Tag Archives: Lew Simon

Board of Elections certifies Ulrich victory


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

File photo

Nearly a month after voters cast their ballots, City Councilmember Eric Ulrich has been certified by the Board of Elections (BOE) as the official victor in the race for District 32.

The Republican beat his opponent, District Leader Lew Simon, with 10,488 votes compared to Simon’s 9,080, a difference of 1,408 votes, according to the BOE certification report.

Immediately following the general election on November 5, both candidates declared victory.

However, as more votes rolled in, Ulrich was unofficially named the winner by the BOE and various media outlets.

But Simon did not concede and instead wished to wait until all absentee ballots were counted.

Since Election night, however, Ulrich and his camp believed the number of absentee ballots would not outnumber the difference in votes, and the incumbent’s return to office was ensured.

Simon said despite the outcome, he is “very proud of the race that I ran.”

“I’m still a Democratic leader. I’m very proud to always be there to help the people,” he said.

The close race was reminiscent of the 2009 City Council District 32 Special Election in which Ulrich and Simon faced off against each other. At that time, Simon held on but the councilmember came out on top.

 

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Lew Simon still not conceding District 32 race


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Left photo by Maggie Hayes / Right photo courtesy of Lew Simon's campaign

The race for City Council District 32 has yet to be certified, and candidate Lew Simon is still holding onto the possibility of a victory.

Following Election Day, the Board of Elections’ (BOE) unofficial results show the incumbent, Councilmember Eric Ulrich, winning by 1,138 votes on the Republican, Conservative and Independence party lines.

Democrat Lew Simon received almost 47 percent of the vote, compared to Ulrich’s roughly 53 percent.

However, Simon’s camp said he does not plan on conceding until all remaining absentee ballots are counted, and the race is BOE certified.

The BOE did not have an official timeline for certification, but according to unofficial results, the remaining ballots should not outnumber the standing difference.

Ulrich said he has yet to get a concession call in any race, including 2009’s Special Election, also against Simon.

“Simon hasn’t conceded to me since 2009. I’m still waiting for that phone call,” he said.

 

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Queens incumbents sweep re-election bids


| editorial@queenscourier.com


LIAM LA GUERRE AND MELISSA CHAN 

All Queens City Council incumbents slid back into their seats after Election Day, some very comfortably, while others overcame contentious races.

In District 32, which pitted Republican incumbent Eric Ulrich against Democrat Lew Simon, the race came right down to the wire. Ulrich was eventually declared the winner with 53 percent of the vote to Simon’s 47, but the challenger has not yet conceded defeated.   

In another contentious race, incumbent Elizabeth Crowley of District 30 won 59 percent of the vote against political newbie Craig Caruana, who took 41 percent. Caruana gained support following an endorsement by mayoral candidate Joe Lhota and a fierce debate with Crowley.

Popular Democratic incumbents Peter Koo of District 20, Karen Koslowitz in District 29 and Mark Weprin of District 23 easily won their re-election bids this year after facing off with third-party candidates.

Koo swept his opponents — Evergreen Chou, Martha Flores-Vasquez and Sunny Hahn — by obtaining nearly 80 percent of the vote, according to a preliminary count. Koslowitz beat Jon Torodash, who ran on the Civic Virtue line, by more than a 90 percent margin.

Weprin, a contender for City Council Speaker, beat back a late challenge from retired police captain Joseph Concannon by taking 84 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results.

Concannon, who was running under the Reform Party, began a pointed bid against Weprin on August 8, with numerous police union backings, soon after the incumbent voted in support of two controversial police oversight bills in the Council.

South Queens Democratic incumbents Ruben Wills of District 28 and Donovan Richards of District 31 also dominated their races.

Wills won more than 95 percent of votes over his challenger, Mireille Leroy, while Richards, who won a special election less than a year ago, took about 92 percent of votes.

Three Queens legislators ran uncontested in both the primary and general elections. Julissa Ferreras of District 21, Danny Dromm of District 25 and Jimmy Van Bramer in District 26 were all automatically re-elected.

 

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Close race called for incumbent Councilmember Ulrich, Simon not conceding


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Queens City Council candidate Lew Simon has health scare


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

File photo

A health scare has temporarily taken one candidate off the campaign trail, but he’ll be back running as soon as possible.

Lew Simon, Democratic candidate for City Council District 32, felt chest pain and went to the hospital Wednesday morning. Doctors checked out the hopeful pol and determined he had partial blockage to his heart.

“It caught him a little bit by surprise,” said Doug Forand, spokesperson for Simon.

Doctors first said he would need a bypass, which would have been a “bigger crimp” in his campaign, Forand said. After subsequent tests, it was determined Simon would instead need a stent, a less-invasive procedure.

Simon will undergo surgery today or Monday, Forand said. Assuming no complications, he will be out of the hospital in a day or so and will “be back up on his feet immediately.”

“What exactly he’ll do, we still have to defer to the doctors,” Forand said.

The spokesperson added Simon, a high-energy candidate, should feel rejuvenated after the procedure.

“We’re going to have a Lew Simon with a lot more energy out there,” he said.

His camp is “fully confident” he will be back at some point next week and fully back, up and running by the week after.

 

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Councilmember wants poll site switch for Tudor Village voters


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

With the general election approaching, one candidate wants any and every voter at the polls.

The Board of Elections (BOE) rezoned Tudor Village voters two years ago from P.S. 63 in Ozone Park to P.S. 232 in Lindenwood. Councilmember Eric Ulrich, who is running for re-election, is requesting the BOE switch it back.

“The Board of Elections should be making it easier, not harder, for people to vote,” Ulrich said.

In order to get to P.S. 232, Tudor Village residents would have to cross the Belt Parkway. Ulrich said this task is “nearly impossible” without a car.

Ulrich said that since the change was made, voter turnout from the area has decreased and “residents remain concerned about their ability to make it to the polls in the future.”

Ulrich is running against Democrat Lew Simon in the November general election and wants the BOE to re-designate P.S. 63 as the Tudor Village voting site “as soon as possible” so residents can vote “without impediment in the upcoming election.”

“Tudor Village residents should be able to vote in their own neighborhood,” he said. “I hope the Board of Elections comes to their senses and reverses this decision before November.”

The BOE said as a result of a decision made by both Queens Commissioners, they have agreed to move forward in making the change and it will possibly in place by the general election.

 

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


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

PHOTO COURTESY OF LEW SIMON CAMPAIGN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Primary guide: City Council District 32


| editorial@queenscourier.com

SIMON

As the clock ticks closer to city primaries on Tuesday, September 10, The Courier would like to provide you, the reader and the voter, with a fair, detailed guide of who is running. Here is a list of the City Council District 32 primary candidates (Belle Harbor, Breezy Point, Broad Channel, Hamilton Beach, Howard Beach, Lindenwood, Neponsit, Ozone Park, Rockaway Beach, Rockaway Park, South Ozone Park, South Richmond Hill and Woodhaven), 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.

Name: Lew M. Simon

Party: Democrat

Occupation: Private school teacher, Assembly District Leader

Personal Info: Simon was born and raised in Rockaway. He has been a community and civic leader for over 30 years. He works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, helping all who need help.

Platform/Issues: To secure funding and build much-needed schools. Make school safety and stopping bullying a priority. Reduce busing and keep siblings together in neighborhood schools. Establish an HOV lane on Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevards during peak hours. See that every community has a good community hospital with a well-equipped emergency room. Will continue to fund all senior centers, Meals-on-Wheels and Access-A-Ride. Will increase funding for volunteer fire and ambulance departments. Increase the staffing levels so that each community board will have a building inspector. Will continue to fund the fight for additional firefighters and police officers. Support direct mass transit service to midtown Manhattan in less than 30 minutes (Rockaway Beach rail line). Clean up graffiti in Woodhaven and Ozone Park.

Name: William Ruiz

Party: Democrat

*The campaign for this candidate did not submit a profile as of press time

 

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Democrat Lew Simon enters City Council District 32 race


| tcullen@queenscourier.com


City Council District 32 has a new contender.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Cross Bay Bridge rebate reinstated, but not right away


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Cross Bay Bridgew

Rockaway residents relishing in the relief of a reinstated, ratified rebate program are now holding their breath.

The Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge Residency Rebate Program recently passed the state budget, said Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder, meaning Rockaway and Broad Channel residents will now be reimbursed for their travels across the bridge.

With an E-Z Pass, they currently pay $1.19 each time they drive along the Cross Bay Bridge for up to two trips a day. While additional crossings are free afterward, local elected officials and residents have long deemed the toll a problem.

Goldfeder said the toll forced Broad Channel and Rockaway residents to reach into their pockets just to go to and from work, patronize local businesses, bring their children to and from school and take care of daily errands.

The toll — the only intra-borough one in the city — was free for residents of Broad Channel and the Rockaways for 12 years, but was reinstated by the MTA in 2010.

The rebate, local leaders said, would stimulate more activity and revenue between Rockaway and Broad Channel businesses, while saving residents between $800 and $1,500 a year.

“I made a pledge before taking office that I would work to eliminate the Cross Bay Bridge Toll,” Goldfeder said. “Today, I have made good on that pledge and have secured a huge victory for the hardworking families and businesses of the Rockaways and Broad Channel. The return of this important rebate program is a step in the right direction towards the complete elimination of this inherently unfair tax. This toll has been a burden for the residents and businesses of our community for far too long.”

Under the provisions of the bill, the discount program was expected to go into immediate effect once the budget was signed at the end of March. However, according to the MTA, residents may not see benefits until July 1 at the latest.

“It’s fully funded. The MTA, as of April 1, has the money necessary to give local residents a rebate for the toll,” Goldfeder said. “I’m urging them, and I have been urging them, to implement it as soon as possible at no cost to them. It’s in the state budget.”

An MTA spokesperson said the money first has to be transferred from the state to the MTA before it goes from the MTA to Bridges and Tunnels. In the meantime, the representative said, all E-Z Pass tags have to be reprogrammed, which may take a couple of months in total.

“As far as we’re concerned, all they have to do is electronically press a button. They’re playing games. The money is there. Do what you’re supposed to do. Don’t make us wait any longer,” said Democratic Assembly District Leader Lew Simon.

Simon said residents of the peninsula are prepared to “march across the Cross Bay Bridge in thousands” in order to send a “clear message” to the MTA.

“We’re not going to take it,” he said. “The money is in the budget, the budget should start right away — not by July 1.”

Cross Bay toll could be no more


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder

Rockaway residents may soon find their burdens lighter — at least while trekking across the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge.

Under Governor Andrew Cuomo’s budget proposal, a discount program could see Rockaway and Broad Channel residents reimbursed for their travels.

Rockaway motorists with an E-Z Pass currently pay $1.19 each time they drive along the Cross Bay Bridge for up to two trips a day. While additional crossings are free afterward, local elected officials and residents have long deemed the toll a problem.

The toll was free for residents of Broad Channel and the Rockaways for 12 years, but was reinstated by the MTA in 2010.

Now that fares could be relinquished once again for Rockaway and Broad Channel residents, local elected officials — who have championed against the toll for many years — revel in a victory won while they look ahead to ending the toll boroughwide.

“We have been advocating relentlessly to end the toll on the Cross Bay Bridge,” said Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder, who has been a staunch advocate for a complete toll elimination. “From the many civic and community leaders who rallied, to the thousands of community members who signed our petition, we are one step closer to successfully eliminating this toll completely and lifting a significant financial burden off the shoulders of many hardworking families and businesses in Rockaway and Broad Channel.”

The assemblymember added that the toll negatively affects an already sluggish local economy and places an inherently excessive financial burden on the residents and small businesses of southern Queens and Rockaway.

According to Jonathan Gaska, district manager of Community Board 14, the proposal could stimulate more activity and revenue between Rockaway and Broad Channel businesses.

“It certainly will be positive. Broad Channel residents will more likely come in to Rockaway now,” Gaska said, adding that residents could save between $800 and $1,500 a year if the program passes.

But Gaska said businesses on the peninsula are not likely to see a “big boom.”

“Residents outside still have to pay,” he said. “The toll stifles economic growth within our community. It keeps tourists from coming into Rockaway, and all local businesses still have to pay for their trucks and vehicles going in and out of Rockaway. It’s been a significant problem for us.”

Still, Democratic Assembly District Leader Lew Simon said the discount is a giant step in the right direction.

“I was very much ecstatic. I was one of the happiest men on Earth when I heard,” said Simon, who for many years has rallied much opposition against the toll. “We’ve been fighting like hell to get rid of this toll to make sure the residents don’t pay it. I’m very excited with the governor’s decision, but I feel like all Queens residents should not be paying this unfair toll.”

The discount program is expected to go into immediate effect once the budget is signed nearing the end of March.