Tag Archives: Toby Ann Stavisky

90-year-old Mets fan, WWII vet honored at Citi Field


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of state Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky

BENJAMIN FANG

A veteran’s service to wounded soldiers earned him recognition with his favorite team.

Longtime Mets fan Leonard Merer, 90, was given a New York State Senate proclamation on the night of his birthday, Aug. 4, by state Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky. The Mets selected him as its Veteran of the Night.

Merer was a medic during World War II. His notable service included tending to the many casualties in Normandy after D-Day.

For his service, French President François Hollande recently awarded Merer the Insignia of Chevalier of the Legion of Honor.

 

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Op-ed: SCRIE and EPIC for thousands more New York seniors


| oped@queenscourier.com

 STATE SENATOR TOBY ANN STAVISKY

I am pleased to announce that starting this week, thousands more New Yorkers will be eligible for two state programs that help keep rent and prescription drugs affordable for senior citizens. The Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exception (SCRIE) and Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC) are designed to protect seniors on a fixed income from the steadily rising cost of rent and prescription drugs.

Expansions to EPIC took effect immediately after the budget was passed on April 1 and changes to SCRIE took effect on July 1. The new eligibility requirements are as follows:

To qualify for SCRIE, seniors must:
• Be 62 years or older
• Live in a rent-regulated apartment (rent stabilized, controlled or Mitchell-Lama)
• Be listed on the lease
• Currently pay or will pay with a lease renewal a rent that exceeds one-third of their income
• Have an income of $50,000 or less (increased from $29,000)

To qualify for EPIC, seniors must:
• Be 65 years or older
• Be enrolled in Medicare Part D
• For individuals, have a yearly income of $75,000 or less (increased from $35,000) and for couples, have a yearly income of $100,000 or less (increased from $50,000)

I am glad that my fellow legislators recognized the importance of these programs for thousands of seniors across New York State. This year’s budget marks the first time that SCRIE has been expanded since 2009 and the first expansion of EPIC since 2001.

The new income requirements are expected to cover over 10,000 more eligible seniors this year alone.

While I applaud these long overdue changes, I am concerned that for some, this might be too little too late. The affordability of rent and prescription drugs for seniors are too important to be held at the mercy of Albany’s political whims.

To avoid this annual battle, I co-sponsored Senate Bill 1218, which would peg the maximum income allowable to be eligible for SCRIE to reflect yearly increases in the regional Consumer Price Index. So as the cost of living for more senior citizens rise, so should the number of senior citizens eligible for this critical rent assistance. The same should be done for the maximum income requirement for EPIC.

Hopefully, these reforms will be enacted when the legislature returns to Albany in January. In the meantime, I encourage all senior citizens who are now newly eligible for SCRIE and EPIC to apply for the benefits.

For more information about both of these programs, including detailed eligibility requirements and applications, visit the New York City Department of Finance website for more information about SCRIE (www.nyc.gov/SCRIE) and the New York

Department of Health (www.health.ny.gov/health_care/epic/) for more information about EPIC. You may also contact my district office at 718-445-0004 or call 311.

Senator Toby Ann Stavisky represents Senate District 16, which includes Flushing, Forest Hills, Elmhurst, Woodside, Electchester, Pomonok, Bayside and Rego Park. She is the assistant leader of the Democratic Conference and serves on the Committees on Aging and Finance.

 

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United Adult Ministries to honor advocates of older adults


| editorial@queenscourier.com

KATRINA MEDOFF

United Adult Ministries will present the Rose Kryzak Senior Leadership Award to three honorees at the Flushing House Gala at Flushing Town Hall on May 8.

Honorees state Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky, Steven Goodman, Ed.D., and Alan Weinberg, LCSW, “have all soldiered on in the tradition of Rose Kryzak, making major contributions of service and caring for older adults,” said Robert F. Salant, Flushing House director of community relations.

The UAM Older Adult Ministry Award will be presented to Doris Walker, an elder of the Hollis Presbyterian Church, and Doris Ramsay, a deacon of the Valley Stream Presbyterian Church.

Tenor Daniel Rodriguez will perform at the event and will be honored with a special award for his support of various nonprofits, especially those that serve older adults.

All proceeds from the fundraising gala will support an endowment fund that allows Flushing House to remain affordable for many of the older adults who live there.

For more info, call 347-532-3025, email rsalant@uam.org or click here.

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Stop for school bus or lose license for 60 days: state Senate


| mchan@queenscourier.com

File photo

Repeat scofflaws who zoom through school bus stop signs could face stiffer penalties under a bill the state Senate passed last week.

The legislation calls for a 60-day license suspension for drivers who illegally pass a stopped school bus more than twice within 10 years.

“It’s bad enough that a driver passes a stopped school bus once, but to do it twice is unacceptable,” said upstate Sen. John Bonacic, who penned the law. “This bill is intended to make our roads safer for our school children.”

Committing the crime twice within three years is currently punishable by up to $750 and 180 days in jail. But only the monetary fine — up to $1,000 — increases for each new offense after that.

The new law, in line with citywide “Vision Zero” strides to reduce pedestrian fatalities, would temporarily yank dangerous drivers from the wheel.

“Drivers who are reckless with their lives and the lives of others, particularly with the lives of children, must be punished and taken off the roads,” Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky said.

The bill now awaits movement by the state Assembly’s Transportation Committee.

 

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Op-ed: From a lifetime of war to a final search for peace


| oped@queenscourier.com

STATE SENATOR TOBY STAVISKY

On Jan.11, former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon passed away at the age of 85.

Although he could be a polarizing political figure and his policies have had many critics, I found Henry Kissinger’s remembrance of Sharon in the Jan.13 issue of The Washington Post to be an accurate and fair representation of Sharon’s legacy.

Kissinger described him as a fierce warrior. From a young age, Sharon was made famous by his talent for an unfortunate fact of Israeli life—war. He is credited for commanding the battle that turned the tide of the 1973 war, earning a reputation as a hawk.

But like many of his peers, Sharon came to understand that the best way for Israel to become a secure state was to work toward establishing a lasting peace.

In 2002, I was invited by the Israeli government to join Jewish legislators from around the world in Israel for the Sixth International Conference of Jewish Ministers and Members of Parliament. The conference included 55 legislators from 23 different countries and I was asked to serve on a panel on education.

We met with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in his office on January 8, 2002. I took extensive notes during my week in Israel. Describing Sharon, I wrote:

“He is a jovial, grandfatherly general who spent 28 years in the army. Mr. Sharon spent about 45 minutes talking about the millions of people who came to Israel to build the country with a plow in one hand and a sword in the other. He told us that he grew up on a farm and is looking forward to spending more time riding his horses and that his only ambition is to bring security and peace to the people of Israel. As one who has seen the horror of war, he understands, more than many politicians, the importance of peace. He described his beloved nation as one consisting of people from 102 countries speaking 82 languages. I was thinking that Flushing is still more diverse.”

Several years later in 2005, Sharon presided over the withdrawal of Israeli settlements from the Gaza Strip, an operation that was hailed by leaders worldwide as a remarkable act of diplomacy.

As I reflect on his life, I find myself admiring Sharon not only for his political and military prowess, but also for his unwavering dedication to serving his people. I mourn along with the people of Israel the passing of leader whose life and work shaped a nation, a region, and the world and hope that his great ambition for peace can soon be realized.

 Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, the first woman from Queens County elected to the State Senate and the first woman to Chair the Senate Committee on Higher Education, represents District 16.

 

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Op-ed: We cannot forget the Philippines


| oped@queenscourier.com

STATE SENATOR TOBY ANN STAVISKY

Just over a month ago, the strongest storm ever recorded crashed into the coast of the Philippines. Wreaking devastation over large swaths of Southeast Asia, Typhoon Haiyan has affected over 12 million people in the region and claimed thousands of lives. Even today, the death toll continues to rise. At press time, the latest count was over 6,000 casualties.

It sometimes can be difficult to fathom the magnitude of a storm’s destruction and damage from half a world away. When the victims do not share our common traditions, history or culture, we may feel only remotely affected but that does not diminish the need to help others.

I and many of my Filipino constituents have seen this growing apathy towards the storm’s aftermath, evident in waning press coverage and conversation about the disaster. Our feelings were confirmed by a recent Pew poll which found more Americans were following news about the healthcare rollout than the aftermath of Haiyan. Fundraising numbers also corroborate this—one week after the typhoon hit, Americans raised about $33 million for relief efforts compared to $300 million in the immediate wake of Haiti earthquake in 2010.

So let us be clear—the disastrous denouement of Typhoon Haiyan was total and utter destruction for millions.

New York had a very small taste of the damage that natural disasters can bring when Hurricane Sandy struck our shores just over a year ago. Our friends and family in Staten Island, the Rockaways and Coney Island watched as their cherished homes and livelihoods were swept away by the storm surge. And as New Yorkers, we responded and rallied around our neighbors.

I urge the people of Queens to see the victims of Typhoon Haiyan just as they saw and were moved to action by the victims of Hurricane Sandy. I urge you to treat them as your friends, your family, your neighbors.

Which for many residents of the 16th Senate District, is true. According to a recent Asian American Federation analysis, Filipinos make up the fourth-largest Asian group in New York City, with most Filipinos living in Queens. The 16th Senate District alone is home to more than 10,000 Filipinos who mostly live in Elmhurst and Woodside, more than any other district in the state.

Last week, my colleagues Senator Michael Gianaris, Councilmember Daniel Dromm and I joined many Queens-based Filipino groups to observe the one-month anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan at a candlelight vigil and to review fundraising progress.

I was proud to stand with them that night and I pledge to stand with them until the rebuilding effort in the Philippines is finished. I hope you will join us.

Contributions can be made to the American Red Cross specifically to support Philippine typhoon relief at www.redcross.org. Various Filipino such as organizations Gawad Kalinga are also accepting donations and are able to deliver services with very low overhead costs.

If you are unsure if a non-profit is reputable, you should check their rating on Charity Navigator.

Toby Ann Stavisky, the first woman from Queens County elected to the State Senate and the first woman to Chair the Senate Committee on Higher Education. She currently represents the 16th Senate District.

 

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Op-Ed: Election equality long overdue


| oped@queenscourier.com

STATE SENATOR TOBY ANN STAVISKY AND ASSEMBLYMEMBER DAVID WEPRIN

Last Friday, we joined many leaders of the South Asian community from across Queens to commend the Board of Elections for its plan to provide voter assistance in Bengali for the upcoming elections.

While we were heartened by the plan put forth by the Board of Elections, which would include translated ballots at 60 Queens polling sites and expanded language assistance, these necessary improvements to our election process are long overdue.

On October 13, 2011, the Census Bureau indicated that Queens County was required under Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act to provide language assistance to Bengali-speaking voters. Since then, four primary and general elections have come and gone and Bengali-speaking citizens, 60 percent of whom have limited English proficiency, have not been provided the assistance they deserve to fully participate in our democratic system.

To live in, to work in and to vote in Queens is to be a part of one of the most diverse communities in our state. This diversity must be reflected in our electoral process.

We have been assured that the Board of Elections will follow through with their plan to provide Bengali language assistance in the upcoming primary and general elections, critical contests that will decide the future of our city.

Also on the ballot this November will be six constitutional amendments, including casino gambling. An informed electorate is essential in determining how to vote and voters need to understand these proposed amendments.

We also urge the state legislature to reconsider our bill that directs the Queens Board of Elections to provide written language assistance in Punjabi in addition to the languages currently available.

We’re both so proud to represent such vibrant communities made up of voices from all over the world. Now it’s time to make sure those voices, no matter if they’re English-speaking, Bengali-speaking or otherwise, are fully heard this coming Election Day.

State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky represents District 16 and Assemblymember David Weprin represents the 24th Assembly District. 

 

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Library expansion breaks ground in memory of Queens activist


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Their eyes looking to the skies in memory of a lost beloved leader, elected officials drove their golden shovels into the dirt to break ground on a long-anticipated library expansion project.

“It feels so good to be standing here today, knowing that construction is beginning,” said Queens Library President Thomas Galante at the Friday, April 19 ceremony.

The $10 million renovation project at the Kew Gardens Hills Library was a longtime pet project of Pat Dolan, a Queens activist who was struck and killed by a car last November. She was 72.

“Her memory lives on,” Galante said. “The library she loved so much is now officially located on Pat Dolan Way, and this [expansion] will be her legacy to the community. We will always know she is looking on.”

There will be an extra 3,000 square feet of space when the branch at 72-33 Pat Dolan Way reopens in 2015, officials said.

The library will also have twice as many computers, a bigger meeting room, an energy-saving roof and larger, separate spaces for adults, teens and children.

“This will be a fantastic library. It’s going to be a great place,” said Borough President Helen Marshall. “Libraries are important because they’re full of knowledge. Little children, teenagers, seniors—they’re good for everyone to absorb knowledge.”

The branch closed for construction on February 22. A temporary library is open at 71-34 Main Street, library officials said. Nearby branches are also located in Hillcrest, Briarwood and Pomonok.

 

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branch

Legislators come thru for co-op, condo owners


| mchan@queenscourier.com

State leaders will end up keeping their pledge to co-op and condo shareholders in the city.

According to Governor Andrew Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, the Legislature has reached an agreement on tax relief legislation and will sign it into law when officials return to Albany.

The city will also issue tax bills based on new and lower rates, they said, and the tax abatement — which reduces the difference in property taxes paid by Class 2 co-op and condo properties and one, two and three family homes in Class 1 — will be retroactive.

State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky said the J-51 program, which gives owners partial property tax exemptions for capital improvements, will also be extended to June 30, 2015.

These assurances come after widespread panic in co-op and condo communities at the end of June, when the Legislature adjourned session without extending the city’s J-51 program and the expired abatement. Fear mounted in November after elected officials said the Legislature would not reconvene to pass promised relief.

Assemblymember Ed Braunstein said the Legislature would likely pass his bill, which would increase abatements for middle class co-op owners from 17.5 percent to 25 percent this year and over 28 percent in three years, based on assessments.

Incumbent Stavisky, newcomer Ron Kim defeat Republican challengers


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/PHOTOS BY ALEXA ALTMAN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Racial slurs mar Flushing site


| mchan@queenscourier.com

DSC_0519w

A $500 reward is on the table for anyone with information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perp responsible for spray-painting anti-Asian racial slurs on sites in downtown Flushing, said three of the area’s elected officials.

The word “gook” — a derogatory slang term used to describe Asian people — was branded on the glass window of an empty storefront on Union Street and on the side of a nearby van owned by a Chinese media company on Sunday afternoon, September 9, according to State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky.

The 31-32 Union Street site, Stavisky said, is the future home of the Queens Public Library Mitchell-Linden branch and the van belongs to the World Journal, one of the largest Chinese-language newspapers in North America.

“This kind of disgusting display of bigotry has no place in our community,” the senator said. “An attack on an Asian-American is an attack on everybody in this community.”

Stavisky, who called Flushing “the birthplace of religious freedom,” said the reward would be given on behalf of Assemblymember Grace Meng, Councilmember Peter Koo and herself.

“It’s a shame that these things still happen in our neighborhoods. We must tell people that we have to live together. We have to abolish some of these old racial sentiments some of us still have,” Koo said.

The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force is currently investigating the incidents, which are believed to be related, Stavisky said. Anyone with information is asked to call the 109th Precinct at 718-321-2250.

Meanwhile, a Korean-American couple — who were described as “chinx” on their Hooters takeout receipt in Fresh Meadows on July 1 — have filed a lawsuit against the restaurant chain in Brooklyn Federal Court, according to court documents.

Stavisky said the separate incident “shows an attitude that has to change.”

“That is not the way we behave here in New York City,” she said.

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

Six-time incumbent Stavisky claims victory over Messer in primary


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Incumbent State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky will fight to keep her seat in the general election after claiming victory in the highly contentious District 16 primary race last week.

“I think we sent a positive message that there are issues that are important to us as Democrats,” Stavisky said during her victory party at the Sheraton Hotel in Flushing. “The people I really want to thank are the voters out there. You’re the ones to whom I report, to whom I’m accountable, and I will be forever grateful to the people of the 16th Senate District.”

Stavisky beat out her rival, attorney John Messer from Oakland Gardens, by winning 58 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results as of 1 a.m. on September 13 when 100 percent of precincts were reporting.

The six-time incumbent garnered 4,940 votes while her opponent took in 3,575, unofficial results showed.

But it was not a fight easily conceded.

Messer, at his own primary party in Woodside, refused to back down, believing he was the favored candidate in at least 75 percent of precincts. He said poll numbers were perplexing.

“It just doesn’t make any sense to me,” Messer said. “We went to certain poll sites where certain poll site workers would come out and say, ‘By the way, everyone who came in here today was asking for you’ and then we get the numbers and they’re like 50/50.”

The local attorney and small business owner said a hard hit in the south Flushing neighborhood of Electchester — a Stavisky-favored area — caused his influence to dwindle at local polls, but he said his lawyers will be looking into a possible recount, consulting with judges to see if an order can issue a second look at the votes.

“We inspired so many people and brought so many people into the process,” Messer said. “I don’t want the people who are behind us and who really want a change to get disappointed. We’re going to still work together to bring out change and bring the communities together.”

The two candidates battled through a heated primary race waged principally on negative campaign attacks. Stavisky said antagonistic literature against her was even being distributed at the 11th hour outside of a poll site in Jackson Heights.

At the pair’s first debate together, Stavisky made a stance that she would not be bullied. She told The Courier, while poll sites were still open, that she’s happy with the campaign she’s conducted.

“I talked about the issues that were important to the voters: education, job creation, services for older Americans, health care. This is what people care about,” she said. “I tried to discuss those issues.”

Stavisky is the first woman from Queens elected to the State Senate. She will face off with Republican J.D. Kim in the November 6 general election.

The newly-redrawn district emcompasses parts of Flushing, Fresh Meadows, Bayside, Oakland Gardens, Rego Park, Elmhurt, Forest Hills and Jackson Heights.

“Let us remember the principles of the Democratic Party, and let’s go on to a big, big victory for everybody in November and the Democratic State Senate,” she said.

— Additional reporting by Alexa Altman

Messer refuses to give up fight


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

John Messer

It was a fight not easily conceded.

State Senate hopeful John Messer refused to back down after opponent Toby Ann Stavisky reported winning numbers during the primary race for the 16th District. Messer said a hard hit in the south Flushing neighborhood of Electchester — a Stavisky-favored area — caused his influence to dwindle at local polls.

Messer said he found the numbers perplexing and that he believed he was the favored candidate in nearly all precincts. The contender said he brought a large number of new voters to the polls, who may have checked their ballot box with an X instead of filling in the bubble.

The local attorney and small business owner said his lawyers will be looking into a possible recount and are going to consult with judges to see if an order can issue a second look at the votes.

“I believe going into this I wanted to inspire people and I wanted to bring people into the process and when I went around today, everyone was so excited,” said Messer. “It just doesn’t make any sense to me. We went to certain poll sites where certain poll site workers would come out and say by the way everyone who came in here today was asking for you and then we get the numbers and they’re like 50/50. It doesn’t make any sense.”

Messer believes he won 75 percent of the precincts.

“We inspired so many people and brought so many people into the process, I don’t want the people who are behind us and who really want a change to get disappointed. We’re going to still work together to bring out change and bring the communities together.”

Live Coverage: Queens Primary Day at the races


| editorial@queenscourier.com

DSC_0546w

7 p.m. 

Members of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association and officials from the United Federation of Teachers hit the streets today campaigning for Assemblymember Mike Miller in the 38th District.

“When an elected official like Mike stands up for his constituents, we hope on election day his constituents stand up for him,” said Dermot Smyth, Queens political action coordinator for the UFT.

With low voter turnout expected for a primary held on a Thursday, Smyth said every teacher in the area was contacted, letting them know to get out and cast a ballot.

“People want legislators to be honest and keep to their word. If they say they’re going to do something and they do it, then we applaud them,” said Edward Boles, treasurer of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association.

Miller said the support of the unions proved he was doing his job.

“If I didn’t fight for the rights of workers, the rights of unionized workers, the rights of workers to make a living and support their families, they wouldn’t be here supporting me.”

6:10 p.m. 

Etienne David Adorno returned to his grade school at P.S. 60 to cast his ballot in the race for the 38th Assembly District seat currently held by Assemblymember Mike Miller.

Adorno, who has traveled throughout the district during the day, said he’s received a great response from voters — something he’s noticed throughout his campaign.

“I’ve had such a large group of young people come out that have never cared about politics and now they actually are following it,” he said.

As Adorno cast his vote at about 4 p.m. he touted not having “strings attached” when he gets to Albany due to a lack of political and union backing.

“I think that once I go to Albany, I’ll be able to accomplish a lot more because I don’t have any strings attached, so it’s not like I won’t be able to speak up on a bill because my endorsers say if you do next year we’ll run someone against you,” he said.

The long-time Woodhaven resident said he’s confidant because of the amount he was able to accomplish in only a few months campaigning.

“If we win the election this year or not, it doesn’t matter, because we won the campaign,” Adorno said. “And there’s always next time.”

5:40 p.m.

“We’re cautiously optimistic,” said State Senate contender John Messer as he cast his ballot. “The reception everywhere has been really good.”

Accompanied by wife Wendy and the pair’s three children, Ryan, 10, and 5-year-old twins Alexander and Jackie, the businessman and local attorney filed his vote inside the gymnasium at P.S. 46. Messer is looking to sweep State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky’s spot in the 16th District — a position she has held for the past 13 terms.

By the time Messer cast his ballot at 3:30 p.m., 22 people had already voted at P.S. 46.

Messer’s primary day began around 6 a.m., shuffling mostly around Flushing where he said he has gained a tremendous amount of support.

According to the candidate, feedback from many neighborhoods where he expected his opponent to excel had turned back less-than-stellar turn-out numbers — something Messer believes bodes in his favor.

In the days leading up to the primary election, the candidate’s office received countless phone calls asking about their changed polling sites. To alleviate confusion, Messer decided to send the 6,000 residents who pledged him their vote letters with correct poll site addresses. The note, which was originally just going to be a thank you letter, turned into something the Senate hopeful believes will bring more citizens out to vote.

Messer believes his increased visibility may be the key to winning the race.

“I don’t even have to say who I am,” he said. “People know who I am just by walking by them. It’s positive, even in the areas where my opponent is stronger.  I’m such a cautious guy, but I’m getting a lot of winks, nods and people turning around and giving me the thumbs up.”

5:15 p.m.

Poll workers at P.S. 184 said many voters were upset to arrive only to learn that their poll site had changed.

“One woman could see her house from the site, but we had to send her to St. Andrew’s,” one worker said.

Fifty one poll sites were changed in Queens this year due to redistricting.

The voters that only learned today of the changes said they were upset with the lack of notice.

“I’m not going,” one voter said of her new poll site.

4:30 p.m.

The highly contentious District 16 Senate race remained antagonistic hours before the close of the primary, as negative campaign fliers focused on State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky continue to flutter around poll sites in Jackson Heights, the incumbent candidate said. 

“They’re not from me,” Stavisky said. “I was handed one.”

Stavisky, who has faced a heated battle with her opponent, John Messer, said her camp has refrained from handing out damaging literature of her rival and said she’s happy with the campaign she’s conducted.

“I talked about the issues that were important to the voters: education, job creation, service for older Americans, healthcare. This is what people care about,” she said. “I tried to discuss those issues.”

Stavisky’s campaign workers said the western Queens voter turnout was “not bad.”

More than 110 people had placed their votes at P.S. 69 in Jackson Heights — a new part of Senate District — as of 4:30 p.m., Stavisky said.

But voters have told the senator they’ve been turned away from polling sites.

“That’s the real problem,” Stavisky said. “They’re very upset. They never got a card telling them about [poll site changes]. I know the Board of Elections has a difficult job. I’m not criticizing the Board of Elections. But nevertheless, the bottom line is people are having a hard time finding their polling place.”

– BY MELISSA CHAN

2 p.m.

Assemblymember Mike Miller said there were a few problems at polling sites in the area with residents being turned away.

Some voters were sent to a different polling site only to be sent back to the original site, he said.

“You never want to have that.  They’re coming out to vote; I don’t want them to be disenfranchised,” Miller said.

The assemblymember said his staff is at different sites making sure that if a voter’s name is not at the site, they are given an affidavit ballot.

– BY BILLY RENNISON

 

1 p.m.

Incumbent Assemblymember Mike Miller cast his vote at noon at P.S. 91 in Glendale, down the block from his elementary school, St. Pancras, and is feeling confident.

“It’s an election.  This is people giving an opinion about the job you did. If they vote me out, to them I didn’t do a good job, but I’m pretty confident in the job we’ve done the last three years in the district and people realize that,” Miller said.

The assemblymember said he was happy with the response he was receiving from voters he has spoken to.

The key to this primary day, he said, is the swarms of volunteers that have come out for him.

“I get volunteers because of the commitment I give to people and I get that in return,” Miller said. “These people can be anywhere today. They can be home relaxing, but they’re here — they’re trying to get me re-elected.”

– BY BILLY RENNISON

 

12: 30 p.m.

Councilmember Eric Ulrich and his wife casted their votes for the   Republican primary in Senate District 15 at P.S. 63 in Ozone Park – where Ulrich went to school from kindergarten to fourth grade.

After voting at 10:30 a.m., Ulrich told reporters the mailer attack from Juan Reyes’ campaign was incorrect and offensive to many demographics in the district.

“To use outright bigotry to try to scare voters and outright intimidate voters I think is an absolute disgrace,” Ulrich said.

– BY TERENCE M. CULLEN

 

 

12 p.m.

Assembly hopeful Clyde Vanel, who cast his vote at P.S. 147 around 10 a.m., anxiously awaits the outcome of the race.

“I’m excited and nervous at the same time,” Vanel said around noon. “I can’t wait until it’s over, but it’s exciting.”

The business owner and community advocate, running in the 33rd Assembly District against incumbent Barbara Clark, said getting voters to the polls is always difficult, especially during the primary election. Vanel said a main goal of his campaign was increasing voter participation.

“Many people’s polling sites changed and a lot of people didn’t receive notice or got the wrong address,” said Vanel. “We have to better inform people in the community about where they can vote.”

– BY ALEXA ALTMAN

 

10 a.m.

A large support base had already come out in numbers to place their vote for Assembly hopeful Nily Rozic, according to the first-time Democratic candidate from Fresh Meadows.

“I was at P.S. 173 this morning. There were a lot of my neighbors coming to vote and coming out to support me,” said the 25th Assembly District contender. “We’re really excited. I feel really strong. I have a great team and I feel really good about this election.”

Still, the former chief of staff to Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh said she expects a lower than usual voter turnout count.

“It is a Thursday primary, so it’s kind of an anomaly,” said Rozic, whose campaign literature outside poll sites tout her recent endorsements from the New York Times and the New York Daily News.

Poll site volunteers at P.S. 173 said more people have been coming out than they expected. One booth alone had seen 18 voters by only 10 a.m.

“The 25th Assembly District wants someone who’s independent, someone who offers a different perspective and is a fresh voice for our neighborhood,” she said. “Across the district, we’ve seen that we have a large base of support, whether it’s south Flushing or out in the depths of Oakland Gardens.”

Meanwhile, her opponent, longtime Community Board 11 chair and attorney Jerry Iannece, took to his poll site earlier at 9 a.m. The Bayside resident is backed by several elected officials, as well as the Queens County Democratic Party.

His campaign spokesperson, Will Watts, said Iannece’s camp is still waiting on returns for hard mid-dat turnout figures.

“So far, however, it appears to be a low turnout election,” Watts said. “We are counting on our volunteers and voter outreach operation to get out our vote and we are confident in them.”

– BY MELISSA CHAN