Tag Archives: Ron Kim

Gov. Cuomo signs bill to ban nail salon work by unlicensed trainees

| asuriel@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the office of Ron Kim

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill Thursday aimed at improving working conditions of nail salon employees.

The bill, which was sponsored by Assemblyman Ron Kim, authorizes the secretary of state to ban work done in beauty salons by unlicensed trainees, and requires that trainees register with the state department in the practice of nail specialty.

“I want to thank Gov. Cuomo for stepping up to bring immediate improvements in the nail salon industry that provides tens of thousands of jobs to female immigrant workers,” Kim said. “As the main sponsor of this three-way agreement in the Assembly, we worked non-stop for weeks to strike a fair balance in protecting workers, encouraging good operators, and rooting out bad owners.”

Kim has been heavily involved in the discussion of labor practices in the nail salon industry following investigations stemming from a New York Times report alleging rampant wage theft in the industry and other worker abuse. He has worked with business owners in the the Korean Nail Association to organize the “Healthy Nail Salon Network” to institute immediate fixes and long-term solutions, and to bring increased awareness to the issue.

Cuomo has been active as well in the push for increased enforcement for fair labor practices in nail salon since the Times report. He has previously enacted a multi-agency task force to recover stolen wages and shut down the industry’s worst offenders, and has also created a new package of legislation to protect workers which would allow the Department of State to shut down any nail salon that is unlicensed.


Immigration resource fair at Flushing YMCA on July 25

| asuriel@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the office of Senator Toby Ann Stavisky

The Flushing YMCA will host an immigration resource fair on Saturday, July 25, with state Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, Assemblyman Ron Kim, and City Councilman Peter Koo.

Lawyers and other professionals experienced in the immigration process will be at the event, which will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the YMCA at 138-46 Northern Blvd. Only the first 130 attendees will be served because space is limited, so anyone interested in attending should call 646-664-9400 to reserve a spot.

The event is hosted as part of a partnership with CUNY Citizenship NOW!, the largest university-based legal assistance program in the nation. Free legal assistance in Chinese, Korean and Spanish will be available for those seeking to become American citizens.

According to Stavisky, applying for citizenship can be a costly and confusing process even for fluent English speakers.

“Becoming a citizen is a lifelong commitment to the ideals of this country and I applaud all of the applicants for their dedication and perseverance,” Stavisky said.

Koo said that assistance offered at the event would be a serious benefit to many of his constituents and encouraged the community to use it to their advantage.

“Becoming a citizen of a new country can be a complicated process that can leave applicants in a lurch due to missing documentation or inaccurate information,” Koo said. “Every day, my office receives dozens of requests from constituents seeking immigration assistance.”

Kim also encouraged Flushing residents to participate in the fair and to support the initiatives of CUNY Citizenship NOW!

“Many families in our community are looking for help and seeking consultation regarding their legal status in this country. The CUNY Citizenship NOW! Fair would provide a necessary service for those in our neighborhoods seeking to embark on a path to citizenship,” said Kim, who added that the attorneys, paralegals and volunteers at the fair were working to assist those looking to achieve the American Dream.

Eligible applicants must have lived in the U.S. as a permanent resident for at least five years (or three years if living with and married to the same U.S. citizen), must have lived in the U.S. for at least half of the three- or five-year period and must be at least 18 years old. Attendees should bring the following:

  • Green card
  • All passports since becoming a permanent resident
  • Proof of home addresses for the last three or five years
  • Parent’s naturalization information (if applicable)
  • School/employment history for the last three or five years
  • Children’s information (date of birth, A#, addresses if applicable)
  • Marital history
  • Certified dispositions for any arrests, tickets citations and MTA disposition letters (if applicable)
  • USCIS fee waiver assistance available if applicants are receiving a means-tested benefit from a state or federal agency, have a household income at or below 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, have a special financial hardship that USCIS should consider


Mayor adds Lunar New Year holiday to NYC public school calendar

| asuriel@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Alina Suriel

Mayor Bill de Blasio came to Flushing Tuesday morning to announce that the Lunar New Year will be an official public school holiday beginning in the 2015-16 school year, allowing students of Asian descent to celebrate with family without missing class.

The mayor made the declaration at P.S. 20 in Flushing, which counts 75 percent of the student body as being of Asian descent. The Lunar New Year has already been added to the NYC public school calendar and will take place next year on February 8.

“There was a lot we had to balance to get this right,” said de Blasio, who cited difficulties in ensuring that the state-mandated 180 yearly school days fit into the plan. “It took some work, but it happened.”

Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña emphasized the importance of keeping a steady education schedule for the 1.1 million students of the city and offered her support of new holiday. To make up for the school hours lost, two separate half-days already in the calendar will be lengthened to become full days of classes.

“Taking time off to honor people’s heritage is also important,” said Fariña.

This is the second time de Blasio had made moves toward cultural inclusion in the school calendar. In March he also declared the two holiest days in the Islamic calendar, Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha, as official public school holidays.

The mayor was joined by a host of officials and community leaders who had long been advocating for the change.

“For too long, families have been forced to choose between celebrating this important cultural holiday and sending their child to school,” said Councilman Peter Koo, a Shanghai native. “By including Lunar New Year in the school calendar, New York City shows that we are an ever-evolving city that takes pride in the cultural traditions of its diverse populations.”

“This holiday is not about kids just getting a day off from school,” added Assemblyman Ron Kim, who attended P.S. 20 as a student himself 30 years ago. “It’s about the City of New York telling hundreds of thousands of Asian Americans that their culture and heritage is part of the American fabric.”

Kim and Koo, along with Rep. Grace Meng and many other prominent members of the Asian-American community, have all pushed for the mayor to establish the school holiday after de Blasio promised to do so while on the campaign trail in 2013.

After seeing no movement forward in the initiative for the Lunar New Year, Kim took on the responsibility of pushing it forward himself this year by authoring state legislation which would have given all New York children the day off. While that bill is still pending, Kim has said that he would lay aside the legislation in the interest of collaborating with the de Blasio administration.


Nail salon owners and officials speak on changes to labor practices

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Alina Suriel


Owners of New York City nail salons gathered Monday in Flushing to publicly speak for the first time since recent investigations shed light on rampant abusive labor practices in the industry.

Sang-Ho Lee, president of the Korean Nail Association, was joined by Congresswoman Grace Meng and Assemblyman Ron Kim to announce the creation of the “Healthy Nail Salon Network” to institute immediate fixes and long-term solutions to alleged wage theft and unsafe working conditions.

Kim, himself the child of immigrant parents who once operated Manhattan nail salons, said that the business leaders in the community have stepped up to the challenge of creating a safe workplace.

“I stand here with the owners of these mom-and-pop, community-based stores today to use this opportunity to help this industry become better,” Kim said. “For every turn, confrontation, or setback, there are opportunities to learn and become better at what we do.”

Lee outlined many of the problems in the nail salon industry and proposed actions to combat these issues, such as raising prices for manicures and creating a code of conduct for salons, as well as a state-certified “good business” label to show which salons are in compliance with regulations.

“We have a number of challenges ahead of us but thousands of immigrant workers depend on us getting this right,” said Lee, who added that the association will cooperate with state labor agencies in their ongoing investigations.

The thousands of undocumented women in the nail salon industry are particularly vulnerable, often lacking English language skills and the means to find employment. Business owners who intentionally exploit these employees exacerbate the issue by violating health codes and underpaying beauty technicians to cut costs and drive prices down.

Meng said that while cooperation from nail salon employers is crucial in creating change, more should also be done by federal and state immigration and labor agencies to increase awareness of workers’ rights.

“It’s important, as with any industry, not to just paint the entire industry with such a broad stroke, so that the hard-working, law-abiding owners are vilified,” said Meng.

As part of his continued effort to deal with the issue at a state level, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today that in addition to his multi-agency task force to recover stolen wages and shut down the industry’s worst offenders, a new package of legislation and regulations will be implemented to protect workers. The legislation would allow the Department of State to shut down any nail salon that is unlicensed and impose financial penalties higher than currently permitted.

Unlicensed nail practitioners will be allowed to register with the state as trainees and skip high-cost education programs, which will allow them to work while studying for their licensing exam. These license exams will now be offered in three extra languages including Nepali, Tibetan and Vietnamese, in addition to English, Spanish, Korean, Japanese, Russian and Chinese.

In addition to reviewing the chemical agents used in nail products and requiring employers to provide workers with protective masks, nitrile gloves and eye protection, all nail salons must secure a bond or insurance policy to cover business liabilities and ensure that employers can pay back wages to workers if they are ordered to do so.

A new task force hotline number has been established to answer any questions about nail salons, proper wages and safe working conditions at 888-469-7365.


Hoping for Lunar New Year holiday, lawmakers move to end Brooklyn-Queens Day

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com


State lawmakers introduced on Tuesday a bill that would eliminate Brooklyn-Queens Day from the New York City public school calendar.

The measure sponsored by state Senator Toby Ann Stavisky aims to clear a day on the calendar to permit public schools to close for the Asian Lunar New Year in the winter. Brooklyn-Queens Day, which falls on the first Thursday of June, marks the foundation of the first Sunday schools in both boroughs during the 19th century.

For decades, local Protestant churches celebrated Brooklyn-Queens Day with parades through their communities, but the parades stopped in recent years as Protestant congregations plummeted. The last major Brooklyn-Queens Day parade took place in Ridgewood in 2009, ending a century-long tradition.

Nevertheless, schools in Brooklyn and Queens remain closed the first Thursday of June, but many of them use the day for staff development.

The bill states that “there is no reason to continue this anachronistic holiday in state statutes when there is pressure to increase the time students spend in school.” However, Stavisky noted, the elimination of Brooklyn-Queens Day gives the city Department of Education (DOE) flexibility in adding another holiday such as Asian Lunar New Year.

“As a former teacher, I understand the mayor and the Department of Education have a mandate to make sure students are receiving as much classroom instructional time as possible,” Stavisky said. “But educating our students and allowing them to observe important cultural holidays should not be opposing goals. I believe that removing the now defunct Brooklyn-Queens Day and replacing it with the Lunar New Year is a pragmatic solution that the mayor and the Department of Education must consider.”

Among those who joined Stavisky at a Tuesday press conference in Flushing in support of the bill were state Senator Daniel Squadron, Assemblymen Ron Kim and Edward Braunstein, Assemblywoman Nily Rozic and City Councilman Peter Koo.

“The history of Brooklyn-Queens Day demonstrates how observance of this day on the public school calendar has changed over the years to meet the changing demographics of our city,” Koo said. “Today, approximately 15 percent of our New York City public school students identify as Asian-American, and we must take this into consideration as we prepare the school calendar for future years.”

According to Stavisky’s office, city public schools in Asian-majority neighborhoods report absentee rates as high as 80 percent on Lunar New Year, which is “the most important cultural celebration on the Asian calendar.”

Earlier this year, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed legislation declaring two Muslim holidays, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, as school holidays beginning this September. Koo criticized the mayor in March for failing to grant the same holiday status for the Asian Lunar New Year.

Last December, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation granting the DOE greater flexibility to close schools on cultural and religious holidays. By law, all New York City public schools are required to hold at least 180 school days every year.


Queens’ Morning roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


Wednesday: Overcast with a chance of rain, then rain in the afternoon. High of 43. Windy. Winds from the NNE at 30 to 35 mph with gusts to 45 mph. Chance of rain 90% with rainfall amounts near 0.2 in. possible. Wednesday Night: Overcast with snow and rain, then rain after midnight. Low of 34 with a windchill as low as 25F. Windy. Winds from the North at 25 to 35 mph with gusts to 55 mph shifting to the South after midnight. Chance of precipitation 90% .


Democrats expand Senate grip but fail to win House

Democrats strengthened their hold on the Senate but failed Tuesday to recapture the majority in the House of Representatives they lost two years ago. President Barack Obama, in his freshly authorized second term, will face the same divided Congress in 2013 that has bedeviled efforts to enact his major legislation. Read more: AP

Nor’easter bearing down on New York City; Mayor Bloomberg orders city parks and beaches shut

A gust of rare good news arrived Tuesday for New Yorkers still picking up the pieces from Hurricane Sandy: A second storm bearing down on the Big Apple will be weaker than expected. Read more: New York Daily News

Bloomberg: New York voting machine system is a ‘nightmare’ When voting was still in progress Tuesday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg blasted the voting machine system, calling it a “nightmare” and saying the old machines worked fine. Read more: CBS New York

Displaced by hurricane, but returning home, briefly, to vote

Just after daybreak, under a pink-hued sky, the first voters began to pick their way through the sand and muck that had been the streets of Bay Head, N.J. Sidestepping the occasional dead fish with its one-eyed stare, they steadily found their way to the firehouse, where a huge generator powered one of the few sources of heat in the tiny seaside borough. Read more: New York Times 

Former St. John’s dean Cecilia Chang dead of apparent suicide

Cecilia Chang, the former dean of St. John’s University, who is on trial for stealing $1 million from the school, was found dead in her Jamaica home Tuesday morning of an apparent suicide, according to multiple reports. Read more: Queens Courier

Incumbent Stavisky, newcomer Ron Kim defeat Republican challengers

| aaltman@queenscourier.com


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


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.”

Queens Morning Roundup

| brennison@queenscourier.com

Today’s Forecast

Friday: Sunny, with a high near 82. South wind 6 to 11 mph. Friday night: Scattered showers, mainly after 2am. Partly cloudy, with a low around 65. South wind 7 to 9 mph becoming west after midnight. Chance of precipitation is 40 percent.

Event of the Day: A Tribute to Lena Horne and Nina Simone

Seven-time MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs) Winner, Natalie Douglas in a tribute to singing legends Lena Horne and Nina Simone at York College Performing Arts Center. To reserve free tickets please call (212) 575 7660 or email CPAS@hainyc.org. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Queens Primary Election Coverage

Sanders defeats indicted incumbent Huntley in State Senate primary

Six-time incumbent Stavisky claims victory over Messer in primary

Kim takes 40th District race by less than 200 votes

Messer refuses to give up fight

Nily Rozic bests Jerry Iannece in 25th District race

Ulrich wins primary, set to face Addabbo in November

Incumbent Miller defeats newcomer in 38th District

Drifter nabbed in rape of 73-year-old woman in Central Park has disturbing criminal history

A deviant drifter with a terrifying rap sheet that includes two sex attacks on elderly women was charged Thursday with the rape of a 73-year-old bird watcher in Central Park. Three rookie cops caught Appalachian ex-con David Albert Mitchell, 42, strolling down an upper West Side street, and the victim later picked him out of a lineup. Read more: Daily News

Investigators look into whether mole helped Libyan terrorists

Investigators are probing whether a mole helped Libyan terrorists attack the U.S. Consulate — where no Marines were on guard. The raiders met with such little resistance that, after seizing control of the one-story villa in a mere 15 minutes, they unleashed a second assault on a nearby safe house, officials in the U.S. and Libya said Thursday. Read more: Daily News

Man who ran on field during Santana’s no-hitter fined $5K, gets 100 hours of community service

A die-hard New York Mets fan who ran onto Citi Field during Johan Santana’s no hitter celebration pleaded guilty to day and will have to pay up for his overzealous behavior.Rafael Diaz, 32, was ordered by a Queens judge to hand over $4,000 in civil penalties to the Mets, $1,000 to the city, perform 100 hours of community service and must not visit Citi Field for one year. Read more: NY Post

Kim takes 40th District race by less than 200 votes

| brennison@queenscourier.com


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

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


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.



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

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


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.



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



Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


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


Primary guide: Meet the candidates in Assembly District 33

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


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.




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

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


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.




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.

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.

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