2015-10-07 / Political Page

Same Old Story For DA Brown: No Competition For 24 Years

In June 1991, then-Queens District Attorney John Santucci, of Ozone Park, resigned from that office. The Governor at that time, Mario Cuomo, chose Richard A. Brown to fill the vacancy. At that time Brown was a State Supreme Court Justice.

In November of that year, Brown had to stand for election to a new four-year term, after being in office for only four months. He won election easily.

But when Brown was up for reelection in 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, and now 2015 – six reelections over 24 years – the soft-spoken prosecutor from Forest Hills was never ever challenged for reelection. To say he won reelection easily each time, and no doubt will again this year on Election Day, November 3, when he is again unopposed, would be an understatement.

We would guess this spectacular feat could be a record. And given the contentious nature of politics and the special place assigned to elections as a means of advancing a political party’s power, Brown’s ability to avoid election challenges for 24 years becomes even more spectacular.

When Brown was up for reelection in 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, and now 2015 – six reelections over 24 years – the soft-spoken prosecutor from Forest Hills was never ever challenged for reelection. To say he won reelection easily each time, and no doubt will again this year on Election Day, November 3, when he is again unopposed, would be an understatement... We would guess this spectacular feat could be a record... When Brown was up for reelection in 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, and now 2015 – six reelections over 24 years – the soft-spoken prosecutor from Forest Hills was never ever challenged for reelection. To say he won reelection easily each time, and no doubt will again this year on Election Day, November 3, when he is again unopposed, would be an understatement... We would guess this spectacular feat could be a record... There are some simple answers to explain no election challenges to DA Brown over such a long period. Among them is that in Queens, over a long period of time, the Democratic Party has held a huge advantage in membership compared to the Republican Party.

As a result, the Republicans might succeed in a major election in Queens when special conditions are present, such as in 2011 when Congressman Anthony Weiner, a Democrat, was defeated after his bizarre behavior was exposed and he lost his seat to his Republican opponent, Bob Turner.

But the best answer to explain Brown’s invincibility at the ballot box has to be his performance record, the huge number of convictions his assistant DAs pile up year after year and trial after trial. We put the question to his campaign spokesman at Citizens for District Attorney Richard A. Brown and he responded:

“Judge Brown, as Queens County’s District Attorney, has a 24 year record of excellence, competence, and achievement, earning him the overwhelming support of Queens County’s voters, as well as the respect of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

“A challenger would need a reason to run against Judge Brown’s leadership of this highly professional prosecutor’s office.”

CROWLEY COMMENT ON BILL TO TEMPORARILY FUND GOVERNMENT: Congressman Joseph Crowley (D–Queens/Bronx), Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, issued the following statement after the House passed H.R. 719, legislation that will fund the federal government through December 11 and void an immediate government shutdown.

Crowley stated: “Once again, Republicans have brought this Congress to the brink of yet another disaster – another government shutdown. While I’m relieved that we could pass at least some sort of funding bill, just hours before a potential shutdown, the fact is we’ll be right back where we started when this bill expires in December. That’s because Republicans will stop at nothing to try and get their way – even if it means shutting down our government. And that must end.

“Imagine if Republicans spent as much time and energy on creating jobs and boosting our economy as they do on shutting down the government. Imagine if they abandoned their strategy of governing from crisis to crisis, and instead joined Democrats in raising the minimum wage or fixing our nation’s broken immigration system. Imagine a Republican majority that actually accomplished something, instead of working so hard to dismantle everything.

“Congress needs to do right by the American people, and we now have two months to prevent another Republican shutdown. In that time, I hope Republicans will finally listen to Democrats’ call for bipartisan negotiations we can finally create a budget that works for our economy and American families.”

MAYOR ADDRESSES WORLD TRADE CENTER HEALTH PROGRAM EXPIRATION: Mayor de Blasio issued the following statement when the Zadroga Act was set to expire on Thursday, October 1 at 12:01 am:

“Tonight at midnight, the World Trade Center Health Program is set to expire – and, as it stands, Congress plans to let it. That is unacceptable. Our first responders were there for us on 9/11 and every day after – and we have a moral obligation to be there for them. Congress must stop putting politics ahead of our heroes’ health, immediately extend the Zadroga Act – and ensure that our police officers, firefighters, medical professionals, and all first responders and survivors receive the health care and support they need and deserve.”


“This is wonderful news. As an openly gay Irish-American, I am pleased that the NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade has opened its door to the Lavender and Green Alliance, an LGBT Irish organization. The Parade organizers’ historic decision has brought us closer to a fully inclusive St. Patrick’s Day Parade – one that is accessible to all of Ireland’s children. I thank the parade organizers for this giant leap forward.”

MALONEY SCOLDS GOP: ‘END WITCH-HUNTS’: Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney last week called on House Republicans to end their “so-called ‘investigations’ of Planned Parenthood and Benghazi [targeting Hilary Clinton],” citing statements from those in leadership, “revealing that both endeavors are politically motivated.”

Maloney (D–Queens-Manhattan) stated: “That Republicans are wasting millions of taxpayer dollars on witch-hunts is hardly surprising, but the fact that they brazenly admit it should be. They openly say Planned Parenthood didn’t break the law, and they admit that the Benghazi investigation is all about electing a Republican President. And in the process, every major need taxpayers actually care about is being unmet. It’s time to get back to the business of governing and end these ridiculous inquisitions.”

STAVISKY ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH: State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky recognized October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, saying, “We have a responsibility to not only end the scourge of domestic violence, but also assist survivors and their families as they move forward.”

Stavisky (D–Flushing) also pointed out: “It starts with awareness and a willingness to reach out to friends, family and neighbors to let survivors know that help is available and that they don’t have to go it alone. Recovering from an abusive partner is no easy task, so providing as much support as possible is a necessity.”

Stavisky explained: “Domestic Violence accounted for more than a quarter (27 percent) of reported physical assault cases in New York State during 2012. Nationally, 70 percent of domestic violence incidents go unreported, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.”

The lawmaker explained, “Though the physical effects of domestic violence are the most noticeable, survivors also suffer mental and emotional trauma, and include women, men, and children.”

Stavisky continued, “Children who witness violence in the home can suffer severe emotional and developmental challenges. Domestic violence survivors often need shelter, support services and counseling to put their lives back together. Despite the great need for services, many of these programs are underfunded and understaffed. In 2014, there were 11,924 shelter denials of adults and 12,866 shelter denials of children seeking services.”

As part of Senator Stavisky's commitment to aiding the survivors of domestic violence, she participated in the 18th annual Silent March Against Domestic Violence on Friday, October 2. The event was sponsored by the Korean American Family Center, an organization that works to help survivors of domestic violence move forward.

“I march because love shouldn’t hurt,” said Stavisky. “I march for the countless women and children who suffer in silence, who are too afraid to stand up and say enough is enough. I march to give them hope for a safer life.”

In addition, Stavisky has supported legislation that will:

• Prevent housing discrimination against victims of domestic violence.

• Allow domestic violence victims to cancel contracts.

• Require translation of domestic violence complaints.

• Prohibit workplace discrimination against victims of domestic violence.

For more information and resources to combat domestic violence, please visit: www.opdv.ny.gov.index.html www.ovw.usdoj.gov.index.html nyscasa.org/ www.nsvrc.org/

PERALTA STAGES FIRST ORGAN DONOR ENROLLMENT DAY: For the first ever Organ Donor Enrollment Day on October 6, State Senator Jose Peralta encouraged efforts to increase the number of eligible persons who are registered as organ donors and joined LiveOnNY to encourage New Yorkers to give the Gift of Life that day.

Team Senator Peralta was among about 100 teams of hospitals, transplant centers, individual donor families and organ transplant recipients and businesses throughout the Greater New York area that banded together to make the day a success.

All had one common goal: enroll as many residents as possible as registered organ donors.

To impress upon residents the need for donors, Peralta (D–East Elmhurst) has been spreading the word that “New York ranks last out of the 50 states in the percentage of residents registered as organ donors. With just 24 percent of New Yorkers enrolled on the registry, the state is well below the national average of 50 percent.

“Notably, the percentage of registered residents in Queens is even lower than the state average at only 11.25 percent of eligible residents. This contributes to a troubling fact: every 18 hours a New Yorker dies waiting for a life-saving organ transplant.

On the same subject, Helen Irving, President and CEO of LiveOnNY, said: “Over 90 percent of New Yorkers support organ donation, but just 24 percent are registered. So, we created Organ Donor Enrollment Day to inspire New Yorkers to sign up to save lives.”

In July, Peralta introduced legislation (S.6022) that would require state forms and applications, including income tax forms, to include a space allowing more New Yorkers to sign up for the Donate Life Registry.

Peralta points out, “One organ donor can save up to eight lives. The same donor can also save or improve the lives of up to 50 people by donating tissues and eyes.” For more information or to learn how to be a part of the effort, please visit www.EnrollmentDay.org.

State Senator Jose Peralta is on social media:

You can follow him Twitter: @SenatorPeralta

Like him on Facebook Jose R. Peralta

Instagram: @SenatorPeralta www.nysenate.gov/senator/jose-peralta www.joseperalta.org www.joseperalta.co

MENG: FED DESIGNATES QUEENS SCHOOL AS ‘BLUE RIBBON SCHOOL’: PS 244 in Flushing has been designated as a Blue Ribbon School by the US Department of Education, Congresswoman Grace Meng reported.

Meng (D–Flushing) said the school at 137-20 Franklin Ave. Flushing, is known as The Active Learning Elementary School (TALES). The designation was presented by US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

“Naming PS 244 as a Blue Ribbon School is great news,” said Meng. “This is a tremendous achievement and it further illustrates the great work of the entire school team. I’m extremely proud of PS 244’s Principal Robert Groff and all of the school’s students, teachers and staff. Congratulations to each and every one of them on achieving this great national honor.”

Principal Groff stated, “Thank you to the Secretary of Education for recognizing PS 244 as a Blue Ribbon School. This clearly illustrates the hard work of our staff and families each day. We have been able to build a community of learners for both students and adults alike that makes TALES a truly special place. We hope to continue the success we have had since opening in 2008 and look forward to excelling in the future.”

The National Blue Ribbon School program honors public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students either achieve very high learning standards or make notable improvements in closing the achievement gap.

Meng said PS 244 is a pre-K to grade 3 school “that features a rigorous academic curriculum with an emphasis on social development, and a focus on health and nutrition. It is among only 335 public and private schools from across the country that received the Blue Ribbon designation” that day.

On November 9 and 10, representatives from each school – including PS 244 – will be formally recognized at a special ceremony in Washington, DC. At the event, each school will be presented with an award plaque and a flag as symbols of their accomplishments.

ADDABBO AT MIDDLE VILLAGE LIBRARY: Continuing his most recent round of local neighborhood branch libraries, state Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. will hold mobile office hours at the Middle Village library tomorrow (Thursday, October 8) from 5:30 to 7 pm. The Library is located at 72-31 Metropolitan Avenue.

Addabbo (D–Howard Beach) said he’s keeping a commitment to his constituents “who wish to speak to me about concerns or problems they may need help addressing.”

“As an elected official,” Addabbo stated, “making sure I interact with the people I represent is one of my top priorities. I have always urged my constituents to contact me if I can help them in any way, but it is not always easy for some people to do that during normal business hours.

“These extended office hours, held at night in various neighborhoods throughout my [15th] district, are an excellent way to make sure I am not only reaching as many residents as possible, but also making it more convenient by coming to them.”

Additional mobile office hours are being scheduled for future dates and locations throughout the district, Addabbo said. For more information, contact Addabbo at his Howard Beach office at 718-738-1111.

KATZ ‘PLEASED’ CUOMO’S QUESTIONING COMMON CORE: Queens Borough President Melinda Katz issued the following comment following Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s launch of the Common Core Task Force:

“In New York and across the country, Common Core has been more of a common problem. Many parents – certainly from every neighborhood in Queens – agree that we need standards. That is not the issue. As a parent who does homework with my second grader every day, the curriculum and implementation are clearly flawed. I am pleased the Governor is addressing the concerns of parents and is committed to swift and comprehensive reforms.”

NOLAN: ‘MAKE CLEVELAND A COMMUNITY SCHOOL’: In testimony at the School Receivership Hearing on Grover Cleveland High School, Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan (D–Ridgewood), whose district includes the school, stated:

“As the elected representative of the 37th Assembly district and a 1976 graduate of Grover Cleveland High School, I want to voice my support for the school. Cleveland has struggled, but under the leadership of Principal Vittor it is getting back on track and has a lot to offer. With the right support and resources, I believe the school can be the best version of itself.

Nolan, who is the chairperson of the Education Committee in the state Assembly, continued: “In the past few years, Cleveland has created or expanded many valuable programs. The school has a lifeguard training program and uses it as an opportunity to give back to the community, opening the pool for local children on Fridays so that the lifeguarding students can teach them how to swim.

“The EMT program is a new addition that allows students to get a real world credential that helps them get jobs. The school has also started an Academy of Innovative Technology which allows students to learn a wide variety of technological skills, including the creation of apps for cell phones and tablets. The students can actually put their apps on the Google Marketplace.”

Nolan continued: “Cleveland even asks the students in the program to complete a project where they design an app intended to help the community. The school has also created a Science Technology and Engineering Program that has been extremely successful, garnering honors in statewide competition in a variety of categories, including the bridge building competition. The STEP program is run collaboratively with LaGuardia Community College, another way Cleveland has been involving the local community.”

Nolan noted, “Cleveland has also made progress academically. This year, it met academic benchmarks, with a 60.7 percent graduation rate in June, 62.5 percent in August. While there is obviously a great deal more to be done and having a graduation rate over 60 percent is not enough, it does represent what progress the school is making under the leadership of Principal Vittor. In fact, the school was not named a renewal school by the New York City Department of Education in part because of the academic progress it is making. While this was good news for the school, it did mean that Cleveland missed out on key resources available to renewal schools, including the opportunity to become a community school.”

Nolan concluded, “For this reason, I would recommend that Cleveland be made a community school. The school has made several efforts to become a strong part of the community, both through the academic programming described above and through other efforts. For example, every year the school opens itself up to students from local elementary and middle schools, their families and residents of Ridgewood for a Halloween trick-or-treating event. It is already working hard to make itself a valuable community resource; making it a community school would be a major step in the right direction. I will continue to support and advocate for Cleveland, a Ridgewood institution that is so incredibly important to us.”

MALONEY LAUDS YOUTH ORCHESTRA’S PERFORMANCE: Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney reported last week that she had attended a State Department luncheon and performance by the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America (NYO-USA) hosted by Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry in honor of Chinese President Xi Jinping. As part of the luncheon, NYO-USA performed several pieces, including Leonard Bernstein’s “America” from West Side Story. Maloney (D–Queens-Manhattan) and Rep. Nita Lowey (D–Westchester) had written President Obama to request that he feature an NYO-USA performance during the state visit.

Maloney added, “I was thrilled to attend today's historic performance by Carnegie Hall's National Youth Orchestra of the United States at this luncheon hosted by Vice President Biden and Secretary Kerry in honor of President Xi. The NYO-USA’s performance was beautiful and moving. These young people are not only talented musicians, they are also cultural ambassadors of the United States that help deepen understanding and ties between our nation and people around the world. I was honored to support the NYO-USA’s efforts to participate in this historic summit.”

Maloney concluded, “NYO-USA recently returned from a tour through China, where these talented young musicians performed in seven major Chinese cities. The orchestra embarked on its tour with an aspiration to inspire a greater cultural understanding between citizens of China and the United States through musical performances, and their tour this summer was named one of four Cultural Pillars of the Consultation on People to People Exchanges between China and the United States.”

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