Tag Archives: democrat

Tony Avella joins NY State Senate’s Independent Democratic Conference


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

State Senator Tony Avella is joining the New York State Senate’s Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), he announced Wednesday. 

He will be the fifth member of the breakaway faction of Senate Democrats — led by Jeffrey Klein of the Bronx — who share majority control of the chamber with Republicans.

“Under Senator Klein’s leadership, the IDC has developed a clear, progressive agenda for New York’s working families,” Avella said. “They have shown an ability to get big things done, without the dysfunction of years past.”

The cross-aisle conference, formed in 2011, also includes Senators Diane Savino of Staten Island, David Valesky of Oneida and David Carlucci of Westchester.

Avella, elected to the Senate in 2010 after two terms in the City Council, is also the only member from Queens.

State Senator Malcolm Smith, of southeast Queens, joined the conference in December 2012 and helped the IDC and Republicans take leadership. Klein stripped Smith of his IDC membership, however, after his arrest last year on federal corruption charges.

Conference members praised Avella for his passion and knowledge.

“Senator Avella has built a career fighting for those who are most in need, so I am thrilled to welcome him to the IDC,” Carlucci said. “He has the experience, passion and know-how to make a major impact on state policy.”

Klein said Avella’s public service experience makes him the “type of seasoned legislator who knows how to get things done.”

“He will be a major asset in our fight to make New York more affordable for working families,” Klein said.

The switch, however, is said to hurt Senate Democrats’ efforts to reclaim control in the chamber.

Senate Democratic Conference spokesperson Mike Murphy said in a statement that it was “unfortunate that progressive policies continue to be stymied because of divisions created by senators who choose to empower Republicans.”

Astoria Senator Mike Gianaris, the deputy minority leader, declined to comment.

The move also upset some of the senator’s usual supporters.

“It’s  disloyal and it’s not fair to the people of the 11th Senate District who have worked very hard for Tony over the years,” said Democratic State Committeeman Matt Silverstein. “What he did was self-centered and disgraceful.” 

Avella is up for re-election this year. He dropped out of a contentious race for Queens borough president last year, citing “unfinished business in Albany” as a major factor to his decision.

 

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Paul Vallone claims victory in contentious District 19 race


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Attorney Paul Vallone declared he came out on top in a contentious Democratic primary race to replace scandal-scarred Councilmember Dan Halloran.

Vallone defeated his four opponents by taking about 31 percent of the vote on September 10, according to unofficial results.

With nearly 99 percent of precincts reporting, Vallone won 2,723 votes, while runner-up candidate Austin Shafran received 2,579 votes, according to unofficial tallies.

“There’s so much that goes through your mind on a day like today,” said Vallone, 46. “You prepare all your life for this. Its times like this I want to start tearing up, but my wife said, ‘Don’t do it, don’t do it.’ But you can’t help but to be inspired.”

Shafran, who trails by about 140 votes, said he was not conceding.

“Voting rights are sacred and we will use every legal remedy that’s available to ensure that the votes of every member of our community are fairly and fully counted,” he said.

The field that included Chrissy Voskerichian, Paul Graziano and John Duane was crowded long before the district’s Republican incumbent was arrested in April on corruption charges that rocked the district and stunned the city.

Only two candidates — Dennis Saffran, the race’s sole Republican candidate, and Voskerichian, who quit her job as Halloran’s chief of staff — threw their hats in the ring after the lawmaker’s indictment.

The race grew contentious in the last few weeks of the campaign when three of the candidates were targeted in mailers paid for by Jobs for New York, a political action committee that endorsed Vallone.

Austin Finan, a spokesperson for Vallone’s campaign, said candidates, by law, have no control over outside spending. PACs can spend as much money as they want on behalf of candidates but cannot coordinate with them.

The fuming candidates still tied the attacks to Vallone, calling the hit pieces “one of the worst mudslinging campaigns” the district has ever seen.

They then each grilled Vallone publicly during a televised debate and called on him to denounce the smear campaign pieces.

Vallone, the Queens Democratic Party pick, was also slammed by his opponents in forums before that for being a registered lobbyist.

At his victory party in Bayside, he said his message about keeping a positive campaign never changed.

“It was never about being negative, and there are a lot of candidates that did that, but that’s their choice to do that,” Vallone said. “The people that came out today said, ‘Paul, we know you. You’re a man of honor, you’re a family man.’”

Halloran, one of only two Republican councilmembers in Queens, pleaded not guilty to bribing GOP officials to get Democratic State Senator Malcolm Smith on the Republican mayoral ticket.

He said in May he would not seek re-election to focus clearing his name.

Vallone will face off with Saffran in the November general election.

Additional reporting by Liam La Guerre

Flushing Democrat Paul Graziano officially starts District 19 campaign


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Paul Graziano

A Flushing urban planner officially joined District 19’s City Council race while another candidate bowed out.

Democrat Paul Graziano kicked off his campaign on March 25 at Bowne Park to unseat Republican incumbent Councilmember Dan Halloran.

“My campaign is very simple. Protect your neighborhood. Do no harm,” said Graziano, a lifelong North Flushing resident. “It’s hard for me to think about theoretical and esoteric problems when we’ve got problems at hand in the community.”

The 41-year-old community activist was surrounded by family, friends and dozens of civic leaders Sunday when he announced his plans to preserve the neighborhood from overdevelopment, protect city parkland and ensure a better education system citywide.

Graziano also called for a “reconstituted” Board of Education with more borough subdivisions. He said the move would allow local school districts to operate independently and give communities a voice in the city’s decision-making process.

“It’s really important to make sure that we have an agenda that focuses on the needs of this community as well as, really, things that are crossing the entire city in importance,” Graziano said. “When we’re in a situation where I think every neighborhood feels embattled by the kinds of things that are happening, we have to stand up and do something about it.”

The Council hopeful faces a Democratic primary with former Assemblymember John Duane, Austin Shafran — the former vice president of public affairs for Empire State Development under Governor Andrew Cuomo — and attorney Paul Vallone, who is the son of former City Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr. and brother of Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr.

Democratic State Committeeman Matthew Silverstein dropped out of the race Sunday, citing “one of the most difficult years” of his life after his mother passed away last December.

“My mom was an amazing woman who wanted me to continue fighting for the issues I care about. However, after consulting with my friends and family, I have decided to suspend my campaign,” Silverstein said. “This campaign might be ending, but I am not going away. I will continue to advocate for the issues that are important to me.”

Silverstein had long set his sights on the seat, registering his campaign committee last May.

The Democratic primary winner will square off in November with Halloran, who was elected to the Council in 2009.

 

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Quinn focuses on middle class in State of the City address


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Official NYC City Council photo by William Alatriste

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, in her final State of the City address, promised it would become more affordable to live and work in New York in the years to come.

Quinn, who will be term limited out of the Council at the end of this year, is a heavy favorite on the Democratic side as a mayoral candidate.

“Every day, as I travel the five boroughs, I talk to people with those same hopes for the future, with the same incredible work ethic, and the same belief that there is no better place to be than New York City,” Quinn said. “I’m incredibly proud that in the last seven years, this City Council has built a record, not of words and criticisms, but of actions and results.”

In her hour-plus speech, Quinn promised to ensure the working middle class be able to stay and prosper in the city — and will do so through a number of current and future programs.

“Our top priority must be to keep our middle class here, attract new middle class families, and give every New Yorker the opportunity to enter the middle class,” she said. “Simply put, we face an affordability crisis in our city and it cuts right at the fabric of New York. We need to make sure that the people who want to stay in our great city can afford to stay here.”

On a related note, Quinn announced an incentive for residential building owners to convert a certain number of units into affordable housing. In return, the city will cap property taxes on the building based on rental intake.

“It’s a win for them, a win for middle class renters, and a win for the city,” Quinn said. “This is how we retain economic diversity in neighborhoods that have become harder to reach for the middle class.”

 

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Race for Lancman’s seat heats up as he declines district leader nom


| mchan@queenscourier.com


A defeated congressional hopeful abandoned his run for re-election as party district leader, giving his county-backed opponent an uncontested free ride to the September election.

Assemblymember Rory Lancman filed declinations with the Board of Elections on July 16 to pull his candidacy in the Democratic Leadership 25th District Part A race as male district leader.

The move allows Queens County Democratic Party pick Yuen Yee Kui of Flushing to run without an opponent. By bowing out, Lancman — a decade-long district leader — will also avoid the second battle in a year with a county candidate.

Lancman defied the county in the 6th Congressional District when he chose to run against party-pick Assemblymember Grace Meng, who won with nearly 53 percent of the vote in the June 26 primary.

He pledged not to run for re-election in his current Assembly seat if his campaign fell short of Capitol Hill, but sources close to him could not specify his next plans. There is, however, speculation he may seek a run for City Council or borough president.

“Rory has other professional and political priorities right now other than running for re-election as a Democratic District Leader,” said Dominic Panakal, Lancman’s chief of staff.

Meanwhile, the race to replace him is heating up as the two Democratic primary hopefuls battle it out over their campaign war chests.

Democrat Nily Rozic of Fresh Meadows, a first-time candidate, boasted she outraised her opponent Jerry Iannece, who is a county-backed Community Board 11 chair with an army of institutional support, with over $60,000 from more than 250 individual donors across the city.

But Iannece, who holds a war chest of a little over $53,000, said the bulk of Rozic’s funds came from family members at the 11th hour and residents who live outside of the district.

According to the state’s Board of Elections financial disclosure report, more than $17,000 came from contributors who appear to be Rozic’s family members. A large majority of donors, the report shows, also live in other districts around the borough, city and some out of state.

“Money doesn’t win an election,” Iannece said. “I didn’t try to play games and show people I have support. At the end of the day, I’m going to have more than enough money to run. I’m more than where I thought I would be.”

A source close to Rozic’s campaign said it is not uncommon for large funds to come from contributors who live outside of the district and that funds from blood relatives hold the same amount in weight as those from outside the family.

“Bottom line is I outraised him,” Rozic said.

 

Primary Guide: 7th Congressional District


| editorial@queenscourier.com


The 7th Congressional District contains parts or all of: Woodhaven, Cyprus Hill, Williamsburg, Lower East Side, Chinatown, Brooklyn Heights, Gowanus, Red Hook, South Slope, Greenwood, Sunset Park and Bushwick

Name: Erik Martin Dilan

Party: Democrat

Current Position: City Councilmember representing the 37th District.

Personal Info: Married with two children.

Issues:

*Jobs: Support small businesses with new tax cuts, grants, and loans to spur job growth in our communities. Restore fairness to the tax code. Reinvest in our aging infrastructure.

*Affordable housing: Help homeowners stay in their homes and hold unscrupulous lenders accountable.

*Education: Expand access to Pre K and early childhood education services. Lower the cost of higher education by increasing opportunities for low-cost loans, service-for-loan forgiveness options.

 

 

Name: George Martinez

Party: Democrat

Current Position: Founder/Chair Global Block Foundation, Adjunct Professor of Political Science at PACE University, Cultural Ambassador for the State Department.  Former Democratic District Leader for 51st Assembly District

Personal: Married with one child

Issues:

-          No robostamping bills

-          End corporate personhood

-          Single-payer, Medicare for all

-          Increased transparency and responsiveness of government

-          Federal oversight on stop and frisk

-          Moratorium on foreclosures

-          Student loan forgiveness

-          Civil liberties

-          Marriage equality

-          Small business

-          Food security

-          Campaign finance reform

Platform: We have an integrated approach to community empowerment. It’s a form of a direct action, do-it-yourself democracy model. It is for empowerment recognition. The issues listed are basically and most importantly focused on the economy, community development, securing a social safety net (such as protecting Medicare, health care and public education), getting money and corporate money out of elections and restoring the integrity of our democracy.

 

Name: Dan O’Connor

Party: Running as a Democrat

Personal Info: Born in Brooklyn to a family of union members. In college O’Connor studied economics and international relations. He moved to China and lived there for six years; from there he learned Cantonese and Mandarin. When he moved back to New York he began a career in renewable energy before seeking office. He has a fiancée named Jennifer.

Issues: O’Connor seeks to end military engagements, cut the military budget substantially, work hard to pass term limits, and get government out of personal issues. He will also be a community voice against stop and frisk and hydrofracking, local issues that he thinks put the people of his district at risk.

Platform: His platform is that of an outsider wanting to make a difference. He thinks big money in politics has corrupted government and the people in it so they do not lead a nation, but instead they work for corporations. He thinks we have made too many enemies and have lost far too many lives and too much money in wars we don’t need to be involved in. He pledges to only take half of his salary and only run for four terms if elected.

 

Name: Nydia Velazquez

Party: Democrat

Current Position: Congressmember

Personal Info: Lives in Red Hook, Brooklyn

Platform: Velazquez looks forward to returning to Congress to finish much of the work she has invested her time in for the past 20 years.

Velazquez has been a leader on a variety of issues, ranging from advocating for greater access to and distribution of small business loans to community owners, marriage quality, immigration reform, strong environmental laws and opposing the assault on seniors by attacking Medicare and privatizing Social Security.

In her time in Congress she has fought against big insurance companies and with President Barack Obama for quality, affordable health care for every American.

She has worked for jobs legislation and on extending unemployment benefits for those hit hardest by the economic downturn.

Velazquez stood up to defend women’s access to reproductive and preventative health care, and has fought tirelessly for affordable housing.

As the child of sugar cane cutters, she was able to use education as a road to greater opportunities in life. As a result, she believes in supporting our public schools and better funding for the schools, teachers and students to ensure our children have the best chances in and out of the classroom.

Velazquez also believes that comprehensive immigration reform is vital to both our economic security and our national security. As an immigrant, and the representative of a Congressional district that has immigrant communities from all over the world, she is a steadfast supporter and proponent of immigration policies that allow people to live and work in this country without persecution and that helps our national economy by putting people to work.

 

Check out the primary guide for all the races:

5th Congressional District

6th Congressional District

8th Congressional District

U.S. Senate

 

 

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.

Congressional candidate Jeffrey Gottlieb fires back at ‘sham’ allegations


| mchan@queenscourier.com

JEFF GOTTLIEB PHOTOw

The newest challenger in a hotly-contested congressional race fired back after opponents accused him of being a “sham candidate.”

Jeffrey Gottlieb announced his intent to vie for the 6th District seat last weekend, but not without first taking hits from challenger Assemblymember Rory Lancman, who blasted the Queens County Democratic Party for “injecting a fraudulent candidate into the race.”

Lancman said the bogus candidacy was orchestrated by Democrats to deceive Jewish voters in the district and siphon votes away from him.

“The county organization is panicked by the strength of my candidacy,” Lancman said, “but cynically fleecing Jewish voters with a sham candidacy by a longtime party hack is particularly appalling.”

According to Lancman’s campaign manager, Mark Benoit, Gottlieb was collecting signatures for Assemblymember Grace Meng — the Democrats preferred pick — before he threw his hat in the ring. The “malicious” and “last-minute” decision to run, he said, was a scheme “designed to manipulate the electoral process in [Meng’s] favor.”

Meng told The Courier she did not know Gottlieb was collecting signatures for her.

“I haven’t spoken with Jeff in a long time. I know who he is, but I have no other comment besides that,” she said.

Gottlieb, a county patronage employee at the Board of Elections, said he plans on running an aggressive and spirited campaign, in spite of what he called “vicious political attacks.” He shot back at Lancman saying his opponent believes he has become “bigger than those he seeks to represent.”

“Is Rory really that afraid that his record on issues will be challenged here in the community? I think so and his actions clearly show his fear. Why does he proclaim he should be the only Jewish candidate to seek this office? If one of my opponent’s wishes to sling derogatory comments at me, so be it,” he said. “I have a race to run, and the right message that the voters want to hear.”

Lancman said the “deceiving” move would only backfire.

“Voters will rightfully see through this charade, and the party insiders responsible for this hatchet job should be ashamed of their attempt to deny the Jewish community a fair and legitimate election,” he said.

All four Democratic candidates, including Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley, will face off in the June 26 primary to contend for the seat recently vacated by retiring U.S. Congressmember Gary Ackerman. The winner is expected to go up against the sole Republican runner, Councilmember Dan Halloran.

Assemblymember Grace Meng of Queens to run for retiring Congressmember Gary Ackerman’s seat


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Assemblywoman Grace Meng of Queens to run for retiring Congressman Gary Ackerman’s seat

Queens Democrats have chosen state Assemblywoman Grace Meng of Queens to run for retiring Congressman Gary Ackerman’s seat, according to two sources close to the party.Potential candidates met with party elders Sunday to make their pitch to run in the redrawn 6th Congressional District, which would be more than 37% Asian.“She is a smart choice for this new district and a strong candidate,” said one source briefed on the meeting.

Read more: Daily News

This Morning’s Headlines


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

DA grilling two ‘hookers’ and ‘money launderer’ in case of alleged madam

Manhattan prosecutors have secretly arrested at least three key people in Anna Gristina’s alleged escort ring — her accused money launderer and two suspected high-price call girls — and are grilling them for evidence against her, The Post has learned. Read More: New York Post

Congressman Ackerman Tells Constituents He Will Not Run For Re-Election

Congressman Gary Ackerman, who has represented parts of Queens and Long Island in the House of Representatives for 15 terms, announced to a Democratic Party gathering in Hollis Hills, Queens on Thursday that he will not run for re-election. The 69-year-old congressman informed Democratic Party leaders, his family and staff earlier Thursday of his decision to not running for a 16th term of office. Read More: NY1

Woodson ready to bury Lin, ride established stars Melo & Amar’e

Jeremy Lin may be a global phenomenon, but he is no longer a Knicks phenomenon. Linsanity was the flavor of February, but he appears not to be new interim coach Mike Woodson’s favorite dish. Woodson, calling Lin “in a learning stage,’’ said yesterday he is turning the focus of his new deliberate offense to his bread and butter — Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, the Knicks’ two stars who combine to make $37 million this season. Read More: New York Post

 

Cops arrest accomplice of burglar fatally shot by Queens janitor

Cops yesterday arrested the accomplice of a burglar fatally shot by a Queens supermarket janitor, authorities said. Alpha Diaby, 22, was charged with burglary for the failed heist that left Mamadou Koureichi, 27, dead. Angel Candido, 54, was taking a nap at Met Foodmarkets on Jamaica Avenue when the two mens allegedly cut a hole in the roof and dropped down. Read More: New York Post

 

DOE Removes Eight Employees For Past Inappropriate Conduct With Children

The city’s Department of Education announced Thursday eight employees are being shown the door following a review of their work history. It comes after Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott promised to revisit records dating back to 2000 of all DOE employees who were disciplined for inappropriate conduct with students. Walcott says the eight employees were removed because they were not disciplined properly for their misconduct. Read More: NY1

Politics Aside: Koo jumps to Democrat Party


| RHornak@queenscourier.com


Republican City Councilmember Peter Koo rang in the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Dragon, by becoming Democrat City Councilmember Peter Koo. This might seem very appropriate as Dragons are said to be highly ambitious, driven and unafraid to take risks.

That is good, because this just may be the biggest gamble of Koo’s short political career. Koo was said to be worried about re-election in a district where Democrats outnumber Republicans five to one. Afraid that very popular Assemblymember Grace Meng might run against him, Koo seems to have wowed Democratic leaders and now the word is that Meng will look to run for Borough President with party support.

But all might not be secure, for now Koo has to worry about Democratic Primary challengers, who might be able to exploit Koo’s party switch with hardcore, primary-voting Democrats. Party switchers are rarely successful if their switch comes while in office.

Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter is a perfect example. Complaining that the Republican Party was too conservative for him, and afraid of a challenge from his right, Specter finally switched and became a Democrat. Seen as untrustworthy by both sides, Specter was easily defeated in a Democratic primary.

Koo cited differences with national Republicans, and the slate of presidential contenders specifically, especially as it pertains to immigration, as a major deciding factor in his switch. At Koo’s registration change press conference, Assemblymember Rory Lancman arrogantly remarked, “he’s a nice guy, he likes people, he likes the immigrant community.” This was meant to be a slap at Republicans playing on Koo’s immigration excuse.

Meanwhile, only Republicans have actually offered solutions to the problems surrounding illegal immigration. With discussions of guest worker programs, amnesty and making the byzantine immigration process easier and less costly, Republicans are proving to be more immigrant-friendly than Democrats, who seem fine with the status quo of millions of immigrants living in the shadows and being exploited in sweatshops or as slave labor.

Koo also complained about Republican Party outreach in the Asian community. Meanwhile, it was Republican outreach that led to Koo being sought out and asked to run for office. It was expected that Republicans could work with Koo to register Republicans and build a strong Asian following in Flushing. That never quite materialized, and unfortunately never will.

However, the Koo experience was a valuable one for Queens Republicans. It set the blueprint for Republicans on how to reach out in immigrant and minority communities. It showed that by working with respected members of the community who share the majority of conservative, pro-family, pro-business beliefs held by most Republicans and also by most immigrants, Republicans can be successful in immigrant communities.

*On Saturday, January 28, the Queens GOP is holding a Candidates School at the Adria Hotel in Bayside from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Anyone interested in running for office anywhere in Queens should attend. Details are on their web site at www.QGOP.org.

Robert Hornak is a Queens-based political consultant, blogger, and an active member of the Queens Republican Party. The views expressed here are his own.

Queens’ Morning Roundup – 11/11/2011: Jury Acquits Assemblyman of Conspiring to Take Bribes


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Jury Acquits Assemblyman of Conspiring to Take Bribes

William F. Boyland Jr., a Democratic assemblyman from one of Brooklyn’s most prominent political families, was acquitted on Thursday of conspiring to take $175,000 in bribes in return for using his influence on behalf of a health care organization that runs hospitals in Queens and Brooklyn. Read More: Wall Street Journal

 

Barbara Sheehan sentenced to five years in prison

After dodging a murder conviction for the death of her husband, Barbara Sheehan has been reportedly sentenced to five years behind bars on a second degree weapons charge related to the case. Sheehan, who faced up to 15 years in prison prior to her sentencing, was acquitted of murder after a jury determined she acted in self-defense when she shot her husband, Raymond, a retired NYPD sergeant, 11 times on the morning of February 18, 2008. Read More: Queens Courier

 

Queens Councilman Pleads Guilty To Charges Stemming From 1996 Larceny Case

Just two days after winning re-election, a City Councilman pleaded guilty Thursday to charges stemming from a 15-year-old larceny case. Queens Councilman Ruben Wills admitted to stealing items and damaging a Manhattan office building in 1996. The case will be closed without jail time or probation if he does three days of community service and pays $2,500 in restitution. Wills said the incident arose from a business dispute. An outstanding warrant was issued for his arrest after he missed court dates. Read More: NY1

 

10th Anniversary Memorial Ceremony for American Airlines Flight 587 on Saturday

Saturday, November 12 American Airlines Flight 587 10th anniversary memorial ceremony

Beach 116th Street, Belle Harbor – 9 a.m.

There will be a moment of silence at 9:16 a.m. at the time of the crash, followed by a reading of the victims’ names. The ceremony will be held at the memorial site, which was unveiled for the fifth anniversary. More Event Details: Queens Courier

 

Stalled Road Construction Keeps Forest Hills Residents From Getting Sleep

Forest Hills residents are complaining they cannot get any sleep because of the noise stemming from cars driving over a work site on 71st Avenue. Read More: NY1

 

City surrenders in long battle to turn historic St. Saviour’s site into Maspeth park

The city has given up its long fight to acquire the land where a historic Maspeth church once stood and turn it into park space. But the city and now looking into purchasing a City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) are smaller parcel of land from the nearby Martin Luther School as an alternative to the St. Saviour’s site. Read More: Daily News

 

Woodside monument honoring World War I heroes gets face-lift for Veterans Day

The majestic statue that stands at the foot of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway in Woodside was created to honor local soldiers who paid the ultimate price in World War I. The female figure, sword in one hand and shield in the other, stands sentry over the tiny plaza in the neighborhood formerly known as Winfield. Read More: Daily News

Egypt to release Queens native


| bdoda@queenscourier.com

Photo by Nargas Karimi Daniel Grapel, Ilan's father, answered media inquiries outside his Oakland Gardens home.

The Prime Minister of Israel announced that Ilan Grapel, the Queens native and law student arrested during the Egyptian uprisings in June, will be released in exchange for 25 Egyptian prisoners, according to Congressmember Gary Ackerman’s office.

Grapel had been a member of the Israeli military serving as a paratrooper and was injured in southern Lebanon in August 2006. After returning home, he began attending Emory Law School in Georgia and travelled to Egypt as part of a project involving African refugees. Ilan arrived early in an effort to experience the country when he was arrested in June accused of being an officer of the Mossad, the Israeli Intelligence Service, despite records of entering the country with a legitimate passport and posting pictures of himself on Facebook during the uprisings that ousted former president Hosni Mubarak.

“Ilan’s release is terrific news,” said Ackerman. “We cannot be more relieved and gratified that Ilan will finally be freed and that he will soon be reunited with his family.”

Grapel, 27, worked with Ackerman, the top Democrat on the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, as in intern in the summer of 2002.

“Ilan is a wonderful young man who loves Egypt and the Egyptian culture. He’s a person deeply committed to the cause of humanity and bringing people together, and just found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Ackerman.

“I still reserve my emotional opinion because we have to wait until he actually crosses the line, before that nothing is 100 percent guaranteed until it actually happens,” said Daniel Grapel, Ilan’s father.

Details surrounding the timing of Grapel’s release have yet to be released.