Tag Archives: Assemblymember Michael DenDekker

Queens pols hold coat drive with nonprofit New York Cares


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Councilmember Costa Constantinides' Office

With the winter still in full force, a group of elected officials are making sure those in need across the city are staying warm.

Together, Councilmember Costa Constantinides, Senator Michael Gianaris, and Assemblymembers Aravella Simotas and Michael DenDekker have collected a total of about 100 coats at their district offices for people in need across the city.

“It is important during this cold season that we provide help to those in need,” said Constantinides. “It’s an honor to work with a great organization like New York Cares. My colleagues in the state government and I look forward to collecting warm coats for those who need it most.”

The lightly-used winter coats were donated by members of the communities surrounding the district offices and the gathering of coats is in collaboration with the nonprofit New York Cares.

“Having recently experienced record low temperatures, I know we all appreciate the dangers freezing weather poses to our most vulnerable neighbors,” said Gianaris. “Let’s work together to keep our fellow New Yorkers warm this winter.”

 

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Costa Constantinides wins City Council District 22 race


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

Costa Constantinides is making history and will now serve the community he has called home his whole life.

The lifelong Astoria resident has been elected to fill Peter Vallone Jr.’s seat in City Council District 22 and represent Astoria, Long Island City and parts of Jackson Heights. With 100 percent of the precincts reporting, he won the race with 66 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results.

“The voters have spoken,” said Constantinides. “I feel very humbled about the weight of what this means and the faith the people of this district have put in me.”

His win marks the first time since 1974 that a member of the Vallone family does not hold the seat in District 22. Before current Councilmember and term-limited Peter Vallone Jr. was elected to represent the district, his father, former Speaker Peter Vallone Sr. held the seat.

Constantinides celebrated his victory together with his wife, four-year old son, family, friends and supporters as the Democratic winner in the general election on November 5 at Raven’s Head Public House in Astoria. He was also joined by State Senator Michael Gianaris, Assemblymember Aravella Simotas and Michael DenDekker.

“I’m looking forward to representing each and every one of the 160,000 constituents of this district and making sure that government works for them and that they have a voice in City Hall that is going to fight for them every single day,” he said. “That’s why I decided to run for City Council.”

According to Constantinides, he is the first Greek American to be elected into the City Council.

In September, Constantinides took the win against attorney John Ciafone and longtime Community Board 1 member Constantinos “Gus” Prentzas in the democratic primary.

In 2009, he was elected to serve as the Democratic District Leader for the 36th Assembly District, Part A. He also served as Legislative Director and Deputy Chief of Staff to Councilmember James F. Gennaro where he assisted on key legislation.

Some of the main areas Constantinides hopes to address when taking the seat in January are better environmental protection including reducing traffic congestion, expanding open space and investing in clean energy. He also hopes to improve schools for the children in his district and plans to clean up the streets, by prioritizing the increase of corner garbage pickups and funding a street sweeping program like the Doe Fund.

“The things that we talked about resonated in this campaign and I feel we have a mandate now to get those things accomplished,” he said.

Constantinides was running against Republican Daniel Peterson, Green Party candidate Lynne Serpe, Independent Danielle De Stefano and Populist Party candidate Gerald Kann.

“I’m looking forward to fighting for the people in this district,” said Constantinides. “The next step is to go out there and start fighting.”

Queens pols face Bronx rivals in first Battle of the Boroughs Bowl


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

Politicians turned into playmakers for a special touch football game.

Queens and Bronx politicians faced off in the first ever Battle of the Boroughs Bowl at Monsignor McClancy High School in East Elmhurst Sunday.

The touch football event was organized to raise money by collecting donations, with all proceeds going to the United Service Organizations (USO) and the Wounded Warriors Project.

“At the heart, the core of this little fun outing that we are having, where hopefully no one will be hurt, is a really serious intent, and that intent is to help our veterans,” said Assemblymember Mike Benedetto, who is chair of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

The lawmakers in attendance ranged from all levels of government, including City Comptroller John Liu, State Senator Mike Gianaris, Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr., Assemblymember Mike DenDekker and many more.

“Off the field and out of the office it’s good to have a personal relationship with your colleagues,” said DenDekker, who helped organize the event.

In addition to playing for a good cause, many of the politicians competed for city bragging rights.

“It’s friendly, it’s a fundraiser for our veterans, but its also serious business,” said Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer. “We’re obviously competitive people, we are used to winning. And I am anxious to demonstrate to the people of my district that I can play football even though it’s been 20 years.”

In the end, Queens lost to the Bronx, 20-19.

 

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Reward offered for swastika perp


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Photos Courtesy of Councilmember Daniel Dromm

The neighboring communities of Jackson Heights and Elmhurst are battling back against a string of hate crimes that recently rocked the region’s residents.

Beginning the night of November 2 and extending into the early hours of November 3, swastikas were drawn at three locations across the area — on the facades of the Jackson Heights and East Elmhurst branches of the Queens Library and on the door of the Congregation Tifereth Israel of Jackson Heights.

“A swastika should not be anywhere in public,” said Lana M., a Jackson Heights resident, who is Jewish on her mother’s side. “We need to spread peace, not hate. We want to enjoy life and we don’t want to be hated by anyone. You have to respect everyone’s religion. We have to make sure this doesn’t spread. We have to get the community together to wipe it out.”

A rally in response to the vandalisms was held on November 4, during which elected officials and local leaders spoke out against hate crimes.

“We stand here today to say no to hate,” said Councilmember Daniel Dromm. “We stand here today to say no to fear. We stand here today to say that hate and fear have no place in our community. We stand here today to say to those that committed these heinous crimes – you will be found, you will be prosecuted and you will not intimidate us. We will defeat you and your ugly ideas. We stand here today to fight back. We stand here today as Jackson Heights, a beautiful, diverse community of compassion, tolerance and understanding.”

The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force is currently investigating the incidents, which are believed to be related.

Dromm announced at the rally that he has raised a $3,000 reward for anyone who provides information leading to the capture of the perpetrator, consisting of $500 contributions from Borough President Helen Marshall, Senator Jose Peralta, Assemblymember Michael DenDekker, Assemblymember Francisco Moya, Councilmember Julissa Ferreras and Councilmember Karen Koslowitz.

“I represent one of the most diverse districts in the country,” said Moya. “I take great pride in our diversity and the respect and understanding our community has for every resident’s different heritage. It is critical that we come together as a community and denounce the recent hate crimes that have occurred. We must also help our local police precinct in whatever way possible to lead to the arrest of the individuals that committed these cowardly attacks.”
Leaders urge anyone with information regarding these sincidents to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.