Tag Archives: Joe Lhota

De Blasio has 50 percent lead over Lhota in new poll


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photos

A new poll is predicting a landslide victory for Democrat Bill de Blasio in next month’s mayoral election.

De Blasio leads his GOP opponent Joe Lhota 71 to 21 percent among likely voters, according to the results of a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday. Independence Party candidate Adolfo Carrion Jr. received two percent.

Those numbers are up from a September 19 Quinnipiac poll where de Blasio led Lhota 66 to 25 percent.

“The flurry of negative headlines about name changes, the Sandanista visit, the Cuban honeymoon don’t seem to have any effect,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Lhota, who received the endorsements of the Statewide Association of Minority Businesses and the Latinos Unidos de Flushing today, downplayed the importance of the poll numbers in a statement through his campaign spokesperson Thursday.

“Polls go up and polls go down. While Mr. de Blasio spends his time in hiding, ducking tough questions about his ill-conceived proposals, we will continue talking about Joe’s plans to create jobs, improve our schools and keep us safe. We are on TV with our first ad of the general election and we remain confident that once New Yorkers learn more, they will choose Joe Lhota, a proven leader with a real plan to move New York forward.”

The poll, conducted from September 25 to October 1, surveyed 1,198 likely voters and had a margin of error of plus and minus 2.8 percentage points.

 

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Political Roundup: Today’s public advocate runoff to decide Democratic nominee


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

ROUNDUP

Public advocate runoff today

The city’s only runoff race this election season, between public advocate Democratic candidates Councilmember Letitia James and State Senator Daniel Squadron is today. Polls close at 9 p.m.

James received 36 percent of the vote in the September 10 primary and Squadron 33 percent. A citywide candidate must get at least 40 percent to avoid a runoff.

This year’s runoff election, which is expected to have a low voter turnout, has drawn criticism over its reported cost of $13 million.

Article reveals de Blasio’s father committed suicide

In an article published Monday, September 30, the New York Post revealed that de Blasio’s father committed suicide at age 61.

“While this has been a private part of my family’s life, it is now clear a media story will soon emerge.  My father tragically ended his life while battling terminal cancer in 1979.” de Blasio said in a statement released just minutes before the story appeared online.

De Blasio also spoke about the suicide in a WNYC radio interview. It will reportedly be his only interview on the subject.

Though de Blasio has never publicly discussed his father’s death, he has said that he was raised by his mother’s family, the de Blasios, since his parents divorced when he was a child. This experience led him to later legally change his birth name, Warren Wilhelm Jr., to Warren de Blasio-Wilhelm then to Bill de Blasio.

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New York Gov. Cuomo’s approval falls to less than 50%, poll finds

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s job performance rating dropped below 50% for the first time, according to a new poll released Monday. Read more: New York Daily News

De Blasio fesses up to past arrests

Bill de Blasio admitted Monday that he has been arrested twice for protesting Washington’s policies towards Central America. Read more: New York Post

Bloomberg’s health policy acts as wedge

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In a bid for outer-borough Dems, Lhota proposes road-widening

A Staten Island Democrat named Judy had a pressing question for Joe Lhota on Monday night. Read more: Capital New York

Senate panel approves Caroline Kennedy for envoy post

Caroline Kennedy moved a step closer toward becoming the United States’ next ambassador to Japan. Read more: CBS New York/AP

Political Roundup: De Blasio talks post-Sandy recovery plan; officially avoids runoff


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

ROUNDUP

De Blasio tours Far Rockaway; discusses long-term Sandy recovery plan

Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio toured Far Rockaway Sunday to discuss his long-term Sandy recovery plan with residents and community leaders.

As part of his plan, de Blasio calls for supporting community-based disaster preparedness, expanding natural storm barriers and protections, strengthening the city’s infrastructure, adopting green and flood-resistant technologies, improving resiliency of power systems and creating living wage jobs as part of the rebuilding process.

“Eleven months after Sandy, our challenge to rebuild and recover remains greater than ever,” he said in a statement. “Recovery must come faster in these neighborhoods and I’m committed to listening to the needs of working families and vulnerable communities.

His visit and plan, however, received criticism from Republicans.

“We’re glad Mr. de Blasio found his way out to the Rockaways today, but his visit in the height of campaign season is insulting to the residents who have suffered during his failed time in office. Where was Bill when people truly needed an advocate in government? Once again, Bill de Blasio’s rhetoric does not match his record. The people of the Rockaways won’t be fooled by his blatant political maneuvering in pursuit of a promotion,” his GOP opponent in the race, Joe Lhota said in a statement through campaign spokesperson Jessica Proud.

Republican Congressmember Michael Grimm a Lhota supporter, blasted de Blasio’s plan calling it “completely asinine.”

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Vote count completed for primary in New York

More than two weeks after New York City’s primary for mayor, election officials have finished counting votes, and Bill de Blasio has officially avoided a runoff. Read more: New York Times

NYC mayor wannabes Joe Lhota, Bill de Blasio pay lower property taxes than many

Mayoral hopefuls Bill de Blasio and Joe Lhota live in high-end homes — but both pay less in property taxes than many homeowners in hardscrabble corners of the city, records show. Read more: New York Daily News

High-cost runoff for public advocate’s post prompts calls for reform

The numbers are attention-getting: on Tuesday, New York City will spend about $13 million to hold a runoff in the Democratic primary for an office, public advocate, that is budgeted only $2.3 million a year. Read more: New York Times

Bloomberg says ‘it would be a sin’ to block health care reform now 

Mayor Michael Bloomberg this morning scolded Washington for holding “the country hostage” to the politics surrounding health care reform, something he said the country desperately needs. Read more: Capital New York

Hurricane Sandy beach rebuilding to continue if government closes

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says Hurricane Sandy beach rebuilding efforts will continue even if the federal government shuts down Tuesday. Read more: NBC New York 

Blame game rife as Dems, GOP try to avert shutdown 

Republicans and Democrats blamed each other Monday as they took the federal government to the brink of a shutdown in an intractable budget dispute over President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. Read more: AP

 

PHOTOS: 2013 Kings of Queens honored


| editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER

Honoring the top businessmen in the borough for their outstanding leadership in business and their contributions to the community, the 2013 Kings of Queens: A Champions Breakfast Awards & Networking Event was held at Terrace on the Park Thursday. In addition to the honorees, Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota was also in attendance.

“This room represents to me everything I think is great about New York,” Lhota said addressing the crowd.

The event was emceed by Fox 5 News anchor Steve Lacy and reporter Kerry Drew.

 

SEE MORE PHOTOS

Lhota continues to blast de Blasio on past Sandinista support


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

As Bill de Blasio received an additional endorsement for mayor Tuesday, he faced more criticism about his past support of Nicaragua’s ruling Sandinista party, detailed in a recent New York Times article.

The piece, published online Sunday, examined de Blasio’s time in Nicaragua helping to distribute food and medicine in the late 1980s and how he “grew to be an admirer of the Sandinista party.” It also looked at how his time as a young activist has shaped him today.

The Sandinistas ruled Nicaragua from 1979 to 1990, and, according to the Times, were denounced by the Reagan administration as “tyrannical and communist,” though liberal supporters said they were “building a free society with broad access to education, land and health care.”

The article prompted two of de Blasio’s opponents in the race, Republican candidate Joe Lhota and Independence party candidate Adolfo Carrión Jr. to attack him for his past support of the Sandinista party.

“Mr. de Blasio’s involvement with the Sandinistas didn’t happen in 1917; it happened 70 years later when the cruelty and intrinsic failure of communism had become crystal clear to anyone with a modicum of reason. Mr. de Blasio’s class warfare strategy in New York City is directly out of the Marxist playbook. Now we know why,” said Lhota in a statement released Tuesday.

Carrión, calling him a “radical without a clue,” spoke of another fact mentioned in the Times article, de Blasio’s honeymoon in Cuba, which violated the U.S. travel ban.

“It’s no wonder de Blasio, the political operative and union organizer, whose world view is rooted in the Castro/Guevara philosophy that fueled the Sandinista dictatorship, is surrendering his policy agenda to collective bargaining organizations, he said in a statement.  “That’s why, whether it’s Stop, Question & Frisk, education policy, or business regulation and taxation, this election matters because it can erode the progress we’ve made as a city.”

In response to earlier comments from his rivals, de Blasio said on Monday “I’m not surprised that my opponents will throw labels and call names. That’s a Republican tactic. That’s a right-wing tactic,” according to published reports.

De Blasio also received criticism Tuesday for his choice of debate locations.

He announced today he would participate in three debates over the next six weeks, all in Manhattan.

Lhota, who recently called for weekly debates hosted in each of the city’s five boroughs, said it was “incredibly disappointing that Mr. de Blasio does not appreciate the need to hold debates outside Manhattan when New Yorkers in all five boroughs deserve the chance to learn more about the next mayor.”

On Tuesday, de Blasio found support from former Democratic primary opponent City Comptroller John Liu, who officially endorsed him for mayor.

“Now more than ever, we need a mayor who will stand up for working and middle class families and Bill is that leader. He understands this city is strongest when every New Yorker – no matter where they live or where they come from, who they love or what they look like – has a fair shot, said Liu. “It is time Democrats unite behind Bill de Blasio and work together to ensure a progressive fighter wins in November.

 

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Senator Schumer endorses de Blasio, Staten Island Borough President Molinaro backs Lhota


| ctumola@queenscourier.com


Bill de Blasio and Joe Lhota both received endorsements from New York electeds Friday.

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer announced he was supporting fellow Democrat de Blasio in the race for mayor, saying he “will be a progressive mayor with an economic growth agenda that will lift all boats.”

“New York needs big, bold ideas to meet the challenges before us, and a laser focus on making sure the economic pie is shared more equitably with all New Yorkers. Bill de Blasio is the leader to achieve these goals, and I will do all I can to help make these objectives become reality,” said Schumer in a statement.

The senator is just one of several notable Democrats, including Bill and Hillary Clinton, who have endorsed de Blasio this week.

Lhota won support from Staten Island Borough President James P. Molinaro today, who previously backed City Council Speaker Christine Quinn in the Democratic mayoral primary.

Molinaro is a member of the Conservative Party.

“Staten Island is benefiting enormously from all the great accomplishments made during Joe Lhota’s tenure as Deputy Mayor, including the free ferry service, establishment of The Petrides School, the opening of Pratt Paper, and the closure of the Fresh Kills landfill,” said Molinaro in a statement. “Then and now, Joe Lhota has the experience, the leadership skills, and the common sense judgment to lead our City forward and continue to help Staten Island prosper.”

The endorsements follow the release of a Quinnipiac University poll on Thursday night that showed de Blasio with a 66 to 25 percent lead over Lhota among likely voters.

It’s the second poll this week to show de Blasio beating Lhota by double digit numbers and winning voter support on most issues.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Thursday: Clear. High of 75. Winds from the WSW at 5 to 10 mph. Thursday night: Partly cloudy in the evening, then clear. Low of 61. Winds from the SW at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Nickelodeon’s Worldwide Day of Play

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Joe Lhota picks new team of rainmakers for New York mayoral campaign

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De Blasio leads primary, but may face runoff; Lhota secures GOP nomination


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo via Twitter/@deBlasioNYC

Tuesday came and went with a mayoral Republican nominee but an unclear outcome in the Democratic primary.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio’s last minute momentum was enough to secure him a first place finish, but not necessarily enough to earn him the nomination without a runoff.

Though he beat former City Comptroller Bill Thompson by a significant lead, he was still hovering around the 40 percent threshold needed to avoid an October 1 election, according to unofficial results.

With 98 percent of precincts reporting, de Blasio had 40 percent and Thompson had 26 percent.

“What we have achieved here tonight, and what we’ll do in the next round of this campaign, won’t just change the view of how things look inside City Hall, but will change the policies that have left behind so many of our fellow New Yorkers outside of City Hall,” de Blasio said to his supporters in Brooklyn on Tuesday.

“I think we all know that this race is incredibly close and there are still tens of thousands of ballots that remain to be counted,” Thompson told his supporters that night.

“But every voice in New York City counts,” he also said, “and we’re going to wait for every voice to be heard. We’re going to wait for every voice to be counted.”

Lhota easily secured his party nomination with 53 percent of the vote, beating grocery store mogul John Catsimatidis, who had 41 percent, and Doe Fund founder George McDonald, who had 7 percent.

“Ladies and gentlemen, tonight represents a mile marker on our road to victory in November. Our journey continues—just at a faster pace,” said Lhota speaking to supporters. “Now is the time for our party to come together and unite for the common good.”

It was no surprise the ex-MTA chairman and former deputy mayor under Rudy Giuliani won, as recent polls predicted.

Unlike the GOP Primary, the Democratic race not only had various front-runners, but also more controversy.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn was the early front-runner, but when former Congressmember Anthony Weiner entered the race in May, her lead shrunk in the polls.

Weiner, however, soon faced another sexting scandal, and he lost favorability with voters.

In August, de Blasio started to gain in the polls, and became the front-runner. He eventually surged ahead, and, in some surveys, even had enough support to avoid a runoff.

As the race drew closer, some of those same polls showed Quinn losing support among voters, and even predicted her third place finish.

In the primary, Quinn had 16 percent, followed by John Liu with 7 percent.

Liu, the only mayoral candidate from Queens, was optimistic that his numbers on election night would be better than the single digits the polls were showing, but his campaign was facing fundraising issues.

Though he was never accused of any wrongdoing, two of his campaign workers were found guilty in connection to illegally funneling funds to his campaign, and he was denied millions in campaign public matching funds.

Weiner finished behind Liu, with 5 percent, even though he was polling better than him.

“We had the best ideas,” Weiner said, giving his concession speech. “Sadly I was an imperfect messenger.”

 

Candidates come out to Rockaway Beach


| editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Benjamin Fang

BENJAMIN FANG

Political candidates recently spoke at the Friends of Rockaway Beach forum, where they affirmed their commitment to address the needs of the Rockaway community.

Mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner headlined the forum for the district he once represented in Congress. Democratic mayoral candidates Comptroller John Liu, former Councilmember Sal Albanese and Republicans John Catsimatidis and Joe Lhota also made their cases to the voters.

Borough President candidates Melinda Katz and State Senator Tony Avella, Councilmember Eric Ulrich and his challengers Lew Simon and William Ruiz, and Public Advocate candidates Letitia James and Cathy Guerriero also addressed the packed room.

“We’re going to ask them to tell us their plans for our beaches, our boardwalk, our play areas,” said John Cori, co-president of Friends of Rockaway Beach and the organizer of the event. “We need to hold our elected officials accountable.”

The candidates talked about greater protection for the beach, improving transportation to and from Rockaway and giving the community a greater voice in City Hall.

Weiner, recently scandalized once more for “sexting,” slammed City Hall for creating “hipster-looking concessions” on the beach rather than restoring it. He also demanded extended ferry service, which is set to end by Labor Day.

“Rockaway might be this far away place to City Hall, but it won’t be if I’m mayor,” he said.
Katz then questioned the city’s readiness and response to Sandy, a topic the audience was hoping to discuss.

“Where are the double dunes that will protect the homes?” asked Katz. “Where’s the evacuation plan?”

She also talked about investing in the Rockaways and building it “better than it was.”
Avella blasted both Katz and Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr., two leading candidates for Borough President, for their voting records while in the City Council.

Avella’s plan for the Rockaways includes giving the area a railroad line, getting rid of tolls and 24 hours of bus service.

Ulrich touted his record in the City Council and stressed how participatory budgeting gave way to success.

“In those four-and-a-half years, I’ve been able to secure, with your help, millions and millions of dollars in capital improvements and programming for senior centers, for schools, for libraries, to keep our firehouses open,” he said.

His challenger, Simon, gave an impassioned speech about the devastated community and the need to rebuild it.

“There’s no boardwalk. There are no benches. There’s nothing here!” said Simon. “I want to be chair of the Parks and Recreation committee. I want to make sure our boardwalk is built.”

Other candidates for mayor and public advocate also courted the Rockaway vote and spoke about focusing on the Rockaways if elected.

 

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Candidates answer questions at Courier mayoral forum


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Mike DiBartolomeo

The Democratic, Republican and independent mayoral candidates all came together on one stage for the first time since the race to succeed Mayor Michael Bloomberg began.

The Courier hosted its Mayoral Forum on Friday, June 7 at Terrace on the Park with Democrats Sal Albanese, Bill de Blasio, John Liu, Christine Quinn, Bill Thompson and Anthony Weiner joined Republicans John Catsimatidis, George McDonald, Joe Lhota and independent Adolfo Carrion. Moderator and NY1 anchor Rocco Vertuccio asked questions pertaining to both borough and city issues.

Vertuccio kicked off the event with a question about handling labor contracts for city workers.

“The municipal work force is demoralized,” Albanese said. “Many haven’t gotten a raise in five years.”

The former councilmember said he would do his best to provide retroactive pay for the workforce without raising taxes.

Carrion suggested establishing a cost-sharing relationship with the city’s workforce, while Lhota said workers do not pay their fair share when it comes to healthcare costs.

“We don’t want to go backwards,” McDonald said, adding he would not sign a labor contract that did not include a cost of participation for healthcare by municipal employees.

He also said there are “too many city employees” and that the city should utilize available technology to fulfill the tasks of some jobs.

Weiner agreed the city needs to take control of spending, especially healthcare costs, and utilize local pharmacies and labs to keep “our healthcare money here in Queens.” He was the only candidate to stand while speaking.

The Major League Soccer (MLS) development in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park was a source of disagreement, with some candidates taking a pro-development stance and others aiming to preserve as much parkland as possible.

De Blasio, the city’s public advocate, said he lived near the park and has a “personal sense” of how much Flushing Meadows means to people.

“Sports don’t necessarily help out the larger economy,” he said.

However, he said that finding a way to create a stadium that gives an opportunity to keep the same amount of parkland would be a “worthy discussion.”

“I’m all for having a stadium somewhere in the city, but we can’t burden Flushing Meadows,” Lhota said.

He added we should not be taking parkland and using it for other initiatives. Lhota suggested allocating the funds to renovate the New York State Pavilion instead.

City Comptroller Liu, a Queens native, said he wants to make sure there is no alienation of parkland and that it should not be sold to public interests.

Before leaving for another engagement, City Council Speaker Quinn said it is “critically important to have the utmost respect for the community and voice of the local elected officials.”

She added that is why she has been working with Councilmember Julissa Ferreras on the area’s proposed tennis center.

Former Congressmember Weiner said he is pro-development and would love to have MLS in the borough, but first, he joked, he’d “love to have major league baseball here in Queens.”

“I’m a Mets fan. I can say it,” he said with a laugh.

One citywide issue concerned government’s alleged use of violation fines as a source of revenue. The Bloomberg administration has come under criticism by some who fines placed upon small businesses are unfair. Vertuccio asked the candidates what they would do.

Catsimatidis, once a small business owner himself, proposed a “business advocate group” within the city. When business owners are fined and believe it is unwarranted, they would not need to hire a lawyer. In Catsimatidis’ proposal, the advocacy group would fight on the owner’s behalf.

“New York City is at war with its small businesses,” Thompson said.

McDonald said his city sweeping company cleans the streets outside of merchants’ sites and “saves [them] millions of dollars a year in fines.”

When it came to city cultural institutions and the yearly “budget dance” that such organizations experience, all the candidates agreed there needs to be more control over the mayoral budget, saying the confusion should end.

Thompson said the city should put more money into cultural institutions and place art and music education back in the public school system.

PHOTOS FROM THE MAYORAL FORUM

Some candidates briefly showed their claws during the forum’s closing remarks. Albanese made reference to Weiner’s controversial fall from office.

“Weiner is interesting,” Albanese said. “He’s very political and articulate. But I believe it’s important if you want to be the mayor of New York City to have credibility. He’s betrayed the public trust on several occasions. I think that disqualifies him from running for mayor.”

The remark was met with sounds of disapproval from the panel, with McDonald tapping loudly on his microphone.

Moving on, de Blasio described his proposal to tax the “wealthiest New Yorkers so we can have full day pre-kindergarten programs for our kids.”

Catsimatidis called himself “the balance,” saying he has not taken any campaign donations from political contributors.

Carrion said he is running as an independent to “ensure this city of promise gives this opportunity to our generation and future generations.”

Candidates will continue to blaze down the campaign trail until the primary election in September, followed by the mayoral election in November.

 

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com


TODAY’S FORECAST 

Monday: Partly cloudy. High of 68. Winds from the North at 5 to 10 mph shifting to the SSW in the afternoon. Monday night: Overcast with a chance of rain. Low of 54. Winds from the South at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 30%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Holocaust Memorial Day Talk by Holocaust Survivor

At 1:30 p.m. at the Central Queens Y in Forest Hills, writer, artist and civil rights activist Marione Ingram will discuss her memoir on her experiences during the Holocaust. Following World War II, Ingram emigrated to the U.S. and set up a Freedom School in Mississippi during the 1960s. $6 suggested donation. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Gov. Cuomo considering ousting Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver over Albany scandals

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Missing cab driver found in Jamaica Hospital bed days after cracked skull, memory loss

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Queensboro Bridge open again following oxygen tank explosion

Traffic is back to normal on the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge after an oxygen tank explosion created a fireball and shut down the span Sunday evening. Read more: ABC New York

Activists petition against ‘abusive practices’ in the NYPD

Members of an activist group circulated a petition at posts around the city Sunday — with the goal of ending what the group called “abusive practices” in the New York City Police Department. Read more: CBS New York

Queens Community Board 9 looks to boot member for ‘non-attendance’

A Queens community board is looking to boot a member for playing hooky too often — a move that civic leaders said is quite rare for the volunteer panels. Read more: New York Daily News

Lhota lashes Quinn over pals’ $lush

Gop mayoral contender Joe Lhota yesterday blasted Democratic front-runner Christine Quinn for what he called her poor oversight of how City Council members spend discretionary taxpayer dollars known as member items. Read more: New York Post 

Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s first female PM, dead at 87

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher died Monday following a stroke, her spokeswoman confirmed. Read more: CNN

 

Republican candidate Tom Allon drops out of NYC mayor’s race


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

Sunday the Democratic mayoral field widened, but today the list of Republican candidates is shorter.

Newspaper publisher Tom Allon announced Monday that he is dropping out of the 2013 race for mayor of New York City.

In a statement, the CEO of Manhattan Media said he was withdrawing his bid after acquiring City and State Media, which exclusively covers New York government and politics.

“While no longer a candidate, I will continue to passionately and relentlessly pursue a reform agenda as an education activist, a columnist and blogger, and parent of three teenagers,” said Allon.

In the primary the ex-Democrat was set to face former head of the MTA Joe Lhota, supermarket billionaire John Catsimatidis and Doe Fund founder George McDonald.

“I entered this race in 2011 to offer the voters of New York City a choice that was different from the career politicians who at the time seemed likely to be the only Mayoral candidates in the campaign-to-come, but the equation has changed in the months since,” Allon also said in his statement. “I have been gratified to hear Joe Lhota, John Catsimatidis, Bill Thompson, Christine Quinn and others voice some of my education and economic development ideas and I hope the next mayor will see them to fruition.”

 

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Quinn increases mayoral lead in new poll


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Official NYC City Council photo by William Alatriste

BY ANTHONY O’REILLY

Christine Quinn’s chances of becoming the next mayor of New York City seem more likely, a new survey finds.

A NY1-Marist poll found that City Council Speaker, who has not formally announced her candidacy, is heavily favored by 37 percent of registered Democrats in the city, up from 23 percent in October,

Quinn gave her last State of the City address as speaker on Tuesday, February 12 where she focused on the middle class.

Former City Comptroller Bill Thompson is far behind in second with 13 percent and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio is currently in third with 12 percent.

On the Republican side, former MTA chairman Joe Lhota holds an advantage with 20 percent of registered Republicans favoring his run for mayor. George McDonald, founder of the Doe Fund, a charity that supports the homeless, is currently in second with eight percent of the vote, followed by billionaire John Catsimatidis with five percent.

 

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Grocery mogul Catsimatidis announces run for mayor


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Facebook/.johncatsimatidis2013.com

It’s getting crowded.

The Republican race for the mayor’s office tallied another candidate on Tuesday when John A. Catsimatidis announced he was running for the hotly contested position.

Catsimatidis, owner, president and CEO of grocery chain Red Apple Group, parent company of Gristedes, announced his candidacy on the steps of City Hall and promised to represent all New Yorkers, in every borough, if elected. His platform is based on strengthening the school system, better public safety and tax relief for the middle class.

“I want to be a mayor for all the neighborhoods of our great city,” he said in a campaign statement. “For Richmond Hill and Flushing, for Canarsie and Williamsbridge, for Harlem and for Wall Street for Riverdale and Throgs Neck and for Tottenville and New Dorp. I want to be a mayor who fairly represents all New Yorkers whether you are a cab driver from South Asia, a bodega owner from the Caribbean or an aspiring actor from the Midwest.”

The produce magnate is one of the few candidates from either party who has not spent the bulk of his career in public service. His main Republican opponent, former MTA chair Joe Lhota, was a budget director and then deputy mayor for former Mayor Rudoplh Guiliani. He’s also facing philanthropist George McDonald, chair of the homeless aid group, The Doe Fund.

“Unlike many of my opponents are who professional politicians and products of the cronyism of the political club house,” Catsimatidis said, “I come to this race as an independent businessman who will offer commonsense solutions to the problems that affect New York.”

Catsimatidis, 64, has a net worth of $3 billion as of last September, according to Forbes, and is ranked 132 in the magazine’s list of the 400 richest Americans.

Queens Republican chair Phil Ragusa said while the party has not officially endorsed a candidate, Catsimatidis has had support in the party based on his initiative to create jobs and fight for residents’ rights.

Photo: Twitter/@JCats2013

 

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Joe Lhota officially enters mayoral race


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Lhoto photo courtesy of MTA/Flickr / Additional photos courtesy of Twitter (@JoeLhota)

It’s official. Joe Lhota, former CEO and chair of the MTA, is a mayoral candidate.

On Thursday Lhota filed papers with the Board of Elections to become the 109th mayor of New York City.

This morning on his newly created campaign website and Facebook page as well as on both his personal and campaign Twitter accounts he made the announcement:

He also tweeted an image with the slogan “A mayor for all of New York, proven leadership” and a photoshopped picture of Grand Central’s Mercury clock  with “Joe Lhota for Mayor” written below it.

The ex-transit head stepped down from his MTA position at the end of 2012 so he could ponder his candidacy, and said he would make his final decision on running in early January.

Lhota, a former deputy mayor for operations during the Rudy Giuliani administration, will reportedly run as a Republican.

Among his own party Lhota is a top contender, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday.

Twenty-three percent of New York City voters said they would vote for Lhota in a Republican primary for mayor.

Coming in second was supermarket mogul John Catsimatidis with nine percent, followed by newspaper publisher Tom Allon with five percent, former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion with three percent and Doe Fund founder George McDonald with two percent.

But 53 percent of those surveyed were still undecided.

The same Quinnipiac poll also found that voters would back several potential Democratic candidates, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and City Comptroller William Thompson, over Lhota by a 3-1 margin or more.