2012-08-22 / Features

LIC/Astoria Chamber Sets Schedule, Hears Halloran

BY THOMAS COGAN

The Long Island City/Astoria Chamber of Commerce, in operation for more than a year, took another step toward becoming an official organization when at the August 16 luncheon meeting at the Waterfront Crabhouse, President Arthur Rosenfield announced the official filing of the chamber’s certificate of incorporation and insurance. At the same meeting, members discussed a schedule for dues paying that established the meeting schedule as running from November through October and noted that induction of the chamber’s officers and board of directors is to take place October 18 at 6 p.m. at a location to be announced. Congressmember Carolyn Maloney will swear-in the chamber officials and will deliver an address entitled, “Defining the Future for Small Business: Opportunities and Challenges for Long Island City/Astoria Companies”. Alma Bank in Astoria is offering a $500 prize for the best logotype for the chamber. The bank is requesting that contestants come from Long Island City or Astoria.

Partnership with Court Square Place Conference and Training Center was also proposed and approved at the August luncheon. The conference center is located on the 16th floor of Court Square Place, 24-01 44th Rd., the same building in which the chamber’s headquarters will be located. The chamber foresees an extensive program of business training at the conference center, details of which are to be announced later.

Frank Arcabascio, owner of Redken Saloon Salon, a hair-styling establishment in Astoria, and president of the 30th Avenue Merchants Association, annnounced that he was trying to get an early start on 30th Avenue Restaurant Week, which is to run between Saturday, October 13 and Sunday, October 21. The association is asking local restaurateurs to make offers to customers that are unique to the occasion, and for that, the owners are not charged. When asked what qualifies as a restaurant on 30th Avenue, Arcabascio proposed a broad range of eateries, such as a gyro place located near his salon that is run by a former chef at Cipriani in Manhattan.

A discussion of health care for small businesses will be a highlight of the chamber’s September 20 meeting, also to be held at Waterfront Crabhouse. There will be a speaker.

Councilmember Dan Halloran was the speaker at the chamber’s August luncheon meeting, in keeping with the appearance of Councilmember Dan Garodnik in July. Garodnik has aspirations toward the office of New York City comptroller and Halloran is seeking the 6th Congressional District seat, which would have him representing a newly configured strip of territory that he said contains only about 35 percent of his council district. His opponent is Assemblymember Grace Meng.

Halloran was a businessman and attorney who never ran for public office until he sought his City Council seat in 2009. It was an open seat, and he said there were six Democrats and six Republicans other than himself going for it. He failed to get official Republican support, so he ran on his own, making much of his claim that he was at home in the district and most of his opponents came from outside. He won the Republican primary and, in November 2009, the general election.

Halloran denounced national Democratic programs, particularly the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act of 2010, also known as Obamacare. He insisted his statement, “America is headed in the wrong direction”, was not partisan, but practical, and that Obamacare is bolstered by what he called hidden taxes, such as one he said is exacted on persons trying to sell their homes. He also declared that rather than improve medicine in this country, the Affordable Care Act will undermine it; for one thing, by discouraging potential medical students from undertaking highly expensive schooling that would lead only to a low-paying career. He added that it would also lead to the ruination of small businesses in the city.

Halloran also lamented what he called the inability of then-Governor George Pataki to implement Pataki’s Healthcare Plus program. One of Halloran’s listeners said that program would have been a paperwork ordeal for employers. Halloran replied that it could have been handled by separate managers.

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