Tag Archives: Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley

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.

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.

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.

 

Peter Rodriguez, driver in fatal hit-and-run pleads guilty


| brennison@queenscourier.com

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Peter Rodriguez, the driver in a wrong-way accident that took the life of a beloved Maspeth bar owner, pleaded guilty recently to criminally negligent homicide and now faces up to seven years in jail, though that is of little solace for his family.

George Gibbons, owner of Gibbons’ Home, was killed on the morning of October 15, 2011 when the cab he was traveling home in was struck by Rodriguez’s vehicle — traveling the wrong way on the Long Island Expressway’s service road.

Rodriguez, who has been held without bail since his November arrest, pleaded guilty to negligent homicide and leaving the scene of the fatal hit-and-run crash in court on Friday, April 20.

“We will never be satisfied with the amount of time that he is realistically going to serve in jail,” said Bernadette Gibbons, George’s sister. “It is very unfortunate that career criminals like himself get away with multiple slaps on the wrist.”

Rodriguez had been convicted of four felonies prior to this case.

“Our community came together to fight for justice for George and, now that Peter Rodriguez is behind bars, we can finally say that our streets are safer. In the coming months, we will continue to fight together to make sure that whoever chooses to leave the scene of a crime will face much stiffer penalties,” said Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley, who helped organize a “Justice for George” rally to aid in the search for Rodriguez.

Rodriguez, who will be sentenced on Monday, May 7, faces between three-and-a-half to seven years in prison, according to the district attorney’s office.

“Teenagers are in high school longer than Rodriguez will probably be in state prison, and that is a shame,” Gibbons said. “I wonder how many more people will be hurt by his careless actions before the law decides to recognize the danger that he poses to society.”

Gibbons said there is nothing that can prepare a family for sitting in a courtroom staring at a man who robbed the life of a loved one.

“I think after we make our impact statement to Peter Rodriguez and to the court on May 7, we will finally feel some sort of relief,” said Gibbons, who added they will never have closure. “Through our words we can only hope that Judge [Dorothy] Chin-Brandt will understand our pain and recognize that this should be the final straw for Rodriguez. It is time that not only our family receives justice for George, but that the Queens community obtains justice for the man that was stolen from them far too early.”

Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley kicks off her Congressional campaign


| brennison@queenscourier.com

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Surrounded by her teenage sons, Owen and Dennis, family and supporters, Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley formally kicked off her Congressional campaign in front of the Unisphere in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

“As I stand here today, with the support of my family, with the support of my friends, I announce my candidacy for Congress,” Crowley announced at the Thursday, March 22 press conference.

The support of Crowley’s family has been the topic of speculation after the Queens Democratic Party, who is chaired by her cousin, Congressmember Joe Crowley, chose to endorse Grace Meng for the Congressional seat.

“The organization has chosen to support Grace Meng. It’s not one person, it’s an organization,” the councilmember said. “They come together and they make a decision.”

“I love my cousin dearly,” Crowley told reporters on the scene.

Crowley is joined in the race for the newly redrawn 6th Congressional District’s Democratic nomination by Meng and Assemblymember Rory Lancman. Crowley said she expects a spirited debate on the issues.

The new 6th District includes much of Crowley’s council district. All three candidates entered the race after the announcement that 15-term Congressmember Gary Ackerman would not seek re-election.

“Washington needs a strong voice for Queens,” Crowley said. “In 2008, with your support I became the first female and the first Democrat elected to the city council District 30 and with your support again can become the first female from Queens since Geraldine Ferraro elected to Congress.”

The primary will be held on June 26.

 

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.

Pols: Point the way to the precinct


| brennison@queenscourier.com

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Local councilmembers are proponents of a plan requiring a public posting pointing to local police precincts.

Councilmembers Elizabeth Crowley and Diana Reyna announced legislation that would require the Department of Transportation (DOT) to install signage directing residents to the local police station.

The 104th Precinct, which polices Ridgewood, Glendale, Middle Village and Maspeth, is located on Catalpa Avenue, tucked away from any major thoroughfares and may be difficult to find for those unfamiliar with the area.

“Every resident should be able to easily find their local police precinct, and being unable to do so poses a serious public safety risk,” said Crowley. “The DOT already installs many directional signs. Adding signage for police precincts should be a no-brainer.”

Residents often need to visit police precincts to file complaints and receive police reports. Locals and leaders have requested the DOT to install the sign, but were denied, Crowley said.

“Just as we indicate to the public where local hospitals are located, so should we inform the public where their local police precincts are located,” said Reyna. “This legislation addresses an essential public safety issue by providing greater access to information about law enforcement.”

Assemblymember Mike Miller called the signage an important, logical step in helping increase the safety of the community.

The 104th Precinct did not return calls for comment.

According to a release from Crowley, signs are installed at the request of the community, but the DOT said the signage does not meet their criteria.

The DOT said that it does not comment on legislation prior to a city council hearing.

 

Historic Rudy’s Pastry Shop celebrates grand reopening


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Billy Rennison

For around 70 years, Rudy’s Pastry Shop in Ridgewood has displayed the German word “Konditorei” on its awning, which roughly translates to “pastry shop with a place to sit and eat.” But for much of those seven decades dining was difficult — Rudy’s only had room for a single table.

Now, with bakery owner Toni Binanti recently redesigning the famed bakery, expanding the shop to include a dining area and espresso bar, this is a problem no more.

The historic bakery celebrated its grand reopening on Saturday, March 10, drawing crowds of residents and politicians who came out to commemorate the Seneca Avenue pastry shop’s return — and to dine on some confectionaries.

Councilmembers Diana Reyna and Elizabeth Crowley, Assemblymember Mike Miller, Congressmember Nydia Velazquez and State Senator Joe Addabbo were in attendance. They, along with Binanti, eschewed the standard reopening ceremony for a more appetizing alternative.

“Everyone has a ribbon cutting, but not everyone has a pastry store like this,” said Paul Kerzner, president of the Ridgewood Local Development Corporation.

Instead of yielding oversized scissors, officials dined on fresh, homemade apple turnovers to mark the bakery’s grand reopening.

A neighborhood mainstay since the 1940s, Rudy’s harkens to a time when the area was the heart of the city’s German community and featured Deutsch establishments Zum Stammtisch, Niederstein’s, Gebhardt’s, Von Westernhagen and Gottscheer Hall, among others. Only Rudy’s, Zum Stammtisch and Gottscheer Hall remain.

Planting its roots in the community for the better part of a century, the bakery has established personal connections with many of the area’s residents, including Miller, whose father worked as a baker at Rudy’s more than three decades ago.

“It was a big part of our community then, it still is now,” the assemblymember said. “We look forward to [it] being here forever.”

“When I celebrated my inauguration, I went to the greatest bakery in town,” said Crowley. “And that was Rudy’s Bakery.”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who was unable to attend, sent a letter of congratulations to Binanti who also received a city council citation from Reyna and a certificate of special congressional recognition from Velazquez.

Gibbons’ Home reopened


| brennison@queenscourier.com

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When George Gibbons was killed on his way home from his bar, Maspeth not only lost a beloved friend, but also a popular pub.

Nearly five months after the fatal accident that took his life, Gibbons’ Home reopened its doors at the end of February.

“The reopening was a huge success. I think that the time we were closed made not only our family, but also our regular patrons and friends, realize what a great place Georgie left us with that had to be continued,” said Bernadette Gibbons, George’s sister.

Gibbons was killed heading home from work on the morning of October 15 when the livery cab he was traveling in was struck by a Chrysler Sebring, allegedly driven by Peter Rodriguez, traveling the wrong way on the eastbound side of the Long Island Expressway service road at 58th Road.

The community and Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley rallied to find “Justice for George,” plastering wanted posters offering a $10,000 reward throughout Queens.

Two days after a rally in Maspeth, Rodriguez was apprehended in Connecticut.

“The community has gone above and beyond for our family in more ways than one,” Bernadette said. “They have been so supportive to our place of business as well as to our family both emotionally and also physically at each court hearing.”

Rodriguez has been charged with a series of crimes, the most serious of which is manslaughter in the second degree.

The help in healing that reopening the bar provides is not without its pitfalls.

“The grand reopening of course carried with it a great deal of emotions, but at the end of the day our family was so thrilled to be back and to see all the familiar faces that we had missed for the time that we were closed,” Bernadette said. “Losing Georgie was horrific enough for our family and we are so so so so lucky to be left with a part of him because I truly believe he is still there with us each night.”

The whole family has lent a hand in running the business; George had five brothers and sisters who have tended to the bar.

“We are looking forward to the coming days, weeks, months and years at the Gibbons’ Home and to creating one million more memories with the fabulous community.”

 

Sewers will relieve water woes on Metropolitan Avenue


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley

A current of constituent complaints, along with a wave of support from a local councilmember, has turned the tide for an oft-flooded local stretch of road.

Metropolitan Avenue between 80th Street and Cooper Avenue will receive a new storm sewer system to help relieve flooding, Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley recently announced.

Work began on Monday, March 5.

“For too long, even the slightest rain created dangerous flooding conditions on Metropolitan Avenue near St. John Cemetery,” said Crowley.

The road which cuts through the burial ground is often reduced to a river following any rainfall, creating traffic buildup and dangerous black ice when the water freezes during winter.

“I’m pleased to have worked with DEP [the Department of Enviornmental Protection] to remedy this nuisance for the community,” Crowley said. “Repairs like these are an investment in our neighborhoods that will improve the quality of life for residents for years to come.”

Crowley first wrote to the DEP in April of 2010 asking for the agency to investigate the area’s “ongoing problem” of four lanes of flooding and the potential health hazard of standing water.

Twenty-four inch storm sewers will be installed along with a catch basin to help alleviate the flooding in the area, a DEP spokesperson said.

The agency said the work should be completed by mid-June.

 

Forest Park Carousel will ride again in spring


| brennison@queenscourier.com

File Photo

With spring comes renewal and the Forest Park Carousel recently received news that it has been given new life by the city’s Parks Department.

After three years, the revived Forest Park Carousel is expected to be up and running by the spring or summer, according to a Parks Department spokesperson.

While the carousel has stood still, local officials and residents have worked behind the scenes to get the historic ride spinning again.

“We’re very happy to hear some long overdue good news. It’s very encouraging.” said Ed Wendell, president of the Woodhaven Resident’s Block Association, who has trumped up community support with “Save the Forest Park Carousel” T-shirts and a Facebook page with more than 1,150 likes.

The ride has not been operated since 2009 when its vendor, New York One, did not renew its contract.

A Request for Proposal for vendors — the fourth the Department issued — was announced in mid-December. All proposals had to be submitted by January 27. The Parks Department has yet to make a decision on a proposal, but plans to make an announcement in March.

Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley said she is “extremely pleased” that a new concessionaire will be operating the ride.

“With a proven vendor in place, I’m confident the carousel can once again become a great centerpiece and attraction for the park and neighborhood residents,” the councilmember said.

The carousel and the surrounding area of the park provides a tremendous opportunity for a new operator, Wendell believes.

“We’re anxious to hear the other plans the vendor has,” Wendell said. “It can become a real destination.”

The city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission is also currently in the process of reviewing the eligibility of the carousel as a New York City landmark, said an agency spokesperson.

“It’s so priceless,” Wendell said. “You’re not going to get hand-carved wood carousels anymore. When these [works of art] are gone they’re gone forever.”

The carousel — built in 1903 — features figures carved by master sculptor Daniel Muller.

“This is something special,” Wendell said. “We’ve spent a lot of time keeping it alive in people’s consciousness. Once that thing finally opens, it’s going to be a great feeling.”

Pedestrian plaza proposed for Glendale


| brennison@queenscourier.com

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A proposed pedestrian plaza may be placed in Glendale, but not before plans are processed by pols and the public.

The proposal from the Ridgewood Local Development Corporation would turn 70th Street between Myrtle and Cooper Avenues into a pedestrian plaza. The street runs next to famed German restaurant Zum Stammtisch — which said it would maintain the outdoor seating area and provide camera security, according to the DOT — and adjacent to the Glendale Veterans Triangle.

As is often the case when a street is closed, traffic was one of the first issues broached by locals.

“This street is dangerous as it is, I’m not sure how closing it would help,” said local Maureen Wiles.

Potential traffic is also among the concerns of the local community board.

While Community Board 5 District Manager Gary Giordano said the plan is still very early in the process, he wants to see traffic counts for 70th Street and determine if emergency vehicles’ response time would be affected by the street closure. These two questions must be resolved before the community board supports the plan, he said.

Before any plans, which are still in the review stage, are finalized, the area’s councilmember also wants to make sure residents’ concerns and opinions are heard.

“The creation of a new plaza in Glendale must include public input and be welcomed by the community,” Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley said. “As future plans for the plaza are discussed, I’ll continue to work closely with Ted Renz of the Ridgewood Local Development Corp. and the Department of Transportation to ensure that any concerns from the Glendale community are answered.”

The DOT assured that there will be workshops and other opportunities for the local community to provide feedback, according to a spokesperson.

Renz and the local business group proposed the plan, which has yet to be rendered. Renz could not be contacted as of press time.

Some locals are already imagining the space’s potential.

“As long as it would not disrupt the traffic in the area, I think it’s a great idea,” said resident Mark Potts.

Senator Joseph Addabbo also supports the plaza, calling it a “wonderful addition to this community,” in a letter to the DOT.

“An outdoor space seems like it would liven up the area, especially on nice days” said Vic Owens, a Ridgewood resident who frequents the neighborhood. “I’m for it.”

Campaign cash filling coffers


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

If forced to go to “war,” Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. would have the funds to flaunt the biggest arsenal in Queens.
According to recent filings with the city’s Campaign Finance Board, Vallone has a current balance of more than $850,000 — after receiving contributions totaling $1,049,819 — placing him first among the council’s Queens delegation.

“I’m really humbled by the amount of borough-wide support I have,” said the councilmember. “As you can see by the numbers of other elected officials, raising money is very difficult to do. To have this kind of support is really humbling.”

Despite Vallone’s affection for his city council position, he admits he has grander aspirations.

“I would love to stay as a councilmember,” he said. “It is a gratifying position, and it is the closest position to the people. But with term limits, if I want to stay in public service, I have to look at other positions. I am taking a serious look at borough president in two years.”
Councilmembers Elizabeth Crowley and Mark Weprin are a distant second and third on the list, with balances of $92,114 and $90,627 respectively.
Crowley, like Vallone and numerous other Queens politicians, filed in the “undeclared” category, allowing for fundraising for city-wide and borough-wide offices, as well as re-election to their council seats.

“I take my responsibility to serve my constituents and the City of New York in the council very seriously, and my recent filing shows I have strong support within the community to continue my work,” Crowley said. “I look forward to years of continuing this service and am optimistic about the future.”
Weprin, who is rumored to be interested in the Council Speaker spot once Christine Quinn’s term has ended, says he has raised most of his money in the past six months.
“I’m running for re-election in 2013, so I’m raising money to make sure I am fully prepared to run,” Weprin said. “I’m enjoying my time in the council, and I hope my constituents think I have been doing a good job. I am just trying to prepare early because I believe it is good to be armed from early on. It is way too early to discuss leadership in the City Council. First I have to be re-elected.”

 

District 26 Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer is fourth, raising $70,230 and spending $39,279.

Despite filing under the “undeclared category,” Van Bramer says he plans to run only for re-election of his council seat.
“I am really grateful for all of the support that I have been shown by people who believe in the work that I am doing,” he said. “I have heard my name bandied about for other things, and I find that flattering. But I really love my job, and I fully expect to continue doing that. For me, [filing under “undeclared”] is meaningless.”
Councilmember Dan Halloran ranks seventh – behind Councilmembers Daniel Dromm and Julissa Ferreras – with a remainder of $6,463.

Halloran also filed “undeclared,” fueling speculation that he may have plans to make a run at Senator Tony Avella’s seat.

[UPDATE] Peter Rodriguez apprehended in Connecticut


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photos by Billy Rennison

[UPDATE] According to police, Peter Rodriguez has been apprehended in Connecticut by the Regional Fugitive Task Force.

They came to demand “Justice for George.”

On Sunday, November 13, over 100 members of the community, many wearing “Justice for George” T-shirts, gathered at 69th Street and Grand Avenue in Maspeth — just blocks from Gibbons’ Home bar — to lend support in finding Peter Rodriguez, the alleged fugitive hit-and-run driver that killed George Gibbons.

“We must come together, not only as a community, but as a city, to find this fugitive, to bring him to justice and to give a little bit of peace to the Gibbons family,” said Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley.

Gibbons was killed on the morning of October 15 when the livery cab he was traveling in was struck by a Chrysler Sebring, allegedly driven by Rodriguez, traveling the wrong way on the eastbound side of the L.I.E. service road.

Gibbons was taken to Elmhurst General Hospital and pronounced dead upon arrival, police said.

Now, a month after the accident, Rodriguez is still on the run and has been seen recently in the area. “He’s been spotted reportedly after he committed this crime,” Crowley said. “We need the people of the city of New York to help us help the police find this person.”

Crowley mentioned reported sightings on Metropolitan Avenue, Woodhaven Boulevard and in Middle Village and the Bushwick area.

“We not only want your help, we need your help,” said Bernadette Gibbons, George’s sister.

She called the support from the community amazing.

“I don’t even have words to express the gratitude I have towards our friends and family in the community. We’re just so grateful. We expect nothing less for George.”

Earlier this month a $10,000 reward was announced for a tip that leads to Rodriguez’s arrest, and on Sunday, November 13, thousands of wanted flyers with the suspect’s picture were printed and distributed to canvass the area.

“It’s clear how much support the Gibbons family has. Our community has been hurt so much by the loss of somebody’s who contributed so much to Maspeth,” Crowley said of Gerorge, who she added was loved and adored by so many.

“We’ll all stay ever-vigilant until we find Peter Rodriguez,” Crowley said. “And Peter we’re going to find you. You might as well come and turn yourself in and finally do the right thing for once.”

 

 

‘Justice for George’


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

It’s been a month since George Gibbons was killed in a wrong-way, hit-and-run crash on the Long Island Expressway.

But for his family, it must seem like years.

Not only did they lose a son, uncle and brother, but the community lost an upstanding citizen and popular bar owner whose death has been deeply mourned.

It was on the morning of October 15 that the livery cab Gibbons was riding in was struck by a Chrysler Sebring, allegedly driven by Peter Rodriguez, who was traveling the wrong way on the eastbound side of the L.I.E. service road.

Gibbons was pronounced dead and the cab driver was taken to the hospital.

And though police have released a photo of Rodriguez, he remains at large.

Local politicians, in a show of solidarity with the grieving family, have even offered up a $10,000 reward for any tip that leads to his arrest.

City Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley, at a community rally over the weekend, mentioned reported sightings of Rodriguez on Metropolitan Avenue, Woodhaven Boulevard and in Middle Village and the Bushwick area.

So why has he not turned himself in?

Why has someone else not done so?

We urge you, if you know where Rodriguez is, to call authorities and let them know.

The family deserves to have peace of mind, to have closure.

So if you have any leads, call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.

We demand “Justice for George.”