Tag Archives: Bob Turner

Queens GOP Chairman Phil Ragusa passes away at 74


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo


Phil Ragusa, chair of the Queens Republican Party, died Tuesday after a short battle with leukemia, party officials confirmed in a statement. He was 74.

“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our very distinguished Chairman, Phil Ragusa,” the statement said. “Chairman Ragusa will be remembered for his integrity and commitment to the democratic process and was viewed by many as not just a friend but a mentor.”

Ragusa died surrounded by family members, according to the statement.

His leadership survived a challenge to lead the county committee last year from former Congressman Bob Turner. Ragusa has been Queens GOP chairman since 2007.

“I was deeply saddened to hear of Phil Ragusa’s passing and I feel terribly for his family,” said Northeast Queens Republican Club President Kevin J. Ryan. “But if there’s a bright side, we have an opportunity to rebuild the Queens GOP and move forward together, following the procedures and giving every committee member a voice. I hope we all work together in his memory.”

Viewing hours will be held Thursday from 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at the Quinn-Fogarty Funeral Home, 162-14 Sanford Ave., Flushing.

 

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Turner, Ragusa both claim victory to lead Queens GOP


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photos

The Queens Republican Party civil war is not over, and Phil Ragusa did not reclaim his throne yet, his opponents say.

Both Ragusa and former Congressmember Bob Turner have declared themselves winners in the election to head the Queens GOP after a six hour contentious meeting on September 27.

According to Party officials, Ragusa won re-election as chair by 52 percent of votes cast by district leaders and state committee members. His challenger, Turner, garnered about 48 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results.

But Councilmember Eric Ulrich, an outspoken critic of Ragusa, said Turner in fact had higher tallies than reported and had the support of “a clear majority” of voters.

There was no independent monitor in the room to count the votes, he said, and the Party’s leadership had thrown out valid proxies.

“The county’s members are using fuzzy math,” Ulrich said. “Their attempts to disqualify the proxy votes of duly elected county committee members are shameful. When every single vote is counted, it is clear that Bob Turner is the chairman.”

Both Turner and Ragusa have submitted certificates of election with the state and city Board of Elections.
Ragusa released a statement, saying he had been declared the “clear winner.”

“I am honored and humbled by the show of support given to me by Queens County Committee and State Committee members,” he said. “I will continue to lead the party honorably and faithfully and will work to unify the party so that the

Queens GOP continues to grow and become even stronger in the future.”

Turner said he was confident court litigations over the next few weeks would find him victorious.

“We know we won,” Turner said. “This is going to have to be solved at a different level.”

A similar internal battle occurred in 2011, when both Ragusa and former Councilmember Tom Ognibene claimed victory, though Ognibene was later defeated.

Ulrich, an insurgent of the Queens GOP, has long called for Turner to take over Party leadership, especially after a bombshell corruption scandal emerged this April.

Queens GOP Vice Chair Vince Tabone and Republican Councilmember Dan Halloran were among a handful of officials indicted in a bribery scheme to get Democratic State Senator Malcolm Smith on the GOP mayoral primary ticket.

Shortly after Tabone resigned from his post, more than a dozen Republican State Committee members wrote Ragusa a letter, asking him to step down, too, and allow Turner to take over.

The county boss, who was not accused of any wrongdoing, stayed on and won re-election earlier this month to his district leader post, beating back challenger and Ulrich ally Sal Bacarella.

Others elected to the Queens GOP include Robert Beltrani as executive vice chair and James McClelland as first vice chair. McClelland served as chief of staff to Councilmember Peter Koo and recently left to work for State Senator Simcha Felder.

 

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EXCLUSIVE: FBI questioned Queens pols last year over GOP probe


| mchan@queenscourier.com

File photos

Councilmember Eric Ulrich and ex-Congressmember Bob Turner were two of many Queens leaders questioned in the FBI’s probe into the county’s GOP last year, The Courier has learned.

“At some point during this investigation, I was questioned by the FBI, as were many other people,” said Ulrich, 28. “I told them what I knew on firsthand knowledge. I also told them what I thought was hearsay.”

Many in the southern Queens district, including former district leaders and candidates, were questioned in person by FBI agents last year into dealings with the party, Ulrich said.

“It’s a federal crime to lie to an FBI agent. I told them the truth or what I knew to be true. What I didn’t know at the time was that there already was an investigation into the Queens County Republican Party,” he said.

The agency launched its investigation into the party last May amid allegations Board of Elections employees may have used their positions to further their careers as political consultants, the New York Post reported.

State Senator Malcolm Smith, Councilmember Dan Halloran, Queens County GOP vice chair Vincent Tabone and Bronx County GOP chair Joseph Savino were part of a group of six officials arrested by the FBI yesterday for conspiring to rig the mayoral election, authorities said.

Smith, a registered Democrat, needed consent from three of the city’s five GOP county chairmen to appear on the Republican ballot for city’s 2013 mayoral election.

He allegedly bribed Tabone and Savino with $40,000 in cash payouts for their support, according to the Southern District U.S. Attorney and FBI.

Halloran is accused of setting up meetings between Smith and county leaders and negotiating the bribes. He allegedly pocketed nearly $21,000 in cash in exchange for his help, officials said.

“I had known for a long time that Vince Tabone was a corrupt person and that he was involved in illegal activity,” Ulrich said. “But I never thought in a million years I would wake up one morning and read about Dan Halloran being implicated in a crime like this. The Dan Halloran that I knew has been a very honest person that works very hard.”

The lawmaker, who did not disclose further details of the investigation, claims Tabone solicited money in the past in exchange for county support.

Ulrich said he cautioned Halloran — his only other Queens GOP colleague in the Council — to stay away from county leaders.

“I had warned Dan a million times. I said these are bad people, and he agreed with me. That’s why I’m so shocked,” Ulrich said. “Dan knew these people were unscrupulous, notorious bad apples.”

Party chair Phil Ragusa called on Tabone to resign, pending the outcome of legal proceedings, according to a statement released by the Queens GOP.

But Ulrich said the “compromised county” needs Ragusa to step down as well and elect Turner as their new leader.

Ragusa has not been accused of any wrongdoing, but Ulrich said that could easily change during the course of the probe.

“Who’s to say what Vince Tabone and others might tell the FBI now that they’ve been arrested,” Ulrich said. “I think they’ll tell everything they know to save their own skin.”

Queens congressmembers get mixed results on environment


| mchan@queenscourier.com


Some Queens congressmembers aced their green test last year. But some were average, and one was at the bottom of the class.

That is according to the New York League of Conservation Voters (NYLCV) latest national environmental scorecard.

Congressmembers Steve Israel and Carolyn Maloney were tops, with each scoring a 97, followed by Joseph Crowley with a 91. Both of the state’s U.S. Senators, Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, scored 93 percent. Nydia Velázquez trailed slightly with an 86 percent and Gregory Meeks pulled a 77 percent.

Former representative Gary Ackerman scored a 74. But another retiring congressmember, Bob Turner, had an abysmal 3 percent, a low matched by Tea Party Republicans representing Big Oil districts in Texas.

The scores are based on 14 Senate votes and 35 House votes on public health, clean energy, land and wildlife conservation issues.

“In the face of unprecedented attacks on laws protecting water, air and land, environmental allies like Steve Israel, Caroline [sic] Maloney … stood up for our values and put New Yorkers first,” said NYLCV President Marcia Bystryn in a statement. “While Americans were seeing the historic impacts of extreme weather right outside their window, members like … Bob Turner continued to ignore the reality of climate change.”

The state’s average House score in the most recent review was 65 percent, falling drastically from 97 percent in 2010.

“The U.S. House of Representatives sided with Big Oil and corporate polluters time and time again in 2012, cementing its status as the most anti-environmental House in our nation’s history,” said Gene Karpinski, president of the country’s League of Conservation Voters.

“The best that can be said about this session of the 112th Congress is that it’s over,” Karpinski said.

 

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Wendy Long wins primary, to face Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in November


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Wendy_Long_cropped

In a minor upset, Wendy Long handily won the three-way race in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate.

Long, a New York City attorney, defeated Congressmember Bob Turner and Nassau County comptroller George Maragos. She secured a majority of the vote with 51 percent, according to reports.

Turner finished with 36 percent, while Maragos received 13.5 percent.

Long’s support was mostly out of the five boroughs as Turner received 66 percent of the votes in the city, according to the Board of Election’s unofficial results.

“On the 6th of November, we will change the face of New York politics,” Long said.

The Republican, who has never held elected office, will now face Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in the general election on that date.

“This landslide victory tells me that the people of New York saw that I would create the sharpest contrast with Kirsten Gillibrand,” said Long.

Fewer than 140,000 voters cast their ballots statewide in an election notable for its low turnout. There are more than 2.5 million registered Republicans in New York.

Turner, who currently represents parts of Queens in the 9th Congressional District, congratulated Long on the victory and promised to work with the candidate.

“I pledge to work with Ms. Long to unite all Republicans and Conservatives in the effort to defeat Kirsten Gillibrand in November,” he said.

Gillibrand won the Senate seat in 2010, after being appointed to it a year earlier when Hillary Clinton left to become Secretary of State.

The general election will pit candidates on opposite sides of the spectrum.

Gillibrand was named by the National Journal as the nation’s most liberal senator, a fact trumpeted by the Long campaign. Long is a staunch conservative that opposes same-sex marriage and raising the debt ceiling.

Long faces an uphill battle against Gillibrand. The senator has nearly $10 million in campaign cash against Long’s $193,000. Recent polls have Gillibrand with a 30 point advantage over her Republican challenger.

Live Coverage: Queens Primary Day at the races


| editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Alexa Altman

11:40 P.M.

In a released written statement, Bob Turner, who lost tonight’s U.S. Senate Republican primary to Wendy Long said:

“I congratulate Ms. Long on her impressive victory tonight. I want to thank Chairman Cox and all of the Republicans from across the state who supported me in this campaign. I went to Congress last year as a citizen legislator on a clear mission to help save our nation from the harmful big-government policies that are keeping New Yorkers out of work, small businesses shuttered and record levels of debt on the backs of our children. Senator Gillibrand has made a dramatic transformation from her days as a conservative Democrat to now being named the nation’s most liberal senator as a loyal supporter of the Obama-Reid agenda. I remain steadfastly committed to these goals and I pledge to work with Ms. Long to unite all Republicans and Conservatives in the effort to defeat Kirsten Gillibrand in November.”

11:30 P.M. 

Several media sources are also reporting Gregory Meeks the primary winner in District 5, Grace Meng in District 6 and Wendy Long in the  U.S. Senate Republican primary.

 

 

 

 

 

11:05 p.m.

Incumbent Congressmember Nydia Velazquez will continue her run for an 11th term on Capitol Hill, after the New York Times reported the Brooklyn-based representative had won a four-way primary. Velazquez—who is running in the new Congressional District 7— is now running unopposed for the seat, as there is no current Republican candidate.

The new district spans from Chinatown, through Brooklyn and into Woodhaven. Queens residents who were once represented in the soon-to-be defunct District 9 had expressed concern about the redistricting and how they would be represented in such a diverse Congressional area.

10:50 p.m.

Assemblymember Hakeem Jeffries defeated Councilmember Charles Barron in the Democratic primary, and will now face Republican Allan Bellone on November 6. In the days and weeks leading up to the election, Jeffries received key endorsements from Senator Charles Schumer, former Mayor Ed Koch, Assemblymember Philip Goldfeder and State Senator Joseph Addabbo. The newly-drawn District 8—though mainly made up of Brooklyn neighborhoods—includes parts of Howard Beach and Ozone Park.

10:25 p.m.

Eddie Boles, treasurer of the Uniformed Fire Officers Union, who campaigned with Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley throughout Queens today, spoke with many undecided voters:

“We emphasized the point that she’s a person that cares about constituents, community.”

“She’s a doer. She provides results.”

While he said he couldn’t know for sure whether Crowley would win, Boles did say “I’m confidant in her ability to be a good congresswoman.”

9 p.m.

Poll are closed. Stay with the Queens Courier for all the results.

6:50 p.m.

Quotes from outside P.S. 173 in Fresh Meadow:

“I’m voting for Crowley because she looks intelligent.  If she wins we will give her a chance to prove to us what she is worth,” Rose Giraldo, 64.

“I don’t really know who is on the ballot, but I’m going to go check it out,” Victor Chan, 36.

6:30 p.m.

Poll monitors at P.S. 173 in Fresh Meadows said 450 voters have been there and the after work crowd is picking up.

5:45 p.m.

According to poll monitors at M.S. 158 in Bayside, 132 have voted between the hours of 6 a.m. and 5 p.m.

5:30 p.m.

The Courier spotted poll workers at M.S. 158 in Bayside single-handedly taking down Assemblymember Grace Meng’s campaign flyers, which were placed on the gates surrounding the school. It is prohibited to place or wear campaign paraphernalia within 500 feet of polling locations, they said.

Earlier this morning, a poll worker at P.S. 173 in Fresh Meadows told Assemblymember Rory Lancman to take off a campaign sticker he was wearing on his suit that displayed his name when he went to cast his vote.

4:17 p.m.

City & State is reporting that supporters of Assemblymember Rory Lancman and Robert Mittman got into a “heated altercation.”

A man from the Orthodox Jewish anti gay-marriage group Jews For Morality told the site, “I don’t understand why I was attacked by several members of the Lancman campaign. They felt somehow that we were being disingenuous.”

2:30 p.m.

As Congressmember Nydia Velazquez is out at polling stations just hours before polls close, she has been advising that her name is mistranslated in Chinese, DNAinfo has reported.

Velazquez is running in a four-way primary in a newly-drawn district that spans from Chinatown, through Brooklyn and into Woodhaven.

The translation of the 10-term congressmember’s name was in eight characters, DNAinfo reported, which when pronounced did not sound like Velazquez’s name.

Multiple calls to the Board of Elections were not answered.

1:35 p.m.

By 11:30 a.m., 120 voters had cast their ballots at St. Andrew Avellino School in Flushing. While the turnout seemed weak for such a contentious race, those present fervently believed their involvement could make a difference.

“The primary is more important than the general election,” said Moogseog Mah, a 60-year-old Flushing resident. “Without the primary, I can’t choose who I want.”

Claudia Sargent, a 57-year-old Flushing resident, said voting in the primary allotted her a “grassroots approach” to politics.

“The primary is where you really get to make your mark, both literally and figuratively,” said Sargent. “I see good possibilities in two candidates, but I voted my conscience. When you vote in the general election, you are voting for the candidate that the [political] machine has chosen for you.”

1:30 p.m.

Assemblymember Hakeem Jeffries, running for the 8th congressional district, walked to P.S. 9 in Brooklyn shortly after 9:45 a.m., with his two sons, Joshua, 8, and Jeremiah, 10, to cast his ballot.

He was completely confident of victory.

“Oh we’re going to win the Democratic primary,” said Jeffries when asked if he doesn’t win the primaries will he still run with another party.

Jeffries said that the early primaries and redistricting presents a challenge, but he still connected with the community.

“There is certainly a challenge as it relates to the accelerated primary and the fact that we have to deal with the redistricting year,” he said. “But that said we’re confident that we’ve identified thousands of supporters who are going to come out and support us today.”

Jeffries also said the district lines, which are comprised of parts of Brooklyn and Queens, will not be a problem.

“There are things that unify people all across this congressional district. Everybody cares about safe streets. Everybody cares about good public schools everybody cares about a strong economy. We are bringing people together all across the congressional district in neighborhoods throughout Brooklyn and queens. I’m confident that at the end of the day we are going to be successful,” he said.

12:30 p.m.

Assemblymember Grace Meng arrived at St. Andrew Avellino School in Flushing at 11 a.m., ready to cast her vote.  Accompanied by husband Wayne, 37, and their young sons, Tyler, 4, and Brandon, 2, the congressional hopeful smiled as she received a warm welcome.

“We’re expecting a slightly low turnout,” said Meng, who joked she just spotted a family trailing suitcases, leaving for vacation. “We’re still hopeful for the evening rush. Hopefully more people will come out to vote.”

The predicted low turnout did not bother the assemblymember, who mentioned she feels she is getting a great amount of support from the community.

“Several people have said they’re voting for me,” she said.

Meng claimed a major push of her campaign involved spreading the word throughout the borough about voting in the primary, held this year in June for the first time in many years.

“We’ve made tons of phone calls and knocked on tons of doors and hopefully by the close of voting today and the close of the polls we’ll see a good turnout,” said Meng.

Toting Brandon on her hip, Meng strolled into the building to file her ballot.

“We’re very excited to cast out vote for Grace Meng,” said the assemblymember. “We look forward to the results and getting right to work.”

 

12:30 p.m.

Assemblymember Rory Lancman cast his vote at 11 a.m. at P.S. 173 in Fresh Meadows with the support of his two daughters, who helped scan his ballot.

“I’ve always been excited about election day, just being involved in politics my whole life. The elections that I get to vote for myself are even more exciting,” said Lancman, one of four 6th District primary candidates.

Lancman was surrounded by his two daughters, 10-year-old Laura Hannah and 12-year-old Gail, his 14-year-old son Jonathan and his wife Morgan.

“Running for office is a lot of fun, but it’s a tremendous sacrifice for the family,” he said. “It really is a team effort.  My two daughters in particular helping me put my ballot through the scanner was really very nice.”

According to volunteer at a poll site, 211 people had casted their vote at about 11 a.m.

“I feel very confident that we’re going to win,” Lancman said. “I think we have an understanding of what the universal voters are going to be in this race based on past races. We focused our efforts on making sure that we get our message out to who we think is going to vote. From what we can see, we’ve pretty much been accurate about what the universe is. I think we’ll have a good result tonight.”

12:40 p.m. Congressmember Bob Turner cast his vote in the Republican primary race for U.S. Senate earlier this morning in his hometown neighborhood of Breezy Point.

 

 

 

 

 

 

11:00 a.m.

Congressmember Gregory Meeks cast his vote at about 9:45 this morning in St. Albans at P.S. 118 Lorraine Hansbury School.

With him was his wife, Simone Marie Meeks, who also cast her vote. The long-time congressmember said he was confident going into the last stretch of campaigning before ballots close tonight.

“I feel good, you never take anything for granted,” Meeks said. “You know you’ve got to earn everybody’s vote, and that’s what we try to do.”

Meeks said Congressional District 5’s diversity in many ways made it an area he looked forward to representing again. “I think it’s an exciting district,” he said. “It’s a district that looks like America when you think of it.”

 

 

 

10: 45 a.m.

Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley cast her vote this morning at P.S. 113 in Glendale flanked by her sons Dennis and Owen after talking to voters in Forest Hills.

“I feel strong. Ive been getting a great response from the people,” the 6th District candidate said.  “I outworked my opponents and I think its been a good campaign.”

The primary comes a day after the city agreed on a new budget that saved the 20 fire companies that were threatened to close.

Crowley who chairs the Fire and Criminal Justice committee said, “Closing even one fire company would have reduced response times and people’s lives would have hung in the balance.”

Surrounded by supporters from the Uniformed Fire Officers union, who endorsed her, Crowley added, “I’m so grateful to have the support of the uniformed fire officers, the firefighters, they’re out there working hard and helping get out message across to the voters.”

 

Primary Guide: U.S. Senate


| editorial@queenscourier.com


Name: Wendy Long

Party: Republican

Current Position: Long is a member of Mitt Romney’s Justice Advisory Committee, teaches Roman Catholic catechism in New York City for the Narnia program, and is a member of the New York City Parks Mounted Auxiliary Unit.

Personal Info: Long lives in Manhattan with her husband, Arthur, their two children, Arthur and Mado.

Issues: From the candidate’s website:

• Outrageous levels of debt

• Corporate cronyism

• Lack of an American energy policy

Platforms: “Men and women of good faith in every party want to see a new way of doing business in Washington. That is what I intend to offer in this campaign, and that is what I will deliver as the next United States Senator from the State of New York. I want to work for the people of New York to make it shine brightly again as a jewel in our national crown. Already, many good people all across this great state have put their trust in me. I intend to make myself worthy of that trust,” Long said on her website.

 

Name: George Maragos

Party: Republican

Current Position: Maragos is the elected Nassau County Comptroller. He was elected in 2009.

Personal Info: Maragos, a graduate of McGill University, has had over 35 years of senior management experience and accomplishments with leading organizations in banking, consulting and information systems, including founding and guiding a Wall Street financial technology services company. He is married to his wife, Angela, for 37 years. Together, they have two sons, a daughter-in-law and two grandchildren.

Issues: According to Maragos, government’s top priority should be to restore economic growth and enable the creation of good paying private sector jobs. He also believes Americans must make a national commitment to achieve energy dependence in 10 years and become a global leader in renewable energy technology.

Platforms: Maragos is running to reduce government deficit and entitlements, clear foreign policy, strengthen national security and improve education by abolishing the federal Department of Education and giving authority back to the states.

 

Name: Robert “Bob” Turner

Party: Republican

Current Position: Representative for the 9th Congressional District

Personal info: Turner has spent nearly his entire life within the 9th Congressional District. He grew up in Woodside – the oldest of three boys — and raised his own family in Richmond Hill. Turner has a bachelor’s degree from St. John’s University and served in the US Army. He ran against incumbent Congressmember Anthony Weiner in 2010 and lost. Turner beat State Assemblymember David Weprin in a 2011 Special Election after Weiner resigned – becoming the first Republican to hold the seat since 1922. Former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani endorsed Turner’s bid for the Senate seat. Before running for Congress, he spent more than 40 years in the television industry.

Issues/Platforms:

• Cutting taxes

• Supports the construction of the Keystone Pipeline

• Well-prepared military

• Small government

• Following the Constitution

• Repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

 

Check out the primary guide for all the races:

5th Congressional District

6th Congressional District

7th Congressional District

8th Congressional District

Urge Turner to support gun control


| editorial@queenscourier.com


It seems to me that Congressmember Bob Turner’s standing with others to raise thousands of dollars for the family of slain Police Officer Peter Figoski might soften his views against gun control. 

I implore him to stand with Congressmember Carolyn McCarthy to ban the sale of extended capacity ammunition magazines.  Extending background checks on purchases made at gun shows and other sensible laws may prevent the deaths and maiming of countless innocent citizens like Arizona’s Congressmember Gabrielle Giffords and the young girl and five others attending her rally a year ago.

Turner, stand up to your responsibly as our representative in Congress.

Vote for strong gun control laws. Tell the NRA that no one hunts with AK-47s.

B K Brumberg,

Howard Beach

Congressmember Bob Turner working to fix water woes


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy Congressmember Bob Turner

Last week, Congressmember Bob Turner met with Colonel John Boule, district commander of the New York District Army Corps of Engineers, to discuss the Army Corps of Engineers’ projects in the 9th Congressional District.

Projects discussed included ecosystem restoration in Jamaica Bay, the Jamaica Bay Federal Channel (at Rockaway Inlet) Navigation project, the Storm Risk Reduction Project at Plumb Beach and a Reformulation Study on the Rockaway Peninsula.

“It was important for me to discuss these local projects with Colonel Boule, especially those relating to Plumb Beach and the Rockaways. My district has the most Army Corps activity of the 43 congressional districts Colonel Boule oversees,” said Turner. “I appreciate his taking the time to meet with me, and I assured him that my office will work closely with his, to do everything we can to see these projects through to completion.”

During the meeting, the congressmember and Boule also discussed how they can work together to secure the federal funding needed to complete the local projects.

“The Army Corps of Engineers looks forward to working with Congressmember Turner to address diverse water resources challenges – reducing flood risk to critical public infrastructure such as the Belt Parkway, restoring the aquatic ecosystems in Jamaica Bay and maintaining safe navigation,” said Boule.

Turner and his staff have met with several residents and organizations, including the Jamaica Bay Task Force and the Sheepshead Bay-Plumb Beach Civic Association.

“These projects have been in the planning phases for a number of years, and the communities affected by them are rightfully looking for actual work to begin to reduce the risk to our communities. I will do all I can to make this a reality,” said Turner.

The Army Corp. of Engineers has a multifaceted mission in navigation, aquatic ecosystem restoration and flood risk damage reduction.

Queens’ Morning Roundup – 11/14/2011: Livery Cab Driver Shot Dead In Far Rockaway


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Man Killed In Richmond Hill Car Crash

Police said a man was killed when his car slammed into a tree in front of a Queens hospital and burst into flames early Sunday morning. According to police, the unidentified man was speeding southbound down the Van Wyck Expressway about 2:15 a.m. when he tried to exit at Atlantic Avenue and lost control of his BMW. Read More: Fox News

Police Continue Search For Hit-And-Run Suspect

The family of hit-and-run victim George Gibbons joined Council Member Eliazbeth Crowley (D-Queens) to assist the NYPD in the efforts to apprehend suspect Peter Rodriguez. The 37-year-old Gibbons was a passenger of a livery cab when he was killed after the Lincoln Town Car he was in was slammed by a Chrysler Sebring that was driving in the wrong direction. Read More: Fox News

Livery Cab Driver Shot Dead In Far Rockaway; Reward Offered For Capture of Killer

Sunday of a livery cab driver found slumped over the wheel of his car with a bullet in his head and clutching a wad of cash. Relatives of Patrick Hall, a 30-year-old father of three, called the shooting “senseless,” and cops said the killer walked away from the 7:30 a.m. bloodshed in Far Rockaway without a cent. Read More: Daily News

“Occupy” Protester Interrupts Congressman Turner’s Local Swearing-In Ceremony

Occupy Wall Street protestors made an unexpected appearance at Congressman Bob Turner’s ceremonial swearing-in on Sunday in his district Queens. Months after he took office, the Republican took an oath before a large crowd at Queens Metropolitan High School in Forest Hills. Read More: NY1

Woodhaven Man Charged With Killing Neighbor

A Queens man was arraigned on murder and weapons charges in connection with the death of his neighbor in Woodhaven. Police say Mustafa Omran, 53, lived upstairs from Yasmen Rabban on 91st Avenue. Authorities were called to Rabban’s apartment last month after she had not been heard from in a while. When they got to the apartment, they found Rabban dead, with puncture wounds to her neck. Read More: NY1

Queens Swastika Graffiti Suspect Arraigned On Four Counts Of Criminal Mischief

A 40-year-old man was arraigned on hate crime charges in Queens Saturday. Franco Rodriguez is being held on $5,000 bail for allegedly painting swastikas on several buildings. He did not enter a plea during his court appearance. Rodriguez has been charged with four counts of malicious mischief, all as hate crimes. Police sources say he was identified on video surveillance. Read More: NY1

State Ban On Smoking At Outdoor Commuter Rail Platforms Takes Effect

A new state law that bans smoking on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s outdoor commuter rail platforms, including Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road stations, took effect Sunday. Smokers now face a $50 fine for breaking the rule. MTA police officers will give out warnings before they start writing tickets. The agency said the ban promotes a healthier, cleaner environment and reduces the chance of a track fire. Read More: NY1

Plans pitched to turn landmark New York State Pavilion into multi-million-dollar air museum   
Author Jeannette Remak wants to re-fashion the New York State Pavilion — built for the 1964 World’s Fair but left vacant for decades — into a tourist hotspot where vintage airplanes hang from the ceiling. Remak has support from the Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology in East Elmhurst, which has offered interns to help run the museum. Read More: Daily News

Turner ready to tackle the tough issues


| jlane@queenscourier.com

bob_turner_124843718_620x350

Newly-elected Congressmember Bob Turner beat the odds when he defeated David Weprin in the Special Election for Congressional District 9. Now the former businessman is getting to work in Washington, representing the people of Queens and Brooklyn.

During a brief respite from meetings and votes in the nation’s capital, Turner spoke with The Queens Courier about his new position and the hard work that stands ahead of him. He said he has dozens of pieces of legislation to examine, but most importantly he wants the people of his district represented competently.

“Among everything else, I’m busy putting together a staff and offices here in Washington. I also want to have a good constituent services operation in Brooklyn and Queens,” said the Republican who won the usually Democrat-heavy CD9. “It’s important to have people who can communicate with community leaders.”

Communication with the constituents is what got Turner into office in the first place. After former Congressmember Anthony Weiner’s public debacle, Turner dove into the race against a heavily-favored David Weprin – who was handpicked by Queens Democratic Chairman Joseph Crowley.

In an election stunner, Turner triumphed over Weprin by about 5,000 votes – enough to steal away a district that hasn’t seen a Republican representative since 1923. He did it with a mix of Democrats, Republicans and Independents, all turning out and voting in favor of the businessman. Turner attributes his improbable victory to the general public’s distaste with what he calls “politics as usual.”

“My message was largely that on jobs and the economy we are stalled, we are leaderless and the solutions continue to be political rhetoric and not concrete programs,” he said. “Everyone has had it with Congress and the [Obama] administration – they are getting most of the blame and rightly so.”

Turner’s condemnation of the Obama administration’s handling of everything from jobs to health care to Israel-Palestine relations has been well-documented. The representative-elect has even gone so far to say that the country is “on the wrong course.”

“Some of the things the president proposes in his jobs bill have the potential to stimulate employment, but it really just scraps the surface,” he said. “My approach is let’s get less government, less regulation and look to the private sector to help us out of this. The administration seems to be all about greater government involvement and greater spending – I don’t think people are buying that anymore.”

What he is offering, and what the people of CD9 voted in, is a different voice with an entirely different background.

“My approach is that of practical business solutions,” he said. “The voters were receptive to my message and I plan on carrying that out throughout my term.”