Tag Archives: 40th Assembly District

Kim takes 40th District race by less than 200 votes


| brennison@queenscourier.com

KimLee

Ron Kim fought off four other competitors in a tight primary race to secure the Democratic nod in the 40th Assembly District.

Kim collected 27 percent of the 4,182 ballots cast; just 162 votes ahead of second place finisher Yen Chou and 204 more than third place Ethel Chen, according to unofficial results.

Myungsuk Lee finished in fourth, followed by Martha Flores-Vazquez.

“I knew it was going to be tight, so I didn’t want to be watching television all night,” Kim said of the election.

Instead, he closed himself off in a room to write a thank you speech, regardless of the outcome.

“I felt very proud of the race that we ran,” he said.

Finally, at approximately 10:45 p.m. he received a congratulatory call from Chou.

The Queens Democratic Party-backed Kim will now face off against Phil Gim in the general election. Gim bested Sunny Hahn in the September 13 Republican primary by a 74 to 26 percent margin.

“It’s a first step toward a much tougher election,” Gim said late Thursday night.

The lead fluctuated throughout the night between the candidates in the hotly-contested Democratic primary battle for Assemblymember Grace Meng’s seat — who is running for Congress.

Meng did not endorse a candidate for her seat, though she did offer Kim words of support after his victory.

“Congratulations to Ron Kim on a historic, hard-earned and well-deserved victory. Ron’s vast government experience and dedication to public service will well serve the constituents of the 40th Assembly District,” Meng said in a statement. “I look forward to helping Ron win in November and working alongside him in the years to come.”

Though hard fought, the race only brought out approximately 16 percent of registered Democratic voters in the district.

Approximately 400 residents cast votes in the Republican race, 7 percent of the eligible field.

The winners will meet in the November 6 general election.

“I’m confident that as long as I continue to do the campaign that I’ve been doing, we’ll come out on top,” said Kim.

Gim, happy one campaign is behind, said he’s prepared for November.

“We’re ready for the next challenge,” Gim said. “We will put up a very good election fight.”

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com


EVENT of the DAY:  SummerStage-Full Force, Force MD’s Johnny Kemp, Jeff Redd, Meli’sa Morgan 

A quartet of Rhythm and Blues performers each with their own flair and style. For more, check out http://www.fullforceworld.com [Click here for more info or submit your events]

Queens Democratic assembly hopefuls vying for endorsements 

Several Democratic political hopefuls vying for a chance to replace Assemblywoman Grace Meng in the state legislature are also competing for two vital endorsements they hope will give them an edge with voters. Meng and City Councilman Peter Koo, who are both popular in the Flushing-based 40th Assembly District, are fielding numerous requests for their endorsements. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Astoria couple ramps up olive oil sales 

An Astoria couple is ramping up sales of the high-end olive oil made from the fruit of their 400-year-old olive grove in Greece. Lori and Panos Konstantopoulos moved back to the U.S. from Greece in the fall to focus on their “Euphoria” extra-virgin olive oil line. The peppery, green oil is sold only in several specialty shops in Manhattan and Long Island. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

UPDATE: Family mourns losses in fatal Jamaica SUV crash 

Family and friends joined 26-year-old Kingsley Maduka at home. He lost his 60-year-old aunt, Gladys Nnena Johnson Obioha and four other loved ones in the wreck Sunday. Family friend Don Akamnonu said they’re all crushed. “The family is just, like, shattered, like a broken bottle,” he said. Early Sunday morning, a driver and seven passengers were coming home from a gathering of people from the same part of Nigeria when police say their black SUV crashed into a concrete barrier on Atlantic Avenue, rolled over and burst into flames. Read more: [NY1] 

UPDATE: Driver arraigned in alleged fatal Queens hit-and-run involving cyclist 

A Queens driver was charged with manslaughter Monday after he allegedly struck and killed a cyclist, then fled the scene. Alex Batista, 25, was arraigned Friday night and is being held on $300,000 bail. Police allege that Batista was driving drunk on July 18 in Sunnyside when he hit 37-year-old Roger Hernandez and drove off. Read more: Read more: [NY1] 

‘Sex’ cop’s new post 

A top city cop embroiled in a sex scandal at a Queens precinct appears set to take a high-level post with the Nassau County Police — a department already tarnished by seedy shenanigans, sources said yesterday. Embattled NYPD Deputy Chief Michael Blake, 50, one of the city’s key anti-terror bosses, is telling colleagues that he’s snagged a new job as assistant police commissioner in Nassau, the law-enforcement sources said. Read more: [New York Post]

Bell cop wants job back 

The cop who was fired for starting the barrage of bullets that killed Sean Bell is suing to get his job back. In papers filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, Gescard Isnora calls the NYPD’s decision to can him over the 2006 shooting “arbitrary and capricious.” Read more: [New York Post] 

Candidate apologizes for prostitution ads in his paper


| mchan@queenscourier.com

File photo

An Assembly candidate and newspaper owner who is under fire for having prostitution ads printed in his Korean-language paper’s back pages apologized and said the lewd classifieds were a reminder that Flushing’s “quality of life is under attack.”

Myungsuk Lee, a 40th Assembly District hopeful, had published ads for seemingly legal massage services that ultimately served as disguises for illegal prostitution in his Korean American Times paper, the New York Post reported this week.

Lee, 49, said his paper, which places hundreds of ads per week, printed the ads under the impression the services offered were legal in nature.

“Had my staff known these individuals were, in fact, using these ads and services as a front for illegal activities, they would never have been accepted,” said the Flushing resident.

According to The Post, women answering telephones at numbers posted on at least two of the ads offered hour-long massages for $50. They directed callers to the same building as Lee’s publishing and campaign offices — at Prince Street and 35th Avenue in Flushing — where workers then tried to sell a Post reporter sexual services.

“I live in this community. I work in this community. I am raising a family in this community. I am deeply concerned that this type of illegal behavior is happening all around us every day, and part of the reason why I decided to run for office this year was to work to improve the overall quality of life for Flushing residents,” Lee said.

The Assembly candidate, who raised about $82,000 in campaign funds so far, pledged to discontinue the ads and correct the issue in the district going forward.

“We always need to stay vigilant against those [who] will lie and deceive for personal gain,” he said.

Meanwhile, seven other candidates vying for the same seat have filed their petitions and await a Board of Election’s commissioner’s hearing on July 30 that will determine if they have a sufficient number of signatures to make it on to the September 13 primary ballot.

They are Democrats Ron Kim, Martha Flores-Vazquez, Ethel Chen, Yen Chou, John Scandalios and Republicans Phil Gim and Sunny Hahn.

The seat is currently held by Assemblymember Grace Meng, who is heading into a general election for the 6th Congressional seat against Councilmember Dan Halloran.

Assembly race divided along ethnic lines


| mchan@queenscourier.com

KimLee

A Democratic Assembly hopeful in a primary race already dividing ethnic lines fears a split Korean community could give the Chinese candidate a golden ticket to the general election.

Myungsuk Lee, who is vying for the potentially open and brewing 40th Assembly District race, expects to face an uphill battle with fellow Korean candidate — and county pick — Ron Kim.

“The Korean community is a little divided between Ron Kim and me,” said Lee, 49, of Flushing. “Their votes are really divided. I don’t think it’s easy to unify them because I will keep running. I won’t give up, and the other candidate won’t give up.”

Kim, a 33-year-old South Korean-born community activist, has the backing of the Queens County Democratic Organization and City Comptroller John Liu. The Flushing resident was an aide to then-Assemblymember Mark Weprin before moving on to work for the city’s Department of Buildings and the Department of Small Business Services, serving also as vice president of the Korean American Association of Greater New York.

Lee, owner and publisher of the tabloid newspaper Korean American Times, is the president of the Federation of Korean American Associations in Greater New York and former president of the Korean American Chamber of Commerce of New York and the Korean American Association of Queens.

While each candidate eyeing the seat will still have to garner enough petitions to make it on to the ballot, Lee and Kim expect to face off with Chinese contender Ethel Chen.

“If there are two Koreans and one Chinese [candidate], it’s not easy for us to win,” Lee said, citing the results of the highly competitive 20th District City Council race in 2009, when Korean hopefuls John Choe and S.J. Jung were beat out in the Democratic primary by Chinese contender Yen Chou. “We are afraid that’s going to happen again.”

Chou — who is also reportedly seeking another run for election this year in the 40th District — was ultimately defeated in that general election by then-Republican rival Peter Koo.

Former Democratic district leader Martha Flores-Vazquez has also reportedly joined the buzzing primary this year. But each hopeful could possibly go up against Assemblymember Grace Meng, who currently holds the seat and is making a run for Congress in the 6th District. Meng’s spokesperson did not directly address whether she would step down or seek re-election if her campaign falls short of Capitol Hill.

On the Republican ticket, Chinese candidate Phil Gim — who got the nod from the Queens County GOP — will take on Korean-native Sunny Hahn.

Candidates have until July 12 to gather enough signatures to qualify for the September 13 primaries.