Tag Archives: Myungsuk Lee

Robbers had alleged ties to failed Assembly hopeful


| mchan@queenscourier.com

A band of thugs, allegedly from a failed Assembly hopeful’s campaign team, were arrested and charged with kidnapping and beating up a man who may have owed them money — just two days after a fruitless primary night, a police source said.

The five raging ruffians — Hyun Lee of Whitestone, Young Choi of Fresh Meadows, Kug Kim of Plainview, Long Island, Yung Chung of Flushing and Hye Chung — face charges of second-degree unlawful imprisonment and second-degree harassment after they allegedly cornered a man identified as Don Kim in a Flushing building, attacked, robbed and shoved him into a car before driving off, according to criminal complaints.

Sources say the five men are tied to the campaign of Korean newspaper owner Myungsuk Lee, who recently lost his Democratic bid for the 40th Assembly District, but that could not be confirmed and their names were not listed in financial disclosure reports.

Myungsuk Lee, who was not criminally accused of any wrongdoing, did not return calls for comment to deny or confirm the accusations.

Don Kim was trying to exit a Flushing residence, located at 34-25 149th Street, on Sunday, September 15 at around 1 p.m. when Hyun Lee, Choi and Yung Chung ganged up and blocked him from leaving, according to the district attorney’s office.

“You can’t go anywhere. You can’t leave,” Hyun Lee, 38, allegedly said to Don Kim before asking him to cough up the money he owed the group, court records show.

Choi, 64, and Yung Chung, 56, then apparently grabbed the victim’s arms and restrained him, while Hye Chung entered the building, punched him in the face and yanked an undisclosed amount of money from his hand, according to the criminal complaint. The bandits then allegedly grabbed the victim by his shirt, punched him in the torso and threw him into the rear passenger seat of a 2003 Infinity before Kug Kim, 41, drove him down three blocks.

“I’m bringing you to my boys to teach you a lesson,” Hye Chung allegedly said, according to the criminal complaint.

It is unclear what transpired after this point, but police say Don Kim suffered bruising and swelling to the right side of his face and a cut to the lower lip.

The perps were arraigned in Queens County Criminal Court the following day. They are each due back in court on October 30.

Hyun Lee could do additional time for petit larceny, according to the district attorney’s office.

Kim takes 40th District race by less than 200 votes


| brennison@queenscourier.com

KimLee

Ron Kim fought off four other competitors in a tight primary race to secure the Democratic nod in the 40th Assembly District.

Kim collected 27 percent of the 4,182 ballots cast; just 162 votes ahead of second place finisher Yen Chou and 204 more than third place Ethel Chen, according to unofficial results.

Myungsuk Lee finished in fourth, followed by Martha Flores-Vazquez.

“I knew it was going to be tight, so I didn’t want to be watching television all night,” Kim said of the election.

Instead, he closed himself off in a room to write a thank you speech, regardless of the outcome.

“I felt very proud of the race that we ran,” he said.

Finally, at approximately 10:45 p.m. he received a congratulatory call from Chou.

The Queens Democratic Party-backed Kim will now face off against Phil Gim in the general election. Gim bested Sunny Hahn in the September 13 Republican primary by a 74 to 26 percent margin.

“It’s a first step toward a much tougher election,” Gim said late Thursday night.

The lead fluctuated throughout the night between the candidates in the hotly-contested Democratic primary battle for Assemblymember Grace Meng’s seat — who is running for Congress.

Meng did not endorse a candidate for her seat, though she did offer Kim words of support after his victory.

“Congratulations to Ron Kim on a historic, hard-earned and well-deserved victory. Ron’s vast government experience and dedication to public service will well serve the constituents of the 40th Assembly District,” Meng said in a statement. “I look forward to helping Ron win in November and working alongside him in the years to come.”

Though hard fought, the race only brought out approximately 16 percent of registered Democratic voters in the district.

Approximately 400 residents cast votes in the Republican race, 7 percent of the eligible field.

The winners will meet in the November 6 general election.

“I’m confident that as long as I continue to do the campaign that I’ve been doing, we’ll come out on top,” said Kim.

Gim, happy one campaign is behind, said he’s prepared for November.

“We’re ready for the next challenge,” Gim said. “We will put up a very good election fight.”

Primary guide: Meet the candidates in Assembly District 38


| editorial@queenscourier.com

ELECTION

As the clock ticks closer to state primaries on Thursday, September 13, The Courier would like to provide you, the reader and the voter, with a fair, detailed guide of who is running in your district. We have provided a list of candidates, 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.

 

ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 38

Name: Etienne David Adorno

Party: Democratic

Current Position: Community member/Legistative and Budget liason for Councilmember Robert Jackson

Personal: Etienne David Adorno, 27, has spent most of his life living in Woodhaven. He has become active in his community by becoming a resident member of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association and serves on the Consumer Affairs and Public Safety Committees of Community Board 9. Adorno is currently on leave from his position in Robert Jackson’s office while he seeks office.

Issues/Platform: Adorno has campaigned for public safety in his area, along with living expenses and protecting small businesses. He has said that, if elected, he would work to cap property taxes and ensure after-school programs.

 

Name: Mike Miller

Party: Democratic

Current Position: Incumbent Assemblymember for the 38th District

Personal info: Assemblymember Mike Miller was elected in 2009, has lived in Glendale for 40 years. He is a graduate of Queens College CUNY and the University of Georgia CUNA Management School. He is the son of an Italian immigrant mother and a German immigrant father. Miller served the community in several different capacities throughout his life, and was a board member of Community Board 5.

Issues/Platform: Miller has fought, and says he will continue to fight, graffiti, noise and pollution throughout his district. He has sponsored a number of legislations to protect children from sexual predators, keep safe victims of domestic violence and keep the sanctity of the school system. Miller prides himself as a “24/7” assemblymember – elaborating that his constituents have a right to help, even after office hours.

 

Meet more candidates:

Senate District 10

Senate District 15

Senate District 16

Assembly District 25

Assembly District 33

Assembly District 40

 

Primary guide: Meet the candidates in Assembly District 40


| editorial@queenscourier.com

ELECTION

As the clock ticks closer to state primaries on Thursday, September 13, The Courier would like to provide you, the reader and the voter, with a fair, detailed guide of who is running in your district. We have provided a list of candidates, 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.

 

ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 40 

Name: Ethel Chen

Party: Democrat

Current Position: Community activist

Personal Info: Ethel Chen has over 30 years of public service experience. She is on the advisory committee to the Queens District Attorney, president of Friends of Flushing Library, and a member of the Independent Judicial Election Qualification Commission. Chen was elected Democratic District Leader, appointed Democratic District Leader-at-Large, serving all of Queens for 10 years. She was an elected delegate to the Democratic National Convention and served on a community board for 10 years. Chen was also a supervising librarian for the New York Public Library, and she graduated from National Taiwan University Law School. Chen also earned a master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh, completed graduate studies at Columbia University and has raised three sons.

Issues/Platform: Chen will bring ethical and responsible leadership to Albany, fight for small businesses, protect seniors, improve safety in the community, push for better and more available transportation and protect healthcare for everyone. She also wants to make sure storefront signs in downtown Flushing have bilingual signage to ensure safety.

 

Name: Yen Chou

Party: Democrat

Current Position: Community activist

Personal Info: In 2003 and again in 2010, Yen Chou served with then-Councilmember and current Assemblymember David Weprin as his special liaison to the community. As a public servant, she has been recognized by government leaders as the voice of the Asian community in Queens. Chou has received numerous citations and proclamations from the New York City Council, New York State Senate and United States Congress, as well as many plaques of recognition from community leaders, non-profit organizations and ethnic-based associations. It is because of these accolades that the district leaders of the Democratic Organization of Queen County selected her to become the District Leader at Large. Chou is a former high school teacher and an adjunct lecturer at Queensborough Community College. She implemented and became the director for Aim Academy in 1996. In 1999, with the support of close friends and community leaders, Chou became a local community school board member. Years later when the Department of Education re-structured and removed the community school board, Chou was appointed by Borough President Helen Marshal to sit on the Community Education Council. In 2002, Chou formed the Chinese American Parent-Student Council (CAPSC).

Issues/Platform: Chou will fight to ensure adequate funding for better roads and highways, work to expand the Health Care Act, find community-based solutions to health care needs, help businesses pool their funds and provide them with tax incentives to do so, fight to keep educators’ salaries above the national average, expand options for tax credits to businesses and work to expand the interstate system to ease the flow of transportation throughout the region, and eliminate wasteful spending on useless projects that serve the interests of lobbyists and self-serving politicians.

 

Name: Martha Flores-Vasquez

Party: Democrat

Personal info: Martha Flores-Vasquez has a lifelong history of serving her community and standing up to defend her community. Flores-Vasquez has served as a Democratic District Leader in Queens after winning several contested elections in her district that covers the greater Flushing community. Flores-Vazquez served as chair of the Graduate Student Council at the City University of New York and while there, she instituted and oversaw quality assurance for the Student Services Corp., a committee designed to make certain that students were fairly represented in all phases at University meetings relative to policies that affected a multicultural population at large. She also was responsible for the oversight of the audit, reconciliation and appropriations process of the yearly budget, conducted on a monthly basis. She created the Auxiliary Corporation of New York, and as vice chair of the corporation, she focused on a design that would provide opportunities to minorities in business. Flores-Vasquez has always been a civil rights leader fighting to keep several CUNY departments such as Asian Studies, Latin Studies and Black Studies open for the diverse population in New York City. Flores-Vasquez led the fight to keep tuition costs down at CUNY. Flores-Vasquez is the founder and executive director of Community Prevention for Families in Crisis.  She is the recipient of many civil service and humanitarian awards such as the Butanes National Puerto Rican Parade Day Award for Economic Empowerment, as well as other notable citations and proclamations.

Issues/Platform: Flores-Vasquez is concerned with creating a safer and cleaner community and supports ensuring police manpower levels at the local level. She is an advocate for education and wants to improve our education system by ensuring proper funding and parent involvement in children’s education.  Flores-Vasquez believes in increasing economic development by providing incentives for companies to come back to New York and supports the continual funding and support of programs that service the aged population. She is a staunch opponent of fracking.

 

Name: Ron Kim

Party: Democrat

Personal info: Beginning his career in public service as an aide to then-Assemblymember Mark Weprin, Ron Kim moved on to work in the Department of Buildings and the Department of Small Business Services. At the City Council, Ron worked as a policy analyst, writing and examining legislation on issues related to transportation, infrastructure and economic development. As a regional director for government and community affairs in the administrations of two New York State governors, he collaborated and worked with a varied group of state agencies, elected officials and community organizations.

Issues/Platform: Kim wants to create good, local jobs for Queens while expanding economic opportunities for the entire community, pass the New York State DREAM Act, raise New York’s minimum wage, protect seniors, improve schools, enable small businesses to grow and thrive and reform Albany. Kim will fight to protect middle class taxpayers, get New York City schools the funding they deserve and create jobs by giving small businesses incentives for hiring new workers. Kim knows that public service is about protecting the most vulnerable among us while ensuring opportunity exists for all citizens.

 

Name: Myungsuk Lee

Party: Democrat

Current Position: Owner and publisher of Korean American Times newspaper

Personal Info: Myungsuk Lee is the CEO of the Korean American Times and board member of Community Board 7. While at Korea TV and Radio, Lee had eight years of extensive experience as both reporter and associate director, before assuming the position of executive director. After obtaining his bachelor degree at SUNY Binghamton, Lee furthered his education at Hankook University of Foreign Studies, where he went on to establish the university’s first Executive MBA Program for Korean CEOs in New York. As an active member in the Flushing community, Lee is involved in various facets of public service, even serving as president of the Korean American Association of Queens and counselor and founder of SCORE in Flushing.

Issues/Platform: Lee is dedicated to serving the public as a community leader by providing support and protection to seniors, small businesses, the immigrant and all ethnic communities. He believes small business is the backbone of the local economy and in reducing small business taxes and regulations while increasing small business loans and incentives. He wants to enact local economic development plans to create jobs and revitalize small businesses and strengthen senior centers by providing job training, enhancing meals-on-wheels, transportation and wellness opportunities. In regards to education, Lee supports more open curriculum, which encourages teacher flexibility and creativity. He supports parent associations and wants to enact programs where students can learn more and support their communities. Lee also wants to enact policies to respect and protect immigrants, create more job training and business management programs for them and increase budgets and expand policies for immigrant communities. He also wants to increase better understanding among ethnic communities through multicultural events and sports activities and enhance policies for better community relationships.

 

 

Name: Philip Gim

Party: Republican

Current Position: Small business consultant

Personal info: Born to a working class family, Phil Gim is a hard-working father of four, a small business owner, a proud former member of our nation’s civil service system and a resident of Queens for over 25 years. He is a former postal worker, and was a supervisor in the 2000 and 2010 Census.  He is proud that his three daughters all attend or attended New York City public schools. He’s running for the State Assembly because he wants to represent the middle-class — the hard-working families, the retirees on fixed incomes, all the people who have been forgotten during this economic crisis.

Issues/Platform: Jobs, jobs, jobs. There is no issue more important and of greater concern than our high unemployment rate and the appalling number of underemployed New Yorkers in our state. Our local economy is in dire straits and local politicians are so busy playing the blame game that they’ve forgotten why we elected them in the first place. We need to make New York a friendlier business environment so our jobs don’t move across the river, across the sound, or across an ocean. We need to stop the attacks on Wall Street firms and instead start helping Main Street businesses. We need to provide the same type of incentives for small businesses to hire that we do for larger corporations. We need more jobs in New York.
His platform:
1.  Make New York friendly to small businesses again: We need to encourage more mom and pop shops and neighborhood stores. Instead of huge tax breaks for corporations and sports teams, let’s channel our efforts towards small business loans and business development grants. Let’s make them simple to apply for, and let’s make is easier to start and run a small business in New York. We can start by cutting through excessive red tape and simplifying regulations.
2.  A common sense rule in New York State: Sometimes our lawmakers get so bogged down with agendas and the technicalities of making laws that they lose sight of what they were working for. Every bill that goes before the legislature needs to be cut down to a realistic size that legislators can actually review before they vote on it. And let’s make them actually review the contents of a bill before they vote on it!
3.  Legislators should live in glass houses: We need to declare positions in the State Assembly and the State Senate as full-time jobs and then declare that legislators are only allowed to have that one job. No more outside “consulting.” No more family members working as lobbyists. No family members should be allowed to work for businesses or non-profits that receive State funding because of a relative. And let’s enforce it.

 

 

Name: Sunny Hahn

Party: Republican

Current Position: Community activist

Personal Info: Sunny Hahn came to the United States in 1979. She worked at an immigration brokering office in Washington, D.C. and later for National Women’s Political Caucus. After moving to Honolulu, she worked organizing the Korean immigrant community and helped Korean women who were married to American military personnel. In 1986, she came to New York and worked for the New York City Commission on Human Rights’ Queens office in Flushing as the only Asian community organizer. After retiring in 2002, she served the Korean community and the greater Flushing community. All her life, she has been an activist and a public servant.

Issues/Platform: Hahn wants to make Flushing one of the greatest cities in the world, the next “Shining City on the Hill” and the greatest destination for tourists as well as residents of New York City.
Her platform:
1. To organize and modernize a Flushing public transportation hub
2. To build a religious freedom monument in downtown Flushing
3. To restore RKO Keith Theater as a theater, to hold annual Asian film festival and other musical/theatrical programs like European and Peking opera, Kabuki theater, classic and pop concerts
4. To establish an entertainment/recreational district in downtown Flushing and Willets Point, which will include a casino establishment
5. To protect historic neighborhoods in Flushing by designating a historic district and a design district

 

Meet more candidates:

Senate District 10

Senate District 15

Senate District 16

Assembly District 25

Assembly District 33

 Assembly District 38

 

 

Primary guide: Meet the candidates in Assembly District 33


| editorial@queenscourier.com

ELECTION

As the clock ticks closer to state primaries on Thursday, September 13, The Courier would like to provide you, the reader and the voter, with a fair, detailed guide of who is running in your district. We have provided a list of candidates, 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.

 

ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 33

 

Name: Barbara Clark

Party: Democrat

Current position: Assemblymember for the 33rd District

Personal info: Clark, a coal miner’s daughter, was born and raised in Beckley, West Virginia. She and her husband, Thomas, have four adult children, who were all educated in the New York City public school system, and two granddaughters.

Issues/Platform: Clark has represented the communities of the 33rd Assembly District in the New York State Legislature for 13 terms, using her office to champion equity in funding and access to quality educational programs for all students in New York State. Clark is committed to partnering with her constituents to create programs and institutions which foster stable community development, both within her district and throughout New York State. She was also instrumental in funding the first cancer center in Queens County at Queens General Hospital. She is a current member and the former vice chair of the Education Commission of the States — the highest rank that can be held by a state legislator. She authored and passed the Child Advocate Bill, which helps protect the rights of children in New York State. She also secured $8.5 million in LIRR capital funding for an elevator at Queens Village subway station and secured approval and funding for courses at Queensboro Community College for under-credited students and unemployed workers seeking transitional skills.

 

Name: Clyde Vanel

Party: Democrat

Current position: Attorney/business owner/community advocate

Personal info: Vanel was raised in Cambria Heights in a two-parent household with nine siblings. His well-disciplined, working-class parents instilled in their children strong moral values and the idea that, with education and hard work, anything is possible.

Issues/Platform: Vanel believes supporting senior and youth programs, health care and education are major issues. Vanel also believes that job creation is the major issue that we are facing. Vanel will focus on bringing and keeping more jobs in New York. As a business owner and job creator, Vanel understands that New York makes it difficult to start and maintain a business to employ people in New York.

 

 

Meet more candidates:

Senate District 10

Senate District 15

Senate District 16

Assembly District 25

Assembly District 38

Assembly District 40

 

Primary guide: Meet the candidates in Assembly District 25


| editorial@queenscourier.com

ELECTION

As the clock ticks closer to state primaries on Thursday, September 13, The Courier would like to provide you, the reader and the voter, with a fair, detailed guide of who is running in your district. We have provided a list of candidates, 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.

 

ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 25

 

Name: Jerry Iannece

Party: Democrat

Current position: Attorney and chair of Community Board 11

Personal info: Jerry Iannece was born in 1959, the youngest of three children whose parents lived in the Hells Kitchen section of New York City. His parents were immigrants from Italy. The family moved to Astoria, where Iannece attended a local grammar school and high school.  He graduated from New York University and St. John’s University School of Law. Iannece is married to Lynn Cavalcca and they have two children.

Issues/Platform:
1. Increase the minimum wage: Raising the minimum wage is a sensible measure that will help grow our economy and ensure that men and women working in our state will be able to provide for their families.
2. Dream Act/Fund: I am a first generation American who grew up in a house where my parents did not speak English. By sacrificing and working hard, my parents pushed me through college and law school and, ultimately, drove me to be the successful local attorney and active civic leader that I am today. Living here in Queens, the most diverse county in the world, we have all seen how immigration and different cultures have fueled our economy and brought dynamism into our communities. The Dream Act will make our workforce more competitive, our military stronger, and strengthen our state.
3. Campaign finance reform: We stand at a crisis of confidence in government. Existing election laws encourage a pay-to-play mentality, excessive influence to wealthy lobbyists and a climate of corruption and distrust. Legislation must be passed to reform the state’s antiquated campaign finance laws and create a public financing system to shift elections away from fundraising and towards community issues. In this effort, I support two measures for New York State Elections: instituting the program of five to one matching funds and lowering the campaign contribution cap, particularly for business contributions.

 

Name: Nily Rozic

Party: Democrat, Working Families

Current position: Former chief of staff to Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh

Personal info: Democrat Nily Rozic was born in Jerusalem and moved with her family to Fresh Meadows. She is a passionate and energetic leader committed to building a strong future for eastern Queens. As a chief of staff to an assemblymember, Rozic worked tirelessly to make a real difference in the lives of everyday New Yorkers. Rozic continues to be active in our community, serving on Community Board 8 as a member of the transportation, land use and education committees, as an active member of Hillcrest Jewish Center and a member of the Townsend Harris HS Alumni Association.

Issues/Platform:
1. Developing educational opportunities: Rozic knows how important a great education is for our kids. She will work to reduce overcrowding in our schools, increase parental involvement and expand afterschool programs.
2. Improving services for seniors: Rozic will work to expand access to housing for seniors and fight perennial threats to close senior centers and cut meal programs. She will also find ways to preserve prescription drug programs like EPIC.
3. Expanding better public transportation: Rozic will continue to work on expanding transit service, keeping fares affordable and making the MTA accountable. She will work to secure essential funding for our community’s roads and bridges.
4. Protecting our health: Rozic will work to improve detection and prevention of breast, prostate and lung cancer in eastern Queens.

 

Meet more candidates:

Senate District 10

Senate District 15

Senate District 16

Assembly District 33

Assembly District 38

Assembly District 40

 

Primary guide: Meet the candidates in Senate District 16


| editorial@queenscourier.com

ELECTION

As the clock ticks closer to state primaries on Thursday, September 13, The Courier would like to provide you, the reader and the voter, with a fair, detailed guide of who is running in your district. We have provided a list of candidates, 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.

 

SENATE DISTRICT 16

 

Name: John A. Messer

Party: Democrat

Current Position: Businessman and local attorney

Personal Info: Messer is the managing member of Manoussos & Messer, PLLC and a small business owner in the security and renewable energy fields. He has also served at Fort Totten in Queens as a Judge Advocate General and Captain in the Army. Messer was a government scholar who has worked with the mayor’s office of the city of New York in economic development and corporate retention. He has a master’s degree in government and politics from St. John’ University and a law degree from Brooklyn Law School. He is also a real estate licensing instructor and a guest lecturer for the City University of New York. He and his wife, Wendy, have three children, Ryan, Alex and Jackie, and live in Oakland Gardens.

Issues/Platform: As a former Army Captain, Messer hopes to pass legislation supporting veterans who have served overseas and their families. Through his experience in economic development, he supports economic development strategies which support our small businesses and attract long-term growth where our state is best able to complete. He supports education initiatives that will reduce crowding in our schools and gives teachers the flexibility to teach, and senior services that support those on fixed-incomes so that they can remain healthy and independent. Messer also stands behind legislation that would restore trust and accountability to our state government. He states that non-profits which receive state funding should be thoroughly vetted and that we need to close the loopholes which allow legislators to funnel funds to organizations and family members in which they have an interest. He wants to increase traffic safety regulations to make our community safer and will work to streamline government operations to eliminate overlapping functions which waste our money.

 

Name: Toby Ann Stavisky

Party: Democrat

Current Position: New York State Senator

Personal Info: As the first woman from Queens elected to the State Senate and the first woman to chair the Senate Committee on Higher Education, Toby Ann Stavisky has been committed to increasing minimum wage and supporting education throughout her career. Stavisky was elected to the Senate on November 2, 1999, and has subsequently been re-elected seven times.
She resides in Whitestone and has one son, Evan, who is married. She is a native New Yorker who was born and raised on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

Issues/Platform: Stavisky is committed to increasing the minimum wage, passing the New York State Dream Act, and working every day to retain and create good jobs for Queens. As a former teacher in the New York City schools, Stavisky knows that good schools are the key to a better future for all our kids.
As a public official driven by principle, Stavisky knows it’s time that we make Albany accountable to the people. That’s why she’s fighting in the legislature to increase the level of transparency in government and start making Albany work for New Yorkers again. Stavisky has been called “a model for independent leadership in the New York State Senate” and she will continue to build upon her reputation as one of the most honest and upfront public officials in New York.

 

Meet more candidates:

Senate District 10

Senate District 15

Assembly District 25

Assembly District 33

Assembly District 38

Assembly District 40

 

Primary guide: Meet the candidates in Senate District 15


| editorial@queenscourier.com

ELECTION

As the clock ticks closer to state primaries on Thursday, September 13, The Courier would like to provide you, the reader and the voter, with a fair, detailed guide of who is running in your district. We have provided a list of candidates, 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.

 

SENATE DISTRICT 15

 

Name: Juan Reyes

Party: Republican

Current Position: Lawyer

Personal Info: Juan Reyes is a Queens native who has campaigned himself as “the Irish-Italian guy with the Spanish name.” Reyes is a graduate of Quinnipiac Law School. After graduation, he went to work for former senator and former presidential candidate Bob Dole. Reyes worked in various positions in former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s second administration. He lives in Forest Hills with his wife and their seven-year-old and twin five-year-old daughters.

Issues/Platform: Reyes’ platform ranges from the economy to social and educational issues. He has campaigned that, if elected, he will push for a tax policy that will allow growth in the state. The Forest Hills resident is also against increasing minimun wage, claiming on his campaign website that it would cut more than 43,000 jobs. Reyes has also pushed for diversifying New York’s economy. Reyes also supports the city’s stop-and-frisk policy, saying that it saves lives and keeps the city safe. Additionally, he has supported literacy in children, and a standard of English in the school system.

 

Name: Eric Ulrich

Party: Republican/Independent

Current Position: Councilmember for the 32nd District

Personal Info: Eric Ulrich was first elected in the February 2009 special election and subsequently re-elected in the November general election later that year. At 27, he is currently the youngest serving member of the council and serves as Minority Whip of the Republican delegation. Ulrich was born and raised in Ozone Park where he still lives today. He attended neighborhood public and parochial schools, P.S. 63 Old South and Nativity BVM, respectively. After graduating from Cathedral Prep Seminary, Ulrich attended St. Francis College on a full scholarship, where he met his wife, Yadira. They were married in 2009 and are expecting their first child on October 29.

Issues/Platform: Ulrich’s main concerns include bettering the economy and job creation for New Yorkers. Good-paying jobs are crucial to Ulrich. Life-long Queens residents can no longer afford to live in New York and have moved away. Ulrich has supported the middle class residents, and says, if elected, he will continue to work for their rights. In City Council, Ulrich notes he’s worked to increase the quality of life in his district, targeting vandalism and graffiti in neighborhoods. Ulrich promises to do the same for the area, according to his campaign, at the state level if he is elected. Ulrich’s campaign also touts that he would work to restore “fiscal sanity” to state government and ease burdens on tax payers. Ulrich says he will work to reduce property taxes on homeowners, and some of the taxes on small businesses.

 

Name: Joseph Tiraco

Party: Independent

Current Position: Web Designer

Personal Info: Joseph Tiraco’s lineage in Forest Hills goes back 100 years. He served as a NATO advisor with the U.S. Army from 1961 to 1964 — stationed in France and Germany with the Army Airborne. Following an accident, he received training in computers. Tiraco says he worked in computers for more than 40 years now, witnessing new innovations and the rise of Microsoft. Born in Brooklyn before his family relocated to Forest Hills, he has inherited his family home, which he has lived in for 52 years.

Issues/Platorm: Tiraco touts that he has one main issue: direct Democracy. He elaborates by saying that politicians should be the go-between for government and citizens. On campaign material, Tiraco also supports the “Occupy” movement, saying that it is “exactly right, CHANGE is the physic, the cure-all, the overriding issue that tops all others.”

 

Meet more candidates:

Senate District 10

Senate District 16

Assembly District 25

Assembly District 33

Assembly District 38

Assembly District 40

 

Primary guide: Meet the candidates in Senate District 10


| editorial@queenscourier.com

ELECTION

As the clock ticks closer to state primaries on Thursday, September 13, The Courier would like to provide you, the reader and the voter, with a fair, detailed guide of who is running in your district. We have provided a list of candidates, 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.

 

SENATE DISTRICT 10 

 

Name: Shirley Huntley

Party: Democrat

Current Position: State Senator for the 10th District

Personal Info: Prior to becoming senator, Huntley was elected to Community School Board 28 in 1993. In 1996, she was re-elected for a second term, and then was elected as president of the board, until its dissolution in 2004. In June 2004, Huntley was appointed by Borough President Helen Marshall to the Community Education Council for District 28 and elected president. Huntley presently resides in Jamaica, New York with her husband Herbert Huntley.

 

Name: Gian A. Jones

Party: Democrat

Current Position: Real estate professional

Personal Info: Jones, 34, is a Queens-native and a life-long resident of Far Rockaway, graduating from New York University. He first got involved in the politics of his community 20 years ago, at the age of 13, working closely with now Congressmember Gregory W. Meeks in his first bid for City Council in 1991 and in his subsequent, successful bid for New York State Assembly in 1992. Jones has held positions as president of the 101st Precinct Community Council, a member of the Queens County District Attorney’s Advisory Council and Community Board 14.  Currently, he is a member of the Council of Urban Professionals, the Thurgood Marshal Democratic Club and serves on the Board of Directors of the Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation.

Issues/Platform: Jones is concerned about all the issues that are important in the various communities in the district.  If elected, Jones will take pleasure in addressing those issues and will especially fight for any effort that creates a brighter future for our youth, meaningful economic development, better health care and improved education. Jones looks forward to bringing new vision and new energy to 10th Senatorial District.

 

Name: James Sanders

Party: Democrat

Current Position: Councilmember for the 31st District

Personal Info: Sanders attended Far Rockaway High School and earned his bachelor’s degree from Brooklyn College in 1984 after three years of service in the United States Marine Corps. When Sanders took office in 2001, he hit the ground running.  Over the past decade, he has recorded an impressive list of accomplishments that have improved the lives of people throughout the southeast Queens community. He’s authored the toughest anti-predatory lending bill in America, worked with community groups and the NYPD to host gun buyback programs that removed almost 1,000 guns from our streets, authored bills that have made it more difficult for minors to get access to bullets, conducted workshops for those in foreclosure, and worked with community groups to provide financial consultants to those in need.  Together with the civic groups and committed leaders of his community, he’s worked to rebuild public parks, open up access to clean spaces, build playgrounds and introduce new technologies into our schools and keep our streets safe.

Issues/Platform: The major issues confronting the councilmember include economic development, jobs and quality of life issues. Sanders has spent years encouraging major developers to come to his area and increase the quality of the education our youth receive. We need to combine the funding and expertise of major companies with the vision and ambition found in the hearts and minds of young entrepreneurs, he said. Education is the key to building up communities. He believes the next generation cannot build up communities if we do not supply them with the tools to do so. Sanders aims to not only say that the children are our future, but to truly treat them as such and provide for their future.

 

Meet more candidates:

Senate District 15

Senate District 16

Assembly District 25

Assembly District 33

 Assembly District 38

 

40th District assembly hopefuls square off in first debate


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Six out of seven Assembly hopefuls running in the 40th District race mulled over their top legislative priorities, plans to stir job creation and stances on affordable housing before each were stumped by questions on immigration policy.

The would-be state assembly freshmen — Democrats Ethel Chen, Yen Chou, Myungsuk Lee, Ron Kim and Republicans Phil Gim and Sunny Hahn — deliberated on hot-button state issues for the first time together during an August 16 candidates forum in the Flushing library branch.

Democrat Martha Flores-Vasquez was a no show.

The candidates relatively shared the same answers — each agreeing their top concerns include protecting seniors and education and making sure small businesses thrive. They were also united in their matching confusion on the federal immigration reform and enforcement program called Secure Communities, and were similarly vague when explaining how they would balance the state budget.

Secure Communities prioritizes the removal of criminal aliens and repeat immigration violators — and “causes discontent” largely within immigration communities, as was described in the prompt by a forum panelist. But while each candidate said it was important to protect immigrants, they said in contrast they would support the Secure Communities program.

After an audience member’s question called them out on their opposing statements, each finally admitted they did not know of the program and said they would have to study it more before answering.

Some of the candidates’ hazy answers on how they would balance the state budget during a brutal session beginning in January also seemed to frustrate audience members and panelists who had to continuously ask speakers to be more specific.

Lee and Hahn stood by generically repeating they “believe in balancing the budget,” without issuing many specifics. But Gim said he would do so by not raising taxes for small businesses and the middle class and cutting wasteful spending in the state by first finding where money is being misused.

Kim said he would fight for tax breaks for small businesses and working families.

Job creation plans ranged from Kim’s idea to work with state leaders to secure funding and make sure the government does not neglect the downstate area, to Chen’s proposal to focus on development in Willets Point, which she called “that triangle place.” Gim said his priority would be instead to help people keep their jobs in the first place and give small businesses incentives to encourage new hires.

The future of Willets Point came back into conversation when candidates discussed Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plans to increase affordable housing by 2014. Kim said he would push for more affordable housing in the redevelopment site than the 30 to 40 percent slated to be built in there. Lee also agreed the Iron Triangle would be a good location to plant more affordable housing.

Gim said the Flushing Waterfront, once redeveloped, would be ideal for affordable housing if the state could first stop lobbyists from getting zoning to build high-end luxury condos instead.

The six candidates were also prompted to debate what they would do differently than current Assemblymember Grace Meng, who is making a run for Congress in the 6th District.

Chen said she would “have a full attendance record.”

The Assembly hopefuls will battle it out in both a Democratic and Republican primary on September 13.

 

Assembly candidate Myungsuk Lee won’t battle Post over claims


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Myungsuk Lee headshotw

An embattled assembly hopeful is backing out of plans to confront the New York Post after the major metro paper exposed alleged prostitution ads in his Korean-language newspaper.

Myungsuk Lee, a 40th Assembly District candidate, was dealt a major blow to his campaign when the Post recently reported his paper, the Korean American Times, had published ads for seemingly legal massage services that ultimately served as guises for prostitution.

“The New York Post wrote an article of my newspaper’s back pages — that there are some illegal massage businesses — but it’s not true,” Lee, 49, said. “If you see my newspaper’s back pages, there are a lot of massage businesses on Northern Boulevard and Union Street. They’re all legal businesses.”

Lee said the lewd classifieds in question are located inside the paper, not on the back pages. The candidate, who has already issued an apology, now told The Courier he’s not sure the four or five small ads are in fact illegal.

“I acknowledged it at the time because I trusted the New York Post reporter,” Lee said. “But I called the massage business the New York Post visited and they said they are just a regular massage business.”

Lee said he had plans to send a letter to the Post to request a sit down with the paper’s higher up editorial officials, but the candidate is now postponing delivering the letter until after the election.

“Personally, I want to send a letter to the Post, but my political consultants advised me not to do it,” he said. “It makes it worse.”

The District Attorney’s office said they were “going to confer with the NYPD’s vice squad on the matter.”

Multiple Korean and Chinese-language newspaper reports said Lee intends to sue the Post for defamation and libel, but the newspaper owner denied that accusation.

Meanwhile, Lee — who is vying for the seat currently held by Assemblymember Grace Meng — said he’s hoping for a civil and positive campaign against fellow Korean-American candidate Ron Kim. Lee said he withdrew petition objections against Kim and asked his opponent to do the same.

“It’s bad in the Korean community to fight each other. It makes it very negative,” Lee said.

Pat McKenna, Kim’s spokesperson, said the Queens County Democratic Party verifies all petitions to make sure they conform to election law requirements in a “routine investigation.”

“It is clear that Myungsuk Lee will say anything to distract voters from the fact that he is under criminal investigation by the Queens District Attorney,” McKenna said. “His increasingly bizarre attacks and statements are simply the reflection of a campaign in turmoil desperately attempting to avoid talking about Myungsuk Lee’s shameful record.”

Candidate apologizes for prostitution ads in his paper


| mchan@queenscourier.com

File photo

An Assembly candidate and newspaper owner who is under fire for having prostitution ads printed in his Korean-language paper’s back pages apologized and said the lewd classifieds were a reminder that Flushing’s “quality of life is under attack.”

Myungsuk Lee, a 40th Assembly District hopeful, had published ads for seemingly legal massage services that ultimately served as disguises for illegal prostitution in his Korean American Times paper, the New York Post reported this week.

Lee, 49, said his paper, which places hundreds of ads per week, printed the ads under the impression the services offered were legal in nature.

“Had my staff known these individuals were, in fact, using these ads and services as a front for illegal activities, they would never have been accepted,” said the Flushing resident.

According to The Post, women answering telephones at numbers posted on at least two of the ads offered hour-long massages for $50. They directed callers to the same building as Lee’s publishing and campaign offices — at Prince Street and 35th Avenue in Flushing — where workers then tried to sell a Post reporter sexual services.

“I live in this community. I work in this community. I am raising a family in this community. I am deeply concerned that this type of illegal behavior is happening all around us every day, and part of the reason why I decided to run for office this year was to work to improve the overall quality of life for Flushing residents,” Lee said.

The Assembly candidate, who raised about $82,000 in campaign funds so far, pledged to discontinue the ads and correct the issue in the district going forward.

“We always need to stay vigilant against those [who] will lie and deceive for personal gain,” he said.

Meanwhile, seven other candidates vying for the same seat have filed their petitions and await a Board of Election’s commissioner’s hearing on July 30 that will determine if they have a sufficient number of signatures to make it on to the September 13 primary ballot.

They are Democrats Ron Kim, Martha Flores-Vazquez, Ethel Chen, Yen Chou, John Scandalios and Republicans Phil Gim and Sunny Hahn.

The seat is currently held by Assemblymember Grace Meng, who is heading into a general election for the 6th Congressional seat against Councilmember Dan Halloran.

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Qns. state Assembly candidate profits from prostitution ads in his newspaper

A Queens state Assembly candidate who publishes a Korean-language newspaper is profiting from ads for a prostitution ring on the paper’s back pages, The Post has learned. Myungsuk Lee, 49, the owner of the Korean American Times, is one of several Democrats vying for an open seat in the newly created 40th District. He trumpets his accomplishments on the paper’s front pages — while the back pages run ads for massage services that serve as covers for prostitution, sex workers said. Read more: [New York Post] 

Rockaway residents worry beach is getting trashy 

Lauren O’Connor lives near the shore in Rockaway. But trying to get to the sand with her toddler daughter is no easy feat. Once she gets there, the trash on the beach adds insult to injury. “There’s no ramp anymore so I have to somehow get this big wagon down the stairs,” said O’Connor. “Then I get down here and it’s filthy. I have to clean it up.” Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Former Congressman Weiner reportedly eyes political comeback 

Former Congressman Anthony Weiner is reportedly engineering a political comeback, as he still has more than $4 million in his campaign coffers. Sources tell the New York Post that Weiner is considering a run for mayor or public advocate next year. Read more: [NY1] 

Social Security snafu traps Queens woman 

A Queens septuagenarian became entangled in a bureaucratic snafu after an agency deemed her incapable of handling her own money. The unwelcome surprise tarnished her golden years, she says, and should be a cautionary tale for fellow seniors. Forest Hills resident Beverely Byrne said her Social Security check was mistakenly given to the city Human Resource Administration to manage in May under incorrect pretenses. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Mayor: NYCLU does not “do anything” to end need for stop-and-frisks 

Mayor Michael Bloomberg continued to vigorously defend the city’s Stop & Frisk policy during a visit to a church in St. Albans, Queens on Sunday. Speaking at the Greater Allen Cathedral, the mayor said the policy has a proven track record and has recovered thousands of illegal guns over the past decade. Read more: [NY1] 

UPDATE: Con Ed reinstates health insurance for locked-out workers; negotiations to resume Monday 

Consolidated Edison of New York has reinstated health insurance for 8,500 locked-out New York utility workers. A Con Ed spokesman said on Sunday that negotiations with the Utility Workers Union of America Local 1-2 will resume on Monday, as another heat wave is expected to hit New York City. Read more: [1010wins] 

Assembly race divided along ethnic lines


| mchan@queenscourier.com

KimLee

A Democratic Assembly hopeful in a primary race already dividing ethnic lines fears a split Korean community could give the Chinese candidate a golden ticket to the general election.

Myungsuk Lee, who is vying for the potentially open and brewing 40th Assembly District race, expects to face an uphill battle with fellow Korean candidate — and county pick — Ron Kim.

“The Korean community is a little divided between Ron Kim and me,” said Lee, 49, of Flushing. “Their votes are really divided. I don’t think it’s easy to unify them because I will keep running. I won’t give up, and the other candidate won’t give up.”

Kim, a 33-year-old South Korean-born community activist, has the backing of the Queens County Democratic Organization and City Comptroller John Liu. The Flushing resident was an aide to then-Assemblymember Mark Weprin before moving on to work for the city’s Department of Buildings and the Department of Small Business Services, serving also as vice president of the Korean American Association of Greater New York.

Lee, owner and publisher of the tabloid newspaper Korean American Times, is the president of the Federation of Korean American Associations in Greater New York and former president of the Korean American Chamber of Commerce of New York and the Korean American Association of Queens.

While each candidate eyeing the seat will still have to garner enough petitions to make it on to the ballot, Lee and Kim expect to face off with Chinese contender Ethel Chen.

“If there are two Koreans and one Chinese [candidate], it’s not easy for us to win,” Lee said, citing the results of the highly competitive 20th District City Council race in 2009, when Korean hopefuls John Choe and S.J. Jung were beat out in the Democratic primary by Chinese contender Yen Chou. “We are afraid that’s going to happen again.”

Chou — who is also reportedly seeking another run for election this year in the 40th District — was ultimately defeated in that general election by then-Republican rival Peter Koo.

Former Democratic district leader Martha Flores-Vazquez has also reportedly joined the buzzing primary this year. But each hopeful could possibly go up against Assemblymember Grace Meng, who currently holds the seat and is making a run for Congress in the 6th District. Meng’s spokesperson did not directly address whether she would step down or seek re-election if her campaign falls short of Capitol Hill.

On the Republican ticket, Chinese candidate Phil Gim — who got the nod from the Queens County GOP — will take on Korean-native Sunny Hahn.

Candidates have until July 12 to gather enough signatures to qualify for the September 13 primaries.