Tag Archives: Eric Ulrich

Primary guide: Meet the candidates in Assembly District 33


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

ELECTION

As the clock ticks closer to state primaries on Thursday, September 13, The Courier would like to provide you, the reader and the voter, with a fair, detailed guide of who is running in your district. We have provided a list of candidates, who they are, what they stand for and what they want to continue to do if they go on to the general election in November.

 

ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 33

 

Name: Barbara Clark

Party: Democrat

Current position: Assemblymember for the 33rd District

Personal info: Clark, a coal miner’s daughter, was born and raised in Beckley, West Virginia. She and her husband, Thomas, have four adult children, who were all educated in the New York City public school system, and two granddaughters.

Issues/Platform: Clark has represented the communities of the 33rd Assembly District in the New York State Legislature for 13 terms, using her office to champion equity in funding and access to quality educational programs for all students in New York State. Clark is committed to partnering with her constituents to create programs and institutions which foster stable community development, both within her district and throughout New York State. She was also instrumental in funding the first cancer center in Queens County at Queens General Hospital. She is a current member and the former vice chair of the Education Commission of the States — the highest rank that can be held by a state legislator. She authored and passed the Child Advocate Bill, which helps protect the rights of children in New York State. She also secured $8.5 million in LIRR capital funding for an elevator at Queens Village subway station and secured approval and funding for courses at Queensboro Community College for under-credited students and unemployed workers seeking transitional skills.

 

Name: Clyde Vanel

Party: Democrat

Current position: Attorney/business owner/community advocate

Personal info: Vanel was raised in Cambria Heights in a two-parent household with nine siblings. His well-disciplined, working-class parents instilled in their children strong moral values and the idea that, with education and hard work, anything is possible.

Issues/Platform: Vanel believes supporting senior and youth programs, health care and education are major issues. Vanel also believes that job creation is the major issue that we are facing. Vanel will focus on bringing and keeping more jobs in New York. As a business owner and job creator, Vanel understands that New York makes it difficult to start and maintain a business to employ people in New York.

 

 

Meet more candidates:

Senate District 10

Senate District 15

Senate District 16

Assembly District 25

Assembly District 38

Assembly District 40

 

Primary guide: Meet the candidates in Assembly District 25


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

ELECTION

As the clock ticks closer to state primaries on Thursday, September 13, The Courier would like to provide you, the reader and the voter, with a fair, detailed guide of who is running in your district. We have provided a list of candidates, who they are, what they stand for and what they want to continue to do if they go on to the general election in November.

 

ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 25

 

Name: Jerry Iannece

Party: Democrat

Current position: Attorney and chair of Community Board 11

Personal info: Jerry Iannece was born in 1959, the youngest of three children whose parents lived in the Hells Kitchen section of New York City. His parents were immigrants from Italy. The family moved to Astoria, where Iannece attended a local grammar school and high school.  He graduated from New York University and St. John’s University School of Law. Iannece is married to Lynn Cavalcca and they have two children.

Issues/Platform:
1. Increase the minimum wage: Raising the minimum wage is a sensible measure that will help grow our economy and ensure that men and women working in our state will be able to provide for their families.
2. Dream Act/Fund: I am a first generation American who grew up in a house where my parents did not speak English. By sacrificing and working hard, my parents pushed me through college and law school and, ultimately, drove me to be the successful local attorney and active civic leader that I am today. Living here in Queens, the most diverse county in the world, we have all seen how immigration and different cultures have fueled our economy and brought dynamism into our communities. The Dream Act will make our workforce more competitive, our military stronger, and strengthen our state.
3. Campaign finance reform: We stand at a crisis of confidence in government. Existing election laws encourage a pay-to-play mentality, excessive influence to wealthy lobbyists and a climate of corruption and distrust. Legislation must be passed to reform the state’s antiquated campaign finance laws and create a public financing system to shift elections away from fundraising and towards community issues. In this effort, I support two measures for New York State Elections: instituting the program of five to one matching funds and lowering the campaign contribution cap, particularly for business contributions.

 

Name: Nily Rozic

Party: Democrat, Working Families

Current position: Former chief of staff to Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh

Personal info: Democrat Nily Rozic was born in Jerusalem and moved with her family to Fresh Meadows. She is a passionate and energetic leader committed to building a strong future for eastern Queens. As a chief of staff to an assemblymember, Rozic worked tirelessly to make a real difference in the lives of everyday New Yorkers. Rozic continues to be active in our community, serving on Community Board 8 as a member of the transportation, land use and education committees, as an active member of Hillcrest Jewish Center and a member of the Townsend Harris HS Alumni Association.

Issues/Platform:
1. Developing educational opportunities: Rozic knows how important a great education is for our kids. She will work to reduce overcrowding in our schools, increase parental involvement and expand afterschool programs.
2. Improving services for seniors: Rozic will work to expand access to housing for seniors and fight perennial threats to close senior centers and cut meal programs. She will also find ways to preserve prescription drug programs like EPIC.
3. Expanding better public transportation: Rozic will continue to work on expanding transit service, keeping fares affordable and making the MTA accountable. She will work to secure essential funding for our community’s roads and bridges.
4. Protecting our health: Rozic will work to improve detection and prevention of breast, prostate and lung cancer in eastern Queens.

 

Meet more candidates:

Senate District 10

Senate District 15

Senate District 16

Assembly District 33

Assembly District 38

Assembly District 40

 

Primary guide: Meet the candidates in Senate District 16


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

ELECTION

As the clock ticks closer to state primaries on Thursday, September 13, The Courier would like to provide you, the reader and the voter, with a fair, detailed guide of who is running in your district. We have provided a list of candidates, who they are, what they stand for and what they want to continue to do if they go on to the general election in November.

 

SENATE DISTRICT 16

 

Name: John A. Messer

Party: Democrat

Current Position: Businessman and local attorney

Personal Info: Messer is the managing member of Manoussos & Messer, PLLC and a small business owner in the security and renewable energy fields. He has also served at Fort Totten in Queens as a Judge Advocate General and Captain in the Army. Messer was a government scholar who has worked with the mayor’s office of the city of New York in economic development and corporate retention. He has a master’s degree in government and politics from St. John’ University and a law degree from Brooklyn Law School. He is also a real estate licensing instructor and a guest lecturer for the City University of New York. He and his wife, Wendy, have three children, Ryan, Alex and Jackie, and live in Oakland Gardens.

Issues/Platform: As a former Army Captain, Messer hopes to pass legislation supporting veterans who have served overseas and their families. Through his experience in economic development, he supports economic development strategies which support our small businesses and attract long-term growth where our state is best able to complete. He supports education initiatives that will reduce crowding in our schools and gives teachers the flexibility to teach, and senior services that support those on fixed-incomes so that they can remain healthy and independent. Messer also stands behind legislation that would restore trust and accountability to our state government. He states that non-profits which receive state funding should be thoroughly vetted and that we need to close the loopholes which allow legislators to funnel funds to organizations and family members in which they have an interest. He wants to increase traffic safety regulations to make our community safer and will work to streamline government operations to eliminate overlapping functions which waste our money.

 

Name: Toby Ann Stavisky

Party: Democrat

Current Position: New York State Senator

Personal Info: As the first woman from Queens elected to the State Senate and the first woman to chair the Senate Committee on Higher Education, Toby Ann Stavisky has been committed to increasing minimum wage and supporting education throughout her career. Stavisky was elected to the Senate on November 2, 1999, and has subsequently been re-elected seven times.
She resides in Whitestone and has one son, Evan, who is married. She is a native New Yorker who was born and raised on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

Issues/Platform: Stavisky is committed to increasing the minimum wage, passing the New York State Dream Act, and working every day to retain and create good jobs for Queens. As a former teacher in the New York City schools, Stavisky knows that good schools are the key to a better future for all our kids.
As a public official driven by principle, Stavisky knows it’s time that we make Albany accountable to the people. That’s why she’s fighting in the legislature to increase the level of transparency in government and start making Albany work for New Yorkers again. Stavisky has been called “a model for independent leadership in the New York State Senate” and she will continue to build upon her reputation as one of the most honest and upfront public officials in New York.

 

Meet more candidates:

Senate District 10

Senate District 15

Assembly District 25

Assembly District 33

Assembly District 38

Assembly District 40

 

Primary guide: Meet the candidates in Senate District 15


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

ELECTION

As the clock ticks closer to state primaries on Thursday, September 13, The Courier would like to provide you, the reader and the voter, with a fair, detailed guide of who is running in your district. We have provided a list of candidates, who they are, what they stand for and what they want to continue to do if they go on to the general election in November.

 

SENATE DISTRICT 15

 

Name: Juan Reyes

Party: Republican

Current Position: Lawyer

Personal Info: Juan Reyes is a Queens native who has campaigned himself as “the Irish-Italian guy with the Spanish name.” Reyes is a graduate of Quinnipiac Law School. After graduation, he went to work for former senator and former presidential candidate Bob Dole. Reyes worked in various positions in former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s second administration. He lives in Forest Hills with his wife and their seven-year-old and twin five-year-old daughters.

Issues/Platform: Reyes’ platform ranges from the economy to social and educational issues. He has campaigned that, if elected, he will push for a tax policy that will allow growth in the state. The Forest Hills resident is also against increasing minimun wage, claiming on his campaign website that it would cut more than 43,000 jobs. Reyes has also pushed for diversifying New York’s economy. Reyes also supports the city’s stop-and-frisk policy, saying that it saves lives and keeps the city safe. Additionally, he has supported literacy in children, and a standard of English in the school system.

 

Name: Eric Ulrich

Party: Republican/Independent

Current Position: Councilmember for the 32nd District

Personal Info: Eric Ulrich was first elected in the February 2009 special election and subsequently re-elected in the November general election later that year. At 27, he is currently the youngest serving member of the council and serves as Minority Whip of the Republican delegation. Ulrich was born and raised in Ozone Park where he still lives today. He attended neighborhood public and parochial schools, P.S. 63 Old South and Nativity BVM, respectively. After graduating from Cathedral Prep Seminary, Ulrich attended St. Francis College on a full scholarship, where he met his wife, Yadira. They were married in 2009 and are expecting their first child on October 29.

Issues/Platform: Ulrich’s main concerns include bettering the economy and job creation for New Yorkers. Good-paying jobs are crucial to Ulrich. Life-long Queens residents can no longer afford to live in New York and have moved away. Ulrich has supported the middle class residents, and says, if elected, he will continue to work for their rights. In City Council, Ulrich notes he’s worked to increase the quality of life in his district, targeting vandalism and graffiti in neighborhoods. Ulrich promises to do the same for the area, according to his campaign, at the state level if he is elected. Ulrich’s campaign also touts that he would work to restore “fiscal sanity” to state government and ease burdens on tax payers. Ulrich says he will work to reduce property taxes on homeowners, and some of the taxes on small businesses.

 

Name: Joseph Tiraco

Party: Independent

Current Position: Web Designer

Personal Info: Joseph Tiraco’s lineage in Forest Hills goes back 100 years. He served as a NATO advisor with the U.S. Army from 1961 to 1964 — stationed in France and Germany with the Army Airborne. Following an accident, he received training in computers. Tiraco says he worked in computers for more than 40 years now, witnessing new innovations and the rise of Microsoft. Born in Brooklyn before his family relocated to Forest Hills, he has inherited his family home, which he has lived in for 52 years.

Issues/Platorm: Tiraco touts that he has one main issue: direct Democracy. He elaborates by saying that politicians should be the go-between for government and citizens. On campaign material, Tiraco also supports the “Occupy” movement, saying that it is “exactly right, CHANGE is the physic, the cure-all, the overriding issue that tops all others.”

 

Meet more candidates:

Senate District 10

Senate District 16

Assembly District 25

Assembly District 33

Assembly District 38

Assembly District 40

 

Primary guide: Meet the candidates in Senate District 10


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

ELECTION

As the clock ticks closer to state primaries on Thursday, September 13, The Courier would like to provide you, the reader and the voter, with a fair, detailed guide of who is running in your district. We have provided a list of candidates, who they are, what they stand for and what they want to continue to do if they go on to the general election in November.

 

SENATE DISTRICT 10 

 

Name: Shirley Huntley

Party: Democrat

Current Position: State Senator for the 10th District

Personal Info: Prior to becoming senator, Huntley was elected to Community School Board 28 in 1993. In 1996, she was re-elected for a second term, and then was elected as president of the board, until its dissolution in 2004. In June 2004, Huntley was appointed by Borough President Helen Marshall to the Community Education Council for District 28 and elected president. Huntley presently resides in Jamaica, New York with her husband Herbert Huntley.

 

Name: Gian A. Jones

Party: Democrat

Current Position: Real estate professional

Personal Info: Jones, 34, is a Queens-native and a life-long resident of Far Rockaway, graduating from New York University. He first got involved in the politics of his community 20 years ago, at the age of 13, working closely with now Congressmember Gregory W. Meeks in his first bid for City Council in 1991 and in his subsequent, successful bid for New York State Assembly in 1992. Jones has held positions as president of the 101st Precinct Community Council, a member of the Queens County District Attorney’s Advisory Council and Community Board 14.  Currently, he is a member of the Council of Urban Professionals, the Thurgood Marshal Democratic Club and serves on the Board of Directors of the Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation.

Issues/Platform: Jones is concerned about all the issues that are important in the various communities in the district.  If elected, Jones will take pleasure in addressing those issues and will especially fight for any effort that creates a brighter future for our youth, meaningful economic development, better health care and improved education. Jones looks forward to bringing new vision and new energy to 10th Senatorial District.

 

Name: James Sanders

Party: Democrat

Current Position: Councilmember for the 31st District

Personal Info: Sanders attended Far Rockaway High School and earned his bachelor’s degree from Brooklyn College in 1984 after three years of service in the United States Marine Corps. When Sanders took office in 2001, he hit the ground running.  Over the past decade, he has recorded an impressive list of accomplishments that have improved the lives of people throughout the southeast Queens community. He’s authored the toughest anti-predatory lending bill in America, worked with community groups and the NYPD to host gun buyback programs that removed almost 1,000 guns from our streets, authored bills that have made it more difficult for minors to get access to bullets, conducted workshops for those in foreclosure, and worked with community groups to provide financial consultants to those in need.  Together with the civic groups and committed leaders of his community, he’s worked to rebuild public parks, open up access to clean spaces, build playgrounds and introduce new technologies into our schools and keep our streets safe.

Issues/Platform: The major issues confronting the councilmember include economic development, jobs and quality of life issues. Sanders has spent years encouraging major developers to come to his area and increase the quality of the education our youth receive. We need to combine the funding and expertise of major companies with the vision and ambition found in the hearts and minds of young entrepreneurs, he said. Education is the key to building up communities. He believes the next generation cannot build up communities if we do not supply them with the tools to do so. Sanders aims to not only say that the children are our future, but to truly treat them as such and provide for their future.

 

Meet more candidates:

Senate District 15

Senate District 16

Assembly District 25

Assembly District 33

 Assembly District 38

 

King endorses Ulrich for State Senate


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

With less than a month until the Republican primary for the 15th State Senate District, Congressmember Peter King endorsed Councilmember Eric Ulrich – adding to the long list of endorsements for the city representative.

“Eric understands that the way to put New Yorkers back to work and grow our economy is by lowering taxes on families and small businesses and reigning in the reckless government spending that has created unsustainable deficits and threatens our competitiveness,” King said. “His conservative principles of limited government, safe streets and a strong quality of life will make him an excellent representative in Albany and I urge all Republicans to vote for him on September 13th.”

Ulrich, who is facing off against former Guiliani staffer Juan Reyes, said he was proud of King’s endorsement, as well as the 10-term representative’s tenure in the House.

“I’m honored to receive the support of Congressman King, a true public servant who has done a great deal for the people of New York,” Ulrich said. “I look forward to working closely with him as a partner on the state level to keep New York City safe, ensure our veterans coming home from war are cared for and revive our economy.”

The primary winner will face off against State Senator Joseph Addabbo, who has represented the district since 2009.

Ozone Park native Ulrich has picked up other major endorsements, including Congressmember Bob Turner, former Governor George Pataki, the Senate Republicans Election Committee and the Queens Conservative and Queens Independent parties.

 

A Giuliani connection in the 15th Senate District


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

There are four Rudolphs in the Giuliani family, two of whom went into politics.

Rudolph W. L. “Rudy” Giuliani served as mayor of New York City from 1994 to 2001, and has been nicknamed “America’s Mayor.”

Rudolph S. Giuliani, a second cousin, is cutting out a life in politics for himself, currently serving as chief-of-staff for Councilmember Eric Ulrich.

Ulrich is set to face off on September 13 in a primary against Juan Reyes, to see who will run as the Republican candidate for the 15th State Senate district. The twist: Reyes is a former staffer for Rudy Giuliani.

Reyes served several positions in Mayor Giuliani’s second administration. He was a deputy general counsel for the Department of Youth Services, then a counsel in the Office of the Mayor and lastly, a general counsel at the Board of Standards and Appeals.

The younger Giuliani, who is working for Ulrich, said that neither he, nor his mother, who worked in the mayor’s office, had ever even heard of Reyes until he announced his candidacy.

He went on to say that Reyes’ highlighting his tenure in the administration made it seem as if he had the support of former Mayor Giuliani, who now works in the private sector. He added that few people he knew had heard of Reyes before announcing he was running.

“It gives this illusion that he might have Rudy’s support,” he said.

At the same time, Reyes said he was unaware that his former boss’ cousin was on Ulrich’s staff.

Reyes said he idolized his former boss, and worked for Mayor Giuliani because he believed in him.

“I’m very loyal to him,” he said, “and I’m proud that I worked for him.”

The former counselor to the mayor said that Giuliani had always been supportive of him and that he wanted to run with the inspiration he received from his boss.

“He was always very supportive,” Reyes said. “I’m just better for what he did.”

Former Mayor Giuliani has currently stayed out of endorsing either candidate, both sides have said.

The race has already received notoriety for being a rare Republican primary, and has included harsh words on each side. A Reyes mailer alleged that Ulrich had been a handpicked selection by Republican party bosses. A few weeks later, the Ulrich campaign said Reyes had not even voted for Giuliani for re-election in 1997.

Residents say Q41 route poses threat of major accidents


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Geraldine Bruccoleri

Despite the small steps that are being taken to try to amend a recently changed Ozone Park bus route, residents say there are still major traffic problems in the area.

Those living on 109th Avenue, who first voiced concerns that the bus route had negatively affected parking and noise, say that a little more than two weeks into the new Q41 path, they are now facing the threat of major accidents.

The problem residents were seeing, said Geraldine Bruccoleri, was that the MTA had not mirrored the stops from their original layout on 111th Avenue. She elaborated that bus stops had been placed on the wrong ends of street corners. One instance she cited was a car travelling on 109th Avenue that wanted to turn south onto 116th Street. Because the bus stop is located at the turning corner, a driver now has to look to see if a bus is pulling out — possibly leading to a side collision, she said. As a result, Bruccoleri said cars have been forced to swerve around stopped buses and into the opposite lane to get around traffic.

Another problem, she said, was that the private bus that picks up her sister — who has Down syndrome — is blocked by the Q41 as it drops off and picks up passengers. Because of the double parked vehicles, traffic backs up.

The 109th Avenue resident said she has contacted Councilmember Eric Ulrich’s office about getting the bus stop in front of here home moved — as her mother has a handicap placard and her neighbor a handicapped license plate.

Ulrich’s office has looked into the bus stop, and a spokesperson said they are working on at least getting the bus stop moved from that location. A request has been put into the MTA about the issue, the spokesperson said.

Bruccoleri, who said she’s planning on attending the MTA meetings on July 23 and 25, encouraged MTA officials to come to the area and listen to and see some of the problems.

An MTA spokesperson gave a statement that reaffirmed the agency did not have plans to reverse the line and that the new route had been planned to speed service on the line.

Candidates start slinging mud in 15th Senate District


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Though the 15th Senate District Republican Primary is still two months away, there has already been heavy campaigning — and a lot of mudslinging.

A mailer sent out by the Juan Reyes campaign last month claimed that incumbent councilmember and State Senate hopeful Eric Ulrich was the choice of Republican party insiders.

“If the Albany political bosses had their way, their hand-picked puppet would already be on his way to the Senate chamber to rubber stamp the backroom deals they cut months ago,” the mailer read.

An official in the Reyes campaign said the race was unfair because of perks Ulrich had been receiving, especially with promoting his campaign. The Reyes official said the State Senate Republicans Campaign Committee had been sending out mailers for the Ulrich campaign by use of the state Republican Party’s non-profit mailing status. This practice, the official said, makes this an unbalanced race.

A representative for the committee confirmed it had endorsed Ulrich for the Republican primary, and that it was legal for them to use the party’s non-profit postal status to send out mailers for his campaign.

The Reyes campaign rep went on to say that funds raised by the committee had originally been established to help Republicans defeat Democrats, not other Republicans. He added that these mailers were probably sent out with little-to-no consultation from the local community.

“They’ve done probably close to half a dozen without any kind of input of local Republicans,” he said.

Bill O’Reilly, a spokesperson for the Ulrich campaign, dispelled the accusations in the mailer, and referred back to an earlier claim by Reyes that his campaign offices had been vandalized by Ulrich endorsers.

“That mailing is utterly ridiculous — almost as bizarre as Mr. Reyes’ statement about his campaign office being ransacked. Queens voters are smart and will not fall for Machiavellian tactics like that,” he said in an email. “Councilmember Ulrich is the clear reform candidate in this race. It’s why he has garnered so much local support.”

On July 9, Friends of Juan Reyes sent a news release questioning Ulrich’s association with John Haggerty, a former Bloomberg campaign runner who was convicted of felony charges in stealing about $750,000 from the camp, citing several recent stories regarding the councilmember’s association with Haggerty. One article attached to the release said Haggerty had submitted petition signatures for Ulrich to the Board of Elections. O’Reilly responded to the release saying, “The fact is, that a campaign volunteer named Mike Michel submitted the councilmember’s petitions at the Board of Elections. Mr. Reyes needs to get his facts straight — and to take a few days off to gather his wits.”

Mystery behind Ozone Park Marshalls


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

It is unclear what has become of the homeless man allegedly living behind the Marshalls in Ozone Park.

Customers and neighbors said a homeless person had been living behind the store, located on Liberty Avenue between 92nd and 93rd Streets, for the last few weeks.

Bill Folz, a resident, said he first noticed a mattress and some boxes behind the store, along with the strong odor of urine, in May. As time progressed, Folz said, more boxes were popping up.

Folz then went to Marshalls management, he said, and notified them. He said they looked into it and contacted local officials.

Marshalls representatives said they could not comment on the matter.

A spokesperson from Councilmember Eric Ulrich’s office said the staff had been notified of the issue and contacted the Department of Homeless Services. When the homeless man told department operatives he didn’t want to go, the representative said, police were contacted and took care of the matter.

A police source told The Courier that officers cannot do anything in the matter except issue a summons if the homeless person is trespassing on the property. There had not been any information about police responding to a call regarding the matter, the source said.

The nearest homeless shelters are Samaritan Village Forbell, located on Forbell Street in Brooklyn, or The Samaritans Outreach Ministries, on 229th Street in Laurelton.

Pataki Endorses Ulrich for State Senate


| kevinj.ryanmail@gmail.com

Photo Courtesy Sal Bacarella

Former Governor George Pataki spoke in support of Councilmember Eric Ulrich’s bid for State Senate at a recent fundraiser.

Pataki said he enjoys the private sector these days and publicly endorses a campaign only when he believes strongly in the candidate.

“Eric Ulrich,” he said, “is someone in whom I strongly believe. [He] has done a phenomenal job at being a fresh, new voice not just for his district, but for the people of Queens and this city. It’s a better place because of him.  His new race for State Senate is critical for the future of this state in deciding whether we’re going to have decent, strong leadership in the State Senate or whether we’re going to go back to the hideous dysfunction that existed just two years ago. We have to make sure Queens and New York City stay safe. We need schools that actually work. That’s not going to happen unless we have people like Eric Ulrich in the Senate.”

The former governor said he looks forward to seeing Ulrich “bring the same young, independent voice he’s been on the City Council to the State Senate.”

“It’s about the future of our state and our young people, to make sure they have a better shot at life than our parents and grandparents had,” said Ulrich. “That’s what being in Queens and being in American has always been about. If I want to give that opportunity to the next generation, I’ve got to step up to the plate and help continue bipartisan leadership in Albany.”

Ulrich and his wife, Yadira, are expecting their first child.

If Ulrich defeats Juan Reyes in a September primary, he will face off against Democratic State Senator Joseph Addabbo in November.

Also in attendance in support of Ulrich was councilmember and congressional candidate Dan Halloran, who recently recovered from brain surgery.

The fundraiser was hosted by entrepreneur Sal Bacarella and his girlfriend Christie Lauren.

One school, two candidates; Nativity alums to face off in Senate race


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Nativity Church

Before their days of politicking around Queens, Councilmember Eric Ulrich and Senator Joseph Addabbo both took classes and played in the schoolyard at Nativity Blessed Virgin Mary School, though they weren’t in the same class.

Addabbo attended first through eighth grade at Nativity, now known as Divine Mercy Catholic Academy. He recalled the “strict, tough nuns” who ran classes, treasuring the insight they provided for his educational foundation. Addabbo gravitated towards mathematics and science, but saved room in his schedule for the arts. He enjoyed drawing, and in sixth grade, Addabbo submitted a hand-drawn, patriotic poster to a school-wide contest. The poster depicted a map of the United States and the busts of three American presidents – Washington, Lincoln and Kennedy – and the sentence “They did a lot for America. Now what can you do?” The poster won the contest and was sent on to compete at a national level.

Addabbo graduated in 1978 and went on to attend Archbishop Molloy, where he graduated from in 1982. He said many of his grade school friends joined him in high school, some even went to the same college. He keeps in touch with many of them still through phone calls and e-mail.

Politics did not become a major part of Addabbo’s life until he was in college. He claimed that while in grammar school, he understood what his father, Congressmember Joseph Addabbo, Sr., did for a living. His dad told him that his focus should always be about helping people, a mantra he believes he has never lost sight of.

Ulrich attended fifth through eighth grade at Nativity. An active member of the school’s bowling team, Ulrich also played in the Ozone Howard Little League, catching pop flies in left field on his baseball team. Ulrich enjoyed classes in American History, especially those focusing on the Civil War.

One of his favorite grade school memories surrounds the school’s morning line-up. Every day before classes would commence, students and parents gathered in the schoolyard. Father Angelo, Nativity’s priest, greeted everyone, asking them about their days.

“Everyone was running around,” said Ulrich. “It was something to look forward to.”

Ulrich graduated from Nativity in 1999.

Father Paul Palmiotto, a pastor for the past three years, said he sees both Ulrich and Addabbo at Sunday church services and occasionally gets the chance to chat with the two after Mass.

“Both of them are very good people,” said Palmiotto. “Their Catholic upbringing comes forth [in their personalities.]”

Politics in the Social Media Age


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

By Kevin J. Ryan
As the technology that connects us constantly evolves, the core skill of written communication is the one constant foundation on which good technological communications must be built. However, public relations professionals, especially those working for a public figure, need to be proficient at using all the latest means of delivering their message. Today’s communications toolbox includes web sites, press releases, blogging, email, Facebook, Twitter, web analytics, YouTube, Digg and search engine optimization.

Demand the Brand

The names of celebrities are brands, like Nike or Apple. They differ from corporations, however, because they are each a personal brand. Public figures must promote and protect that brand even more rigorously than a corporation, because their own name is much harder to rehabilitate once it is damaged. Rock stars, movie stars and athletes are all personal brands, but politicians are under greater scrutiny.

A cautionary tale for politicians using social media is that of former Congressmember Anthony Weiner. The Weinergate flap ended his career and handed the district back to the Republicans. A company can introduce new products or change executive leadership to recover from a controversy, but a politician has no such luxury. The speed and effectiveness of social media is a double-edged sword. What takes seconds to post can cling to a public figure forever.

The Social Media Advantage

Twitter and Facebook are essentially short-form messaging platforms. A brief (140 characters) text message or “microblog,” often accompanied by a link, is all that fits in a Tweet. Facebook allows one to show and see a bit more, which can be better or worse. Like any format of writing, it’s as effective as the writer makes it. The text needs to catch the reader’s attention so that he or she will want to click on the link or follow the poster. A politician or campaign can waste a lot of time on Facebook or Twitter with little reward, if they’re not careful. As with all media, judicious use is key.
Candidates and officials from both parties have embraced the Internet and its social media tools to stay in touch with their constituents and keep them informed. Councilmember Eric Ulrich’s recent State Senate campaign was announced with YouTube, rather than an old-fashioned press conference. The video was distributed via social networking, such as Ulrich’s Twitter and Facebook accounts. Newspapers and bloggers immediately picked it up that morning.

One of the main uses of Twitter and Facebook is to push traffic (“hits”) to a blog/web site, where constituents should be able to see pictures, videos, full-length articles, press releases and biographical information on a candidate.

The traffic can be monitored with tools like Google Analytics, allowing staff to see which Tweets and Facebook posts are most popular. This is especially useful for a politician, because it enables him or her to gauge which issues are most important to voters.

Monitoring programs also allow users to see where the traffic is coming from and which links are being clicked, so a campaign can decide which news outlets or advertising opportunities are most effective. They can see referral traffic, where it’s coming from and where it’s being sent. Analytic programs are among the most useful, cost-effective weapons in the social media arsenal.

Google recently launched a new marketing campaign called Four Screens to Victory, as both a promotion for their technology and a tutorial on how to use it to reach voters via TV, computer, tablet and phone.

Another advantage to Internet-based communication is the timing. When voters look at Twitter, Facebook or a site like Google, they are receptive to messages and want to connect and gain information. More traditional media, like TV, radio and paper mailings often catch people when they’re either much less receptive or otherwise occupied. They can also bookmark, come back and look at a politician’s Tweet, blog or Facebook page at their convenience. That means the presence is long-term and cost-effective, especially for local politics.

Accept No Substitute

Twitter and Facebook are merely tools that will someday go the way of Betamax and MySpace. But the essential core communication skills necessary to make productive use of these tools will always be the same. Skill at writing, regardless of length, format or purpose is what drives a successful public relations campaign. The message needs to be clear, consistent and engaging.

All of these techno-tools can be learned fairly quickly, but there will never be a substitute for knowing how to write a good article, paragraph or line. Good writing is much harder to learn and far more valuable as it disappears from the world. Our Queens community leaders must balance both and continue to adapt to the ever-changing technological landscape.

WATCH: Eric Ulrich announces Senate run


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Councilmember Eric Ulrich will run for Senate in the 15th District.

Councilmember Eric Ulrich — considered a rising star in the Republican Party — has declared his intent to vie for the 15th Senate District seat.

“This was not an easy decision for me to make. I love the job that I already have, and I had every intention of running for re-election next fall,” Ulrich said in his announcement video. “But the stakes are simply too high. While I’ve been able to accomplish many good things at the local level, I believe that I can accomplish even more if the people send me to Albany.”

Ulrich, 27, was first elected to the council when he was 24. He won his 32nd District City Council seat during a Special Election in 2009, succeeding State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. — who is now considered his likely Democratic opponent.

In 2008, Addabbo defeated Serphin Maltese, a two-decade Republican incumbent, later winning Senate re-election in 2010 against Republican runner Anthony Como. Ulrich, a second-term councilmember and the youngest in the council, was also re-elected to a full term in November 2009.

According to Vincent Tabone, executive vice chair of the Queens County Republican Party, GOP officials had urged Ulrich to take on the current senator in an election for the past four years.

“Addabbo has been a real disappointment for the people in the 15th Senate District,” Tabone said. “We’re very excited that Eric is taking this step.”

Tabone said Ulrich is the only announced candidate on the Republican side so far.

Josh Cherwin, executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said Addabbo has been a “tireless advocate on behalf of the people he represents, which is why voters continue to return him to office by significant margins.”

“We expect the same to happen this year,” Cherwin said. “Few public servants have done more than Senator Joe Addabbo to stand up for the working families of Queens.”

Addabbo did not return calls for comment in time for press.

In December 2011, Ulrich was named chair of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in New York City.

If elected to State Senate, Ulrich said he would provide incentives for job creation by including tax cuts for small businesses and investing in his neighborhoods to encourage economic growth. His five-point plan to improve schools, he said, includes retaining the best and brightest teachers, building new schools to reduce the average class size, creating new school recreational space, strengthening communication between parents and teachers and accelerating student achievement with Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate.

“If we’re serious about revitalizing our communities, creating good paying jobs and encouraging young people like me to stay in New York, then we’ve got to lower the tax burden for homeowners and small businesses and invest in higher education so that people can compete for the jobs of the 21st Century,” Ulrich said.

The newly-redrawn 15th Senate District encompasses parts of the Rockaways, Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven and extends up to Middle Village, Maspeth, Forest Hills, Ridgewood and Glendale.

Queens councilmembers score high on environmental report cards


| mchan@queenscourier.com

The scores are in — and Queens councilmembers have fared well above average in their most recent environmental report cards.

According to the New York City League of Conservation Voters’ (NYLCV) annual “Environmental Scorecard,” a record number of 22 out of 50 councilmembers achieved perfect scores. Queens, the runner-up borough, trailed the Manhattan delegation — which scored the highest average of 95 — by two points, while Brooklyn stood firm with 92 points, Staten Island with 88 and the Bronx with 76.

The annual survey examines voting and sponsorship records on 11 bills covering green buildings, transportation, sustainable food, waterfronts, clean energy and more, said officials at the nonprofit organization.

The average score for the city was 90 out of a possible 100 — up significantly from the 68 point average the Council netted last marking period from 2008 to 2009.

The borough’s top scorers included Queens Councilmembers Elizabeth Crowley, James Gennaro, Karen Koslowitz, Eric Ulrich, Peter Vallone, Jimmy Van Bramer and Mark Weprin. Each of the seven lawmakers racked up 100 point averages.

“This particular scorecard really shows that just about everybody in the Council has a very good track record on this very important set of issues,” said Gennaro, who serves as chair of Council’s Committee on Environmental Protection. “It sort of energizes us to stay the course and keep pushing on in many environmental issues that we’re currently working on. This scorecard really provided some inspiration to carry on.”

Still, not all numbers were high across the board.

The northernmost borough in the city raked in the top three lowest scores. Bronx representatives Larry Seabrook and Annabel Palma both received 64 points, while Councilmember Helen Foster flunked with 36 points.

Foster did not return calls for comment as of press time.