Tag Archives: joe addabbo

Ulrich wins primary, set to face Addabbo in November


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Terence Cullen

In a primary that saw attacks on matters outside of the issues, both candidates in the general election for State Senate District 15 have vowed the race to November 6 will be a clean fight.

Councilmember Eric Ulrich defeated Forest Hills lawyer Juan Reyes in a September 13 Republican primary — a rarity in the district. Leading up to the primary, the Reyes campaign sent out a number of mailers that criticized Ulrich’s record and made mentions of hiring gay staffers and dining with a gay colleague.

“It pays to take the high road, because when they take the low road and you take the high road, you’re always going to win,” Ulrich said upon his victory. “We are so proud of the fact that we ran a clean campaign based on the issues and got our message out to the voters in the district.”

Ulrich now faces incumbent State Senator Joseph Addabbo, who has represented District 15 since 2009. Ulrich also sits in the council seat held by Addabbo before his run for Albany.

Both Addabbo and Ulrich have promised that this race will be on the issues and who can best represent the vast, newly redrawn district — which spans from Maspeth to the Rockaways.

“This election is about the people,” said Addabbo. “It is about our economy, about keeping our streets safe, and about good schools for our kids. It is about our seniors, our veterans, and taking care of our community. I look forward to a meaningful discussion on all of these issues in the coming weeks.”

Likewise, Ulrich told reporters at his victory party this race would be on who could do the best job and tackle problems in the state and the district.

“The campaign from this point on will be about issues, and ideas, and the difference between me and him,” he said.

Friends of Juan Reyes had launched an attack of mudslinging on the councilmember with a slew of mailers criticizing his record and his associations. One mailer depicted Ulrich as a Soviet leader; another showed popular movie villains endorsing Ulrich, along with Ulrich friend John Haggerty — a former Bloomberg advisor convicted of embezzling nearly a $1 million from the mayor’s 2009 re-election campaing; and a third attacked the councilmember for voting in favor of gay marriage and associating with Democratic colleagues.

The campaign literature, Ulrich said, was also offensive to a number of the varying demographics that make up the redrawn District 15.

“To use outright bigotry to try to scare voters and outright intimidate voters I think is an absolute disgrace,” Ulrich said. “The people that I’ve talked to say this is the lowest they’ve ever seen, particularly in a Republican primary. I don’t use labels to describe other people; they shouldn’t use labels to describe me.”

Gerry O’Brien, head of the Reyes campaign, said these mailers were intended to criticize Ulrich for his record in the council and his support from the State Republican party.

During election night, volunteers on the Reyes campaign asked journalists to leave the campaign’s gathering, sources said.

The Reyes campaign website issued a third-person apology from Reyes regarding the mailer alleging that Ulrich was “gay friendly.”

“Juan Reyes personally apologizes for the hurt some of our friends, neighbors and fellow citizens felt — regardless of whether they are gay or straight,” the statement reads.

Former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani endorsed Ulrich in the wake of the mailer debacle.

“[After] what his [Reyes’] campaign has done, which is disgusting,” the former mayor said, “Juan doesn’t belong in politics.”

Aqueduct still on track to be a destination


| tcullen@queenscourier.com


Less than three months after Governor Andrew Cuomo acknowledged talks had broken down with a developer for what would have been the nation’s largest convention center, the question remains: what will become of the land adjacent to Aqueduct Racetrack and Resorts World Casino New York City.

State and Resorts World officials say they are working to get the area developed and have promised the community that something will come in the area, bringing with it a number of jobs and economic activity. In order to do this, the Legislature and voters must approve gaming laws that would allow table games in select locations throughout the state.

Economic development, a use for the land at Aqueduct and better transportation are the three things Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder said he has been pushing for to spark further growth in south Queens.

Better transportation, he said, meant upgraded service on the “A” train and consideration for a Rockaway LIRR line — something that Goldfeder has pushed for since being elected. Goldfeder recently sent a request to MTA Chair Joseph Lhotta asking for improvements to the “A” train stops at Aqueduct. Since Resorts World opened last October, Aqueduct “A” train service has increased by 100 percent, Goldfeder said. Resorts World, approaching its first birthday in Ozone Park, has promoted its accomplishments in the short amount of time, breaking several state gambling records, both for revenue and attendance. In July, the Racino saw more than a million visitors come through its doors, despite a robbery in late June.

State Senator Joseph Addabbo, who has long supported development in the area and jobs with it, said there will be something developed in the area, should it be an entertainment venue, hotel or other amenity. Community need as well should also be taken into consideration when planning what will go into the area, he said. This included not only mass transit, but traffic on local streets and neighborhood effects.

“We also have to keep in mind that it’s very closely adjacent to residential homes,” Addabbo said. “So whatever they build there, we must take into account the quality of life of those who live right adjacent to the casino.”

The three-term senator went on to say that Resorts World has listened to the community in the past, and expects they will continue to moving forward.

“I’m optimistic that as in the past Resorts World will be very cognizant of the fact that residents are impacted daily on what goes on there,” he said.

The Racino’s parent company, Genting, is waiting to see if voters approve gaming laws in November 2013 before laying concrete plans for the area, spokesperson Stefan Friedman said.

“I think the idea of seeing where things come down on the [state] constitutional amendment on gaming will help determine a great deal of what we’re going to do in the future for the entire site,” Friedman said.

Resorts World officials still see the area potentially becoming a destination location, he said, in regards to hotels or restaurants in the area.

Electeds rally around Miller for re-election


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Billy Rennison

A month before the polls open for the state primaries, local politicians stood alongside Assemblymember Mike Miller to lend their support for his re-election campaign.

Nearly half of the Queens assembly delegation and other area elected officials joined Miller, who is set to face off with Etienne David Adorno in the Democratic primary, outside his campaign office at 64-01 Myrtle Avenue in Glendale.

“Somebody who truly cares about the community, knows what the community needs, speaks for the community and works hard is not easy to find up in Albany, we have one in Mike Miller, he has to get re-elected,” said State Senator Joe Addabbo whose district overlaps with Miller’s.

The 38th Assembly District includes parts of Ridgewood, Glendale, Woodhaven, Richmond Hill and Ozone Park.

Community leaders and residents were also among the dozens of supporters that turned out for the Monday, August 13 rally.

“We had a lot of support tonight, because we work hard,” said Miller, whose campaign posters include his phone number, which he said will be answered 24 hours a day.

“We have residents here who we’ve helped at 2 or 3 in the morning.”

Adorno, 27, a resident member of the Woodhaven Residents Block Association and Community Board 9, joined the race in July, forcing the primary, which is set for September 13.

Returning soldiers seek employment at veteran job fair


| RubenMuniz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Ruben Muniz

Veterans recently suited up, got their game face on and sprung into action.

A job fair for military veterans was held at The Shops at Atlas Park in Glendale on Friday, June 8. Over 90 companies and organizations were in attendance as well as State Senator Joe Addabbo and Assemblymember Mike Miller.

“Veterans have a lot of hurdles to jump over once they return,” Addabbo said.

The job fair comes at a time where many veterans are struggling to find employment. The unemployment rate for all veterans is 7.8 percent, below the national average of 8.2 percent, but nearly 13 percent of returning soldiers find themselves without a job,

“The transition from military to civilian life is challenging,” said Chris Bliss, a U.S. Army veteran who served overseas in Bosnia and Iraq.

Bliss was recruiting at the fair for NYC Business Solutions, a city government initiative offering free services for new small business owners.

“Life goes on after the service. You have to find a job,” said Bliss.

Ellis Gomez, a U.S. Navy veteran originally from Puerto Rico who has several years experience in the Navy as an electrical technician as well as degree in electrical engineering, said it has not been easy to land a job in this economy.

“[The job market] has a lot of ups and downs,” Gomez said, who was one of more than 100 vets at the fair.

U.S. Army vet and Queens resident Louis Goagioa felt that the discipline and humility of veterans gives them an edge in the job market.

“Veterans are much more coachable. They are ready to learn at all times,” said Goagioa. “It’s been more than difficult for veterans [to find a job]. It’s disheartening.” Addabbo stressed the importance of taking initiative to help veterans.

“We do a lot for our veterans, but we can still do more.”

Finally! Forest Park Carousel reopens


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Forest Park Carousel

After nearly four years, children — and adults — were able to rush the Forest Park Carousel, choose their favorite horse and take a spin on the historic ride.

The Forest Park Carousel, shuttered since 2008, held its grand reopening on Saturday, May 26, with hundreds of visitors turning out for the sun-filled event.

More than a dozen were able to take the maiden voyage on the century-old merry-go-round.

Jeff Watkins of Woodhaven brought his son, Joshua, who was among the carousel’s first riders.

“It’s a lot of fun and a great reason to get out of the house,” Watkins said. “The park is beautiful.”

“I really liked the ride a lot,” added Joshua, 8. “It went fast.”

The carousel will be open each weekend from 11 a.m. until sunset through late June. After that, it will be open every day until Labor Day. Each Saturday the carousel will also feature clown shows.

Senator Joe Addabbo, who had a chance to hop on the carousel at a press event on May 24, said he was excited to bring his daughters, Alexis and Arianna, to the same ride he once visited with his father as a child.

“It brought back memories from when my father brought me,” he said. “It’s family memories, it’s community memories and just to see my kids smile and laugh, it beats shuttered doors and a closed carousel.”

NY Carousel, the ride’s operator, said it expects to add chairs and tables and open the food stand in the coming weeks.

Ed Wendell, who has advocated for reopening the carousel for years, twice visited the ride on its opening weekend.

“Just in that initial first couple of days, seeing a new generation coming in and having their first ride and having their first experience was wonderful,” said Wendell, president of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association, of the more than 100-year-old ride.

“We’re just traveling through; the carousel will hopefully be here for a very long time.”

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.]”