Tag Archives: NYC comptroller race

Comptroller primary guide

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

File photo/Photo courtesy of Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer's Flickr

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 comptroller primary 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.

Name: Eliot Spitzer

Party: Democrat

Current Position:  Former New York Governor

Personal Information: Eliot Spitzer began as a prosecutor of organized crime before becoming New York State attorney general in 1998. During his time as attorney general, Spitzer cracked down on the largest firms on Wall Street. In 2006, Spitzer became governor where he helped fully fund New York City schools and reformed state health care delivery to guarantee larger access for working families.

Issues/Platform: As attorney general and governor, Spitzer held Wall Street, big corporations, government and special interests accountable for their actions.  He hopes to continue doing the same as comptroller.


Name: Scott Stringer

Party: Democrat

Current Position: Manhattan Borough President

Personal Information: Born and raised in Washington Heights, Scott Stringer graduated from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. In 1992, he was elected into the New York State Assembly, representing Manhattan’s Upper West Side. In 2006, he became Manhattan Borough President where he has raised concern on issues ranging from government waste and mismanagement to creating economic opportunity for New York’s middle class. Stringer has also worked hard for equal rights and opportunities for all New Yorkers. He was one of the first co-sponsors of a 1995 bill to provide marriage equality, he passed landmark legislation protecting victims of domestic violence and helped establish a Manhattan Family Justice Center.  Stringer’s Bank On program helped more than 12,000 “unbanked” people in Manhattan sign up for bank accounts and participate in the city’s economy.

Issues/Platform: According to Stringer, in order for our economy to grow, the city must have a five borough transportation plan to connect residents to developing jobs and housing centers. Stringer has also outlined a plan to create a New York City infrastructure bank for mass transit in order to put the MTA on a stronger financial ground and allow capital projects to expand and update the area’s massive transportation network. He has promoted the integrity and professionalism of the pension fund and has worked to create more comprehensive risk assessment and management and further diversify pension investments to ensure the fund’s long term sustainability.  Scott has also created initiatives to promote greater transparency and accountability in the City budget process and to give New Yorkers a stronger voice in how government spends their tax dollars.

Editor’s Note: Requests for information from the candidates’ campaigns were not received as of press time, therefore this information was retrieved from the candidates’ campaign websites



Courier hosts Focus on Queens Forum with BP, public advocate, comptroller candidates

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Maggie Hayes

The Queens Courier held the Focus on Queens Forum at the North Shore Towers on Wednesday, August 21. Borough President, City Comptroller and Public Advocate candidates from various parties attended and spoke on their ideas for the future of their respective offices.

“Too often, people vote right down the Democratic line on the ballot,” said Bob Ricken, Towers’ Board President. “This gives residents an opportunity to get to know the candidates.”

Felice Hannah, board member and chair of the Political Action Committee, organized the event with nearly every candidate for each office.

Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr., Melinda Katz and Aurelio “Tony” Arcabascio came out for Borough President. Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, John Burnett and Hesham El Meligy for Comptroller, and Cathy Guerriero, Letitia James, Reshma Saujani, Daniel Squadron and Sidique Wai for Public Advocate.


BP candidates address Queens-centric issues

Queens Borough President candidates continue to push through campaign season and participated in the Focus on Queens Forum at the North Shore Towers.

The three candidates were asked various borough-centric questions by moderator and NY1 anchor Tamani Wooley.

Aurelio “Tony” Arcabascio came out as the sole Republican candidate and first discussed his history as a businessman, currently working with North Shore LIJ Hospital.

“I thought it was important for the Republican Party to have a voice,” he said.
Democrat Melinda Katz, former assemblymember and city councilmember, said Queens needs a borough president who can “bring equity to this borough.”

Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. said he has spent his life “protecting Queens” and will be the “independent Democratic voice for you.”

Proposals currently floating around the borough were first addressed, namely the United States Tennis Association (USTA) development in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park; a Major League Soccer (MLS) stadium also in the park; and redeveloping Willets Point.

All candidates agreed that first and foremost, parkland needs to be protected.

“I will fight to get money from private companies that make money off of our public spaces,” Arcabascio said.
All candidates support a soccer stadium in Queens.

Katz supports the Willets Point redevelopment and said “hopefully in January we’ll be able to take a fresh look and put a shovel in that ground.” Vallone said we need development there, but he doesn’t support the current plan, and Arcabascio doesn’t think Willets Point is a good site for the project.

Regarding hospitals and health care, all candidates agreed there should be more emergency care, multi-specialty facilities throughout the borough, and that hospital emergency rooms should not be the first go-to place.

“I do believe we need to take a lot of the pressure off of the existing emergency rooms,” Katz said.

Vallone added that if elected he would work with the district attorney and attorney general to reduce fraud and in turn give hospitals the funding needed to stay open.

Next, Wooley, as moderator, brought up the controversial Community Safety Act. Katz supports the bill that would reform the practice.

Vallone said when the bill takes effect, “judges will take over the NYPD.”

“Then we will turn into Detroit,” he said, and called the bill the “most dangerous in the history of New York City.”

Arcabascio took a similar stance and said you “can’t ask the Police Department to not stop someone based on your instinct as a trained police officer.”

During the September 10 primary, voters can decide between Democratic candidates Katz, Vallone or Everly Brown, not present at the forum. Then the Democratic or Republican candidate in the general election on November 5.


Public Advocate candidates take the stage

All five Democratic candidates for Public Advocate came to the North Shore Towers to participate in the Focus on Queens Forum.

“People in our city are really suffering,” said Reshma Saujani, current Deputy Public Advocate and recipient of the Queens Democratic Party’s endorsement.

Candidates were each given the opportunity to answer questions by moderator Tamani Wooley of NY1. First, the five answered what sort of legislation they would first propose upon entering office.

Letitia James, a Brooklyn city councilmember and former assistant attorney general, said she would focus on affordable housing, as well as putting a cap on co-op and condo taxes.

Brooklyn State Senator Daniel Squadron said he would create new partnerships for local community education councils, because parent groups need a partnership outside of bureaucracy, while Cathy Guerriero, educator, said she would expand her staff and “put a think tank into the office.”

Saujani, similarly, said she would instate four deputy public advocates for jobs, housing, education, and women and seniors. Sidique Wai, a civilian member of the NYPD, wants to help reform stop-and-frisk and be sure police officers wear cameras on their person.

Wooley then brought up the low grades the city school system just received, and questioned the candidates as to how they would work to improve education.

Guerriero, who has an extensive education background and comes from a family of teachers, said first the mayor should prioritize schooling in the city, and Wai said subjects such as science, math, engineering and math should start at the kindergarten level.

“If you don’t invest in children earlier on and train them to be able to compete for those jobs that are now fast going into the technological field, it’s just not going to work,” he said.

Squadron said schools should become an anchor for students, especially during trying times. He hopes to oversee a different approach to teaching special needs and ESL children as well as give parents a stronger voice.

“We have turned schools into test preps we have taken our tax dollars and invested more in technology than teachers, respecting teachers and reducing classroom size,” James said, who hopes to promote art and physical education courses.

Saujani noted her computer science program for young girls, Girls Who Code, and believes computer science education should be taught in every single high school.

“This job has a vital role to play in a city our size,” Squadron said in closing. “They can make a real difference in people’s lives by focusing on things within its scope and within its power.”
Guerriero said she’s the candidate to “come at your straight, not at angles.”

“I run against a set of politicians. I’m not one. That’s kind of the point,” she said.

James, however, said she recognizes the power of government and knows how to work through it.

“This office has got to do something,” Saujani said. “It’s got to change people’s lives; it’s got to create something.”


Comptroller candidates outline plans

Candidates for City Comptroller joined the Focus on Queens Forum at the North Shore Towers and detailed ways they would approach office as the city’s chief financial advisor.

“The economy of the city is going to rest on places like Queens,” said Scott Stringer, Democratic candidate and Manhattan Borough President, at the forum on Wednesday, August 21.

As Comptroller, Stringer said he would put all contracts and subcontracts online for citizens to see.

“It’s time to end this whole notion that the budget is too complicated for New Yorkers to understand,” he said.

Among other ideas, he made note that if elected, he would bring in community people of expertise in a specific area who would review city contract applications, such as seniors and senior housing.

Stringer said he has two skill sets for the job: “somebody who has been able to work collaboratively to get real things accomplished,” as well as being “fiercely independent” in order to hold city agencies accountable.

“You have to root out waste,” he said.

John Burnett, Republican candidate with a heavy financial background, also attended and spoke about various ideas such as unifying the current five-pension system in city finances.

“It’s five redundant costs,” he said. “Each time the pension fund doesn’t earn its discount rate, we have to cut a check with taxpayer money to find it.”

Burnett, who has a 23 years of Wall Street experience at companies such as Smith Barney and Merrill Lynch, said he has the understanding of investments in order to manage the $70 billion annual city budget.

“You have to know how to audit and hold people accountable with respect to the budget,” he said.

Hesham El Meligy is the only Libertarian candidate and also the only accountant, he said. As Comptroller, he would continue current Comptroller John Liu’s participatory budgeting layout as well as take a second look at the MTA, following Liu’s initial audit of the transportation agency.

“It’s taking a look at how the city works,” he said. “The structure of the city itself leads to a lot of waste. We need to put resources in other parts to serve the people better.”

Eliot Spitzer, Democratic candidate, declined to attend the event.



Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup


Monday: Mostly cloudy with a chance of a thunderstorm and a chance of rain, then thunderstorms and rain showers in the afternoon. High of 90. Winds from the WSW at 5 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 40%. Monday night: Partly cloudy with thunderstorms and rain showers. Low of 72. Winds from the West at 5 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 40%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Lincoln Center Local at Queens Library: Classical Jam

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is partnering with Queens Library to bring free music, dance and theater to select community libraries this summer. Classical Jam brings five highly demanded soloists and chamber musicians together to present an engaging and lively performance, including Q&A with artists. Free at the Richmond Hill Branch at 6 p.m. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Former governor Eliot Spitzer plans run for NYC comptroller 

Former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, who resigned from the position in 2008 following a prostitution scandal, is planning a political comeback with a bid for city comptroller, the New York Times reported Sunday. Read more: The Queens Courier

Queens woman dies in SUV crash on Long Island Expressway

A 33-year-old Queens woman died in an SUV crash on the Long Island Expressway early Sunday. Read more: New York Daily News 

Reports: Crime database has been misused by NYPD officers multiple times 

Multiple NYPD officers have been charged with corruption in recent years, on allegations that they misused the FBI-operated National Crime Information Center to snoop on other officers, or even to get information on people they might rob. Read more: CBS New York/AP

Hot Sunday sets all-time electricity usage in the city

Sunday’s high of 92 was not close to a record — but it did cause an all-time record electricity use for a Sunday, Con Edison said. Read more: New York Daily News

Call to ban smartphone spy ware apps

A lawmaker says a new smart phone apps that make it easier to spy on your loved ones should be banned because they can also help stalkers and abusers track their victims. Read more: Fox New York

Pilot of crashed Asiana plane was in 777 training

The pilot of the crashed Asiana plane at San Francisco airport was still “in training” for the Boeing 777 when he attempted to land the aircraft under supervision on Saturday, the South Korean airline said. Read more: Reuters

Former governor Eliot Spitzer plans run for NYC comptroller

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

Anthony Weiner won’t be the only disgraced politician running for citywide office this primary season.

Former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, who resigned from the position five years ago following a prostitution scandal, is planning a political comeback with a bid for city comptroller.

“I’m hopeful there will be forgiveness, I am asking for it,” he said in a telephone interview on Sunday, July 8 with The New York Times.

The same night, he discussed his intentions to run on Twitter through the handle @SpitzerForNYC.

“As a former governor and attorney general, I believe I have the right record to continue fighting for the people of #NYC as comptroller,” a tweet on the account stated.

The Democratic candidate will need to gather at least 3,750 signatures from registered party voters by Thursday to make it onto the September primary ballot.

In the primary, he will face front-runner Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, who has already picked up numerous endorsements.

Other potential opponents include Republican John Burnett, who has worked on Wall Street, Green Party candidate and former school teacher Julia Willebrand and former madam Kristin Davis.

A Libertarian candidate, Davis spent time in jail for her role in the Spitzer prostitution scandal.

Though he was caught on wire tap arranging for high-end hookers, Spitzer did not end up facing any criminal charges. But after it was publicly revealed that he spent thousands on prostitution services — and as threats of impeachment loomed — he resigned as governor in March 2008.

Since his resignation, Spitzer, 54, has stayed away from political office, but not the spotlight. He has hosted a primetime show on CNN and Current TV and been a commentator on NY1.

But his five years out of office are not enough for some Queens residents to give Spitzer a second chance.

“I can’t believe he’s actually putting himself back in the public eye after what he did,” said Vic McKinney. “I think it’s insulting to the voters and I hope he doesn’t get elected for anything.”

“I don’t think it’s a good idea for him to run,” said Alexander Ciccione. “But since Weiner is running again and he seems to be getting a decent amount of popularity, maybe Spitzer thinks he should try to make a comeback, too.”

Others were more forgiving of the former governor.

“I think it’s OK for Spitzer to run. He seems like he regrets what he did and should be given a second chance,” said Mandee Crenshaw. “I know a lot of other people won’t feel the same way, but I don’t see what harm he could do as a comptroller, so I think a comeback is possible for him.”

-With additional reporting by Johann Hamilton

Updated Monday, July 8