Tag Archives: Curtis Sliwa

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz sworn in by Mayor de Blasio

| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Mike DiBartolomeo

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz was officially sworn into office Thursday in a star-studded political gathering.

“It’s an exciting time for me,” said Katz, in front of hundreds of supporters and a lengthy list of dignitaries. “I’m humbled and I’m honored to be the Queens Borough President.”

The 48-year-old Forest Hills mom of two was installed Jan. 9 by Mayor Bill de Blasio, with the help of Congressmember Joe Crowley.

“I have to tell you that Melinda brings so much to this job,” de Blasio said. “She has a real passion for the people she serves. She loves this borough. I can tell you that because I’ve seen her stand up for Queens many times.”

The mayor said the “exemplary” and diverse borough “epitomizes the American Dream.”

“Melinda Katz gets to be the person who brings all those beautiful strengths together and makes this borough work for the people,” de Blasio said.

The newly elected borough president, dedicating the night to her parents, took her oath of office with her hand upon her father’s copy of the Old Testament.

Crowley, citing Biblical figures, said he hoped for Katz “the wisdom of Moses, the leadership of Joshua and the valor and the strength of Esther.”

“She possesses many of those qualities and more,” Crowley said. “We’re going to have the opportunity to see her grow.”

The standing-room-only ceremony at Queens College’s Lefrak Concert Hall also featured U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, Public Advocate Letitia James, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and dozens of Queens legislators.

Katz’s partner, Curtis Sliwa, and the couple’s two sons, Carter and Hunter, watched from the audience.

Katz, a former member of the City Council and state Assembly, was elected Nov. 5 to be the 19th borough president of Queens. She succeeds Helen Marshall, who held the seat since 2001.

Her plans for the borough include making the Rockaway ferry permanent and pushing for more primary and urgent care facilities.

“Let’s move it forward,” Katz said. “Let’s make it a place for families to have everything they need right here in the borough of Queens.”

“My only wish is I never let you down,” Katz said.



Melinda Katz kicks off campaign for borough president

| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence Cullen

Noting that it was crucial to determine what the common needs of a diverse borough like Queens were, Melinda Katz, former member of the City Council and Assembly, embarked Wednesday, October 10 on a year-long run for the borough president’s office — after incumbent Helen Marshall steps down at the end of 2013 due to term limits.

“It is such an important office in our city,” said Katz as she began her run at Portofino’s in her native Forest Hills. “Queens is a diverse borough, and part of the job of a borough president, I believe, is when to make sure that when you are representing so many different groups, so many ethnic backgrounds, so many religions, so many languages throughout this entire borough, part of your job is to find the common core of what people truly want for their families.

Katz was joined by former colleagues in the Assembly including Assemblymember Jeffrion Aubry and now Congressmember Joseph Crowley. Crowley also heads the Queens Democratic Party — which is not expected to endorse any of the several Democratic potentials for the post in the near future.

Of his former colleague’s record, Crowley said Katz had always been a go-getter, resilient and has many years to add on her already tenured political career.

“She’s a tough cookie,” Crowley said. “You have to be tough in this business, I think, in New York City politics. She is someone I think is well rounded in her Queens tradition. She knows this borough very, very well.”

Katz left the City Council at the end of 2009 after serving two terms representing District 29, which includes Forest Hills and Rego Park. Before that, she served in the Assembly — representing relatively the same neighborhoods — from 1994 to 2001. Her political career began with three years working at Borough Hall under long-time Borough President Claire Schulman. In the meantime, she’s served as a shareholder at Greenberg Traurig, a Manhattan law firm where she specializes in government affairs and land use.

Among potential competition are State Senator Jose Peralta and Councilmember Peter Vallone, who’s term limited out of the chamber at the end of next year. While Peralta has officially announced his candidacy — and has a kick-off planned on October 22 — Vallone says he’s “seriously considering” a run.

And while it’s uncertain when a multi-way primary will take place, Katz said she’s ready for what lies ahead in her quest to lead the borough.

“I feel strong,” she said. “I love government, the majority of my adult career has been in government. It’s always been my wish to be able to do what I can for this borough. It’s going to be a good year.”

Katz creates campaign team for Queens borough president run

| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

She’s already held two political seats in Queens, and now Melinda Katz is eyeing a third.

Katz, who formerly served as assemblymember and councilmember, confirmed she would be running for borough president next year — throwing her hat into the ring with potentials like Councilmember Peter Vallone.

Katz said she was organizing a campaign team, and hoped to make a formal announcement sometime next week.

She cited her three years working in the borough president’s office as an inspiration for running.

“I know the job very well, and I was proud to serve there for the entire borough for three years,” she said.

A love of Queens and a history of holding public offices was important to her decision in running for the spot, Katz said, noting that she still lives in the Forest Hills home where she grew up.

“I’m bringing up my two boys in my old bedroom,” she said. “Queens has been my home, my family’s home, for generations.”

Katz left politics in 2009 to work at Greenberg Traurig, a law firm where she specializes in several fields including government affairs and zoning. In the assembly, she represented areas of central Queens and would go on to do the same on the council level.

Katz’s partner is radio personality and Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa, with whom she has two children.

Whoever wins the race will succeed incumbent Helen Marshall, who has overseen the borough for three terms. Vallone currently has the biggest war chest for the campaign, boasting that he has raised more than a $1 million for the run.


NYHQ celebrates life

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

NYHQ 02w

Curtis Sliwa, radio personality and founder of the Guardian Angels, recalled being shot four times in 1992, then he told of his more recent struggle — prostate cancer.

Sliwa was the keynote speaker at the New York Hospital Queens (NYHQ) Celebration of Life, which sought to bring together cancer survivors who were once patients of the hospital and are either in, or on their way to being in, remission.

The event featured cancer information talks from some of the hospital’s doctors on how far treatment has come, along with tales from survivors.

AN emotional Helena Falletta, who only three weeks ago had surgery for stage-4 lung cancer, told the auditorium of fellow survivors about her several bouts with different cancers and how the staff at NYHQ had been there every step of the way.

“Since 2010, I have been fighting every day of my life,” she said.

Janice Zaballero, who survived her bought with breast cancer about 15 years ago and now works to help those who cannot afford screening or treatment, also spoke about the strength every one of the survivors had in making it through treatment.

“And I say to all of you, we are amazing,” Zaballero said to a roar of applause.

Sliwa, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2010, said the disease was something men shy away from discussing. He encouraged all men age 40 and up to get PSA testing and be more open to discussing the disease.