Tag Archives: Eric Ulrich

Queens legislators balk at plans to toll East River bridges


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

A plan to reduce five Queens bridge fares by nearly half is not worth tolling free city crossings, some borough lawmakers say.

Under a proposal by transportation coalition, Move NY, drivers in the cash lane would have to pay $7.50 one way and $15 round trip to travel across the Brooklyn, Manhattan, Williamsburg and Ed Koch Queensboro bridges. 

It would also cost the same amount to cross 60th Street in Manhattan, north and southbound.

As a trade-off, E-ZPass tolls on the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, Bronx-Whitestone, Throgs Neck, Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial and Cross Bay Veterans Memorial bridges would be lowered by 47 percent. Cash fares on those bridges would go down by 33 percent.

“We toll nearly every single crossing between every borough in the five boroughs of New York City already, yet we’re giving over half a million folks a free ride,” said Move NY Director Alex Matthiessen. “It’s not fair to transit riders and certainly not fair to other drivers, who are paying through the nose in tolls.”

The electronic tolling plan, which would require no booths, would raise $1.5 billion in net revenue toward improving the state’s mass transit infrastructure, create 35,000 new jobs and restore bus service cut in 2010, Matthiessen said.

Motorists paying cash would be billed by mail, easing gridlock by dispersing traffic throughout the city, according to Matthiessen and Kendra Hems, president of the New York State Motor Truck Association.

But some Queens legislators balked at the idea.

“I am skeptical about tolling the free bridges because once the free bridges are tolled and the infrastructure is in place, we all know from experience that it would be very hard to reverse that,” said Assemblymember David Weprin.

The plan also failed to get support from Councilmember Eric Ulrich and State Senator Joseph Addabbo, who have been fighting to eliminate the $3.75 cash toll residents have to pay on the Cross Bay Bridge to enter the Rockaways.

“Imposing tolls on motorists on bridges that are currently free is not the right way to go,” Ulrich said. “The two are not mutually exclusive. It’s not ‘take this or that.’”

While the Cross Bay Bridge toll has been a “major thorn” in the community’s side, Addabbo said the swap is not enough.

“At this point, cutting it in half would ease the pain by half,” he said. “It would still be half the pain.”

It also costs residents on the peninsula the same amount to get into Brooklyn on the Gil Hodges.

State Senator Tony Avella said the rates, while discounted in the first year, would only increase annually. He plans to introduce a bill that would prohibit tolls on East River bridges.

“The two things for sure in this world are death and taxes,” he said.

Move NY is led by Sam Schwartz, a former city traffic commissioner. The ambitious tolling plan is in its drafting stage, officials said, and still requires public input.

“In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have tolls at all,” Hems said. “But, unfortunately, we do and we have this inequity right now.”

THE COURIER/File photo by Walter Karling

 

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City Council passes Ozone Park rezoning


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of the office of Councilmember Eric Ulrich

The City Council passed a change in Ozone Park’s zoning map Tuesday to reflect the neighborhood’s building patterns.

Now, the zoning mandates will reinforce the area’s one- and-two-family residential homes and direct new residential and mixed-use developments to more commercial locations.

“The new zoning enacted into law today will protect Ozone Park from overdevelopment and help create a more livable neighborhood,” said Councilmember Eric Ulrich, who was born and raised in Ozone Park.

“It will also spur new modest development, especially in the commercial districts, thereby creating jobs and increasing property values,” he continued.

The rezoning is bounded by Rockaway Boulevard, Atlantic Avenue and 101st Avenue to the north; the Van Wyck Expressway and Lefferts Boulevard to the east; the Belt Parkway to the south; and the Brooklyn borough line to the west.

This marks the second largest rezoning in Queens, changing the map for roughly 530 blocks in Ozone Park. The vote was prompted by concerns from Community Boards 9 and 10 as well as local civic organizations and elected officials.

“Out of character structures and overdevelopment has become far too common in our communities,” said Councilmember Ruben Wills. “That is why it was important that we undertook these aggressive measures to protect the integrity of our neighborhoods.”

 

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Close race called for incumbent Councilmember Ulrich, Simon not conceding


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

Votes were counted down to the bitter end before a winner was declared in City Council District 32, and Republican Councilmember Eric Ulrich has reclaimed his seat.

“This race was a real nail biter,” Ulrich said in front of family and friends on election night.

As the results trickled in, Ulrich and his Democratic opponent, Lew Simon, were nearly 50/50 on votes, according to preliminary numbers.

However, both candidates took to the mic and declared victory to their respective crowds.

“It appears that we have won,” Simon said in Rockaway.

Meanwhile, in Howard Beach, Ulrich assured his constituents that he had “the most up-to-date information” and that he had a “very strong lead.”

“Many of you have been with me since the beginning, and this is not going to end,” said the incumbent.

When Ulrich caught wind that Simon too had called the race in his own favor, he responded, “Rumors of my demise are greatly exaggerated.”

However, Simon’s camp came back and accused Ulrich of adapting the ways of the Tea Party where “losing is winning and less is more.”

Simon and his team are still “status quo,” said Doug Forand, spokesperson for Simon. The group plans to wait until all paper ballots are counted and will respond to those results.

“We defied expectations. Few people thought it would be such a tight race. And the race isn’t over yet. We want to make sure every single vote is properly counted,” Simon said. “I’m overwhelmed by the outpouring of support across this district, including from many Republican voters who clearly want a change in leadership.”

According to unofficial results, Ulrich came out on top with 53 percent of the vote and was declared the winner by both the New York Times and the Associated Press.

“I was re-elected by my constituents, and I have a lot of work to do,” said Ulrich, now the only Republican in the Council’s Queens delegation.

He said he will work with the newly elected administration in a bipartisan way, and looks forward to finding out what role he can play in the City Council after a new Speaker is elected.

Regarding any potential role as a Minority Leader in the City Council, Ulrich said it’s “too premature to be talking about leadership roles,” and his time in office still comes second to current Minority Leader James Oddo of Staten Island.

Regardless, during his next term, Ulrich also hopes to revamp the Republican “brand” and work to restore the public’s faith in his party line.

As Ulrich wound down his victory speech, he raised his hands one last time.

“Go to bed tonight and know we kicked Lew Simon’s ass. Let’s have a drink.”

The Queens Courier endorses incumbent City Councilmember Eric Ulrich


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

ULRICH

The Queens Courier is pleased to endorse incumbent City Councilmember Eric Ulrich.

He was elected in 2009 as the representative for District 32, serving Belle Harbor, Breezy Point, Broad Channel, Hamilton Beach, Howard Beach, Lindenwood, Neponsit, Ozone Park, Rockaway Beach, Rockaway Park, South Ozone Park, South Richmond Hill, and Woodhaven.

In the four years since, he has proven himself a community-minded leader, ever present in the neighborhoods he serves, especially during times of crisis, like Sandy.

So when you go to the polls, be sure to cast your vote for Eric Ulrich.

 

 

Lew Simon wins 32nd Council District primary, prepares for general election against Ulrich


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

PHOTO COURTESY OF LEW SIMON CAMPAIGN

Lew Simon, Democratic District leader, is officially the party’s candidate to race to claim the seat in City Council District 32. He will face incumbent Councilmember Eric Ulrich in the November general election.

Simon declared victory after receiving 65.1 percent of the votes over his opponent, William Ruiz, according to unofficial results.

“We have to make it to November,” Simon said election night, September 10. “We’ll be back out there early in the morning.”

The race is reflective of the 2009 City Council special election in which the Rockaway civic leader and Ulrich originally faced off for this very seat.

“Lew will be a very formidable opponent,” Ulrich said. “I look forward to having a very in depth and robust debate about the future of our community.”

If elected, Simon said first and foremost his priority is to rebuild after Sandy devastated the district, which comprises of the majority of the Rockaway Peninsula as well as South Richmond Hill, Howard Beach, South Ozone Park and Woodhaven.

“Everybody has let us down. We keep hearing FEMA money is coming, build-it-back money is coming,” he said. “Everyone is frustrated and I want to cut through the red tape.”

He also hopes to address the hospital and medical crisis as well as keep the Rockaway Ferry line subsidized and potentially include a pick-up point in Howard Beach.

Simon additionally said transportation is a rampant issue throughout the district, including Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevards. To alleviate the “abysmal” traffic, Simon said he wants to create an HOV carpool lane to be used during peak hours.

Ulrich too has a “very ambitious and bold plan” to relieve traffic congestion on Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevards in order to “put public transportation back on the fast track,” among his hopes in another term.

District 32 has been led by Ulrich for the past four years, and he said he is looking forward to building on his standing record of accomplishments.

“I feel very optimistic and I’m very proud of everything that I’ve done for my constituents, and I want to continue to work for them in the City Council,” he said.

Regarding his opponent, Simon said he’s “very energetic, very excited” to head to November’s election.

“After this big win, I think it should send a clear message that I’m a serious candidate to challenge the incumbent,” he said. “Some people laughed it off, but I think my numbers speak for themselves.”

Democrat Lew Simon enters City Council District 32 race


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

City Council District 32 has a new contender.

Lew Simon, leader of the 23rd Assembly District, has officially declared his candidacy as a Democrat for the upcoming race, where he will vie with incumbent Republican Councilmember Eric Ulrich.

Simon was backed by the Queens Democratic Party on Monday, May 20 after announcing his candidacy last week. State Senator Joseph Addabbo and Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder have also endorsed him. “I’m very honored and I’m very proud,” Simon said.

He is running on a platform of Sandy reconstruction and restoring the Long Island Rail Road’s Rockaway Beach Branch.

“The playing field is very different,” he said. “I was not happy with the services and the responses we’re getting from any of the city agencies, our mayor or our councilmember.”

This will not be the first time Simon and Ulrich face off in an election. They ran in a 2009 special election to fill the council seat vacated by State Senator Joseph Addabbo.

“I’m very excited,” Simon said of this year’s run. “I’m going to do the very old fashioned way of grass roots. I plan on being everywhere you see.”

Simon has begun reaching out to different neighborhoods in District 32, including Woodhaven and Lindenwood. He said he previously worked with Woodhaven residents when the neighborhood was part of the assembly district.

“It was like going back to my family,” he said. “I’ve never left Woodhaven. I’ve always been there working closely with them.”

 

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New Ozone Park school begins construction


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Renderings courtesy of School Construction Authority

Soon, school bells will be ringing.

Officials held a ground-breaking ceremony for a new elementary school in Ozone Park today.

The facility will hold nearly 450 students and open next year.

Councilmember Eric Ulrich, representatives for State Senator Joseph Addabbo and Assembymember Mike Miller along with officials from the School Construction Authority led the ceremony for P.S. 316 at 90-07 101st Avenue.

The $38 million project is on the site formerly occupied by St. Stanislaus Catholic elementary school. P.S. 316 will accommodate students from pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. Along with the school, a new playground will be built across the street.


Patricia McCabe, chief of staff for State Senator Joseph Addabbo; Lorraine Grillo, head of the School Construction Authority; Councilmember Eric Ulrich; Mary Ann Maltese, chief of staff for Assemblymember Michael Miller; and Monica Gutierrez, community relations manager for the School Construction Authority break ground on P.S. 316. (THE COURIER/Photo by Terence M. Cullen)

 

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Cops release third video of man sought in string of sexual assaults on kids


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photo and video courtesy of NYPD

The hunt is still on for a suspect in South Ozone Park wanted for sexual assaults on young children as cops release a third video of the alleged perpetrator.

Police say the perv sexually assaulted two seven-year-old girls in separate incidents on Wednesday. The suspect approached the first girl around 3 p.m., police said, and groped her while she sat on the stoop of her home.

He approached the second girl around 6 p.m. while she was playing in her driveway. Police said he performed a sexual act on the girl before fleeing on foot.

Community response has been rapid and active in the wake of the assaults.

The NYPD has increased its presence in the area, giving the 106th Precinct more cops to search for the suspect.

The extra forces include officers from the sexual crimes and criminal response divisions along with eight police cars and 16 officers.

The Community Affairs arm of the NYPD is passing out fliers depicting the suspect and will speak to schools in the precinct on “stranger danger.”

Police have also increased the award to $12,000 for information on the suspect, who is described as a man in his 20s of dark complexion.

City Council Speaker and mayoral candidate Christine Quinn visited South Ozone Park on Monday, May 6 to pass out flyers.

“We’re asking the public, if you recognize this man, call the anonymous tips line,” Quinn told reporters. “We need your help. If you or your child were victimized by him, call the police.”

Councilmember Eric Ulrich, who was also at the appearance, said the community was visibly shocked by the reported assaults.

“It happened in my district,” Ulrich said, “And I can tell you that since this heinous crime took place, the residents in South Ozone Park have been shaken to their core.”

He added that the community and NYPD have been working together to spread information about the suspect through flyers, social media and other means.

“People have been keeping an eye out for this creep,” he said. “People need to be vigilant so he can be apprehended as soon as possible.”

Some Indar, who comes to South Ozone Park to shop at the Home Depot on Rockaway Boulevard, said it was odd for something like this to happen in a community-oriented environment.

“People don’t expect these things around here,” he said.

Anyone with information in regards to either of the above crimes is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (5477).  The public can also submit their tips by visiting the Crime Stoppers website at or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

 

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Race to replace embattled Councilmember Dan Halloran underway


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photos

The first Republican candidate has thrown his hat in the ring to replace federally-indicted Councilmember Dan Halloran.

Dennis Saffran, 57, said he is running in the 19th Council District to restore “the tradition of integrity and honesty in government.”

The attorney from Douglaston ran for the seat in 2001 and narrowly lost to then-Councilmember Tony Avella.

“I’m the strongest Republican candidate,” Saffran said. “I have a record of citywide and community involvement.

I’ve been active in issues that turned New York City around.”

Saffran is the vice president of the Douglaston Civic Association and works for the Nassau County Attorney’s office.

Halloran faces conspiracy, bribery and wire fraud charges over allegations he helped State Senator Malcolm Smith try to buy his way to the Republican mayoral nomination. The U.S. Attorney’s Office has charged a number of other state and city officials in the case as well.

“He and I have never seen eye to eye on a lot of issues,” Saffran said of Halloran. “Given his arrest and indictment, he’s presumably not running, as far as I know. Nobody’s going to support him if he does. There’s essentially an open council seat.”

There are also reports a former election foe of Halloran will seek his council spot. All City Council seats along with the mayor’s office will be on the ballot in November. Halloran’s office could be up for special election before then, although Halloran has made no indication he will resign.

The Korea Daily reports Democrat Kevin Kim, who lost a 2009 bid for the district seat to Halloran, has been mulling a run.

Insiders say Republican Rudy S. Giuliani, second cousin to ex-mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and current chief of staff to Councilmember Eric Ulrich, might also be a candidate. Neither he nor Kim have made any official announcements about Halloran’s seat.

Democratic candidates who announced bids for Halloran’s seat prior to his arrest include ex-Assemblymember John Duane, attorney Paul Vallone, former governor’s aide Austin Shafran and urban planner Paul Graziano.

 

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Op-Ed: Putting Woodhaven Boulevard on the fast track


| oped@queenscourier.com

BY COUNCILMEMBER ERIC ULRICH

For the past decade, Woodhaven Boulevard has been a traffic nightmare. The daily commute during the morning and evening rush hours is sluggish at best. Whether you’re in a car or on a bus, the slow and painful crawl up and down Woodhaven Boulevard is sure to make your daily commute even more stressful and time consuming.

Since taking office, I have been working with the Department of Transportation to alleviate traffic congestion along Woodhaven Boulevard and have suggested a number of measures which I believe would make a big difference. Here are just a few:

  • I am committed to bringing the deployment of Transit Signal Priority (TSP) to this corridor. TSP will improve travel time for all vehicles by optimizing overall traffic signal coordination, resulting in a 5%-10% decrease in overall travel time. This system can, for instance, hold the green light a little longer to allow buses and cars to proceed through an intersection before the traffic signal turns red. TSP is already operating in Staten Island, the Bronx, and Manhattan. I am fighting to bring it to Queens.
  • Implementing Select Bus Service (SBS) along the 3.2 mile route would also have a significant impact. This is a bold initiative that would establish a dedicated bus lane for express and local buses only. It would speed up the average commute time for bus riders by 15-20% and prevent the bottlenecking situation that occurs at almost every major intersection along the boulevard. SBS is more commonly referred to as Bus Rapid Transit and already exists on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, Hylan Boulevard in Staten Island, First / Second Avenues in Manhattan and Fordham Road in the Bronx. Woodhaven Boulevard is ripe for this proposal and I am looking forward to the day it comes to Queens.
  • Site specific improvements at certain intersections are long overdue. There are turning lanes that need to be widened or extended and others that need to be eliminated altogether. This is a delicate process that will require the advice and consent of the local community. Nevertheless, it is one that must be part of our overall strategy to make Woodhaven Blvd. safer for drivers, mass transit users and pedestrians alike. When done correctly, modifications such as these can reduce traffic related injuries dramatically and help the overall flow of traffic.

The DOT has already made some progress by incorporating some of the above-mentioned ideas into the Citywide Congested Corridor study. In fact, data has been collected, traffic patterns and accident prone locations have been analyzed and several public meetings have been held to discuss possible solutions since the study first started in 2008. Some of these proposals are common sense and easy to implement while others are all but certain to raise controversy.

But the fact remains that people have been sitting in traffic for far too long and Queens is entitled to what every other borough already has. If we’re serious about addressing the traffic nightmare on Woodhaven Boulevard once and for all, we must take the necessary steps to put this plan into action.

Eric Ulrich was elected to the New York City Council in 2009, as the representative for District 32, serving Belle Harbor, Breezy Point, Broad Channel, Hamilton Beach, Howard Beach, Lindenwood, Neponsit, Ozone Park, Rockaway Beach, Rockaway Park, South Ozone Park, South Richmond Hill, and Woodhaven.

Council districts to get vote on city-funded community projects


| mchan@queenscourier.com

A million dollar decision is in the hands of some Queens residents.

Three City Council districts in the borough have a week, starting April 1, to vote on community projects they want the city to fund.

Part of an initiative called “Participatory Budgeting,” residents are allowed to develop ideas and then choose five physical infrastructure projects they want to see in their neighborhood. The total $10 million budget is composed of discretionary capital public money to be split between eight districts in the city.

“Participatory Budgeting gives the community an unprecedented opportunity to make decisions on how city dollars get spent in our community,” said Councilmember Mark Weprin.

Weprin and Councilmembers Dan Halloran and Eric Ulrich have each allocated $1 million to their respective districts.

Project items to be voted on include upgrading technology at schools and libraries, installing police and security cameras in high crime areas, and upgrading community facilities like the Poppenhusen Institute and Queens County Farm Museum.

Residents in Halloran’s district have proposed adding a dog run canopy and kayak launch at Little Bay Park and a bird watching platform at Parsons Beach.

“These projects are all worthwhile, especially because they came from the people,” Halloran said.

This is the second year of the city’s participatory budgeting.

The process was derailed by Sandy in the 32nd District, according to Councilmember Eric Ulrich’s office, since some ballot items involving the boardwalk and parks have become ineligible after the storm.

A vote was still scheduled for the first week of April as of press time.

Last year, residents in Ulrich’s district voted to build a bandstand space on Shore Front Parkway, install a library vending machine in Breezy Point and upgrade technology at local schools.

For ballots and voting locations in all three Queens districts, visit pbnyc.org.

 

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Sandy’s heroes celebrate 85 years of service


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence M. Cullen

While the night marked 85 years of serving its community, the West Hamilton Beach Volunteer Fire Department dedicated its annual dinner/dance to all of those who pitched in during Sandy — particularly the men and women who were on duty that night.

Volunteers, friends, family and local leaders celebrated another year of community service on Thursday, January 31 at Russo’s on the Bay. State Senator Joseph Addabbo and Councilmember Eric Ulrich were special honorees, along with former Assemblymember Audrey Pfeffer and former State Senator Serphin Maltese. “Our own firehouse took more than five feet of water, destroying every piece of apparatus we own, and caused extensive damage to the building and equipment,” said treasurer and former chief Mitch Udewitch. “Even during our nightmare, we continued to serve our community, as the new Howard Beach Civic Association began using the department building as a food pantry, a soup kitchen [and a] clothing drop off for area residents. As the devastation became clear, members of the community began stepping forward and helping.”

Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder, the night’s presiding officer, swore in new and returning members of the fire department, including Chief Jonah Cohen, who has served a number of terms in the position.

The Howard Beach Kiwanis Club gave a $1,000 contribution to the firehouse. Several donations have been made to the department in the months after the storm. A slew of fire companies from around the country gave equipment, fire trucks and ambulances to the West Hamilton Beach department after its entire arsenal was damaged by flood waters. In December, Duane Reade/Walgreens donated $25,000, which Cohen said would probably go toward a new ambulance.

 

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What City Council members wish for their constituents in 2013


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

2013

The Queens Courier asked the City Council what they wish for their constituents in 2013. Here are some of the responses:

Speaker Christine Quinn: To help New Yorkers still reeling from Sandy recover fully and quickly, & rebuild New York City to protect New Yorkers from the impact of climate change.

Daniel Dromm: To see comprehensive immigration reform including the Uniting American Families Act (for families headed by same sex couples) and the Dream Act passed by Congress in 2013.

Mark Weprin: My New Year’s wish for my constituents is that a bipartisan spirit will appear in Washington, leading to fiscal sanity and sensible gun laws.

James Gennaro: They should have good health, the comfort and peace of a strong faith, abiding happiness, freedom from want and love and compassion for others.

Jimmy Van Bramer: I wish for my constituents a healthy and happy year full of joy and with far fewer tragedies. I want more understanding and appreciation of our uniqueness as people, a safer world at home and abroad.

Peter Vallone Jr.: I hope for the Queensboro Bridge back, and I hope other boroughs keep their hands off of our stuff.

Eric Ulrich: Health, happiness, and prosperity in the new year and a return to normalcy for those affected by Sandy.

Karen Koslowitz: I wish all a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. I am hoping that the year 2013 brings new opportunities, friendships and successes for all.

Dan Halloran: I wish my constituents a New Year full of peace, prosperity and a renewed sense of pride in our neighborhoods, as we continue to preserve our community’s character.

Leroy Comrie: I hope that we have a healthy, happy, prosperous, and protective new year. Also that people stay charitable, that we can continue to look out for each other and be supportive of those in need.

 

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Ulrich announces concession morning after election


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Billy Rennison

It’s over: State Senator Joseph Addabbo has won his third term in Albany.

Councilmember Eric Ulrich said on election night he would not concede to defeat just yet, despite a victory announcement from the incumbent Addabbo.

The next morning, however, Ulrich announced via Twitter that he had called Addabbo and congratulated him on the victory.

With all precincts in the massive district reporting, Addabbo led with 57 percent – roughly 38,011 ballots, according to news sources. This is nearly 10,000 more than Ulrich. Tentative numbers from the Board of Elections confirmed Addabbo had nearly that number.

An Ulrich spokesperson said in a text that the campaign’s internal numbers do not match the numbers used by news services and would not comment further as of 2 a.m.

Although their gatherings were separated by just blocks, the two gave contrasting views of the election’s turnout thus far.

“We are not conceding this race at this time because the difference between me and my opponent is just a few percentage points and there are literally thousands – I don’t have a concrete number – but thousands and thousands of paper ballots still out there,” Ulrich said.

Addabbo, however, was confident in his victory and thanked a packed room for their support.

“We believed in the fact that it wasn’t about the money, it’s not about the billboards, it’s not about the commercials, it’s not about the mailers,” he said. “It’s about a positive message and a lot of heart.”

Addabbo was referring mainly to the outpouring of money into the Ulrich for Senate war chest – floating around $1 million.

“We were outspent in 2008, we won. We were outspent in 2010, we won. And guess what, we were out spent in 2012 and we won this one,” Addabbo said.

There were thousands of paper ballots that still needed to be counted, and Ulrich said he’s curious how many of those were displaced Rockaway voters who still cast ballots within the district.

The brunt of confused results, Ulrich said, fell upon the Board of Elections (BOE), which he alleged had “run down the clock” on deciding where voters on the peninsula could vote.

“Widespread problems at the polls today,” he said. “The incompetence of the Board of Elections, we know that already. How inaccessible they made it for people in these areas where these people lost everything to vote.”

Ulrich, who, along with Addabbo, suspended his campaign to focus on relief efforts in his district following Superstorm Sandy, said, should he wake up tomorrow morning and his opponent have a wide margin, he’d be the first person to call and congratulate him.

He said the campaign did not plan on that just yet, waiting “until we know how many ballots are still out there and outstanding, I think it’s premature that we throw in the towel.”

But, as of now, the race is still narrow, Ulrich said.

As the hours crept further into the night, the margin between the two narrowed with Addabbo still retaining a lead over his opponent.

There is still the possibility of a recount, something Ulrich said he’ll leave to his campaign people as he returns to helping those devastated by the disastrous storm.

Addabbo likewise told his supporters that the next step was returning to revamping and helping to rebuild the region – nearly all of which is a part of the new Senate District 15. The potential of a recount or a lawsuit against the results was something that Addabbo said wouldn’t break his focus on getting the district back together.

“No, I’m not worried,” he said. “You just want to make sure it’s official and we move on. I have a lot of work to do. We can be mired in a court proceeding, but the bottom line, we have work to do. Any talk about what the storm did to the election, I have a job tomorrow.”

The last week has been busy for Ulrich: Howard Beach, Broad Channel and the Rockaways were struck by Sandy on Monday, October 29; his wife, Yadira, gave birth to the couple’s daughter, Lily, on Halloween; and he faced the election last night. He admitted upon voting earlier on Election Day that the preceding week had been chaotic, but had geared his focus least on the election.

– With Additionally Reporting by Billy Rennison

 

Addabbo, Ulrich suspend campaigns as they aid in Sandy recovery


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

ulrich addabbo

In a week expected to be packed with last-minute campaigning, the candidates for the Senate District 15 have put it to the wayside as their respective districts still recover from damages caused by Hurricane Sandy.

Incumbent State Senator Joseph Addabbo and Councilmember Eric Ulrich, locked in one of the tightest races in the borough, have both said campaign operations are taking a break as they aid in assessment and recovery efforts in their areas.

Addabbo said in a statement that he was focusing on recovery and relief efforts for the district.

“As of now my main priority and that of my campaign staff is to focus on assisting my district in the clean up and aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, as many areas of my district were hit incredibly hard by the storm,” he said. “The safety and well-being of my constituents are the most important to me, and I will not focus my attention elsewhere until the recovery is well on its way.”

Ulrich for Senate spokesperson Jessica Proud said the councilmember had suspended his campaign to deal with the devastation from the hurricane.

The campaign’s headquarters on Cross Bay Boulevard appeared yesterday to have been flooded from water that poured on to the wide thoroughfare. Chairs and tables were knocked over with campaign literature scattered all over the floor.

The Rockaways were projected to be a decisive factor in the election. Ulrich has represented a bulk of the peninsula since 2009; Addabbo represented virtually the same area, in the City Council, from 2001 to 2008.