Tag Archives: Assemblymember Grace Meng

Bill designed to extend tax breaks for small businesses


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

Women make up more than half the work force, but are often paid less than their male counterparts. A similar discrepancy exists for women-owned small businesses.

Though it is one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy, women-owned businesses start with eight times less capital.

For that reason, on August 21, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Assemblymember Grace Meng announced a federal bill designed to extend targeted tax breaks for small businesses at the women-owned Great Bear Auto Repair and Auto Body Shop in Flushing.

“I’ve heard from women in Queens and all across the state. I know women are ready to lead us to a thriving and stable economy, with new, good-paying jobs that can support a family. When we provide the tools that small business leaders need, we can help this economic engine take off,” said Gillibrand.

According to the senator’s office, 10 million firms and 30 percent of all small businesses in the state are women-owned.

Standing alongside the repair shop’s owner, Audra Fordin, Gillibrand and Meng discussed their support for the SUCCESS Act of 2012. If passed, the legislation would extend small business tax benefits that expired at the start of this year, including eliminating capital gains tax on investments in small business and cutting taxes for businesses that invest in new equipment. It also would double existing deductions from $5,000 to $10,000 for new small business start-up costs.

The first woman to run her family’s business, Fordin said the tax extensions would give her needed breathing room, and allow her to upgrade equipment and divert resources towards staff.

The legislation would not only help Fordin’s auto body shop and other women-owned enterprises, but also its entire small-business sector.

“Small businesses have always been the engines of job creation and community development in Queens, and are moving us out of this grinding recession,” said congressional candidate Meng. “We’re already seeing more start-ups, more hiring, and more entrepreneurs striking out on their own. Nowhere is the growth of women-owned businesses more evident than here in New York State, New York City and in Queens.”

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com


TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Overcast with thunderstorms and rain showers in the afternoon. High of 86. Winds from the SSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 40%.Tuesday Night: Overcast with thunderstorms and rain showers. Low of 73. Winds from the South at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60% with rainfall amounts near 0.5 in. possible.

EVENT of the DAY: Live at the Gantries with Christel Rice

Traditional Irish flute player and Philadelphia native Christel Rice has created a sensational and unique style with her music. She studied with the late Michael Rafferty of Ballinakill, Ireland where she learned the regional style of flute playing. Come see her preform for free tonight at Gantry Plaza State Park. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Glendale property owner in talks to lease vacant Cooper Ave. land to local nonprofit for a homeless shelter

A Glendale property owner is mulling a plan to turn a former factory into a shelter for the homeless, though community leaders have vowed to fight it. Read more: New York Daily News 

Vallone urges emergency lanes on Queens Boulevard

Forget bike lanes and pedestrian plazas: It’s time to accommodate emergency responders navigating Queens’ deadliest road, a lawmaker says. Read more: New York Post

Congressional Candidate Meng comments on her father’s bribe charges

As Democratic congressional candidate Grace Meng picked up the endorsement of former Mayor Ed Koch at City Hall on Monday, she spoke publicly for the first time about her father’s arrest on wire fraud charges. Read more: NY1

Judge who accused cop of assault says Queens DA is whitewashing probe

The Queens judge who accused a cop of striking him in the throat with a military-style chop says the District Attorney’s probe appears to be a sham. Read more: New York Daily News 

DOE finds almost 70 percent of city students live in poor households

At Hillcrest High School in Jamaica, Queens, 65 percent of the students live in households that earn under $30,000. That is double the figure of just three years ago. While Hillcrest saw one of the biggest jumps, student poverty has increased citywide. Read more: NY1

Bratton makes rounds

Former New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton is signaling his interest in succeeding Commissioner Raymond Kelly, holding private meetings with potential mayoral candidates during which he’s discussing public-safety strategies and his desire to return to service. Read more: Wall Street Journal 

Veteran officer, gunman die in Texas shootout

A routine serving of an eviction notice to a man living near the Texas A&M University campus turned deadly for Brazos County Constable Brian Bachmann when the resident opened fire on him, leading to the death of the law enforcement officer and another man before the gunman was killed. Read more: AP

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com


EVENT of the DAY: Free Shakespeare in the Park: “Hamlet” 

Come enjoy a summer night with the Bard. Queens-based Hip to Hip Theatre Company presents a free performance of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy “Hamlet” at the Unisphere at Flushing Meadows.

[Click here for more info or submit your events]

Former Assemblyman Jimmy Meng charged with fraud 

Former State Assemblyman Jimmy Meng, the father of Congressional candidate Grace Meng, was charged with fraud Tuesday in an elaborate shakedown scheme. The Brooklyn U.S. Attorney’s Office said Jimmy Meng promised a person who was indicted on tax charges that he could help by bribing prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. Read more: [NY1] 

Elderly Queens woman: Doc’s bad op cost me vision in left eye

An elderly Queens woman is suing her doctor, claiming a botched cataract operation cost her the sight in her left eye. Evalyne Chedda, 70, went to Dr. Alina K. Stanciu’s office in Forest Hills on Jan 18, 2010 for the operation. Read more: [New York Post]

UPDATE: Local leaders charge city snubbing them on possible Triumph of Civic Virtue move  

Snubbed community leaders said they have yet to hear from city officials who are mulling a plan to move the long-neglected Triumph of Civic Virtue statue from its perch outside Queens Borough Hall. The controversial statue, which has raised the ire of some people for its imagery, also has strong supporters who have been lobbying the city unsuccessfully for years to get it cleaned and restored. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

 UPDATE: Results still out in contentious Bayside BID election, but so is Gregg Sullivan: source 

More than a week after the only contested BID election in the city, Bayside business owners aren’t quite sure who won the contentious race — but the writing appears to be on the wall for Gregg Sullivan. A vocal critic of the Bayside Village Business Improvement District’s board, Sullivan will likely not win the seat he was seeking, according to a source familiar with the organization’s bylaws. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com


EVENT of the DAY: Summerstage WR/Felix Hernandez’s Rhythm Revue 

With over forty years in the music industry, their music and history transcends generations of pop culture and has a universal appeal to parents, grandparents, and children across the world. Also featuring DJ Felix Hernandez mixing in soul, Motown, funk, salsa and disco dance classics.

[Click here for more info or submit your events]

New $500,000 New York Hospital Queens Center for  Wound Healing at Silvercrest opens in Briarwood  

New York Hospital Queens and Silvercrest Center For Nursing and Rehabilitation celebrated the opening of the NYHQ Center for Wound Healing at Silvercrest with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday, July 10. The new $500,000 center, at 144-45 87th Ave., in Briarwood, addresses the increasing need for more aggressive wound treatment for people with hard-to-treat chronic wounds such as pressure ulcers, diabetic ulcers and radionecrosis, officials said. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Queens high school principal Caril Hudson Jr. arrested for possession of methamphetamine 

A Queens high school principal was nabbed just a block away from his school when cops found a baggie of methamphetamine in his car during a traffic stop, police said. Carl Hudson Jr., 33, was around the corner from Flushing High School on Northern Blvd. about 8:35 p.m on Tuesday when police discovered the meth in the bag in the car’s center console, police said. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Far Rockaway man pleads guilty to JFK luggage thefts 

A Queens man is facing three to six years in prison after pleading guilty to a series of thefts from passengers in the terminals at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said Wednesday that 46-year-old Frederick McDonald of Far Rockaway, N.Y., had pleaded guilty to grand larceny in connection to six thefts. Read more: [1010wins] 

Bicyclist killed in hit-&-run 

A cyclist was fatally struck in Queens last night by a speeding car whose driver fled the scene, cops and witnesses said. The victim, who was carrying a bouquet of flowers, was struck at around 10:50 p.m. at Greenpoint Avenue and 39th Place in Sunnyside. Read more: [New York Post] 

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com


Rangel, Long, Meng, Jeffries, Velazquez Declared Winners In Primaries 

According to AP numbers as of 12:30 a.m., Meng had 51 percent of the vote with 89 percent of precincts reporting. Assemblyman Rory Lancman had 28 percent, Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley had 16 percent and Dr. Robert Mittman had 5 percent. Read more: [NY1] 

Rapper 50 Cent Involved in LIE Crash 

Rapper 50 Cent is out of the hospital after an accident with a tractor trailer. The accident happened just before midnight Tuesday on the Long Island Expressway. A spokesperson for the rapper, also known as Curtis Jackson, said he was treated for minor back and neck injuries at New York Hospital Queens. Read more: [NY1] 

Congregation Ahavath Shalom Synagogue in Forest Hills loses relics in burglary 

Religious artifacts were swiped from a Queens synagogue sometime in the past week, and the thief is still on the lam, cops said. The four objects — including a silver pointer, Torah breast plate, silver-coated plate and a ritual wine cup — were discovered missing Monday from the Congregation Ahavath Shalom Synagogue on 113th St. in Forest Hills, according to officials. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Students once again learn to cook with acclaimed chefs as web show ‘Culinary High TV’ debuts its third season

A Queens producer is in talks to turn a popular web series, that teaches at-risk teens how to cook in some of the city’s top restaurants, into a television show. The third season of “Culinary High TV” debuts Friday on the show’s website. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com


Heat Advisory To Remain In Effect For Thursday

As a heat advisory remains in effect for Thursday, Con Edison is urging customers to conserve energy. The utility reduced voltage in dozens of neighborhoods in Queens and Brooklyn as a precaution to protect equipment and maintain service while crews fix electrical problems. Read more: [NY1]

Campaign 2012 Notebook: Queens Congressional candidates jockey for votes as primary nears

With the June 26 primary just days away, the four Democrats hoping to become the nominee for Queens’ Sixth Congressional District are busy trying to get people to the polls. While rain is generally the biggest detriment to voter turnout, the unusual late June primary poses a different question: Will potential voters want to spend any part of a sunny June day at the polls? Read more: [New York Daily News]  

20-year-old man plunges to his death from elevated subway platform in Queens

An inebriated 20-year-old man jumped to his death from an elevated subway platform in Queens Wednesday night, fire and police sources said. The young man bolted from a stalled A train at the Beach 90th St. station in Rockaway Beach around 8 p.m., the sources said. The conductor saw the victim — who may have been trying to hop to a nearby rooftop and scale a fence when he suddenly dropped, the sources added. Read more: [New York Daily News]  

Police searching for missing 5-year-old Queens boy: report

Police are looking for a 5-year-old boy in Queens this morning, ABC 7 reported. According to the report, the boy — who answers by the name of Zachary — walked out of his home on Rockaway Boulevard and 118th Street in South Ozone Park at about 1:30 a.m. Read more: [New York Post]  

Arvind Mahankali, Daily News finalist in National Spelling Bee, awarded City Council Citation  

Twelve-year-old Arvind Mahankali, of Bayside Hills, was awarded a New York City Council Citation for advancing to the finals in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The seventh-grader, who placed third in his third appearance at the event, received the citation from City Councilmen Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens) and Daniel Halloran (R-Whitestone) during a ceremony held Monday, June 18, at Nathaniel Hawthorne Middle School 74. Read more: [New York Daily News]  

Resorts Casino Raking In Slot Machine Revenue

The Resorts World Casino says it is raking in more money from slot machines than any other gambling hub in the country. Watch video: [NY1]

Social Security at center of 6th District contention


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Rory Lancman

A congressional candidate — who dubbed himself the sole fighter for the Millionaire’s Tax last week — set himself apart from his Democratic primary opponents once more by saying he is “the only candidate” in the race with a real plan to save Social Security.

“Social Security is in crisis,” said Assemblymember Rory Lancman, who is vying for the heavily-contested and newly-redrawn 6th District seat. “There are other candidates in the race who don’t seem to believe so. They think it’s something that we don’t need to address right away. They don’t see the imminence of the problem.”

According to Lancman, Social Security will run out of money in 2033 and will only be able to make about three-fourths of obligated payments at that time.

He said his proposal to lift the exemption on Social Security taxes for individuals with incomes over $110,600 would force “high-income earners to pay their fair share” into the Social Security fund. Scrapping the cap, Lancman said, would guarantee the program’s solvency for the next 75 years.

“That is what is bankrupting Social Security,” he said before taking swipes at his two major primary challengers, Assemblymember Grace Meng and Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley. “The challenge facing Social Security is immediate and severe, and so far I’m the only candidate in this race that has offered a real plan to save Social Security without reducing benefits, raising the retirement age or privatizing Social Security altogether.”

Meng said her plans were geared towards reaching a long-term solution. She said while the fund would definitely be able to pay benefits until 2033, she agreed Congress needs to take action before that.

“The most important thing right now is to ensure that we do whatever we can to stimulate job and economic growth so that in the long run there will be more people paying into the fund,” Meng said. “My point is not that we’re not taking action — it’s that we have to do whatever we can to increase the funds right now.”

Crowley also fired back at her challenger, saying the cap lift would increase taxes on the middle class and small businesses — not high-income earners. She said her plan is to put people back to work and “keep Republicans from cutting Social Security.”

“Raising taxes on the middle class and on small businesses is exactly what we don’t need to help Social Security. I’m sorry that Mr. Lancman thinks that it is a good idea,” Crowley said.

Lancman received a blow of his own from a local religious leader who sent out a “special clarification” last week, saying he was not endorsing the candidate’s policies or run for Congress after his photo was published without permission or notice in Lancman’s recent legislative mailer.

Reverend Thomas Pettei, a pastor at St. Nicholas of Tolentine R.C. Church in Jamaica, declined to comment, but said the letter speaks for itself.

“What upset me was that this mailing included a picture of me with Assemblyman Lancman, standing in front of our church,” Pettei wrote in the letter. “I simply want to make it clear that in no way should this be interpreted as any kind of endorsement of the Assemblyman’s policies or of his current campaign for Congress.”

The mailer was titled “Keeping our Houses of Worship Safe” and referred to legislation Lancman has proposed. Pettei also pointed to disagreements the Catholic Church and Lancman have on several issues as a reason for his concerns.

Meng recently received the endorsement of the New York League of Conservation Voters and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Leadership PAC, while Crowley gained boosts from the Uniformed EMTs, Paramedics and Fire Inspectors FDNY Local 2507 and Uniformed EMS Officers Union Local 3621.

Candidates eye Meng’s Assembly seat


| mchan@queenscourier.com


Several hopefuls in two buzzing primaries have their eyes set on the hotly-contested and potentially open State Assembly seat in the brewing District 40 race.

The seat is currently held by Assemblymember Grace Meng, who is making a run for Congress in the 6th District. While Meng’s spokesperson did not directly address whether or not she would seek re-election if her campaign falls short of Capitol Hill, the race to take her place is heating up.

GOP runner Phil Gim got the backing of the Queens County Republican Party and focused his campaign around restoring power — and more jobs — to voters during his June 4 campaign kickoff. The candidate, who was born in China, said small businesses were the engines of job creation and said he has plans to make the state friendlier to mom and pop shops.

“This just can’t be about Wall Street anymore,” said Gim, 60, of Whitestone. “This is about Main Street, Francis Lewis Boulevard, Parsons Boulevard and Northern Boulevard.”

Gim, a former postal worker and census supervisor, is a father of four and resident of Queens since 1986. He will face off with Flushing community activist Sunny Hahn during the September 13 primary.

Hahn, who announced her candidacy on May 31, centered her first run for office on her vision for putting Flushing on the map as the “greatest destination in New York City in the 21st century” and uniting both immigrant and American-born communities.

“We really have to transcend and have to think collectively as Americans,” said Hahn, 60, a retired city human rights specialist. “Don’t give up. If you give up, America will be in trouble. Start dreaming again.”

Hahn, a Korean native, hopes to gain the endorsements of the Independent and Conservative Party but said she would plow forward on the campaign trail regardless.

Candidate Ron Kim will be running on the Democratic ticket with endorsements from the Queens County Democratic Organization and City Comptroller John Liu.

The South Korean-born community activist began his career in public service as 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. He served as vice president of the Korean American Association of Greater New York and currently advocates on behalf of children with special needs and small businesses.

“Public service is about protecting the most vulnerable among us while ensuring that opportunity exists for all our citizens,” said Kim, a Flushing resident. “As an immigrant and the son of a Vietnam veteran, I have seen just how much is possible in this great country.”

Democratic hopefuls Ethel Chen, Myungsuk Lee and Yen Chou have reportedly decided to run for the seat as well, although they could not be reached for comment in time for press.

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com


State Supreme Court Judge Claims NYPD Officer Attacked Him

A State Supreme Court Judge claims that he was attacked by a police officer in Queens Friday night. Thomas Raffaele said he saw a scuffle between two police officers and another man handcuffed on the ground Friday night. Read more: [NY1]

Queens Women On Alert As NYPD Seeks Suspect In Violent Sex Attacks

Police are asking for the public’s help in finding a suspect wanted for sexual abuse, rape and robbery — all in the Forest Hills section of Queens.  The news has women in the neighborhood on alert. Read more: [1010WINS]

Queens bar installs regulation size basketball half-court 

A Forest Hills watering hole is giving new meaning to the term sports bar. Cobblestones Pub on Queens Blvd. has created a regulation-size half basketball court behind their establishment, raising the bar for what is considered a traditional parlor game. Read more: [New York Daily News]

Woman with blood disorder meets blood donor for first time 

When 37-year-old Radhika Sawh finally met one of the hundreds of anonymous donors who keep her alive, she shed tears for those who had shed blood for her. Read more: [New York Daily News]  

Belmont Stakes Favorite Draws 11th Spot; Strike Threat Averted

There was a gasp among some, but I’ll Have Another’s trainer, Doug O’Neill, seemed happy with the horse’s post position for the Belmont Stakes. I’ll Have Another was on the outside for the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. So will a third outside position at post 11 be the key to the 12th Triple Crown racing history? Read more: [NY1]

Queens rivals for Congress duke it out for credit 

The only thing harder than getting something done in Albany is getting credit for it. So after New York State succeeded in making millionaires pay more in taxes, Assemblywoman Grace Meng’s supporters were furious when her rival in the race for Congress, Assemblyman Rory Lancman, sent out a mailing claiming he was “the only one who fought for the Millionaire’s Tax in the Assembly so the ultra-wealthy pay their fair share.” Read more: [New York Daily News]

Red Storm Baseball Prepares For Super Regionals

The St. John’s Red Storm baseball team is preparing for a date in the NCAA Super Regionals against Arizona. Watch video: [NY1]

6th District candidates Meng and Lancman trade jabs over Millionaire’s Tax


| mchan@queenscourier.com


Two democratic congressional contenders traded jabs with each other after one candidate dubbed himself the sole fighter for the Millionaire’s Tax.

In his mailed literature (pictured below), Assemblymember Rory Lancman — who is vying for the newly-redrawn 6th District seat — said he is “the only one” in the race “who fought for the Millionaire’s Tax in the Assembly so the ultra-wealthy pay their fair share.” Attempts to plant his flag on the measure’s passage angered colleague and opponent Assemblymember Grace Meng, who claims to be the champion for the middle class, according to her camp.

“While Rory Lancman was busy relishing in his self-promotion, Grace Meng was in Albany building bridges with her colleagues and negotiating the agreement that actually delivered real tax relief for struggling, middle-class families in Queens,” said Meng’s spokesperson, Austin Finan.

The Millionaire’s Tax was passed last December after legislative leaders voted in favor of it during a special session held less than a month before the state’s temporary surcharge was set to expire. The measure creates a higher tax bracket for highest-income residents and reduces the tax rate for millions of middle-class residents.

Finan said Meng, a tax equity supporter, not only pushed for the measure, but stood “front and center” at a Millionaire’s Tax rally held at City Hall last year in October. He also said she penned several statements and op-eds in support of it.

But Lancman’s spokesperson, Eric Walker, boasted of Lancman’s efforts, including writing an op-ed last year in the New York Daily News — and a column in the Huffington Post — and taking the same fight to Fox Business Channel and Capital Tonight. Walker said Lancman called for tax fairness back in 2008 — before Meng was even elected.

“Rory was the only one in this race who fought for the millionaire’s tax — that’s a fact,” Walker said. “If Meng was a leader in the fight for tax fairness, it must have been a top-secret operation.”

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver remained neutral in the standoff, saying “many members were strong advocates in our fight to extend the Millionaire’s Tax, including both Grace Meng and Rory Lancman.”

Meng was recently endorsed by the National Troopers Coalition, the Police Benevolent Association of the New York State Troopers, the New York Chapter of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance and the Bangladeshi American Community Council, while Lancman received boosts from The Jewish Press and former Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum. Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley, another candidate in the four-way Democratic primary, gained the support of Communication Workers of America Local 1101.

Meanwhile, the only citizen candidate in the primary race, Dr. Robert Mittman — a Bayside allergist — recently unveiled his own “Social Security Rescue Plan” and pledged to close the “Medicare doughnut hole” with federal budget savings. He proposed cutting military spending by at least 30 percent, fully eliminating the cap on taxable earnings and said millionaires and billionaires should pay their fair share of earnings to the Social Security Fund.

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com


Cop drug-plant denial

A former NYPD narcotics detective yesterday took the stand at his Queens perjury trial to vehemently deny planting drugs on innocent citizens. “No, no, no. Absolutely not!” Adolph Osback, 40, maintained when asked if he ever “faked a sale.” Read more: [New York Post]

 

Grace Meng wins endorsement of Rep. Gary Ackerman

They weren’t quite separated at birth, but retiring Rep. Gary Ackerman said he saw enough of himself in Grace Meng to endorse her for the newly redrawn 6th Congressional District seat. The 30-year incumbent stunned his supporters in March when he announced that he wouldn’t be seeking a 16th term, and decided to rattle a few more by making an endorsement on Tuesday in the hotly contested Democratic primary. Read more: [New York Daily News]

 

Sick Mom stabs kid: cops

A 9-year-old girl is fighting for her life after her mentally troubled mother stabbed her four times with a chef’s knife yesterday in Queens, authorities said. Ann Carimbocas stabbed her daughter in her head, shoulder and back in a home yesterday morning on 176th Street near 145th Avenue in Springfield Gardens, police sources and Carimbocas’ friends said. Read more: [New York Post]

 

Commuter Problems: Reduced AC At Penn, LIRR Delays In Queens

The hot weather is wreaking havoc for commuters waiting at Penn Station as the station’s air conditioning isn’t working. New Jersey Transit says an AC problem at Penn is pushing indoor temperatures into the 90s. Read more: [NY1]

 

Queens Village Man Allegedly Stabs, Kills Wife At Home

Police are investigating after a 68-year-old Queens man allegedly stabbed and killed his 65-year-old wife. Police said they responded to a report of a person stabbed inside of 222-18 93rd Avenue just after 2 p.m. Tuesday. Read more: [NY1]

 

Queens man rides for pancreatic cancer research 

Ever since his father’s death, a Middle Village man has been on a two-wheeled crusade to raise cash to fight cancer. Brian Davis, whose father Dennis died in 2008 from pancreatic cancer, has been organizing an annual tri-borough bike ride to fund research. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

6th District candidates debate hot-button issues


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

The six 6th District congressional candidates mildly duked it out for the first time during a forum in Flushing — addressing hot-button city, state and national issues, like plans to fix the flailing economy and stances on immigration reform.

The hopefuls — Green Party’s Evergreen Chou, Democratic primary runners Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley, Assemblymember Rory Lancman, Assemblymember Grace Meng and Dr. Robert Mittman, and Republican contender Councilmember Dan Halloran — split the roughly two-hour meeting, held at Flushing Library on May 21, to introduce themselves and explain the platforms for which they are running.

Each lauded his or her experience, with the elected officials pointing to their plans on advocating for the middle class and improving education, Social Security and the job market, while the two citizen candidates — Chou and Mittman — respectively pushed for peace and change.

The forum was hosted by the MinKwon Center for Community Action. The congressional contenders remained civil, with minor disagreements stemming mostly from the differences between Republican and Democratic philosophies on the economy.

Halloran said the key to reviving the economy and creating jobs is making sure the government “stays out of the way of businesses.” Citing that 98 percent of small businesses in New York have disappeared between 1840 and 2011, he said government should decrease the number of agencies businesses are held accountable to, re-evaluate its tax roles to make sure businesses that are job creators aren’t overtaxed and give incentives to businesses to hire more employees.

Lancman respectfully disagreed, saying deregulating government led to the Wall Street meltdown. He said Wall Street first needs to be reformed — “making it an engine of economic growth, not a potential minefield that could blow up the economy once again” — and small businesses should be provided support and access to credit.

Meng took a different approach and said she believes improving mass transit, highways, roads and bridges would help increase jobs for Queens residents. She also said maintaining “better and closer” partnerships with universities and hospitals would help make Queens a “technology hub” and would stem job growth.

Chou said building more hospitals and engaging in government programs would revive the economy, while Crowley said pulling government spending on Afghanistan would give the country more money to use. Mittman backed Halloran, saying government should be limited and small business should not be overtaxed.

Questions on immigration reform and enforcement directly tied into talks about racial discrimination, when candidates addressed the efficiency of Secure Communities — a federal program that prioritizes the removal of criminal aliens and repeat immigration violators — and the recent controversial stop and frisk policy.

Crowley — who said she believes in comprehensive immigration reform — said there is a fine line drawn if the illegal immigrant questioned is not a threat. She said she supported a local law passed in the City Council that prevented the Department of Corrections from imposing immigration detainers “on those that were not convicted of any crime and were not doing anything that was considered a serious crime.”

However, Halloran said “being in the country illegally is a crime” itself.

“You cannot reward someone who came here illegally with citizenship, but you can give them a path to permanent residency,” he said.

According to Halloran, illegal immigrants should fill out paperwork, pay the fees and be checked up on 10 years after they are granted permanent status to see that they are paying their taxes and not engaged in criminal activity. In regards to the stop and frisk policy and concerns of racial profiling, he said there is more of a correlation between economics and socio status than race.

While Lancman agreed people who commit serious crimes should not be welcomed in the country and said he is for comprehensive immigration reform, he said Secure Communities became “a mechanism for detaining and deporting” mostly law-abiding citizens and “created an atmosphere of fear and mistrust in immigrant communities.”

All six candidates opposed using local law enforcement to deal with immigration issues and said the role should lie in the federal government. They each also expressed support for pulling U.S. troops from overseas — however Halloran and Lancman raised serious concerns over whether or not doing so would gravely impact national security.

Crowley was recently endorsed by the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 3 and New York City Building and Construction Trades Council, while Meng picked up support from ATU Local No. 1056 and Lancman from the New York State Public Employees Federation.

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

 

Alleged Cocaine Kingpin Nabbed In Queens Drug Ring Bust 

A 15-month investigation by the New York City Police Department and the Queens district attorney’s office has led to the arrest of 45 people, including a man who is allegedly one of the city’s biggest cocaine dealers. The investigation centered on two gangs in southeast Queens, the South Side Bloods and the Corley Crew, which police say brought in more than $15,000 a week in narcotics sales. Read more: [NY1]

 

Probe into John Liu’s campaign cash prompts extra caution among Queens pols 

John Liu’s money men are radioactive and another ambitious Queens pol is doing her homework to avoid the fallout. The names of campaign donors to surface in the federal probe of City Controller John Liu have been flagged by Grace Meng’s fundraising operation, a reminder to steer clear of their cash as the assemblywoman runs for the redrawn 6th Congressional District. Read more: [New York Daily News]

 

Elmhurst Developer Criticized For Multiple Code Violations

Queens Senator Tony Avella gathered with community members in Elmhurst on Thursday to say they are outraged that the Department of Buildings continues to issues permits to developer Tommy Huang, even though he consistently violates building and zoning codes. Read more: [NY1]

 

New bills put historic districts in jeopardy, advocates say

Queens has a long history of getting left in the landmark dust. Newly proposed bills in the City Council could extend that history, preservationists said, putting future designations in jeopardy for the borough that has only a fraction of landmarks compared to Brooklyn or Manhattan. Read more: [New York Daily News]

 

Off-duty cop busted for trying to sneak into better seat at Citi Field

You’re out. An off-duty cop was dragged out of a Mets game in handcuffs last night after he tried to sneak into a better seat at Citi Field, police sources said. Read more: [New York Post]

 

MTA Bridge & Tunnel Officers Told To Stop Caring For Rockaways Strays 

For decades, MTA Bridge and Tunnel Officers by the Rockaways say they have been taking care of stray cats in the area, but now they are being told by their bosses to stop. Read more: [NY1]

Maspeth street renamed for former NYPD detective


| brennison@queenscourier.com

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A Maspeth street was renamed for a former police officer who passed away last year from the after effects of working at Ground Zero.

Kevin Czartoryski, who died in 2010 at 46, was honored on Sunday, April 29 with the renaming of the street he lived on when he passed.  He suffered from pulmonary fibrosis.

Fifty ninth road off 60th Street in Maspeth will now be known as Detective Kevin Czartoryski Place.

Hundreds of friends, family, co-workers and elected officials attended the ceremony and spoke lovingly of the former police officer.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, Senator Chuck Schumer, Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Assemblymembers Cathy Nolan and Grace Meng, State Senator Joe Addabbo and Councilmembers Elizabeth Crowley, Daniel Dromm and Jimmy Van Bramer attended the renaming.

 

Candidates pick up political endorsements


| mchan@queenscourier.com


U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand recently picked up the endorsement of the New York State Democratic Committee for her try at re-election.

The senator, whose term expires this year, is running for her first full six-year term.

Vying for her seat, George Maragos — the current elected comptroller of Nassau County — gained the support of Queens County GOP Chair Phil Ragusa.

Maragos said he was “deeply honored and humbled by the endorsement” and decried the existing senator’s alleged inability to man her post.

Conservative lawyer Wendy Long and Congressmember Bob Turner are also in the running to try and defeat Gillibrand.

As for the congressional race, Assemblymember Grace Meng was recently endorsed by Councilmember James Gennaro to replace retiring U.S. Representative Gary Ackerman.

Meng was designated by the Queens County Democratic Organization on Monday, March 19 to contend for the recently vacated seat in the 6th Congressional District race.

“I unreservedly and wholeheartedly pledge my support to her candidacy for Congress,” Gennaro said. “Grace has terrific support in the community and the universal admiration of her colleagues for good reason — she is deeply committed, incredibly effective and a joy to work with.”

During the June 26 primary, Meng will face off with Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley and Assemblymember Rory Lancman, who formally announced his candidacy on the same day Meng officially received the support of Democratic leaders.

Councilmember Mark Weprin, who had previously expressed interest in making his own run at the seat, also said he backs Meng. Weprin had received the endorsement of former mayor Ed Koch to join the race, but said he decided, after further considerations, to stand down and support Meng instead.