Tag Archives: Shirley Huntley

Councilmember Ruben Wills re-elected to City Council


| mhayes@queenscourier.com


Incumbent Councilmember Ruben Wills will continue on through another term in the 28th City Council District.

Wills beat out attorney Hettie Powell, Reverend David Kayode and Eugene Walter Evans for the seat with almost 50 percent of all votes.

After being elected to the City Council in a 2010 special election, Wills has been hard at work throughout Jamaica, South Ozone Park, Richmond Hill and Rochdale.

He wrote and introduced the Communtiy Violence Prevention Act, which established the city’s responsibility to stem the rise of violence in vulnerable communities. He also co-sponsored the Community Safety Act, aimed at ending discriminatory NYPD stop and frisk policies.

Wills as well has provided nearly $2 million in support of local community groups, after-school and youth programs and senior services.

His political experience goes back to 2003, when he was a special assistant to Councilmember Leroy Comrie and later became chief of staff to former State Senator Shirley Huntley.

Queens political hall of shame


| editorial@queenscourier.com

File photos

This New York City election season features not one, but two formerly disgraced politicians asking voters to give them a second chance.

Former Congressmember Anthony Weiner, who announced he is running for mayor in May, and former Governor Eliot Spitzer, who launched his bid for city comptroller last week, were both forced to resign after sexual scandals.

They’re not the only ones in the political hall of shame. Here’s a recap of some recent Queens electeds who have been caught in their own scandals.

State Senator Malcolm Smith and Councilmember Dan Halloran

State Senator Malcolm Smith and Councilmember Dan Halloran are still fighting off bombshell accusations they had an elaborate scheme to rig the 2013 mayoral election.

The two were among six officials arrested by the FBI on April 2.

Smith, a registered Democrat, needed consent from three of the city’s five GOP chairmen to run for mayor as a Republican. He allegedly bribed GOP officials to get on the ticket.

Feds say Halloran pocketed nearly $21,000 in cash for setting up meetings between Smith and GOP officials. He also offered up councilmember item cash in exchange for bribes, prosecutors said.

Smith, elected to the State Senate in 2000, was the chair of the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) before his power was revoked shortly after the arrest.

Halloran has been the Republican incumbent in Council District 19 since 2009. He was stripped of his committee assignments and ability to allocate funds. He said he would not seek reelection this year.

The two have denied wrongdoing. Their cases are ongoing.

Shirley Huntley

Former State Senator Shirley Huntley was arrested and charged last August with two felonies and a misdemeanor for drafting a fake letter to show that a sham nonprofit group, the Parents Information Network, used a $30,000 state grant for “workshops.”

Despite calls for her to resign following the arrest, Huntley continued with her reelection campaign, but lost her seat to then-Councilmember James Sanders in the 2012 Democratic Primary. She had held the seat since 2007.

Though she initially pleaded not guilty, she pleaded guilty to the charges almost six months after her arrest. In May, she was sentenced to one year and one day in jail plus three years probation.

The same month, it was revealed that Huntley secretly recorded the conversations of elected officials while she was still in office at the request of federal authorities.

Jimmy Meng

Former Assemblymember Jimmy Meng was arrested by the FBI in July 2012 and charged with bribery.

Meng, 69, was the first Asian-American to serve in the New York State legislature. He represented Flushing from 2005 to 2006 and is the father to Congressmember Grace Meng.

Feds said Meng solicited $80,000 in bribes from a state court defendant who had been charged with state tax crimes and sought Meng’s help to reduce the sentence.

Meng was caught red-handed at his Flushing lumber yard accepting a fruit basket filled with cash from the defendant, who was cooperating with FBI agents.

He pleaded guilty last November and served his one month jail sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Fort Dix, New Jersey. He was released on April 18.

Meng is currently serving four months of house arrest and two years of probation. He was also ordered to pay $30,000 in fines and serve 750 hours of community service.

Hiram Monserrate

Former Councilmember and State Senator Hiram Monserrate was sentenced to 24 months in prison in December 2012 after pleading guilty to charges that he misappropriated more than $100,000 in City Council discretionary funding to finance his failed 2006 run for state Senate.

The money was directed to the Latino Initiative for Better Resources and Empowerment (LIBRE), a non-profit in his council district at the time. The discretionary funds, which are drawn from city taxpayer dollars, were used to pay employees of the non-profit to collect signatures, work on his Senate campaign and conduct a voter registration drive.

Monserrate, who was elected to the state Senate in 2008 after eight years in the City Council, was expelled from the seat in 2010 after being convicted of domestic assault on his girlfriend. He lost the subsequent special election to state Senator Jose Peralta.

Anthony Seminerio

FBI agents arrested longtime Queens Assemblymember Anthony Seminerio in September 2008 after an investigation found that he that he took nearly $1 million from hospitals, a school and other entities for actions he undertook as a member of the State Assembly. A grand jury indicted him a month later.

In June 2009, he resigned from his seat after 30 years in the Assembly and pleaded guilty.

He was sentenced in February 2010 to six years in prison.

Seminerio passed away in January 2011 at age 75.

Brian McLaughlin

In March 2008, Assemblymember Brian McLaughlin, a seven-term politician and former head of the New York City Central Labor Council (CLC), pleaded guilty to embezzling nearly $2.2 million in funds from people he worked for and served along with numerous organizations.

Those included the CLC, the state of New York and even a number of nonprofits.

He was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Following his 2006 arrest, he left office at the end of the year after serving in the Assembly since 1993.

Alan Hevesi

In December 2006, former Queens Assemblymember and State Comptroller Alan Hevesi pleaded guilty to a class E felony defrauding the state government by using a state employee as a personal chauffeur for his ailing wife.

Hevesi, who resigned as comptroller the same month he pleaded guilty, received the maximum four-year sentence.

After serving 20 months behind bars, Hevesi was released from prison. He will remain on parole until April 2015.

Dennis Gallagher

First elected in 2001, City Councilmember Dennis Gallagher resigned in March 2008 after he pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors, admitting that he sexually abused a woman in his office in Middle Village in July 2007 while he was intoxicated.

The victim later filed a civil suit against him.

 

 

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Queens nonprofit executive turns himself in for allegedly pocketing $85K


| mhayes@queenscourier.com


The executive of a Queens nonprofit group has turned himself into the authorities.

Van Holmes, the president of the Young Leaders Institute Inc., allegedly pocketed more than $85,000 by creating false records and forged documents which he filed through state and city agencies, according to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

The investigation, conducted by Schneiderman, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and the Department of Investigation, is looking into former State Senator Shirley Huntley’s possible involvement with the funds.

The criminal complaint alleges that from 2007 to 2010, Holmes obtained three member-item grants sponsored by Huntley. Sally Butler, Huntley’s lawyer, said the former pol’s only involvement was contributing money in support of Holmes’ youth program as well as other community groups.

In one incident, Holmes allegedly created false invoices and payment records to make it seem he had taken 50 youths on trips to a retreat center. But no such trips occurred, and Holmes instead took the funds for himself.

“Van Holmes pocketed tens of thousands of state and city taxpayer dollars meant to help low-income students and their families,” Schneiderman said. “The men and women elected to public office and put in charge of public service organizations have a special responsibility to protect the public interest.”

DiNapoli said Holmes allegedly used the stolen funds to pay for clothing, car repairs and theater tickets.

“It’s shameful,” he added.

Holmes is charged with grand larceny, forgery, falsifying business records and offering a false instrument for filing. If convicted, he could face to 15 years in prison.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Wednesday: Clear in the morning, then partly cloudy. High of 95. Winds from the NNE at 5 to 10 mph shifting to the SSE in the afternoon. Wednesday night: Partly cloudy in the evening, then clear. Low of 81 with a heat index of 88F. Winds from the South at 5 to 10 mph shifting to the WSW after midnight.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Golden Dragon Acrobats

After an exciting extended run last summer, the Golden Dragon Acrobats return to Queens Theatre more thrilling and daring than ever before! Witness daring feats of balance, spine tingling contortionists and towers of jugglers as the talented acrobats straight from China leave you wanting more! If you missed them last year now is you chance to catch the show that everyone was talking about. Runs July 17-28. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Local business owners, city clash over plans for Willets Point

Just before the start of Major League Baseball’s All-Star game on Tuesday night business owners near Citi Field  protested the city’s plan to shut them down. Read more: CBS New York

Ex-NY Sen. Huntley’s friend gets busted for alleged $85K charity fraud

The president of a Queens, N.Y., nonprofit with ties to former state Sen. Shirley Huntley was charged Tuesday with stealing more than $85,000 in taxpayer money. Read more: New York Daily News 

Obama: Ray Kelly ‘well-qualified’ for DHS post

President Barack Obama says New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly would be “well-qualified” to run the Department of Homeland Security. Read more: Fox New York 

Rivera perfect, AL beats NL 3-0 in All-Star game

Mariano Rivera pitched a perfect eighth inning in his final All-Star appearance, Jose Bautista, J.J. Hardy and Jason Kipnis drove in runs to back a night of pulsating pitching, and the American League beat the National League 3-0 Tuesday night to stop a three-year losing streak. Read more: AP

GOP strategist files objection to Eliot Spitzer’s comptroller petition signatures

Eliot Spitzer is facing a challenge to his bid to get on the ballot in the city comptroller’s race, after a Republican strategist contested the ex-governor’s petition signatures. Read more: CBS New York/AP

 

State Senator Peralta goes on the record on Huntley wiretap


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

File photo

State Senator Jose Peralta says he did not have any illegal discussions with his former colleague, Shirley Huntley, when she secretly recorded him last year.

“I was as surprised as anybody to have my name on this list,” Peralta told The Queens Courier. “I did no wrong-doing whatsoever. I know that nothing on these tapes would implicate me on anything with the exception of the fact that I was recorded.”

Peralta said his lawyers were assured by authorities that he is not the topic of a federal investigation, unlike some others on the list released last week. State Senators Malcolm Smith and John Sampson were arrested within a month of each other on federal corruption charges. Prosecutors have not confirmed whether

Huntley’s cooperation with the FBI aided in those arrests.

Because there are still ongoing investigations, Peralta could not say what he discussed with Huntley.

However, he did say that it was nothing of substance and “people will be scratching their heads” at the content recorded.

Peralta’s own tenure in the Senate came on the heels of another legislator’s removal from the chamber.

He won a special election in March 2010 after the Senate voted to expel disgraced pol Hiram Monserrate, who was convicted of a misdemeanor. Monserrate tried to reclaim his seat in the special election, but with the loss of the Democrats’ backing, he finished third.

“I ran against someone who really shocked the confidence of his constituents,” Peralta said. “I wanted to make sure I was as transparent and as forward-thinking as possible.”

Peralta said the recordings of seven elected officials and two political consultants were an effort by Huntley to point fingers and divert charges away from her.

“She must have thought she can get [a plea bargain] by pointing fingers at others,” he said. “I’m not saying there are no bad apples,” but “most of us are hardworking, transparent individuals.”

Peralta told The Courier that since he is not under investigation, the wiretap will not impact his run for borough president.

“I think it’s a minor setback, of course,” he said. “But I’ve been on the campaign trail and people see it for what it is.”

 

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Queens pols among elected officials secretly recorded by ex-State Senator Shirley Huntley


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

File photos

Former State Senator Shirley Huntley secretly recorded three Queens elected officials, among others, for federal authorities last summer, according to court documents.

State Senators Jose Peralta and Malcolm Smith and Councilmember Ruben Wills were named in a memorandum unsealed by a federal judge this afternoon.

The filing also named Brooklyn State Senators Eric Adams, John Sampson and Velmanette Montgomery; Bronx State Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson; Melvin Lowe, a former political consultant and associate of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman; and Curtis Taylor, a former press consultant for Smith.

None are necessarily accused of wrong-doing.

Federal authorities reportedly claim three of the recorded politicians were helpful in building cases.

Smith was arrested on April 2 after federal prosecutors said he tried to bribe Republican county leaders to let him switch parties and run on the GOP ticket for mayor. Sampson was arrested on Monday, May 6 and accused of embezzling money from the sale of foreclosed homes.

According to the court filing, federal officials approached Huntley last summer—before she herself was charged for allegedly covering up money funneled through a non-profit she helped establish. Schneiderman brought those charges.

In February, she pleaded guilty to trying to help cover up the $87,000 embezzlement. She will be sentenced in federal court on Thursday, May 9.

According to the memorandum, Huntley told government officials she knew of corruption that involved elected officials. She reportedly spoke with them over a course of six months.

Huntley, who lost a primary last September, invited the leaders into her home and recorded conversations on behalf of the FBI, the document said.

“The defense is aware that the government is currently investigating public officials based in part upon the information provided by Ms. Huntley and her recorded conversations,” Huntley’s lawyer, Sally Butler, said in the memorandum. “Ms. Huntley has not revealed her proffers or recordings publicly so as to maximize the government’s current efforts.”

A spokesperson for Smith said the embattled legislator could not comment on anything related to his arrest last month or new allegations that he met with Huntley. Wills’ office also did not have a comment at this time.

An inside source told The Queens Courier more names are expected to be released.

Two of the officials named in the filing are seeking higher office this year. Peralta is one of six candidates running for Borough President. Adams was vying to be the first black Brooklyn Borough president. A Peralta spokesperson would not comment at this time.

All elected officials in the probe were Democrats, shaking an already unsettled party in Albany. A Senate Democratic Conference spokesperson issued a statement on behalf of the caucus following the news.

“This is an extremely trying time in Albany,” he said. “If any charges are brought, the conference will take appropriate action.”

– With additional reporting by Maggie Hayes and Melissa Chan

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com


TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Overcast with rain. Fog early. High of 45. Winds from the South at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 100% with rainfall amounts near 0.3 in. possible. Monday Night: Partly cloudy with a chance of rain. Fog overnight. Low of 34. Breezy. Winds from the West at 10 to 20 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Forest Hills Celebrates 5,000 Years of Chinese Culture

Wenyi Wang will discuss Chinese history, culture and current events at the Central Queens Y. Light kosher Chinese refreshments will be served. Free with $6 suggested donation. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Pope Resigning on Feb. 28, Conclave in March

Pope Benedict XVI announced Monday he would resign Feb. 28, the first pontiff to do so in nearly 600 years. The decision sets the stage for a conclave to elect a new pope before the end of March. Read more: AP

Queens lawmaker seeks to curb pollution from freight locomotives with influx of state money

A Queens lawmaker is pushing the state to set aside money to alleviate the problem of train pollution that stretches across four counties. Read more: New York Daily News

Mass transit largely back on track following blizzard

Mass transit across the Tri-State Area is getting back to normal. Long Island Rail Road restored weekend service on its Far Rockaway, Long Beach, Hempstead and Oyster Bay branches in addition to the LIRR’s four busiest branches – Ronkonkoma, Huntington, Babylon and Port Washington. Read more: CBS New York

Long Island Expressway reopens after winter storm

Cars are travelling on both directions on the Long Island Expressway Monday, just in time for the morning commute. Read more: ABC New York

Middle Village man found strangled in his room at Queens Boulevard motel

A man was found strangled in his room at a Queens motel late Saturday night, police sources said. Read more: New York Daily News 

Former state Sen. Huntley bought clothes for her dog in taxpayer-funded shopping sprees: source

Looting lawmaker Shirley Huntley loaded up on fancy clothes and spa treatments — and that was just for her pet poodle. Read more: New York Post

Teen births continue to decline in U.S

The number of U.S. babies born to teen mothers dropped to record lows in 2011, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Read more: Reuters

 

Queens Morning Roundup


| brennison@queenscourier.com


TODAY’S FORECAST

Thursday: A slight chance of showers after 4pm. Mostly sunny, with a high near 48. North wind 5 to 7 mph becoming east in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 20 percent. Thursday night: Clear in the evening, then partly cloudy. Low of 36. Winds from the NNW at 5 to 15 mph

EVENT of the DAY: The Prodigal Scrooge: A Holiday Gospel Faith Musical

Ozone Park’s New Life Apostolic Church presents Ebenezer Scrooge as an arrogant, wealthy casino owner who lives a lavish lifestyle on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Though once a faithful servant of Christ, he allows his determination for success to overshadow all aspects of his life. This unique musical fuses the Charles Dickens classic ‘A Christmas Carol’ with the New Testament parable of the The Prodigal Son. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

1 dead, 33 injured in 35-vehicle crash on Long Island Expressway

One person died and 33 people were hurt in a 35-vehicle crash on the Long Island Expressway Wednesday that may have been caused by an out-of-control trucker, authorities said. Some vehicles, including an 18-wheel tractor trailer, were set ablaze after the two-dozen cars and trucks smashed up in the wild wreck near Exit 68 in Shirley shortly before 3 p.m., authorities said. Read more: Daily News

Exiting pols lavish raises on staffers

Lame-duck state legislators showered loyal staffers with fat raises after their defeats, a Post analysis of state-payroll records found. As state Sens. Shirley Huntley (D-Queens) and David Storobin (R-Brooklyn) prepared to exit their government offices at the end of this month, they suddenly promoted pet staffers and granted them salary hikes that, in some cases, are higher pay rates than their own. Read more: NY Post

Queens resident staying at grocery store after Sandy destroyed his apartment

With no place to live, Michael Riley spends his days sitting on this ledge and his nights inside a grocery store. He has been a fixture there for nearly two weeks after Hurricane Sandy destroyed his apartment. Read more: NY1

Phony Queens doc busted for bad butt surgery

A phony Queens doctor was busted Wednesday for botching a butt enhancement, police said Wednesday. Liliana Coello, 39, was charged with assault, reckless endangerment and criminal possession of a weapon, the syringe she used to inject the victim’s buttocks with silicone, police said. Read more: Daily News

Council bills aim to study Sandy impact, prevent future damages

Members of the City Council have introduced legislation to improve infrastructure across the five boroughs, in hopes of protecting against damage from future storms. The package of bills suggests installing higher floors in new buildings located in flood- prone areas. Read more: NY1

Queens psychiatric hospital settles with government over discrimination claim

A Queens psychiatric hospital has reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice, following a claim that it discriminated against non-U.S. citizens in hiring procedures. Read more: CBS NY

 

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

Primary guide: Meet the candidates in Assembly District 38


| editorial@queenscourier.com

ELECTION

As the clock ticks closer to state primaries on Thursday, September 13, The Courier would like to provide you, the reader and the voter, with a fair, detailed guide of who is running in your district. We have provided a list of candidates, who they are, what they stand for and what they want to continue to do if they go on to the general election in November.

 

ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 38

Name: Etienne David Adorno

Party: Democratic

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

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

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

 

Name: Mike Miller

Party: Democratic

Current Position: Incumbent Assemblymember for the 38th District

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

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

 

Meet more candidates:

Senate District 10

Senate District 15

Senate District 16

Assembly District 25

Assembly District 33

Assembly District 40

 

Primary guide: Meet the candidates in Assembly District 40


| editorial@queenscourier.com

ELECTION

As the clock ticks closer to state primaries on Thursday, September 13, The Courier would like to provide you, the reader and the voter, with a fair, detailed guide of who is running in your district. We have provided a list of candidates, who they are, what they stand for and what they want to continue to do if they go on to the general election in November.

 

ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 40 

Name: Ethel Chen

Party: Democrat

Current Position: Community activist

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

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

 

Name: Yen Chou

Party: Democrat

Current Position: Community activist

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

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

 

Name: Martha Flores-Vasquez

Party: Democrat

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

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

 

Name: Ron Kim

Party: Democrat

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

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

 

Name: Myungsuk Lee

Party: Democrat

Current Position: Owner and publisher of Korean American Times newspaper

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

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

 

 

Name: Philip Gim

Party: Republican

Current Position: Small business consultant

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

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

 

 

Name: Sunny Hahn

Party: Republican

Current Position: Community activist

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

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

 

Meet more candidates:

Senate District 10

Senate District 15

Senate District 16

Assembly District 25

Assembly District 33

 Assembly District 38

 

 

Primary guide: Meet the candidates in Assembly District 33


| editorial@queenscourier.com

ELECTION

As the clock ticks closer to state primaries on Thursday, September 13, The Courier would like to provide you, the reader and the voter, with a fair, detailed guide of who is running in your district. We have provided a list of candidates, who they are, what they stand for and what they want to continue to do if they go on to the general election in November.

 

ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 33

 

Name: Barbara Clark

Party: Democrat

Current position: Assemblymember for the 33rd District

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

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

 

Name: Clyde Vanel

Party: Democrat

Current position: Attorney/business owner/community advocate

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

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

 

 

Meet more candidates:

Senate District 10

Senate District 15

Senate District 16

Assembly District 25

Assembly District 38

Assembly District 40

 

Primary guide: Meet the candidates in Assembly District 25


| editorial@queenscourier.com

ELECTION

As the clock ticks closer to state primaries on Thursday, September 13, The Courier would like to provide you, the reader and the voter, with a fair, detailed guide of who is running in your district. We have provided a list of candidates, who they are, what they stand for and what they want to continue to do if they go on to the general election in November.

 

ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 25

 

Name: Jerry Iannece

Party: Democrat

Current position: Attorney and chair of Community Board 11

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

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

 

Name: Nily Rozic

Party: Democrat, Working Families

Current position: Former chief of staff to Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh

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

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

 

Meet more candidates:

Senate District 10

Senate District 15

Senate District 16

Assembly District 33

Assembly District 38

Assembly District 40

 

Primary guide: Meet the candidates in Senate District 16


| editorial@queenscourier.com

ELECTION

As the clock ticks closer to state primaries on Thursday, September 13, The Courier would like to provide you, the reader and the voter, with a fair, detailed guide of who is running in your district. We have provided a list of candidates, who they are, what they stand for and what they want to continue to do if they go on to the general election in November.

 

SENATE DISTRICT 16

 

Name: John A. Messer

Party: Democrat

Current Position: Businessman and local attorney

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

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

 

Name: Toby Ann Stavisky

Party: Democrat

Current Position: New York State Senator

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

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

 

Meet more candidates:

Senate District 10

Senate District 15

Assembly District 25

Assembly District 33

Assembly District 38

Assembly District 40

 

Primary guide: Meet the candidates in Senate District 15


| editorial@queenscourier.com

ELECTION

As the clock ticks closer to state primaries on Thursday, September 13, The Courier would like to provide you, the reader and the voter, with a fair, detailed guide of who is running in your district. We have provided a list of candidates, who they are, what they stand for and what they want to continue to do if they go on to the general election in November.

 

SENATE DISTRICT 15

 

Name: Juan Reyes

Party: Republican

Current Position: Lawyer

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

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

 

Name: Eric Ulrich

Party: Republican/Independent

Current Position: Councilmember for the 32nd District

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

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

 

Name: Joseph Tiraco

Party: Independent

Current Position: Web Designer

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

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

 

Meet more candidates:

Senate District 10

Senate District 16

Assembly District 25

Assembly District 33

Assembly District 38

Assembly District 40