Tag Archives: Toby Ann Stavisky

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

 

Primary guide: Meet the candidates in Senate District 10


| 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 10 

 

Name: Shirley Huntley

Party: Democrat

Current Position: State Senator for the 10th District

Personal Info: Prior to becoming senator, Huntley was elected to Community School Board 28 in 1993. In 1996, she was re-elected for a second term, and then was elected as president of the board, until its dissolution in 2004. In June 2004, Huntley was appointed by Borough President Helen Marshall to the Community Education Council for District 28 and elected president. Huntley presently resides in Jamaica, New York with her husband Herbert Huntley.

 

Name: Gian A. Jones

Party: Democrat

Current Position: Real estate professional

Personal Info: Jones, 34, is a Queens-native and a life-long resident of Far Rockaway, graduating from New York University. He first got involved in the politics of his community 20 years ago, at the age of 13, working closely with now Congressmember Gregory W. Meeks in his first bid for City Council in 1991 and in his subsequent, successful bid for New York State Assembly in 1992. Jones has held positions as president of the 101st Precinct Community Council, a member of the Queens County District Attorney’s Advisory Council and Community Board 14.  Currently, he is a member of the Council of Urban Professionals, the Thurgood Marshal Democratic Club and serves on the Board of Directors of the Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation.

Issues/Platform: Jones is concerned about all the issues that are important in the various communities in the district.  If elected, Jones will take pleasure in addressing those issues and will especially fight for any effort that creates a brighter future for our youth, meaningful economic development, better health care and improved education. Jones looks forward to bringing new vision and new energy to 10th Senatorial District.

 

Name: James Sanders

Party: Democrat

Current Position: Councilmember for the 31st District

Personal Info: Sanders attended Far Rockaway High School and earned his bachelor’s degree from Brooklyn College in 1984 after three years of service in the United States Marine Corps. When Sanders took office in 2001, he hit the ground running.  Over the past decade, he has recorded an impressive list of accomplishments that have improved the lives of people throughout the southeast Queens community. He’s authored the toughest anti-predatory lending bill in America, worked with community groups and the NYPD to host gun buyback programs that removed almost 1,000 guns from our streets, authored bills that have made it more difficult for minors to get access to bullets, conducted workshops for those in foreclosure, and worked with community groups to provide financial consultants to those in need.  Together with the civic groups and committed leaders of his community, he’s worked to rebuild public parks, open up access to clean spaces, build playgrounds and introduce new technologies into our schools and keep our streets safe.

Issues/Platform: The major issues confronting the councilmember include economic development, jobs and quality of life issues. Sanders has spent years encouraging major developers to come to his area and increase the quality of the education our youth receive. We need to combine the funding and expertise of major companies with the vision and ambition found in the hearts and minds of young entrepreneurs, he said. Education is the key to building up communities. He believes the next generation cannot build up communities if we do not supply them with the tools to do so. Sanders aims to not only say that the children are our future, but to truly treat them as such and provide for their future.

 

Meet more candidates:

Senate District 15

Senate District 16

Assembly District 25

Assembly District 33

 Assembly District 38

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com


TODAY’S FORECAST

Thursday: Overcast in the morning, then partly cloudy. High of 82. Winds from the ENE at 5 to 10 mph shifting to the South in the afternoon. Thursday night: Partly cloudy. Low of 73. Winds from the South at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 20%.

EVENT of the DAY: Fashion’s Night Out

Thursday is the fourth annual Fashion’s Night Out, where clothing, shoe and accessory stores throughout the city have special events and stay open late for shoppers. In Queens, six stores are participating. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Police allege woman stabbed partner to death

A 38-year-old woman is in custody after police say she stabbed her partner to death in Queens. It happened on 145th Street in South Ozone Park around 6 a.m. Wednesday. Read more: NY1

Woodhaven house of horrors puts community on edge

A grimy Woodhaven building that hosted a fatal party last year continues to be a house of horrors, neighbors said. Read more: New York Daily News

Queens native Ogletree too much for Giants to handle

Queens native Kevin Ogletree had the night of his entire life Wednesday night in the Cowboys’ shocker of a 24-17 victory over the Giants at MetLife Stadium. Read more: New York Post

Asian-American vote could be key in battle for 16th State Senate District seat

The reconfigured 16th State Senate District now represents a population in Queens that is more than half Asian.Read more: New York Daily News

Blind man narrowly escapes death on subway tracks

A blind, New York jazz musician is lucky to be alive after taking a fall onto a train track and being unable to climb back out on Wednesday morning. Read more: CBS New York

Excluded from Democratic Convention list, Liu tours Asia

Two months ago, John C. Liu, New York City’s comptroller, said he was “heartbroken” that the state’s top Democrats, skittish about a federal investigation into his campaign fund-raising, had excluded him from their delegate list to the Democratic National Convention. Read more: New York Times

Bill Clinton fires up Dems before Obama’s speech

God is back in the Democratic platform and people rooting for President Barack Obama hope the dazzle is back in him. Read more: AP

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| brennison@queenscourier.com


TODAY’S FORECAST

Friday: Sunny, with a high near 93. Southwest wind 8 to 15 mph. Friday night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 74. West wind 8 to 10 mph.

EVENT of the DAY: Doctor Zhivago at the Museum of the Moving Image

Take in the 1965 classic at the Museum of the Moving Image.  Based on Boris Pasternak’s novel, this tale of a love triangle set against the Bolshevik Revolution is an astonishing feat, as emotionally involving as it is visually spectacular. Highlights include Freddie Young’s Oscar-winning cinematography and Maurice Jarre’s iconic score.

Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Stavisky and Messer face off in 16th Senate District debate

State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky and opponent John Messer agreed job creation was a priority in the 16th State Senate District as the two stated their platforms and fielded questions at a Wednesday, August 29 forum before hundreds of residents in the district. Despite agreeing on general issues such as employment, energy and bilingual signage, the six-time incumbent and Senate hopeful found themselves on opposite sides on gay marriage and charter schools. Read more: Queens Courier

Huntley probe widens

The criminal probe into indicted state Sen. Shirley Huntley has expanded to include every earmark she secured for nonprofits that employed her campaign staffers, Senate aides and family members, The Post has learned. Huntley, a Democrat, is facing up to 12 years in prison for allegedly covering up the misuse of $30,000 in “member item” funds by her niece and an aide to the bogus Parent Workshop charity. Read more: NY Post

Romney vows to deliver country from economic travails

Mitt Romney accepted the Republican presidential nomination on Thursday by making a direct appeal to Americans who were captivated by President Obama’s hopeful promises of change, pledging that he could deliver what the president did not and move the country from its worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Read more: NY Times

Women employed by lawmaker describe sexually hostile office

Five women who worked for Vito J. Lopez, the assemblyman at the center of a broadening sexual harassment scandal, described in interviews an atmosphere of sexual pressure and crude language in his office, with frequent unwanted advances by him and others, requests for provocative dress, personal questions about their boyfriends and fears of reprisals if they complained. Read more: NY Times

New program at sprawling public housing complex offers farm fresh foods for $10 a bag

Farm fresh produce is a scarce commodity in the Queensbridge Houses, where diabetes rates are high and junk food is cheap and plentiful. A new program — which kicks off next week — is offering residents a bag full of fruits and vegetables for just $10 a week. Read more: Daily News

Hip-hop manager Chris Lighty dead after shooting himself outside his Bronx apartment

Hip-hop mogul Chris Lighty died Thursday morning after he shot himself after an argument with his estranged wife at his Bronx apartment, sources told the Daily News. Lighty, 44 — a longtime manager of 50 Cent, Diddy, Ja Rule and Mariah Carey — stepped outside his South Riverdale apartment about 11:30 a.m., after a spat with his wife, Veronica, police sources said. Read more: Daily News

MTA kicking more trash cans at subway stations

Starting Sunday, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is removing more trash cans from subway station platforms. The agency is expanding a pilot program that is aimed at reducing the rodent population in the subway system. The MTA says it has more trash than it can collect at subway stations. Read more: NY1

Stavisky and Messer face off in 16th Senate District debate


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Terence Cullen

State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky and opponent John Messer agreed job creation was a priority in the 16th State Senate District as the two stated their platforms and fielded questions at a Wednesday, August 29 forum before hundreds of residents in the district.

Despite agreeing on general issues such as employment, energy and bilingual signage, the six-time incumbent and Senate hopeful found themselves on opposite sides on gay marriage and charter schools.

The forum, held at New York Hospital Queens and hosted by Queensboro Hill Neighborhood Association, was co-moderated by Queens Courier reporter Melissa Chan and a TimesLedger reporter Joe Anuta.

Plans for Willets Point would bring thousands of permanent jobs to the area, Stavisky noted, and economic activity to Queens. She went on to say that as chair of the Higher Education Committee, she’s pushed for private/public partnerships between colleges in the state and businesses — giving the example of the developing tech-campus on Roosevelt Island.

Messer, a small business owner himself, said the problem was that too many businesses were leaving the city, and state, because of fines and the inability to grow.

“We should be supporting our small businesses,” he said. “Most importantly we need a long-term strategy to keep our businesses here and stop sending them out of the state.”

At the same time, both said, albeit through different plans, that they would work on increasing minimum wage. Messer said he would propose a two-tiered approach: first increase minimum wage to $7.85; when the economy was better he would push to raise it to $8.50.

Stavisky said she is co-sponsoring a bill that would base minimum wage on consumer-price index.

“It seems to me that you can’t live on $15,000 a year,” Stavisky said.

Through the terse time each had to field questions from moderators, each faced boo’s and calls from the audience.

It especially became so when either answered a question that upset members of the increasingly rowdy crowd.

On gay marriage, Messer fielded first by saying that gay marriage was state law, but recognized that “many people in my district oppose…” The answer was met with boos, and the Senate hopeful sat down passing the microphone to Stavisky.

Stavisky, the first woman from Queens in the state Senate, said she supported gay marriage and was adamantly against discrimination.

“You can’t pick and choose who you’re against,” she said.

Charter schools, a recently debated issue in the city, were presented on both sides by the candidates. Stavisky, formerly a teacher, said she had seen research showing students at charter schools did not do any better than public school students.

“I am not a big fan of charter schools and I must be very honest, it is my opinion the mayor would like to see an end of public schools,” she said.

Messer, however, said charter schools had potential to ease the burden of overcrowding in schools and could create competition in the public system.

“Charter schools are an option where we can alleviate some of the overcrowding and also they make our public schools more competitive and there’s nothing wrong with that,” Messer said.

Democrat voters will decide on Thursday, September 13 if Stavisky or Messer will face off against Republican J.D. Kim. in the November 6 general election.

Flushing leaders want 149th St. Bridge barriers removed


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Melissa Chan

A coalition of Flushing business owners joined two local leaders to say the city’s gridlock in not removing barriers on a busy commercial corridor has wreaked havoc on their revenue and has mobbed surrounding streets with more traffic congestion.

“It’s a clear lack of accountability and transparency by city government,” said Assembly hopeful Ron Kim. “The city of New York and Mayor Bloomberg always say that we are a friend to small businesses. This is a clear sign that they’re not.”

Kim and State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky called out the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) for not telling the public the exact completion date for the agency’s bridge capital improvement project on 149th Street in Flushing.

The project, which Kim said began in March 2010, was slated to be completed in January 2011. Later that year in June, Kim said the city agency opened up the pedestrian sidewalk but failed to remove the concrete walls and orange barrel barriers that close off the main street from through traffic.

According to a spokesperson for the DOT, “the bridge will not be opened to vehicular traffic until work is complete and is currently open to pedestrian traffic at the community’s request.”

But Kim said the project’s completion was obvious.

“All they have to do is bring a truck and lift everything up and clear the road. That’s it,” said Kim, who is running for election in the Assembly 40th race to replace current Assemblymember Grace Meng. “They kept stalling. Enough is enough. Let’s get this road open, so small businesses can survive.”

A city sign posted above the barriers near Roosevelt Avenue and Barclay Avenue was put up to inform the public of the project’s completion, Kim said, but that date had been scratched out. Kim said he also heard rumors of possible contract work not being properly negotiated.

The bridge, which has been closed for more than a year, serves a large Korean residential and business community, Kim said. The barriers, he said, deprive more than 20 local businesses of “much-needed visibility” when customers decide to shop elsewhere rather than venture into the neighborhood inflamed with traffic.

Kim claimed the agency said it received no complaints from small businesses.

Meanwhile, Kim and Stavisky said they collected 16 petitions in 30 minutes from local business owners who say their revenue has gone down by up to 20 percent.

Yang Yong Yi, an employee at local Korean restaurant Hahm Ji Bach, said she has visually noticed a drop in customers, as well as several car accidents caused by the swelling of traffic.

“It’s been closed for so long. We have to open it,” said Yi, 53. “There are too many problems with everyone going around [the closed off street].”

John Messer kicks off campaign against state Senator Toby Ann Stavisky


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo by Lev Radin

An Oakland Gardens attorney officially launched his second try at defeating a nearly 13-year State Senate incumbent, hoping a newly-redrawn majority Asian district and a one-on-one primary will give him a leg up this time around.

John Messer, 42, pointed out that since the new 16th District, which is now 53 percent Asian, no longer includes Bay Terrace — an area that voted largely for State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky in a primary race two years ago — he foresees a more level playing field. He also expects this year’s two-way battle to bode well in his favor.

“Everybody knows that when you bring more people into a race and you divide the vote, it gives an opportunity for an incumbent to win even though they don’t have a majority of the votes,” Messer said.

Stavisky won a three-way 2010 primary challenge against Messer and Isaac Sasson, a retired professor and cancer researcher, with 45 percent of the vote. Sasson is now supporting Messer, who rallied supporters at his July 22 campaign kickoff at the Flushing Mall.

“We hear the same thing over and over again,” said Messer, who has thrown in $351,000 of his own money to the campaign. “Voters of this district want change. Nothing I believed in two years ago has changed.”

Messer accused Stavisky of never hiring an Asian staffer in her dozen years as Flushing’s senator while pointing to his own two Asian campaign co-chairs, as well as his Chinese wife and three kids.

But Stavisky’s spokesperson, Josh Goodman, said the claims were false. The incumbent senator, he said, has had Asian-American staffers over the years, as well as Chinese and Korean language services available at her Flushing district office.

“Anybody in the community can always get help from Senator Stavisky regardless of her ethnic background and linguistic issues,” Goodman said. “I think it’s a little insulting of Mr. Messer to suggest she doesn’t understand a community that she serves so well.”

Stavisky — the first woman from Queens elected to the State Senate — has the backing of every Asian elected official in the city, Goodman said, as well as the Queens County Democratic Party and both U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer.

The winner of the September 13 Democratic primary will take on Republican candidate J.D. Kim.

Northeast Queens political races heat up


| mchan@queenscourier.com


Endorsements are rolling in for candidates making a run for district seats in northeast Queens.

The Queens County Republican Party unanimously endorsed Joseph Concannon for State Senate in the 11th District, where the Republican and retired city police officer from Bellerose will challenge incumbent State Senator Tony Avella for the seat.

In a statement, GOP Chair Phil Ragusa attacked Avella, saying the democrat “by every benchmark has simply failed the community” and “has not lived up to his campaign promises.”

GOP Law Chair Vince Tabone touted Concannon as a “brass tacks kind of guy with the common sense and the intelligence to fight for our community and make a difference in Albany.”

The Queens County Republican Party also endorsed civic leader Ralph Cefalo to run in the 26th Assembly District race, pitting the challenger against Assemblymember Ed Braunstein. According to the GOP, Cefalo — a Malba resident — has a 35-year record of community service, including a long tenure leading the Whitestone Volunteer Ambulance and volunteering with the Order of the Sons of Italy.

State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky also recently picked up support from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 3, the New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council, Communications Workers of America District 1 and the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1500. Earlier this month, the incumbent since 1999 gained the endorsement of U.S. Senator Charles Schumer for her try at re-election in the newly-formed Asian-American majority 16th District.

Stavisky will face a Democratic primary battle against John Messer, an attorney from Oakland Gardens. The pair battled it out in a primary two years ago before Stavisky beat him out for the seat. If she prevails once more, she will then go up against Republican runner Jung Dong “J.D.” Kim — a Korean-American attorney from Flushing who is also the Queens County Republican Party’s pick.

 

Pols argue over whose co-op/condo legislation is best


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

A coalition of co-op and condo owners in northeast Queens had one message for its elected officials after arguments erupted over whose bill was best: no more lip service.

“What you see is the dysfunction in Albany. This isn’t a Republican-Democrat issue. It’s about homeowners who don’t want to be pushed out of their homes,” said Bob Friedrich, president of Glen Oaks Village Owners, Inc. and cofounder of the President’s Co-op Council.

The Council — which represents about 100,000 co-op shareholders — joined close to one dozen elected officials and more than 900 concerned Queens residents at North Shore Towers on April 12 to rally for action against the city for another year of property tax spikes.

While Friedrich said a solution could not be reached without the cooperation of state lawmakers, some electeds — with pointed fingers — turned the meeting into a heated political debate.

“There’s been a little too much lip service tonight. I sat here and got madder and madder as I listened to every speaker,” said Senator Tony Avella. “We had an opportunity last year, and we blew it because of politics on both sides of the aisle.”

Currently, there are three bills on the table in Albany on how to address the issue, which Avella said is a clear sign of disconnect between state leaders who he said may each be pushing for their own legislation to pass.

“It’s not that the Republicans don’t want to move the bill to address this — it’s which bill should they support? Which one gets passed? This has to stop. I don’t care if it’s my bill or somebody else’s bill, but this has got to stop. We’re not working together,” he said.

Avella’s own bill, which he called the “best solution,” would create a new property tax class — called Class 1A — for co-op and condo owners. He said the bill would provide the same protections that exist for Class 1 properties, capping any single yearly tax increase at 6 percent and 20 percent over a five year period.

An earlier law put forth by Assemblymember David Weprin would propose similar provisions, classifying co-ops as Class 1 and capping increases at the same percentage, while other legislation by Senator Toby Ann Stavisky and Assemblymember Ed Braunstein would see co-ops paying only 75 percent of their legal fees in a successful certiorari suit. They said the law would also stabilize assessments for two years following a successful challenge, capping spikes at 3 percent to prevent the necessity of an additional proceeding.

Councilmember Mark Weprin fired back, saying each elected official was in fact “working hard” together to create a solution by this year.

“With all due respect, you’re the one who hasn’t been to most of the meetings,” Weprin said. “This is a very delicate situation, but to say that people here are just giving lip service is just nonsense. This is not about whose bill we’re going to sponsor. We’re all trying to solve a problem here, and I think we’re all open to whatever solution we can get adopted that will save co-op owners. That’s the goal here, and that’s why I took a lot of offense.”

Senate and Assembly officials have only until the end of June this year to agree on one single bill and have it passed by both Houses, Weprin said. While the City Council is not directly involved in the legislation process, Weprin said councilmembers have an upper hand in trying to get the mayor on board.

“I’ve seen bills drafted, signed and passed in 12 hours. We just have to work together,” Weprin said. “I thought [the meeting] was a good case of democracy in action.”

Pols: New district lines ‘as bad’ as before


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com


Recent revisions to district lines have done little to darn the disharmony between Republicans and Democrats.

The New York State Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment (LATFOR) — made up largely of Republican senators due to their current control of the chamber — released its updated district maps on March 12, angering Democrats due to the miniscule modifications made over the past month.

The new lines, which no longer couple the districts of Senators Michael Gianaris and Jose Peralta, still combine the regions of Senators Tony Avella and Toby Ann Stavisky. Slight changes were also made to the first-ever Asian American majority district created in the initial maps.

Despite their districts no longer being threatened, both Gianaris and Peralta have spoken out against the maps and are hopeful Governor Andrew Cuomo follows through on his pledge to veto any partisan proposals.

“The lines have barely changed at all,” said Gianaris, who called the pairing of himself and Peralta a harassment tactic. “The first proposal is the worst gerrymandering in the history of New York State, and the second proposal is 98 percent as bad. The real problem is the way they are dividing communities around the state and that is what has yet to be fixed. The best hope now is for the governor to veto the lines and let the court do it fairly.”

Frank Sobrino, a spokesperson for Peralta, says the situation is “bigger” than the two senators, and the new lines do not provide any progress from the initial maps, which were considered to be “blatantly partisan.”

“I want the governor to follow up on his commitment to veto these lines,” Peralta said.

Scott Reif, spokesperson for the Senate GOP and LATFOR, says he expects the maps to be approved by both the Senate and Assembly.

“We expect these to be the final lines for the Senate and Assembly,” Reif said. “We held nine additional public hearings [across the state] and we made changes from what we were hearing from different communities.”

Along with the updated maps, LATFOR also introduced legislation that would create a bipartisan commission to draw district lines. Based on the bill, the commission would be composed of 10 members — two from each party from both the Senate and Assembly and an additional two members chosen by the initial eight.

If approved, the commission would be in charge of deciding district lines the next time they are up for revision in a decade — a length of time deemed unacceptable by many Democrats.