Tag Archives: Martha Taylor

Support grows for farmers’ market to sprout in Fresh Meadows


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

A budding plan to grow a farmers’ market in Fresh Meadows is getting the green thumbs up from neighborhood residents. 

Community support is sprouting for a green market to open at Cunningham Park this summer, local leaders said.

“It’s up for a lot more discussion, and we’re really in the tentative, beginning stages,” said Martha Taylor, who chairs Community Board 8’s Parks Committee. “But we’re excited about it at this point.”

Local vendors would sell fresh produce — and possibly baked goods, jams and juices — near the tennis courts, in the corner of the main parking lot on Union Tpke. and 196th Pl.

Officials hope to open the market in late June, after the Big Apple Circus leaves town, and run it for at least one afternoon a week until October.

“People from this community go to other green markets in other parts of Queens,” Assemblymember Nily Rozic said. “I think this is really something the community has been craving.”

The Parks Committee held a meeting Jan. 30 to gauge public interest, since a proposed plan was met with some opposition about eight years ago.

Some residents had feared the market would decrease parking spots, increase traffic, and take away business from a newly opened supermarket nearby, Taylor said.

But reception for the plan has increased over the years, said Taylor and Fresh Meadows Homeowners Civic Association President Jim Gallagher Jr.

“We were pleasantly surprised at all the people who were there in favor of it, including some who had been opposed to it the first time,” Taylor said.

The Parks Committee plans to interview market vendors next month, while the full board is slated to vote on the proposal in late spring.

Residents looking to weigh in can call Rozic’s office at 718-820-0241.

“I think we’re going to have a process that is very neighborhood-driven, and one that has everyone’s input,” Rozic said. “Fresh Meadows foodies are in for a treat.”

 

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Flushing millionaire Isaac Sasson drops out of 24th City Council District race


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

A lottery millionaire from Flushing has scratched himself off the City Council ticket.

Isaac Sasson, 72, has dropped his bid for the 24th District and will instead “focus his efforts on his philanthropy and his related positions in the Orthodox Jewish community,” his campaign said in a statement.

The Democrat announced in January he would gamble to replace outgoing Councilmember James Gennaro in the district that stretches from Fresh Meadows to Jamaica.

Sasson, a former organic chemistry professor at Queens College and retired cancer researcher, won a $13 million lottery jackpot in 2007. But his luck turned in 2009 when he lost his first bid for City Council and then again in 2010 for State Senate.

He is not the first to drop out of the District 24 race. Democratic District Leader Martha Taylor terminated her campaign in February due to health concerns.

The race’s front-runner, former Assemblymember Rory Lancman, was endorsed by the Queens Democratic Party and most recently by former Councilmember Morton Povman, who used to represent the district.

According to the city’s Campaign Finance Board, other candidates Alexander Blishteyn, Andrea Veras and Mujib Rahman have filed funds for the district race as of last month.

 

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Martha Taylor withdraws City Council bid


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

An ailing Jamaica Estates lawyer has rescinded her bid for City Council.

Martha Taylor, 72, announced late Monday she will no longer run for a vacant council seat in the 24th District due to “recent health concerns” that would disrupt campaigning.

“I am stepping out of this race, but my fight for our community is far from over,” she said. “It was a hard decision. Hopefully I’ll be perfectly fine, but I can’t take the chance.”

Taylor would not comment further on the illness, but told The Courier she is going through “exploratory” medical testing. Doctors advised her not to run.

“I really wanted to win this thing, but when you run for an election like this, you really have to do a lot of doorbell ringing and walking around the whole district,” Taylor said. “It’s not fair for me to start out and not finish.”

Taylor is the Democratic District Leader in the 24th Assembly District, president of the Jamaica Estates Association and vice chair of Community Board 8. She expects a full recovery, an aide said.

Former assemblymember Rory Lancman and retired scientist Isaac Sasson are still in the running for the seat. Other candidates are expected to enter the primary.

 

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Flushing millionaire making bid for City Council seat


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Isaac Sasson

A lottery millionaire from Flushing has thrown his hat in the ring to fill a vacant City Council seat in northeast Queens.

Isaac Sasson, 72, said he is running to replace outgoing Councilmember James Gennaro in the 24th District, which stretches from Fresh Meadows to Jamaica.

“I’ve been involved in the community for quite some time now. I’d like to do more. I feel very strongly about serving the people,” said Sasson, a former organic chemistry professor at Queens College and retired cancer researcher.

Sasson, who was born in Syria and raised in Lebanon, is no stranger to running for public office. The Democratic hopeful ran unsuccessfully for State Senate in 2010 and City Council in the 20th District in 2009.

His scientific background, he said, sets him apart from the pack of contenders who have already declared their intent to run, including lawyer Martha Taylor, 72, from Jamaica Estates, and attorney and former Assemblymember Rory Lancman from Fresh Meadows.

“I’m not the typical politician with a lawyer background,” Sasson said. “I’m a person with integrity.”
Since winning a $13 million lottery jackpot in 2007, Sasson said he has doled out nearly $250,000 to civic organizations, temples, churches, veterans and ethnic societies in Queens. An army veteran, he is president of the Holly Civic Association.

The philanthropist may have to dig deep into his pockets to match Lancman, who has already raked in $85,339 in campaign contributions during a six-month period, according to the city’s Campaign Finance Board (CFB).

Lancman collected funds from 29 unions, his camp said, including the United Federation of Teachers, Hotel Trades Council, UFCW Local 1500 and Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association – groups that did not back him during his recent failed bid for Congress.

Taylor, the Democratic district leader in the 24th Assembly District, has filed $55,310, according to the CFB.
Andrea Veras of Briarwood is also reportedly running for the seat. She could not be reached in time for comment. Filing reports for her and Sasson were unavailable as of press time.

Lancman to vie for Gennaro’s City Council seat


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

A state lawmaker is looking to take his legislative know-how to City Hall.

Assemblymember Rory Lancman officially announced his candidacy for City Council on Monday, November 19. The Democratic hopeful will seek to head the 24th Council District, which currently stretches from Fresh Meadows to Jamaica and is led by outgoing Councilmember James Gennaro.

“The city faces tremendous challenges in terms of the economy, the education system,” said Lancman, 43. “There’s going to be a real need for people who have legislative experience and the energy to try to tackle these issues head on, so I’m throwing my hat in the ring.”

Lancman, who decided not to seek re-election after serving the assembly for six years, had been on the fence about making a run to join the city’s lawmaking body since his failed congressional bid back in June.

But the “tremendous turnover in city government” next year — including the mayor and half of the City Council — made the decision easier, Lancman said.

“It’s going to be a very, very exciting time for the city, where the slate of government is going to be wiped clean,” he said.

Lancman said shaping city policy outweighed other options he considered for the “next chapter” of his life, which included going back to being a full-time lawyer or working in the nonprofit world.

“I really thought about what I really wanted to do in the next chapter of my life, what would give me satisfaction,” he said. “What really excites me about getting up every morning is being in public service. That is the most exciting thing for me.”

The lure of the open seat has already drawn in Martha Taylor, 72, who has declared her candidacy in the race to replace Gennaro. The lawyer from Jamaica Estates is also the Democratic District Leader in the 24th Assembly District, president of the Jamaica Estates Association and vice chair of Community Board 8.

City Council elections take place next November. A primary date has not yet been set.

City Council seats draw big names


| mchan@queenscourier.com

ne council

A handful of political hopefuls in northeast Queens are already mulling over a chance to join the city’s lawmaking body next year.

The draw of taking over one vacant city council seat and possibly ousting one of the borough’s only two Republicans in another district has been luring in a number of interested candidates.

Councilmember James Gennaro is currently rounding out his third and final term leading the 24th District, which stretches from Fresh Meadows to Jamaica, and will be forced to leave his post in January 2013.

Martha Taylor, 72, has already declared her candidacy in the race to replace him. But the lawyer from Jamaica Estates may have to face off with Assemblymember Rory Lancman, should rumors of him entering the city race — spread after the Fresh Meadows attorney lost his bid for Congress in June — turn out to be true.

Taylor, a first-time candidate, is the Democratic District Leader in the 24th Assembly District, president of the Jamaica Estates Association and vice chair of Community Board 8.

Meanwhile, a bigger candidate ring is growing in the 19th District, which extends from College Point to the borders of Nassau County, currently served by Republican Councilmember Dan Halloran. Halloran has his eyes set on winning the 6th District Congressional seat, but sources say if his Capitol Hill run fails, he will try for re-election to the Council.

Democratic State Committeeman Matthew Silverstein, former Assemblymember John Duane and attorney Paul Vallone — the son of former City Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr. and brother of Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. — are three existing, serious contenders for the seat.

Austin Shafran, the 31-year-old vice president of public affairs for government agency Empire State Development, has had his name bandied about, while longtime community activist Jerry Iannece — who was defeated in last month’s state Assembly primary — told The Courier he would “neither deny nor confirm” rumors of his entering the race.

No Republican candidate has stepped up to the plate yet, although it is still early. Buzz in the political sphere of John Messer — who recently lost a Democratic Senate primary against Senator Toby Ann Stavisky — joining were false, the Oakland Gardens attorney confirmed.

City Council elections take place next November.