Tag Archives: Phil Gim

Incumbent Stavisky, newcomer Ron Kim defeat Republican challengers


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/PHOTOS BY ALEXA ALTMAN

Political veteran State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky welcomed in a new generation of local leadership when she and first-time candidate Ron Kim celebrated their general election wins of Senate District 16 and Assembly District 40, respectively.

Stavisky, the first woman from Queens to be elected to the State Senate, defeated Republican opponent J.D. Kim with 76 percent of the vote and garnered 40,355 votes according to unofficial results, retaining her seat in Senate District 16 for what will be her seventh term.

“I’m always nervous,” said Stavisky before the results poured in on Tuesday, November 6. “And I think that’s a good thing because you can’t take voters for granted. Every election is different and I’m optimistic but the voters have spoken.”

Celebrating alongside Kim, who swept a victory from Philip Gim with 67 percent of the vote, Stavisky applauded the political newcomer’s “remarkable job” and indicated his key to success as continuing along his current trajectory.

“It’s very difficult when you run for office for the first time but [Kim] instinctively knew what to do, he knew what positions to take — it’s a lot different when you’re a candidate. It’s one thing to study political science and be familiar with the issues and it’s quite different when you’re a candidate.”

Kim, who was endorsed by Assemblymember Grace Meng, whose seat he will be taking, outraised Gim by a more than 2 to 1 margin.

During Kim’s victory speech, he thanked his staff, volunteers and family. Kim named New York City Comptroller John Liu as his “mentor” and “advisor,” saying that had it not been for Liu, he would have not won this election.

“When an elected official makes an endorsement it’s usually a photo op and a piece of advice,” said Kim. “But John was there every single night — he was so dedicated. I learned so much about what it is to run a campaign the right way and do it the clean way and just pure hard work.”

He then thanked Stavisky for her guidance, saying the Senator stood with him from the beginning of his campaign and their successes were the result of a combined effort.

“We ran as a team and we won as a team,” said Kim.

Korean interpreter filling out ballots in Flushing, poll worker alleges


| mchan@queenscourier.com

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A Korean-American interpreter was allegedly expelled from a Flushing poll site this afternoon after he was caught filling out ballots for voters, a poll watcher said.

The Board of Elections (BOE) interpreter — who was identified as a man in his 60s named Sang — allegedly told some Korean-speaking locals at P.S. 20 to cast their votes for President Barack Obama and other Democratic candidates in statewide elections, including Korean Assembly hopeful Ron Kim.

The poll site worker also allegedly filled out ballots for some voters, pushing a Democratic slate, sources claim.

“The interpreter told the voter, ‘Hey, because you’re Korean, you want to vote for Obama and Ron Kim and down the line, all Democrats,’” said poll watcher Daniel Baek.

Baek, 30, said the man told Korean voters to come to his table for language assistance. He had assisted 51 people from 6 a.m. to around 2 p.m., Baek said, pointing to records.

“I don’t know how many of those voters are tainted,” Baek said. “He actually darkened the circle on behalf of the voters. I couldn’t afford to let him do that to more voters.”

Baek said he contacted his headquarters, which then contacted the BOE. A BOE coordinator then allegedly asked the man to pack up and leave shortly before 2 p.m., he said.

BOE officials did not immediately confirm the misconduct, which Baek said is still occurring at several other poll sites in Flushing, including St. Mary’s Nativity Church.

“I don’t think it matters if you’re a Democrat or Republican. Voter fraud is a terrible thing,” said Kevin Ryan, spokesperson for Republican Councilmember Dan Halloran, who is running for Congress and is also on the ballot at P.S. 20. “This is not something we want to mess around with, and it’s not to be tolerated.”

Phil Gim, the Republican contender challenging Kim, called on the BOE to fully investigate the matter.

“There is nothing more important than maintaining the integrity of our election process. The people of our community have a right to an election free from illegal manipulation,” Gim said. “The citizens of our [district] cannot have confidence in their elected officials if the manner in which they are elected is in any doubt.”

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.”

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com


 TODAY’S FORECAST 

Tuesday: Partly cloudy in the morning, then mostly cloudy. High of 75. Winds from the WNW at 5 to 10 mph. Tuesday night: Partly cloudy in the evening, then clear. Low of 61. Winds from the WSW at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT of the DAY: 9/11 anniversary events in Queens

To commemorate the eleventh anniversary of September 11, there are several remembrance events around the borough Tuesday evening.  Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

NYPD seek suspect in attack on woman in Queens

The NYPD is seeking the public’s help in identifying a suspect in connection with an attempted sexual attack in Queens. Read more: Wall Street Journal

Trial begins for man suspected of stealing two police guns from precinct

Two officers who had their guns stolen from the 103rd precinct in Queens last year took the stand in State Supreme Court on Monday to tell the court what happened, but could not say how. Read more: NY1

Ethnic politics in the mix in crowded Assembly primary in Flushing

The scramble to replace Assemblywoman Grace Meng has produced a crowded primary, charged with ethnic politics and intrigue. Read more: New York Daily News

School bus nightmare for Queens child

The new school year has meant four mornings of frustration for Shanie Fryer and her 3 year old daughter Annaya. The child’s bus has either shown-up hours late or not at all. Read more: ABC New York

Cuomo, Bloomberg, Christie reach a deal to end the impasse that has stalled construction of the 9-11 museum

The dispute that has all but halted construction on the 9-11 museum was resolved on the eve of the 11th anniversary of the terror attacks. Read more: New York Daily News

New York is lagging as seas and risks rise, critics warn

With a 520-mile-long coast lined largely by teeming roads and fragile infrastructure, New York City is gingerly facing up to the intertwined threats posed by rising seas and ever-more-severe storm flooding. Read more: New York Times

For Sept. 11 anniversary, a turning point passed?

Is it time for a different kind of Sept. 11? Victims’ families and others were poised to gather and grieve Tuesday at ground zero, the Pentagon and near Shanksville, Pa., for the first time after the emotional turning point of last year’s 10th anniversary. Read more: AP

 

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 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.

Candidates eye Meng’s Assembly seat


| mchan@queenscourier.com


Several hopefuls in two buzzing primaries have their eyes set on the hotly-contested and potentially open State Assembly seat in the brewing District 40 race.

The seat is currently held by Assemblymember Grace Meng, who is making a run for Congress in the 6th District. While Meng’s spokesperson did not directly address whether or not she would seek re-election if her campaign falls short of Capitol Hill, the race to take her place is heating up.

GOP runner Phil Gim got the backing of the Queens County Republican Party and focused his campaign around restoring power — and more jobs — to voters during his June 4 campaign kickoff. The candidate, who was born in China, said small businesses were the engines of job creation and said he has plans to make the state friendlier to mom and pop shops.

“This just can’t be about Wall Street anymore,” said Gim, 60, of Whitestone. “This is about Main Street, Francis Lewis Boulevard, Parsons Boulevard and Northern Boulevard.”

Gim, a former postal worker and census supervisor, is a father of four and resident of Queens since 1986. He will face off with Flushing community activist Sunny Hahn during the September 13 primary.

Hahn, who announced her candidacy on May 31, centered her first run for office on her vision for putting Flushing on the map as the “greatest destination in New York City in the 21st century” and uniting both immigrant and American-born communities.

“We really have to transcend and have to think collectively as Americans,” said Hahn, 60, a retired city human rights specialist. “Don’t give up. If you give up, America will be in trouble. Start dreaming again.”

Hahn, a Korean native, hopes to gain the endorsements of the Independent and Conservative Party but said she would plow forward on the campaign trail regardless.

Candidate Ron Kim will be running on the Democratic ticket with endorsements from the Queens County Democratic Organization and City Comptroller John Liu.

The South Korean-born community activist began his career in public service as 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. He served as vice president of the Korean American Association of Greater New York and currently advocates on behalf of children with special needs and small businesses.

“Public service is about protecting the most vulnerable among us while ensuring that opportunity exists for all our citizens,” said Kim, a Flushing resident. “As an immigrant and the son of a Vietnam veteran, I have seen just how much is possible in this great country.”

Democratic hopefuls Ethel Chen, Myungsuk Lee and Yen Chou have reportedly decided to run for the seat as well, although they could not be reached for comment in time for press.