Tag Archives: Evergreen Chou

Three more eye race in 20th City Council District


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photos

Three Flushing candidates with histories of failed bids for office are now eying another election.

Democrat John Scandalios and Green Party candidate Evergreen Chou will try their luck at unseating incumbent Councilmember Peter Koo in the 20th District in this year’s City Council election.

Republican Sunny Hahn, a retired city human rights specialist, said she is contemplating a run but has not decided. She is the only one so far to register a campaign committee with the state’s Board of Elections.

“I was not sure what I was doing last year. So many things went wrong,” said Hahn, 60. “I really did not do my best.

That’s what I realized afterward. This time, if I decide, I’d do everything I can and really try to win the election.”

Hahn and Scandalios were among several candidates to lose their Assembly bids last year to Assemblymember-elect Ron Kim. Chou has had three unsuccessful runs for higher office, including his recent congressional loss to now-Congressmember Grace Meng.

But the three say they have honed their campaign techniques.

“I started thinking seriously that I could do this,” said Scandalios, 50, a former comic book store owner. “Frankly, I felt I get a lot of nothing from elected officials. We really need elected officials that work for the people.”

Scandalios did not even make it to the primary in the most recent 40th Assembly District race. He had an insufficient number of signatures and was bumped off the September 13 ballot.

Chou ran as a Green Party nominee in 2009 to replace then-Councilmember John Liu and also against ex-Assemblymember Jimmy Meng in 2002.

The 53-year-old ultrasound technician said he wanted to see more affordable housing and jobs in Flushing.

“These are basic rock-bottom issues that the people in Flushing need, and we’re not getting it from the major parties,” he said. “To me, it’s been like an ‘economic Sandy.’ We’re not helping the people that are in need.”

James McClelland, Koo’s political advisor, said candidates were welcomed to join the race.

“More people in the race give people more of a choice,” he said. “But the councilman is confident that his record and community support will allow him to be victorious in the primary and in the general election.”

 

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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.

Crowded field set for 6th District Congressional race


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Democratic contenders “Ada” Juan Sheng (left) and Robert Mittman (right) have collected enough signatures to appear on the ballot for the June 26 primary.

An already crowded Queens Congressional race now has two more runners vying for the hotly-contested 6th District seat.

According to the city’s Board of Elections, Democratic contenders Robert Mittman and “Ada” Juan Sheng have collected enough signatures to appear on the ballot for the June 26 primary, as did Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley, Assemblymember Rory Lancman, Assemblymember Grace Meng, Jeff Gottlieb, Republican candidate Councilmember Dan Halloran and Green Party runner Evergreen Chou.

Each hopeful had until Monday, April 16 by midnight to file their petitions with the city. At least 938 signatures were required, officials said.

While Board of Elections representatives could not disclose how many signatures each candidate collected, Halloran’s camp said he submitted “well over two and a half times” the statutory minimum, while Mittman said he garnered 3,000 petitions.

Mittman, an asthma and allergy specialist in Bayside, told The Courier he threw his hat in the ring over frustrations with health care in Congress.

“I consider it an honor to seek elected office in the community that I was born in, raised in, lived in, volunteered and worked in for over 40 years,” Mittman said. “I look forward to the opportunity to compete in the upcoming Democratic Primary and to debate and discuss the issues that are important to our neighborhood. In particular, as an internist and family doctor, I am eager to discuss the current crisis in our health care system which desperately needs reform.”

Sheng, said to be a producer at “The Chinese New Yorker with Ada Sheng” television program, could not be reached for comment.

All six Democratic runners will face off in the primary to fight for the seat recently vacated by retiring U.S. Congressmember Gary Ackerman. The winner is expected to go up against Halloran, the sole Republican runner, and Chou, the Green Party candidate, during the November 6 general election.

Check back with www.queenscourier.com later today for updates on this story.

Scout gives back to Flushing


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

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Eagle Scout candidate Justin Lieu is on the verge of earning his wings, with seven years of Boy Scout training and the required 21 merit badges under his belt. He just needs to turn in the paperwork.

Lieu, a Francis Lewis High School senior, used his years in the Scouts to improve his neighborhood.

“The position has definitely taught me a lot about helping and caring for others,” said Lieu.

On Saturday November, 12 and Sunday November, 13, 2011, Lieu initiated a project to clean up the Olde Towne of Flushing Burial Ground, also known as Martin’s Field – an idea sparked by his uncle and Scoutmaster, Evergreen Chou.

At first, Lieu was hesitant about the project. Upon researching the history of the site, he discovered the importance of preserving such a significant piece of land, and decided it would be a great way to give back to the community.

“Cleaning up the burial ground made me feel a sense of accomplishment in the fact I was able to help out my Queens community and especially help out a site which has a lot of history to it,” said Lieu.

In coordination with the Parks Department, Lieu snipped weeds, pruned foliage and cleared walking paths. He removed invasive species of plants hindering the growth of others and placed mulch where it was needed.

“I believe that it is important for young people to help out in their communities because this is how a community survives and grows,” said Lieu. “By helping out and giving back, a community can do more for its residents. More people would [be inspired to] go out and volunteer to ‘give back.’”

The 17-year-old feels one of his biggest responsibilities are continuing the legacy of the Scouts, nurturing younger members and keeping the traditions alive.

“I have learned so much in Scouting,” said Lieu. “It is only right that I help out newer Scouts and teach them what I have learned to keep Scouting alive and strong.”

When he takes a break from Scouting and school, Lieu enjoys being active – playing handball and weight training. He also has a love of photography.

Lieu plans to submit his Eagle Scout paperwork by the end of February, following which he will need to receive permission from the Eagle Board of Review, a group set up by the Scoutmaster and Scout Leaders from the district.

Lieu looks forward to continuing to give back to his community, mentioning that he already has another project in the works, to be completed in April.