Thursday, July 23, 2009

Avella seat candidates blast petition challenges

By Stephen StirlingThursday, July 23, 2009 9:14 AM EDT

The campaigns of five Democratic candidates vying for City Councilman Tony Avella’s (D-Bayside) soon-to-be vacated seat called for a moratorium on petition challenges, but were all subsequently challenged by the supporters of the one candidate who declined to enter the agreement.

Tom Cooke, Kevin Kim, Steve Behar and a representative for Debra Markell stood outside the headquarters for the Queens County Democratic Party Friday morning to ask for the campaigns of Paul Vallone and Jerry Ianecce to join them in agreeing not to challenge the signature petitions each had filed with the city Elections Board by yesterday.

“We’re doing this not because our petitions are weak, but because they want to tie up our limited resources by taking our campaigns to court,” Cooke said.

Each of the four campaigns present said they filed more than 2,500 valid signatures with the board, well over the required 900.

Vallone’s campaign later agreed and said it could not attend the news conference because the real estate attorney was receiving the endorsement of Mayor Michael Bloomberg in Flushing at the time.

But Richard Rapp, an associate of CB 11 Chairman Jerry Ianecce’s campaign, filed an objection to all five who entered the agreement, drawing the ire of several of the candidates.

“I respect the New York State Election Law and the safeguards in place to ensure that the democratic process is protected from abuse and fraud,” Markell said. “It should not be used as a political tool, I believe that’s what Jerry Ianecce is doing here.”

Ianecce and his campaign declined to comment.

Challenges to petition signatures are not uncommon, however, and can often be tied up in courts for weeks. In many cases, the fields in highly contested primary races are whittled down as successful challenges toss would-be candidates from the official ballot.

Behar blasted the Democratic Party-backed campaign of Ianecce and Vallone, an attorney who hails from one of the most politically powerful families in Queens, for declining to enter into such an agreement.

“Sometimes you use the system to its advantage even though it’s not the right thing to do,” Behar said. “So when challenges begin to come in, we’ll know where they’re coming from.”

Although one of the campaigns, Vallone’s, said it will not be from its end.

Vallone Campaign Manager Chuck Apelian said his campaign does not plan on issuing any challenges, but could not join the coalition in Forest Hills, and questioned why Cooke and Behar were critical.

“We agree with them. We told them we just couldn’t get there because of the timing,” Apelian said. “I don’t know why they’re saying that. Now they’re the ones playing the negative card.”

Vallone received the endorsement of Mayor Michael Bloomberg in Flushing — an event that took place at the same time.

Ianecce could not immediately be reached for comment.

Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Time to Play Nice Ladies and Gentleman

The time for all the shenanigans is about to begin! Lets hope that when the candidates for the 19th and 20th Council District file for public office that they think about the voters rather than their self interest.

You see each year one candidate or another is thrown off the ballot by their opponent. Why because these candidates are afraid to face a real challenge, afraid to let the public make the determination of who should represent them.

Well Save Flushing Queens has purchased an email list of 5,000 households off a Political List Broker and are poised to do weekly updates. We will be sure to include all those who are going to waste our courts time with law suits and waste taxpayer money by frivolously challenging an opponent, we will oppose anyone who denies someone the right to seek to represent us!

We as private citizens are seeking a choice, a real choice and this year we have that, if candidates use our archaic system of “Petitioning” to limit our choice we will work hard to oppose said candidates.

This Post will be sent to all the candidates Please tell us if you plan on Challenging your opponent or if you believe in true Democracy!

Tribune Questions Yen Chou

Campaign Refutes Tie To Anti-Semitic Slur

By Brian M. Rafferty

The campaign of Council candidate Yen Chou was hit last week of rumors that it supported an anti-Semitic position in helping Chinese-Americans retain the seat set to be vacated by John Liu.

Liu (D-Flushing) is the first Asian-American elected to the City Council, and Chou had met with supporters a couple of weeks ago to discuss strategy for maintaining a Chinese presence in the Council.

According to Chou’s Campaign Manager Carlos Olmeda, Chou met with a group of Chinese business and social leaders who had cobbled together notes that discussed the nationalities and ancestry of the candidates in the race - two of whom are Chinese, two of whom are Korean and one of whom is Jewish, of Lebanese descent.

Identical copies of those notes were obtained by a local blog, saveflushingqueens, as well as local newspapers.

When translated independently, the notes read as strategy, stating that a Republican (in this case Chinese-American Peter Koo) cannot win the general election, and that the only way to ensure a Chinese American candidate would be to encourage Chinese American voters to come out in full force during the primary.

The translation, however, reads "If you waited until the general election to vote for Peter Koo and forgo the primary, you will have elected a Jewish candidate, assuming the two Korean candidates cancel each other out."

The majority of the rest of the document states the talking points for Chou, but comes back again at the end to say "We Chinese people, we usually don't participate in the primary, therefore we are helping the Jewish people win."

"This was not generated by the campaign," Olmeda said. "This was a compilation of someone else's ideas in response to something that Peter Koo put out in the Chinese community stating that he could win in the general election."

Attempts to reach Isaac Sasson, the Jewish candidate in the race, were not fruitful. A spokesman for the Peter Koo campaign said the Ming Pao Daily, a Chinese language paper, would be able to explain the notes, but calls to that paper were not returned.

Olmeda said that literal translation from Chinese is often difficult, noting that he has asked the Chinese campaign staff to allow him to formulate the wording of press releases going to English-speaking media to be sure that nothing gets lost in translation.

The independent translator used by the Tribune indicated that the notes appeared to be less organized than one would find in a press release, and sounded almost as if the text had been translated into Chinese from English beforehand.

Olmeda said Chou, if she were to lose the primary, would most likely put her support behind the Democratic candidate, even if it meant that the only Chinese American in the race was a Republican.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

S.J Jung Shows Yen Chou that Koreans Can!

We received this e-mail from one of our readers. It is obvious that Yen Chou is wrong, Korean candidates ARE formidable, capable and effective!

S.J. Jung, Democratic candidate for the 20th City Council District finished the current financial filing period outpacing all opponents in the race. Jung concluded the fundraising period with a total of $131,540 raised and $92,203 cash on hand. Having met the threshold for qualifying for matching funds, it is anticipated that Jung will receive the maximum matching grant of $107,333 from the Campaign Finance Board. When combined with funds already raised, this will place Jung at a total of $238,823, ahead of every other candidate in the Democratic primary.

S.J. Jung is participating in New York City's public campaign financing system, which gives extra financial support to candidates who agree to limit the influence of big-money contributors in their campaigns. Although the Campaign Finance Board has not yet begun disbursing matching funds, Jung's campaign filings show that he has met all requirements and raised sufficient funds from individual donors to receive the maximum matching grant of $107,333, which, when combined with funds already raised, means that he has adequate funds to reach the campaign spending limit. Jung's campaign funds are fueled by small donations, with fully two thirds of his donors giving contributions of $1 00 or less.

"I appreciate the financial contributions from my supporters, especially in these tough economic times. I'm excited by the enthusiastic reaction from community members, who are responding to my campaign because they are looking for a leader who has the skills and experience they need on the City Council," Jung explained. "In every neighborhood and at every door people are asking why we still don't have a plan for smart growth in our neighborhoods. They're frustrated by congestion and overcrowding; worried about their schools; very concerned about the economy and wondering when City government is going to start getting to work. With 20 years of experience as a business owner and Executive Director of a nonprofit, I have the real world experience that we need on the Council."

S.J. Jung has served as the executive director of a nonprofit group and a successful small businessman, working to improve the quality of life for families in the 20th City Council District for over two decades. With more leadership experience than any other candidate in the race and a proven track record of helping families, Jung is running for City Council to ensure that our community's future growth puts the needs of middle and working families first.

# # #

The following are the financial filing numbers as of the July 15th financial filing deadline according to the Campaign Finance Board:

S.J. Jung: raised $131,540 (raised $238,823 with expected matching funds), spent $38,613

Yen Chou*: raised $229,177, spent $140,292 [declined matching funds]

Isaac Sasson: raised $81,849, spent $64,534

James Wu: raised $61,828, spent $48,049J

John Choe: raised $49,399, spent $16,491

Constantine Kavadas*: raised $47,265, spent $17,792 [declined matching funds]

*Yen Chou and Constantine Kavadas will not receive public matching funds, since both candidates opted out of the New York City's public campaign financing system.

The 7 Line is Best in NYC

If the 7 Train is the best line in NYC, I would really hate to ride the C Train!
Rating the rails: No. 7 is best and C train is worst in new subway rankings
BY Pete Donohue and Michael Roberts DAILY NEWS WRITERS
For the second year in a row, the No. 7 is the best subway line in the city, with the L coming in a close second, a new report says.

The No. 7 line took the gold in the Straphangers Campaign's annual "State of the Subways" report because it has more frequent and predictable service, fewer breakdown delays and cleaner cars.

No. 7 riders also have a fairly good shot at getting a seat, said the report, which was released Wednesday.

"I like the 7 train," Hakeem Marsh, 19, a Queens high school student, said.

The route that runs between Times Square and Flushing, Queens, earned a $1.55 score out of a possible $2 under the fare-based system used by the advocacy group.

The survey was done before the June hike adding another 25 cents to the one-way bus and subway fare. The L line earned a MetroCard rating of $1.50.

The worst line of 21 surveyed is the C line, according to the report, partly because mechanical malfunctions occur most frequently on that line.

The C is a local running between 168th St. in northern Manhattan and Euclid Ave. in East New York, Brooklyn.

It earned a score of 50 cents.

"Sometimes when you get on, it smells really bad, and it's sometimes really hard to take," said Vinnie DiChristo, 20, an actor from Manhattan and a C line rider.

The L and No. 7 lines benefited last year from a pilot program that gave them additional cleaning staff and their own general managers with more accountability, Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign said.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The New Power of the Asian American Vote: More Evident than Ever

We have witnessed firsthand how Mike Bloomberg during his re-election bid has courted the immigrant vote. Perhaps the group he maintains has become the most influential and the most sought after is the Asian Americans. This is a clear indication that the Asian Americans have become a strong influential voting bloc not only in Flushing but in City Politics.

A prime example is a young Chinese American Councilman John Liu who catapulted himself from obscurity to become the lead candidate for citywide office, taking an early lead over veteran politicians including the powerful Weprin family and Melinda Katz a protégé of the Hevesi camp.

This year we will see a group of candidates fighting it out in Flushing in a Democratic Primary only to face off against a well respected and well financed Republican in Peter Koo. It is clear that this year seems to be the time when Asian Americans flex their Political Muscle in City Politics.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Isaac Sasson Time to Stand up and Denounce your Democratic Race Mongering Opponent Yen Chou

Sometimes we expect those who wish to lead to stand up and lead! I am shocked, outraged and yes even disappointed that the despicable racial overtones of the Chou campaign have not been addressed by any of the candidates in the September primary. I am especially disappointed in the lack of courage of a man I have held in high regard, Isaac Sasson. Not a peep out of his campaign! He never even acknowledged our Post and our trying to “out” a Political agenda that is harmful to the diversity of our local political landscape.

Yen Chou statements in her press conference and in the Chinese Media are harmful for race relations and hurtful for all those who wish to live in peaceful coexistence. We thought our Political leaders had learned from Julia Harrison that hurtful vengeful race baiting is unacceptable.

We will offer space on this blog to any of the candidates in the Primary who have the moral courage to respond.

Glenhead Barbie Feels the Heat

From the Queens Campaigner
by Nathan Duke
Carrozza moves back to Bayside amid GOP calls for investigation.

The Queens County Republican Party has called for an investigation of state Assemblywoman Ann-Margaret Carrozza (D-Bayside) after she admitted in late June that she had been living out of the district since March. But the assemblywoman said Tuesday that she had moved back to Bayside last week.

Queens GOP Chairman Phil Ragusa said the party wants Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and the state Ethics Board to determine whether Carrozza misled her constituents by living in a Glen Head property known as “The Crossways” that she and her husband, William Duke, purchased for $1.8 million in June 2008.

“In this time, when Albany dysfunction is at an all-time high and government spending is out of control at every level of government, we need to be extremely diligent in demanding real reform from our elected officials,” Ragusa said. “And the most basic reform we should demand is that officials truly live in the districts they are elected to represent, as required by law.”

Carrozza said state law did not prohibit her from temporarily living in the Long Island house. But she said this week that she was once again living in Bayside.

“I’m back in Bayside as of last week,” she said. “This smacks of early campaigning. I think all of our efforts are best focused on issues in Albany. I view this as a waste of taxpayer resources. We’ve seen in the past when politicians misdirect resources into baseless investigations. During this time of economic hardship for so many families, that money could be better spent.”

Randolph Yunker, a spokesman for the Nassau County Assessment Department, said Carrozza’s husband applied in December 2008 for a STAR exemption on the Glen Head property.

One of Carrozza’s Bayside homes had also received the exemption and would have saved the couple $232 on their 2009-2010 tax bill in Queens, city Finance Department records show. But a spokesman for that department said a request had been made by one of the property’s owners this week to remove the School Tax Relief Program exemption. The home will not receive the benefit for the fiscal year which began July 1, he said.

The application for the Long Island property had been approved, but the Nassau department froze it when it discovered that the Bayside home already had an exemption.
STAR, which is overseen by the state’s Office of Real Property Services, gives married couples a tax break on their primary residence. But state rules stipulate that a husband and wife can have an exemption for only one residence unless they are legally separated.

The deed for Carrozza’s Bayside home lists both her and her husband’s name, a Finance Department spokesman said. But the department could not verify who applied for a STAR exemption for the home.

Mortgage papers for the Glen Head home obligate the owner to “occupy the property and use the property as [their] principal residence within 60 days.” It also requires the owner to “continue to occupy the property and use the property for at least one year.”

Yunker said the couple would only be allowed to have one home with a STAR exemption.

“Our interest is not in who applied for it, but that there was a STAR on another piece of property,” he said. “We don’t check with other municipalities when someone applies. We take people at their word when they show us proof that they are living in a home.”

The Long Island property would not receive a tax break from a STAR exemption until after October, he said. The savings for the home, under last year’s assessment, could save its owner an estimated $700. But this year’s figures have not yet been determined.

In late June, Carrozza said she and her husband had been living in an “investment property” in Glen Head as they planned to adopt a child and search for a new home in Bayside. But the Queens property in which she previously lived would not provide enough space for three children and she had already promised to rent the home to an Oregon couple for part of the year. She currently owns two homes and two sites for office space in Bayside. She has not yet decided what she will ultimately do with the Long Island property, which she said is her husband’s primary residence.

John Conklin, director of public information for the state Elections Board, said elected officials are legally allowed to live outside their district as long as they intend to return.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Yen Chou Should Apologize For Racist Politicking

Yen Chou, a Democratic candidate for the 20th Council seat has caused quite a stir from her fear mongering and racist campaign tactics. Save Flushing Queens is sending this Post to her Campaign to ask her to apologize to the individuals she offended especially, Isaac Sasson.

As our previous Post reported, Chou stated in a press conference statement that failure to vote for a Chinese candidate in the primary is in fact a vote for the “Jewish” candidate, since Sasson is the only “Jewish” candidate this is a direct attack on Mr. Sasson.

Her other offensive statements toward the Korean Candidates in the race were equally disturbing. She obviously feels that a Korean cannot be a qualified candidate. It is abundantly clear that her campaign strategy is to make personal attacks, divide and conquer. We are confident that the good people of Flushing will reject her!

Chou also stated that Non Asian representatives don't really help Chinese people and this is why Chinese people look for help from local associations and the newspapers. Yen Chou is obviously unaware that non for profits are created all over this city to help ALL, notwithstanding Race Religion or Creed. Yen Chou’s statement about white representatives is a direct attack on all those in government service from our Fire Department to the Police to any White, Black, or Hispanic who seeks to represent our diverse city. Elected officials must represent all they serve and it appears that not only is Yen Chou incapable but unwilling to do this.

So all Chinese, Koreans, Indians, Hispanic, African Americans, Whites and Multi-Racial individuals must join to reject the racist political agenda of Yen Chou.

So on Primary Day September 15 as members of the community of all races and ethnic backgrounds, we should reject Yen Chou and her failed political agenda. If elected she will be shunned by the legislators, community leaders and residents she offended. Ultimately, the 20th Council District will be left with an ineffective and divisive representative with no ability to build the coalitions necessary to achieve success for our Council District!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Yen Chou Racist Diatribe Divides Community

In a recent self-serving press release, Democratic Candidate Yen Chou fired some racist, inappropriate, demeaning and dishonorable shots at the rest of the candidates seeking to replace John Liu in the City Council.

In her statement Yen Chou states, she is the only one that has strength, professionalism, community service and knowledge of the inner workings of the City Council. Although she is entitled to these positions, and we vehemently disagree with her assertion, it is some of the other statements that we find repulsive, weak, unprofessional and unfitting of anyone who seeks to serve the community as an elected representative.

To state that if a person chooses to vote for someone else or fails to vote in the primary that they are helping the “Jewish” candidate is anti-Semitic and fear mongering. To say that non-Asian elected officials don’t help Chinese people is a direct attack on all the good people in Government Service.

Her press statement is a direct attack upon Korean Americans who are seeking public office. Are we to believe that Yen Chou is the only choice for Council? According to her she is, perhaps she should be spending more time taking courses on “How Not to Offend Good People”

Her press statement falsely asserts that only she has the ability to get bills passed and things done at City Hall Meanwhile John Choe has the experience as John Liu’s chief of staff and Peter Koo is needed by the Mayor for his election, both of these men will have more influence in City Hall than Yen Chou will have in a lifetime.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Marie Antoinette Carrozza Palacial Glen Head Versailles

According to a recent article in the Daily News, Queens Assemblywoman Ann-Margaret (Marie Antoinette) Carrozza can’t stand to live with the all the peasants who reside in Bayside. Her royal majesty and the first family must envelope themselves in a posh mansion located in Glen Head and be saved from the slums that exist in the 26th Assembly District. “Let them eat cake” Ms. Carrozza is just another in a long list of self-interested dysfunctional embarrassments we here is Queens have sent to Albany to represent us.

Carrozza should resign immediately so she can have the time to clean that big mansion in Glen Head Long Island and leave the business of legislating to those who care about the people and not themselves.

Daily News Article by John Lauinger:

Queens Assemblywoman Ann-Margaret Carrozza pulled her Mercedes up to her brick mansion recently after a long day at work.

Her husband and one of her two sons were outside, along with the family's black Lab, Stanley. With the stately manse as a backdrop, the petite, blond lawmaker and her family could have been modeling for an L.L. Bean catalogue.

There was one problem with the pretty picture: Carrozza's $1.8 million home is in tony Glen Head, L.I. - 15 miles from her district in Bayside, Queens.

Carrozza, 42, who has represented the 26th Assembly District since 1997, bought the mansion on Nassau County's Gold Coast in June 2008, taking out a mortgage for $1 million, property records show.

She told the Daily News the lavish digs were supposed to be "an investment or a second residence." But she signed mortgage documents that specifically state the mansion would be her "principal residence."

When confronted outside the posh pad last week, Carrozza admitted she has lived there full-time since February.

"My primary residence is in Bayside - and we're temporarily renting that out," she said.

Carrozza and her doctor husband own four properties in Bayside - two offices, a home where her mother lives and another residence where the lawmaker is registered to vote.

State legislators are allowed to have second homes outside of their districts as long as they maintain a residence in the district, experts said.

"The issue is then, 'How do you define residence,'" said Manhattan election lawyer Henry Berger. "There is a slightly different standard between establishing a residence and maintaining a residence."

The Bronx district attorney's office is investigating a similar situation involving state Sen. Pedro Espada (D-Bronx). Espada once beat a residency challenge, but authorities decided to take a closer look following his central role in the coup that has deadlocked the Senate.

Carrozza said her family outgrew the Bayside home where she is registered to vote - a modest, three-bedroom house.

"We had a deal on a bigger house in Bayside," she explained. "I made arrangements to rent out my primary residence."
The deal fell through, so they moved to the Nassau County manse, she said, rather than renege on their tenants.

"It wasn't my intention to permanently occupy the home," she added. "We thought we would stay here temporarily."
The mortgage papers Carrozza and her husband, William Duke, signed in June 2008 say otherwise.

"I will occupy the property and use the property as my principal residence within 60 days after I sign this," the document stated. "I will continue to occupy the property and to use the property as my principal residence for at least one year."

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Say It isnt so Choe

We read that John Choe has been endorsed by the anti-human group called Animal Friendly. Animal Friendly NYC is a political action committee that endorses and works directly on campaigns of candidates who support legislation that will benefit our non-human friends.

John Choe is accused of being a North Korean sympathizer, a communist and supporter nuclear weapon proliferation. Now we learn that he is supporting legislation that benefits non-humans!