934 registered Democrats versus 2,828,913 Republicans. The last Republican senator was Alfonse D’Amato. He lost his seat to Democrat Charles Schumer in 1998. The last Republican state comptroller, Ned Regan, won his final term in 1990. The last Republican state attorney general, Dennis Vacco, served only one term winning in 1994. The last Republican to win any statewide office was former Governor George Pataki. His final term began in 2002. Democrats control an overwhelming majority of both the Congressional delegation and state Assembly. With gerrymandering, Republicans are barely holding on to controlling the state senate. In the city, the last GOP Congressmember Michael Grimm of the 13th CD (not counting Brooklyn/Queens Bob Turner whose 9th CD was eliminated in reapportionment), state Senators Andrew Lanza (24th SD) and Marty Golden (22nd SD) along with Assemblymembers Nicole Malliatokis (60th AD) and Lou Tobacco (62nd AD) represent either Staten Island and or Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Democrats hold or can run competitive races for public office on the town, county, state and federal level in most formerly Republican strongholds on Long Island and Upstate New York. Contrast that with Republicans who are unable to either find candidates to run or just qualify a candidate for ballot status. They have no money to run a credible campaign for public office in most NYC neighborhoods.
Perrotta represented the golden era for Republicans on the city and state level.
Newtown Plaza Vote
To The Editor:
The triangular intersection of Newtown and 30th Avenues is one of the most dangerous for pedestrians in all of Queens. It’s an expanse of asphalt that drivers speed through, using it as a shortcut to Newtown Avenue, endangering pedestrians trying to cross there. This is a needlessly wide intersection that is otherwise dead space in the middle of a bustling shopping strip.
The Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) has developed a proposal to convert this hazardous space into a plaza with benches and plantings to create an attractive village square for Central Astoria. This proposal would also create public open space, something that Central Astoria lacks. Incredibly, several merchants in the area oppose the creation of the plaza because it would result in the loss of seven parking spaces. They seem to believe that the loss of parking spaces will drive away their customers, while ignoring the hundreds of potential new customers that would be attracted to the area by the plaza.
There is a counterproposal to reconfigure the intersection by extending the sidewalks and shortening the crosswalks. While this would be an improvement over the current situation, it represents a lost opportunity to create this plaza—and would cost taxpayers $375,000 MORE than constructing the plaza would cost.
Don’t let the narrow interests of a vocal minority ruin an opportunity for Astoria to gain a needed public amenity. Community Board 1 is scheduled to vote on this proposal on September 11. Please voice your support for Newtown Plaza to Community Board 1 and to Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr.
Friends of Newtown Plaza
Don’t Teach Hate
To The Editor:
I am appalled and greatly saddened over the latest shooting and massacre of innocent Sikhs in Wisconsin. And in their house of worship. Is no place sacred? My heartfelt prayers go out to the peaceful Sikh people and their families that have lost so much. As a nation we can never be truly free if we continue hating those of different cultures. We are all brothers and sisters of the human race and were created by God to love one another. Remember this too: hate is created in the home and parents ought to teach their children to respect all people. For love is the answer.
Frederick R. Bedell Jr.
Glen Oaks Village