Tag Archives: nyc mayor’s race

De Blasio has strong lead over Lhota: poll

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photos

The results of the first post-primary mayoral poll show Democratic candidate Bill de Blasio with a wide lead over Republican Joe Lhota.

According to a Wall Street Journal/NBC 4 New York/Marist poll survey released Tuesday night, 65 percent of likely voters are for the city’s public advocate, de Blasio, 22 percent support the former MTA chairman, Lhota, and 3 percent back Independence candidate and former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion. One percent are for another candidate and 9 percent are undecided.

“Joe Lhota must attract many Democrats to be competitive against the heavily favored Bill de Blasio, and right now, that’s not happening,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “De Blasio is very well-liked and is cornering the market on most of the issues and qualities that matter to voters.”

Though de Blasio and Lhota have the support of the majority of their party voters, de Blasio attracts more support from GOP voters than Lhota receives from Democrats.

According to the poll results, 77 percent of likely Democratic voters support de Blasio, 13 percent are for Lhota and 1 percent Carion.  Sixty-three percent of likely Republican voters are for Lhota, 25 percent are for de Blasio and 5 percent Carrion. Among non-enrolled voters, 50 percent support de Blasio, 24 percent back Lhota and 9 percent are for Carrion.

When it came to who the voters thought could handle the issues facing the city, most thought de Blasio would do the best job. But voters were more divided on would be better at handling crime prevention and the city’s finances.

The poll surveyed a total of 930 registered voters and 632 likely voters on Sunday and Monday.

Responding to the poll, Lhota spokeswoman Jessica Proud said in a statement Tuesday, “We always knew we’d be the underdog in this race and once New Yorkers learn more about Bill’s radical policies, they will be looking for a practical alternative. Joe’s experienced leadership and solutions to expand the middle class will resonate with everyday New Yorkers in all five boroughs.”



Christine Quinn endorses Bill de Blasio for mayor

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo via Twitter/@deBlasioNYC

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn officially endorsed Bill de Blasio for mayor Tuesday.

“It is time for Democrats throughout our city to put aside their differences and fight together for the progressive values we all share,” Quinn said in a statement. “By working together, we will build a stronger city where no New Yorker is left behind, and where working and middle class families have access to good-paying jobs, great schools, quality health care, affordable housing, and safe streets.”

De Blasio, thanking Quinn, who finished third in the primary last week, said it was “an honor” to receive her support.

“She is a tireless fighter for her constituents and she has always been a powerful voice on so many critical issues – from housing to fairness to fighting for the middle class. I look forward to working with her to move our great city forward.”

The announcement was made a day after and at the same spot that another former mayoral opponent, Bill Thompson, said he was dropping out of the race and supporting de Blasio.

“I’m proud to stand next to a great New Yorker and throw my support behind him. And I ask every single person who campaign for me, supported me and voted for me to do the same thing,” Thompson said Monday.

Governor Cuomo also expressed his support for the current public advocate to become the next leader of the city on the steps of City Hall yesterday.

“Bill is going to lead this city in the great, progressive Democratic traditions that made this the greatest city on the planet,” said Cuomo.

Since finishing first in the Democratic primary, with 40 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results, de Blasio has been racking up endorsements, including, the Working Families Party and former backers of Thompson and Quinn.



Thompson ends mayoral bid

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Bill Thompson’s mayoral campaign has come to an end.

The former city comptroller announced Monday morning that he was dropping his bid for the Democratic nomination, throwing his support behind primary winner Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.

“If this were a general election with consequences about the fundamental direction of our city, you can bet I’d fight until the very last vote. But Bill de Blasio and I want to move our city forward in the same direction. We share the fundamental same views and values. This is bigger than either one of us,” he said at the announcement in front of City Hall.

Though Thompson said he still believes every vote should be counted, in reality, the time it would take to count those ballots would have made it impossible to campaign, and remaining in the race would have been a “disservice” to voters.

Joining Thompson at the announcement was de Blasio as well as Governor Andrew Cuomo, who, according to reports, played a role in convincing him to step aside.

Thompson’s exit, however, doesn’t mean there won’t be a mayoral runoff on the October 1 ballot.

According to election law, Thompson had until midnight Friday to withdraw from the race. Since he didn’t quit before that deadline, the city will still need to include the two candidates in next month’s runoff if de Blasio doesn’t reach the 40 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff after all votes are counted.

De Blasio received 40.3 percent of the vote in the primary Tuesday, and Thompson 26.2 percent, according to unofficial results.

Thompson’s decision to withdraw from the race comes after the city’s Board of Elections (BOE) rechecked the primary results of lever voting machines over the weekend.

The BOE was set to start tallying a reported 78,000 paper ballots Monday.

Thompson, after meeting with key supporters Thursday, publicly stated he would remain in the race until every vote had been counted.

That promise came after there was mounting pressure for him to drop his bid and as some former supporters endorsed de Blasio.

The city’s Campaign Finance Board, anticipating a runoff wouldn’t be necessary, decided not to release runoff public matching funds to de Blasio and Thompson last week.

De Blasio will now go on to face the winner of Tuesday’s Republican primary, Joe Lhota, in the general election on November 5.



Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup


Monday: Overcast with rain showers. High of 72. Winds from the NNW at 5 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 40%. Monday night: Mostly cloudy with rain showers in the evening, then clear. Low of 52. Winds from the North at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 30%.


This fall, we are bringing neighbors and civic leaders together at Coffeed in LIC at 7 p.m. to explore where sustainability and resilience responses overlap, and how to respond as individuals. Free video screenings will be followed by facilitated group discussion. This Monday’s screening will be Do The Math. This film features the movement to change the terrifying math of the climate crisis, and promote a global power shift to clean energy. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Woman reported in ‘extremely critical condition’ after Queens hit-and-run

A woman was left in critical condition Sunday afternoon after a minivan struck her in Queens. Read more: CBS New York

6 Days after NYC Democratic mayoral primary, no winner yet

The New York City Board of Elections was to continue counting votes Monday, six days after the Democratic mayoral primary was held. Read more: NBC New York

Bridges across New York, Connecticut deemed structurally deficient

More than 2,000 New York state bridges, including the Brooklyn Bridge, have been deemed structurally deficient and in dire need of repairs by the federal government. Read more: CBS New York/AP

New York’s Nina Davuluri crowned 2014 Miss America

For the second straight year, the Miss America tiara will reside in the Empire State. Read more: New York Daily News

Cashing out: Hounded by criticism, Larry Summers calls off Fed chairman bid

Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers has withdrawn his bid for consideration to succeed Ben Bernanke as Federal Reserve chairman — a move that allows the administration to sidestep a potentially contentious confirmation process. Read more: NBC New York


Thompson refuses to drop mayoral bid after meeting with supporters

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo via Twitter/@BillThompsonNYC

Bill Thompson vowed to stay in the mayor’s race Thursday night despite mounting pressure to drop his bid before a runoff can be decided.

He made the statement after reportedly meeting with key supporters, including Congressmembers Gregory Meeks, Hakeem Jeffries and Charles Rangel.

According to unofficial results, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio received 40.3 percent of the vote in the primary Tuesday, just making it to the 40 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff. Thompson, finishing second, received 26.2 percent.

Thompson has until midnight to withdraw, according to election law. If he quits after that deadline, the city will still need to hold a runoff.

Following the Thursday meeting, he reiterated the same promise he made on election night to wait until the vote count is finished, according to reports.

“There are still tens of thousands of ballots that remain to be counted,” Thompson told supporters Tuesday.

He was referring to the paper ballots that still need to be tallied, a process that is expected to take several days.

The city’s Campaign Finance Board, anticipating a runoff won’t be necessary, reportedly denied Thompson around $463,000 in public matching funds and de Blasio about $726,000.

As some urged Thompson to drop his bid, others threw their support behind de Blasio Thursday.

During a rally on the steps of Brooklyn Borough Hall yesterday, several leaders, unions and other groups endorsed him in the race.

They included the Working Families Party and former backers of Thompson and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn who finished third in the primary.




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

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo via Twitter/@deBlasioNYC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup


Monday: Partly cloudy. High of 72. Winds from the East at 5 to 10 mph shifting to the SSE in the afternoon. Monday night: Overcast in the evening, then mostly cloudy. Low of 68. Winds from the South at 5 to 15 mph.


North Beach, where LaGuardia Airport is now located, was a major vacation spot from 1886 to 1917. Come learn the history or relive the excitement of the area. Starts 7 p.m. at the Greater Astoria Historical Society. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Police shoot, wound pit bull in Queens

A vicious pit bull was shot by cops in Queens Village after the hound lunged at an officer late Saturday night, authorities said. Read more: New York Daily News

Bill de Blasio widens lead in Democratic primary race: NBC 4 NY poll

Bill de Blasio, the Democratic mayoral candidate whose progressive message upended his party’s primary campaign this summer, has widened his lead over his rivals just days before the election, a new poll shows. Read more: NBC New York

Police arrest 3 city employees on separate drug, alcohol charges

A New York City correction officer, teacher and police officer were each arrested in separate incidents Sunday morning. Read more: CBS New York

Cuomo rushes to De Blasio’s defense over Bloomberg’s comments

After vowing to stay out of the mayoral race, Gov. Andrew Cuomo rushed to the defense of Democratic candidate Bill de Blasio Sunday. Read more: CBS New York

Obama trying to sway war-weary public on Syria

President Barack Obama is hitting the airwaves to try to convince Americans limited strikes against Syria are needed for the United States’ long-term safety, while Secretary of State John Kerry is vehemently defending the case against President Bashar Assad’s, saying his denial of chemical weapons use is “contradicted by fact.” Read more: AP

Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup


Friday: Partly cloudy. High of 72. Winds from the NNE at 5 to 10 mph shifting to the ESE in the afternoon. Friday Night: Partly cloudy in the evening, then clear. Low of 59. Winds from the SW at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Untitled (As of Yet)

The Flux Factory in Long Island City will hold the opening reception for a group show, Untitled (As of Yet) at 6 p.m. This exhibition that runs through September 29 takes its point of departure from events that first appear to be catastrophic, but eventually open the door to new thoughts, practices and opportunities. Flux Factory invited 15 artists to respond to displacement and the breakdown of routine as fruitful phenomena, including a series of walks with strangers, an absurd symphony collectively performed by audience members using the homemade instruments and abstracted musical notations, and a drill for a traffic jam that transforms automobiles into a resource for survival in dire gridlock. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Woodhaven man killed by toy helicopter

A 19-year-old Woodhaven man was killed by his own toy helicopter in Brooklyn Thursday afternoon. Read more: The Queens Courier 

Bank bans hoodies, hats, sunglasses; some customers say it promotes racial profiling

Forget dye packs and silent alarms: One city bank hopes to thwart would-be bandits with a dress code. Read more: New York Daily News

Police investigate after child allegedly struck by Queens car 

Officials say a child is hospitalized with major head injuries, after being struck by a car in Queens on Thursday afternoon. Read more: NY1

NYC mayoral hopefuls hit stretch run before Tuesday’s primary

Time is running out for the city’s mayoral hopefuls to sway undecided voters. Read more: CBS New York

Driver arrested in 24-Minute Manhattan lap Internet video

Authorities have identified the driver who allegedly posted an Internet video of himself speeding around Manhattan in just over 24 minutes. Read more: NBC New York

President Obama, in Europe, still pursuing Syria support

President Barack Obama is using his last day in Europe to renew his quest for foreign support for a U.S. military strike in Syria. But three days after he left Washington, it’s unclear whether the global coalition the president has been seeking is any closer to becoming a reality. Read more: AP

Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup


Thursday: Partly cloudy. High of 77. Breezy. Winds from the NNW at 10 to 20 mph. Thursday night: Partly cloudy. Low of 55. Breezy. Winds from the North at 10 to 20 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Devil Science Theater 3000

Devil Science Theater 3000 is an interactive event where the audience plays drinking games and makes fun of terrible movies while being egged on by professional comedians in the crowd!  No drink minimum! Tonight’s film is The Creeping Terror (1964). Starts 10:30 p.m. at Laughing Devil Comedy Club in LIC. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Huge water bugs infest Queens neighborhood

More than 30 neighbors in Floral Park, Queens, are fed up about the huge bugs that invade their neighborhood at night. Read more: Fox New York

Weiner has a heated exchange in Brooklyn with shop patron who insults wife

Democratic mayoral hopeful Anthony Weiner got into a heated exchange with a bakery shop patron during a campaign stop in Brooklyn Wednesday after the man appeared to call Weiner an expletive and made a misguided reference to the candidate’s wife. Read more: NBC New York

Woman files $3M suit against NYC for false arrest

A woman has filed a $3 million lawsuit against New York City for jailing her on an old arrest warrant. Read more: AP

Despite commanding lead in polls, de Blasio anticipates runoff

Bill de Blasio’s poll numbers may be hovering above 40 percent, but the Democratic mayoral front-runner says he still expects to be locked in a runoff after Tuesday’s primary. Read more: CBS New York

Chobani’s pulling moldy yogurt from U.S. shelves prompts federal probe

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Wednesday it is investigating Greek yogurt maker Chobani’s handling of a mold problem with its product after the company asked some retailers last week to remove yogurt cups from store shelves. Reuters

Poll: De Blasio surpasses 40 percent needed to avoid runoff

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Instagram/de Blasio NYC

The Democratic nominee for mayor could be decided by next week according a new Quinnipiac University poll.

With 43 percent of likely Democratic voters saying they would pick Public Advocate Bill de Blasio to head the city, he surpasses the 40 percent needed to avoid a runoff.

The survey results, released Tuesday, show former City Comptroller Bill Thompson with 20 percent, followed by City Council Speaker Christine Quinn with 18 percent, former Congressmember Anthony Weiner with 7 percent , 18 percent, City Comptroller John Liu with 4 percent, former Councilmember Sal Albanese with 1 percent and 8 percent undecided.

De Blasio has been the front-runner since an August 13 Quinnipiac poll, and surged ahead to 36 percent in an August 28 survey.

Previously, Quinn had been the leader in the mayoral race, but has fallen to third place since last week’s poll.

“Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s collapse could be part of a seeming New York tradition of throwing female candidates under the bandwagon wheels. Well-known women such as Carol Bellamy, Mary Codd and Ruth Messinger all came up short,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

In the September 3 poll, women likely Democratic primary voters went 44 percent for de Blasio, 19 percent for Thompson and 18 percent for Quinn. Male voters went 41 percent for de Blasio, 20 percent for Thompson and 18 percent for Quinn.

Though the poll showed a runoff may not be necessary, in that situation, de Blasio would win over Quinn 66 to 25 percent and Thompson 56 to 36 percent. In a Thompson-Quinn runoff, Thompson would lead over Quinn 59 to 33 percent.



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.



Mayoral primary guide

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


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 mayoral 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: Sal Albanese

Party: Democrat

Current Position: Former New York City Councilmember

Personal: Born in Italy, Sal Albanese grew up in a working class neighborhood in Brooklyn, where his mother raised him on a garment worker’s salary. The public schools, libraries, and CUNY system—all services provided by the city—helped elevate his family to the middle class. He spent 11 years as a New York City public school teacher and 15 years as a reformer on the City Council, where he authored the city’s first living wage and campaign finance laws.

Issues/Platform: Albanese is running for mayor because he believes we need a clean break from a political class that has lost touch with regular New Yorkers. As mayor, his top priority will be keeping the city affordable for those who grew up here and came to make a new life here. That starts with a new approach to our schools, focused on working with kids from birth to ensure they are ready to succeed in school from day one. He will launch an unprecedented expansion of affordable housing, building 210,000 new units over eight years. Most importantly, he’ll create jobs that actually pay the bills by expanding living wage laws and giving small businesses the room they need to grow.

Name: Randy Credico

Party: Democrat

Current Position: Political satirist-impressionist, voice over specialist, civil rights activist

Personal: Credico has been in show business for 40 years, appearing on the “The Tonight Show, “Larry King Live,” “Charlie Rose” and countless others. In 1997 he became the director of the William Moses Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice, fighting against stop-and-frisk and NY’s racist drug laws. He won four awards for his work and numerous profiles. There are two documentaries on his life including the award winning “60 Spins Around the Sun” by actor Jack Black and writer Laura Kightlinger.

Issues/Platform: As mayor, Credico would make wholesale changes in the NYPD, including replacing Commissioner Raymond Kelly with Frank Serpico and eliminating the special narcotics office. He would provide free CUNY education, free health care and free transportation and create a massive FDR jobs program. He would also eliminate the 56,000 homeless people on the streets of New York. Credico would do this by imposing a half percent sales tax on all of Wall Street, which would engender enough to cover all of the above and more.

Name: Bill de Blasio

Party: Democrat

Current Position: New York City Public Advocate

Personal: As a former City Hall staffer, school board member, city councilmember, and now as the city’s Public Advocate, Bill de Blasio has spent his life fighting to ensure that New Yorkers across all five boroughs get a fair shot. As mayor, de Blasio will continue that fight and work to end the inequality crisis gripping our city.

De Blasio and his wife, Chirlane, are the proud public school parents of Chiara, a college freshman, and Dante, a high school junior.

Issues/Platform: Currently, 46 percent of city residents are living at or near the poverty line, while 400,000 millionaires also call New York home. de Blasio is committed to ending this “Tale of Two Cities” with a plan to create jobs in all five boroughs; dramatically expand affordable housing; end the overuse and abuse of stop-and-frisk; and fund Universal Pre-K and after-school programs for all middle school students by asking the wealthy to pay a little more.

Having lived in Brooklyn with his family for the last 20 years, de Blasio has a firsthand knowledge of the challenges facing New York City families and outer borough residents, including soaring water bill rates and the unprecedented rise in fines on small businesses. As mayor, he will address these challenges and work to build one New York, where everyone rises together.

Name: Neil Grimaldi

Party: Democrat

Editor’s Note: Request for information from the candidate’s campaign was not received as of press time. No additional information on the candidate was available from an official campaign website.

Name: John Liu

Party: Democrat

Current Position: New York City Comptroller

Personal: The first Asian-American to be elected to the City Council and citywide office in New York, Liu has served as comptroller since 2010 and represented Queens’ Council District 20 from 2001 to 2009, according to his campaign website. Before serving in the City Council, he worked in the private sector for 14 years, including as a manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. After immigrating to the U.S. from Taiwan as a young child,

Liu attended P.S. 20 in Queens, later graduating from the Bronx High School of Science. He currently lives in Flushing with his wife and son.

Issues/Platform: In a sit down with The Courier’s editorial board, Liu said if elected, he would seek to “bring back a level of attention to [Queens] that we have not seen for many years.” He said he plans to overhaul the school system by starting children in school earlier, at age three, giving students better access to computers and the Internet to close the digital divide and better preparing them for post-secondary education. Liu also said as mayor he would not keep Ray Kelly as NYPD Commissioner, and would like to greatly reduce fines and penalties for small businesses and reduce their taxes. Additionally, Liu recently proposed legalizing marijuana in the city for adults 21 and over as a way to generate millions in annual revenue.

Name: Christine Quinn

Party: Democrat

Current Position: New York City Council Speaker

Personal: The daughter of a union electrical worker and a social worker, Christine Quinn understands the struggles of New York’s middle-class. As City Council Speaker, the city’s second most powerful position, she has fought tirelessly for the middle class and those struggling to make it there.

Quinn passed eight on-time, balanced budgets protecting critical social services, firehouses and libraries. She saved 4,100 teachers from layoffs, fought overcrowding and empowered parents in our schools. She created thousands of jobs, cracked down on bad landlords and built thousands of units of affordable housing. Quinn helped protect our neighborhoods by putting more cops on the street, funding bulletproof vests for every officer, and working to improve police-community relations. She wrote the law banning smoking in bars and the workplace, and passed the Climate Protection Act, requiring the city to reduce greenhouse emissions 30 percent by 2030.

Issues/Platform: As mayor, Quinn will continue to fight for the middle class. She’ll focus our schools on college and career-readiness, not test prep. She’ll bring high-tech and manufacturing jobs to every borough and launch the most ambitious middle-class housing program in the city’s history. And she’ll ensure New York City remains the safest big city in America.

Name: Erick Salgado

Party: Democrat

Current Position: Reverend

Personal: Having worked with the residents of New York City’s diverse communities for almost a quarter century, created and grown a small bookstore into a four borough chain employing many New Yorkers, and started a radio network broadcasting on five stations, Erick Salgado knows and understands the issues of this city. A married father of six, with a doctorate in theology, Erick lives on Staten Island. He combines the business acumen of an entrepreneur with the compassion and insight into what New Yorkers face daily as they live their lives, gained from his work in many of the neighborhoods comprising this city.

Issues/Platform: Safety is Erick Salgado’s highest priority. He will increase the ranks of the NYPD to 37,000 and bring back community policing which will allow officers to know and understand the community they patrol. Since small businesses are collectively the city’s largest employer he will remove the obstacles City Hall places on them to help them thrive and create more jobs for New Yorkers. Because New Yorkers will need an excellent education to be qualified for those jobs he will make the Department of Education more responsive to the needs of all its students by increasing parental involvement and working to bring back the community school boards.

Name: Bill Thompson

Party: Democrat

Current Position: Former New York City Comptroller

Personal: Bill Thompson was born in Brooklyn and has lived and worked in New York City his entire life. His father was born in Harlem and his grandparents were Caribbean immigrants. He worked to bring our communities closer together as deputy borough president, lift up our children as president of the Board of Education, and manage our finances as comptroller. As president of the Board of Education, he fought for after-school programs, art classes and higher teaching standards.

Issues/Platform: As mayor, Bill plans to give parents a meaningful voice in our system, end the practice of teaching to the test, place greater emphasis on critical thinking skills, and appoint a chancellor who is an educator. Bill also understands the city needs to be affordable, and as comptroller he made crucial investments in affordable housing for lower and middle class families. If elected, he also plans to overhaul NYCHA and preserve and create 120,000 affordable housing units. Bill knows nothing is more important than our city’s safety, but we can protect our city and people’s constitutional rights at the same time. As mayor he plans to launch a new era of community policing, put over 2,000 new officers on the streets, and end the abuse of stop-and-frisk.

Name: Anthony Weiner

Party: Democrat

Current Position: Former U.S. Congressmember

Personal: Anthony Weiner is a fighter for the middle class and those struggling to make it. He grew up a middle class kid in Brooklyn. He went to public schools his whole life. Anthony’s mom was a public school teacher for 31 years. He got his start working for Chuck Schumer and went on to represent Brooklyn and Queens in Congress. The New York Times praised Weiner for his “command of the issues, coupled with his tireless devotion to constituent concerns, underscores a genuine devotion to and eagerness to fight for his native city.”

Issues/Platform: When he launched his campaign, Weiner offered “64 Ideas to Keep New York the Capital of the Middle Class,” which discusses his ideas for tackling education, transportation, small business, health care, safety and crime prevention, housing and other issues. “It’s not that those living at the top and bottom of New York’s economic ladder should suffer at the expense of the middle class. It’s that maintaining the city’s claim as the capital of the middle class is an investment that will benefit New Yorkers at all points on the spectrum,” he says in 64 Ideas. To read more about Weiner’s 64 Ideas, visit, www.anthonyweiner.com/keys-city.

Editor’s Note: Request for some information from the candidate’s campaign was not received as of press time therefore information on the candidate’s issues/platform was retrieved from the campaign website.


Name: John Catsimatidis

Party: Republican

Current Position: CEO of Red Apple Group and Gristedes Foods

Personal: John Catsimatidis immigrated to New York City from Greece as a young child, settling in Harlem. After graduating from Brooklyn Tech, he enrolled at NYU, working at a small grocery store on nights and weekends to help his parents with the bills, but dropped out to work full time. By the time he was 25, he had 10 Red Apple Supermarkets along Broadway on Manhattan’s Upper Westside. Forty years later the Red Apple Group has holdings in the retail, energy, aviation and real estate sectors. He currently serves on the Board of Columbia Presbyterian Hospital and the Hellenic Times Scholarship Fund.

Issues/Platform: As mayor, Catsimatidis would like to reduce the dropout rate by increasing career and technical education in the New York City public school system. Funding for these programs, he says, can be done through “partnerships with the private sector that can ‘adopt’ a school or sponsor programs.”

Catsimatidis believes that “small businesses are the life-blood of every city neighborhood, providing jobs and economic advancement.” If elected, one way he would help small businesses would be by creating a Small Business Advocate for the city that would act as an “ombudsman” for the small business community and answer directly to the mayor.

Editor’s Note: Request for information from the candidate’s campaign was not received as of press time therefore this information was retrieved from the candidate’s campaign website.

Name: Joe Lhota

Party: Republican

Current Position: Former CEO and chair of the MTA

Personal: Joe Lhota served as the city’s budget director during Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s first term and deputy mayor for operations during his second term. He also worked as an investment banker for 15 years, held executive positions in the Cablevision Systems Corporation and the Madison Square Garden Company, and most recently was the CEO and chair of the MTA. He is currently a trustee of the City University of New York.

Born in the Bronx, he is the son a New York City police lieutenant and grandson of a city firefighter and taxi driver. Lhota and his family live in Brooklyn.

Issues/Platform: As mayor, Lhota would like to elevate the standard of living in the city, encouraging and sustaining job growth and “reducing burdensome regulations and taxes that stifle private sector growth.” He wants to make sure the city’s children are prepared for college, and promotes reform in education, which includes support for choice and charter schools. He believes in making our government “more transparent, less intrusive, more efficient and not bureaucratic – a government that provides effective services every day while approaching the city’s budget and its debt with discipline.” Lhota is also committed to ensuring New York City continues to remain the safest big city in America and would like to develop new ways to enhance the reduction in crime.

Editor’s Note: Request for information from the candidate’s campaign was not received as of press time therefore this information was retrieved from the candidate’s campaign website.

Name: George McDonald

Party: Republican

Current Position: Founder and President of The Doe Fund

Personal: After working as an apparel industry executive for two decades, George McDonald for the last 27 years has dedicated himself to “employing innovative business models to create jobs and economic opportunities for low-income New Yorkers.” In 1985, McDonald founded The Doe Fund, a nonprofit that helps formerly homeless people achieve independence and self-sufficiency by providing jobs. Today it has grown into a $50 million operation serving 1,000 individuals each day.

Issues/Platform: McDonald believes “every New York City resident who wants a job should have one.” For that reason a promise of his campaign is a 100 percent employment rate for the city. He says this can be achieved by supporting local businesses, both large and small, and creating jobs at every level; making, selling, and buying locally; promoting a local tax and regulatory structure that creates jobs, and attracts and keeps employers in the city; moving people off of welfare and out of homelessness, reducing taxpayer burden; requiring city employees to contribute to fringe benefit costs; and expanding job opportunities through nonprofit intermediaries.

Editor’s Note: Request for information from the candidate’s campaign was not received as of press time therefore this information was retrieved from the candidate’s campaign website.




De Blasio surges ahead in latest mayoral race poll

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

After taking over as the front-runner earlier this month, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio now has a double-digit lead over his mayoral primary opponents, according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll.

In the August 28 survey, 36 percent of likely Democratic voters said they would vote for de Blasio.

That number is close to the 40 percent needed to avoid a runoff. If the September 10 primary winner does not reach that percentage, the top two vote-getters will face each other in an October 1 election.

Following de Blasio in the poll was City Council Speaker Christine Quinn with 21 percent, former City Comptroller William Thompson with 20 percent, former Congressmember Anthony Weiner with 8 percent, City Comptroller John Liu with 6 percent, former Councilmember Sal Albanese with1 percent and 8 percent undecided.

The poll also showed that de Blasio would win over Quinn and Thompson in a runoff by a healthy margin. In that situation, he would lead Quinn 59 to 30 percent and Thompson 52 to 36 percent.






Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup


Thursday: Overcast with a chance of a thunderstorm and a chance of rain. High of 86. Winds from the SW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 40%. Thursday night: Mostly cloudy with a chance of a thunderstorm and a chance of rain. Low of 70. Winds from the West at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 30%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Jazz Thursdays

The Forest Hills Chamber of Commerce presents live jazz with Cheryl Pepsii Riley on 70th Road between Austin Street and Queens Boulevard on Thursday, August 22 at 7 p.m. Free. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

New York City Council set to override veto on NYPD oversight

After a federal judge rapped one of the New York Police Department’s core tactics as racially discriminatory and appointed a monitor to oversee changes, lawmakers say they are set to add another dose of oversight for the nation’s biggest police force. Read more: AP

Manhole fires injure 5, char parked cars in Queens

Five people were taken to the hospital with minor injuries after three manhole fires erupted while they were outside in Queens, charring two parked cars nearby, officials say. Read more: NBC New York

De Blasio slammed by several fellow candidates at mayoral debate

Bill de Blasio in particular was the target of several barbs Wednesday evening, as seven Democratic mayoral candidates went head-to-head in their third debate. Read more: CBS New York

Real Estate-backed PAC spends megabucks to sway Council contests

A political action committee with ties to powerful real estate interests is using big money to sway City Council races, according to some candidates. Read more: New York Daily News

Librarians try to shush city’s staffing request

Some teachers, parents and students are asking Albany to reject the city’s request not to fully staff its public school libraries, WCBS 880′s Monica Miller reported. Read more: CBS New York

NSA reveals more secrets after court order

The Obama administration has given up more of its surveillance secrets, acknowledging that it was ordered to stop scooping up thousands of Internet communications from Americans with no connection to terrorism – a practice it says was an unintended consequence when it gathered bundles of Internet traffic connected to terror suspects. Read more: AP




Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup


Friday: Clear in the morning, then partly cloudy. High of 79. Winds from the NNW at 5 to 10 mph shifting to the SSE in the afternoon. Friday night: Partly cloudy. Low of 68. Winds from the SSW at 5 to 10 mph shifting to the NW after midnight.

EVENT OF THE DAY: “After Eternity” in the unFringed Festival at the Secret Theatre

After winning Best Play in the Venus Theatre Festival, “After Eternity” will be produced as part of the Secret Theatre’s unFringed Festival. Performances are Friday, August 16 at 9 p.m.; Saturday, August 17 at 8:00 p.m.; Sunday, August 18t at 3:00 p.m; Wednesday, August 21 at 8:00 p.m; and Friday, August 23 at 9:00 p.m. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Queens judge sues city for cop ‘chop’ 

A Queens Supreme Court justice who claims a cop “karate chopped” him in the neck without provocation has filed a $300,000 lawsuit against the city, the NYPD and the Queens district attorney’s office, alleging a coverup. Read more: New York Daily News

NYC Democratic mayoral race shuffles again as de Blasio, Quinn battle for lead: NBC 4 NY poll

The topsy-turvy race for New York’s Democratic mayoral nomination has shifted again, with Public Advocate Bill de Blasio surging to a statistical tie with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and former comptroller Bill Thompson in striking distance, a new poll shows. Read more: NBC New York

Man, 48, who stole trains, buses since age 15, catches break while in court for swiping Queens Trailways bus

An obsessed transit buff — who took a subway train for a joyride when he was 15 and stayed on the same criminal track for three decades — caught a break in court Thursday. Read more: New York Daily News

NYC bus drivers plead for protection from assaults

Fare increases. Route cuts. General frustration over life. In New York City, there is no shortage of reasons why bus drivers are targeted for assault — an average of 88 attacks every year in the nation’s largest bus system. Read more: NBC New York

NSA broke privacy rules thousands of times per year: report

The National Security Agency has broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times each year since 2008, the Washington Post reported on Thursday, citing an internal audit and other top-secret documents. Read more: Reuters