Catsimatidis Launches Radio Ad In Mayor’s Race
Billionaire supermarket mogul John Catsimatidis, the Republican mayoral hopeful, beat all the others to get his on-air media blitz rolling last week as his campaign beamed its first commercial on the radio.
The 30-second ad, which will run on seven radio stations, appropriately traces his career as a son of immigrants who rose to prominence in the rough-and-tumble business world in New York City.
The message highlights Catsimatidis’ independence and honesty that fueled his success in business and will be emphasized throughout his campaign as he makes his way to City Hall and Gracie Mansion.
To familiarize himself to city voters, the message gives a brief lesson on how to pronounce his five-syllable name. No details were released as to the cost and duration of the advertisements, or what will follow.
Meanwhile, Catsimatidis also announced another outreach effort to get further acquainted with the public. He is inviting groups from around the city–educators, veterans, seniors, and women’s groups to be his guests at his favorite play, The Little Flower, about Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia.
A Catsimatidis spokesperson said the candidate “found the play to be inspirational on several levels. Mayor LaGuardia so loved New York City, he made such great progress during his years at City Hall as he saw the city through the dark days of World War II”.
The one-man show has returned to New York after successful runs all over the country, the spokesman said, and Catsimatidis is inviting groups to see the play as his guests. Matinees and evening performances are scheduled for today, an evening performance this coming Monday, and a matinee for seniors on Wednesday, March 20 all at the Dicapo Opera Theater, 184 East 76 St., Manhattan.
GIULIANI BOOSTS LHOTA: A few months back, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani was helping to get Joe Lhota’s campaign for mayor off the ground. Now seeking the Republican nomination, Lhota got a major boost from his former boss last week as Giuliani sent out his fund-raising appeal on behalf of his former deputy mayor.
Giuliani wrote, “Together, he and I improved the lives of all New Yorkers and helped make New York great again.” He also warned that if voters make the wrong choice of a mayor, the city could fall back into its old ways.
“Make no mistake,” Giuliani wrote,
“If you don’t think the city can slip back to its unmanageable, ungovernable ways, just listen to Joe’s Democratic opponents… That’s why I’m supporting Joe for mayor.”
QUINN FORMALLY JOINS RACE: On the Democratic side, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn formally jumped into the mayoral race on Sunday. Everybody’s favorite to succeed Mayor Bloomberg had already shown her muscle a few days sooner when a Quinnipiac University poll scored an awesome 37 percent tally, which is very impressive in a five-person field which includes Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, William Thompson, City Comptroller John Liu, and former Councilmember Sal Albanese.
The 46-year-old candidate, who would be the city’s first woman and first gay mayor if elected, made the rounds of the five boroughs as she entered the race. Further forays into the boroughs are expected as the race progresses.
At her stop in Forest Hills on Sunday, she was engaged in a short conversation about why she supported the legislation to change the term limits law, which was eventually passed and gave Mayor Bloomberg the chance to run for (and win) a third term. She adroitly side-stepped a direct answer. Surely the question will persist throughout the campaign.
FLAKE ENDORSEMENT OF KATZ SPARKS CONTROVERSY: The Reverend Floyd Flake, one of the most prominent black leaders in the Jamaica community, announced his endorsement of Melinda Katz for Queens borough president last week, sparking a lively controversy with Councilmember Leroy Comrie, who is one of Katz opponents in the BP race and is also black.
Comrie, whose chances could be hurt by Flake’s endorsement of Katz, raised questions about it, forcing Flake to affirm it hurting Comrie even further. But Comrie finally acknowledged the blow to his campaign hopes, which depend on a solid black vote, and said he would increase his efforts to get elected.
Flake, a former congressman, is highly regarded in the area and has built housing and schools after he left Congress. According to a published report, Flake said he had worked with Katz when she was in the borough president’s office and he successfully laid the groundwork to get the federal building located in Jamaica.
There are six Democrats competing in the primary race to succeed Helen Marshall—Katz, Councilmembers Peter Vallone Jr. and Comrie, state Senators Tony Avella and Jose Peralta, and former Deputy Borough President Barry Grodenchik. Each brings a solid support group to the campaign and any change in the balance of power could swing the race to anyone.
That’s why Katz’ endorsement by Flake is important. And remember, the winner of the Democratic primary is a tantamount victory in the general election because the number of Democratic voters far outweighs the number of Republican voters.
VALLONE LAUDS MORE PARK COPS: When it was announced last week that the Parks Department was going to hire 81 new Parks Enforcement Patrol Officers, (PEP), Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr.’s prayers were answered because the Council’s Public Safety Committee chairman had been campaigning for additional PEP officers for about a year.
Vallone, who’s presently seeking the Democratic nomination for Queens borough president, had been deeply concerned about the safety situation in parks, he recalled, when he learned there were only 90 PEP officers throughout the city. Worst still, he said, there was only one park safety officer assigned to Queens, with the rest sent to beaches and pools.
With 81 new PEPs to be hired, Vallone feels Queens should get as many as the other boroughs, at least, of the new hires.
“Crime is rising in our parks and a handful of officers to keep an entire borough of parkland safe just won’t cut it,” Vallone declared.
GIANARIS HAILS NEW LIC HOUSING: Speaking at the recent groundbreaking at Hunters Point South housing, state Senator Michael Gianaris declared;
“The groundbreaking ceremony at Hunters Point South was a culmination of years of continuing economic and cultural growth in this neighborhood. Hunters Point South with its waterfront views, open park space and educational opportunities— will continue to build on the foundations that make Long Island City a wonderful place for all New Yorkers.
“The beginning of this development is an acknowledgment that Long Island City has become New York’s most exciting upand coming neighborhood. The end result of Hunters Point South will be to help this community fulfill its unlimited potential as an economically vibrant and environmentally sustainable place to live and experience all that New York City has to offer.”
LIU ANNOUNCES ‘NO VOTE’ BY PENSION FUNDS: The city’s Pension Funds are set to vote against two Hewlett- Packard (HP) directors, City Comptroller John Liu announced, because of their failure to protect investors from costly, misguided acquisitions. The vote will take place next Wednesday.
The directors, John H. Hammergren and G. Kennedy Thompson, are members of the Hewlett-Packard board’s Finance and Investment Committee, which bears primary responsibility for oversight failures that led to HP’s “disastrous” 2011 acquisition of Autonomy Plc. for $11 billion.
“The Autonomy debacle is the latest and most expensive in a series of ill advised acquisitions and boardroom fiascos that have destroyed tens of billions of dollars in shareowner value,” Liu stated. “While the board now appears to be taking steps to improve oversight, it will be unable to restore investor confidence without swiftly replacing these two directors.”
The N.Y. Pension Funds hold a combined 5.5 million total shares in HP stock valued at $115 million.
CONSTANTINIDES ENDORSED BY ANOTHER UNION: Local 32 BJ/Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has endorsed Costa Constantinides, the Democratic choice for the 22nd Council District seat being vacated by Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. The district includes Astoria and parts of Long Island City, Woodside, East Elmhurst and Jackson Heights.
Local 32 BJ/SEIU is the largest property service union in the U.S. with 120,000 members in the Northeast and 70,000 members in New York City alone. Members include janitors, security officers, doormen and food service workers.
Hector Figueroa, president of 32 BJ stated, Constantinides has “demonstrated a deep commitment to the working people of our city. Now more than ever, New York City needs real champions of working families who will stand up to special interests who would deny workers good jobs that will bring them solidly into the middle class.”
Constantinides responded, “The 32 BJ/SEIU’s endorsement is a great boost to this campaign. Its membership is dedicated to improving working environments and neighborhood conditions in both our residential and industrial communities.”
WANTS SECURITY CAMERAS IN ROCKAWAY: The funding, $300,000 worth, is in place, Assemblymember Phil Goldfeder says, so he has requested NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly to expedite the installation of six Argus Security Cameras between the 100th and 101st Precincts across Rockaway.
Goldfeder says the cameras would act to provide much needed additional security, deter potential crime, and help police officers to keep Rockaway communities safe in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The funding is in place, the lawmaker said, but the approval process must “cut through some thick bureaucratic red tape” to get those lights in place and working.
Goldfeder said the $300,000 was allocated by the state in 2010 and the installation of the cameras is being held up by the legal department of the NYPD Grants unit.
Addressing another important issue, Goldfeder says he has held discussions with Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders to once again secure funding in the budget to continue the Cross Bay Bridge Residency Rebate, which covers the costs for travel for Broad Channel and Rockaway residents over the bridge. The toll on the bridge is the only intra-borough toll in New York City.
Goldfeder was successful in setting up the free toll for Rockaway residents last year, and he promised “to fight to eliminate this unfair tax again and left a considerable financial burden for many hardworking families and small businesses of our community”.
HALLORAN PRAISES SANITMEN: Councilmember Dan Halloran, whose comments following the 2011 blizzard criticized Department of Sanitation (DSNY) workers, praised the Sanitmen for their “swift and thorough clearing of the roads of his district” following recent snowfalls.
“The snow plow drivers kept the main roads open throughout this rough fall and winter, when Mother Nature threw a lot at us. The crews of DSNY did a great job and I commend them for cleaning our roads and keeping us safe.”
The Whitestone Republican added, “I never intended to criticize the rank and file workers of the DSNY or the vast majority of hard-working supervisors in 2011, he said, and added that the issues he raised then “were directed at policy makers in top management positions”. His words “were twisted by the mayor (Bloomberg) and others”, he said.
Other than that, Halloran said snow removal maps of his district’s streets need changing to make them rated as high priority for snow removal efforts to help his constituents get to work.
LIU’S TAKE ON ‘FLIP-FLOP’ CABS: Last December, City Comptroller John Liu rejected the contract for the “flawed” non-wheelchair accessible Taxi of Tomorrow. Before that, Liu had asked Mayor Bloomberg and the Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) to include a requirement for wheelchair accessibility in any new cab before the TLC signed off on it.
So last week, when the TLC announced that it had followed Liu’s advice and had approved a contract for a Taxi of Tomorrow, Liu declared:
“City Hall spent months resisting our calls to make the entire taxi fleet wheelchair accessible and insisting that the flawed, non-wheelchair accessible Taxi of Tomorrow was the only choice for the fleet… City Hall has apparently changed its mind.
“Hooray! If another hearing is what it takes to get the Bloomberg administration to do the right thing for New Yorkers, let’s go.”
ASSEMBLY OKS TWO-YEAR FRACKING BAN: Not that New York state needs it, given Governor Cuomo’s reluctance to make any decision regarding hydrofracking to mine natural gas, but the state Assembly has approved a two-year moratorium on hydrofracking from the Southern Tier to the Catskills upstate while there is still danger that the controversial mining procedure could damage water supply sources.
It’s doubtful, however, whether the Republican-controlled state senate will give its approval to the Democrat-dominated Assembly led by Speaker Sheldon Silver.
Meanwhile, Cuomo has continuously delayed making any decision whether to approve or reject major shale fracking, which could create thousands of new jobs and help the state’s economy.
The Assembly’s new ban on fracking brought strong complaints from the state Conservative Party, which said in a released statement, “New York needs jobs… expanding the tax base by creating new jobs benefits [for] all New Yorkers. Instead, Silver seeks to slam the door shut on any possibility to begin hydrofracking in New York.”
The Conservatives also blasted Silver and the Assembly for passing an increase in the minimum wage law.
CONSTANTINIDES ENDORSED BY PLUMBERS: Continuing to build support for his campaign to win the 22nd District City Council seat covering Astoria and Long Island City, Costa Constantinides last week announced he has been endorsed by Plumbers Local Union No. 1.
The union’s Business Manager, John J. Murphy, in announcing the endorsement, stated: “In Costa, I know we will have a councilmember who will fight on behalf of the working people of this city. Costa understands the needs of working and middle class families.”
Constantinides, a grassroots community organizer and the Democratic district leader for the Astoria area (36 AD), thanked the union for its endorsement, saying it’s “a great boost” for his campaign.
“Its members provide a vital service to home and business owners across the district and across the city… we need their expertise for our communities to function.”
Previous labor unions that have endorsed Constantinides include the Hotel Trades Council, the Teamsters Joint Council 16, the Mason Tenders, Local 1180 Communications Workers and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Workers.
He is also endorsed by the Working Families Party. The 22nd district, which is represented by Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr., also includes parts of Woodside, East Elmhurst and Jackson Heights.
STAVISKY MARKS WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH: State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky issued a reminder that March is Women’s History Month and presents an opportunity for all “to reflect on how women have shaped our society, government and culture, as well as to raise awareness about the inequalities that remain”.
The Whitestone lawmaker also pointed out that the occasion is also an “opportunity for volunteers to help women in the community” while refocusing efforts to ensure equal pay for equal work and the protection of women’s health rights.
“As the first woman from Queens elected to the state senate, I have a personal stake in remembering the women leaders who paved the way,” said Stavisky. “Though we should be thankful for their work and sacrifice every day, I welcome the opportunity to spend the month of March being particularly aware of the role of women in our society, and thankful that it is greater now than it has ever been.”
Noting that Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton formed the National Woman Suffrage Association in New York state in 1869, which culminated in the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which established the right of women to vote, Stavisky stated:
“New York has played a pivotal role in women’s history, but there is much more to be done. This Women’s History Month, the senate must stop stalling and pass the Reproductive Health Act, so that all women can have access to the services they need.”
MARSHALL URGES PARENTS: ‘JOIN COMMUNITY EDUCATION COUNCILS’: Queens Borough President Helen Marshall is urging parents of school children to join their local Community Education Councils (CEC) because, “The importance of parental input in your child’s education is vital to the success of not only your child, but also for the wellbeing of the community.”
Marshall explained that the CECs “help to shape educational policies and priorities in their districts”. Members are parent volunteers who provide hands-on leadership and support for their community’s public schools.
The deadline for applications has been extended to Wednesday, March 27. Parents can apply online at www.NYCParentLeaders.org, or complete a paper application that is available at the Department of Education’s Division of Family and Community Engagement office, located at 49 Chambers St., Room 503, in Manhattan. More information is available online or by calling 212-374- 4118.
CONSERVATIVES URGE REPEAL OF SAFE ACT: In a statement issued last week, the state Conservative Party continued to attack the gun control law passed earlier in the session. It charged “Governor Andrew Cuomo’s political ambitions were behind his sponsorship of the law” and said New Yorkers do not need more legislation to control guns. It urged repeal of the SAFE Act, which they also charge is unconstitutional.