Thursday, August 20, 2009

Candidate Profiles District 20 by Calvin Prashad

Candidate Profiles: District 20 Flushing, New York

Fri, 08/14/2009 - 08:57 API candidates District 20 Flushing

Flushing - New York's other (and way way larger) Chinatown has seen a huge spike in Asian-American candidates running to represent it in public office. With current city councilman John Liu running for the
City Comptroller position, there is now a ferocious primary fight to replace him. Although the campaigning has at times turned ugly, it seems to have calmed down now with a better focus on issues rather than attacks. The outcome is not yet apparent and no candidate will win the primary along ethnic lines. The winner will have to appeal to the large Chinese, Korean, South Asian and Jewish communities as well as offer concrete solutions to improve issues facing the community.

Here are the candidates as of today:

**All fundraising figures are available on the New York City Campaign Finance Board**


Yen Chou - her candidacy focuses mostly on education as she was an educator and served on school boards. Also served as a liaison to API community under another city councilman.


Campaign promises include greater funding and accessibility to English and Second Language Programs, reduction of class sizes Promises to tackle traffic and pollution
Well versed and experienced in education issues


Unclear and limited platform; I cannot find anything more detailed than a few bullet points on her website, certain issues such as health insurance are beyond the reach of the City Council
Does not indicate how education reforms will be carried out since mayoral controls over the schools has been renewed.
Allegedly leaked campaign memo has critics accusing her of ethnic campaigning and racism
Has not garnered endorsements from teachers unions, education groups

The verdict: In a race such as this, a lengthy, solid platform is necessary in which you must be able to not only convince the voters that you can bring about what you promise. Otherwise, its just saying empty phrases like "business incentives" and "health insurance". Will need a major breakout to get support from places other than the Chinese-American community.

S.J. Jung

A small business owner in Flushing who is tied strongly to other Korean businesses in the area. Founder of YKASEC


Platform built mostly around compromise between factions within Flushing
Experience in community organization

Most funds among candidates

Has picked up impressive endorsements from ACORN, several labor groups and the Working Families Party (significant third party in NYC)

Hard to maintain a middle ground in battle between development and anti development groups

Persistent allegations that actual residence is in New Jersey

The verdict: Even if SJ Jung does not win the Democratic Primary, he may choose to run on the Working Families ticket during the November elections. The impressive endorsements and large war chest should keep him in the race until the end. Residency rumors are persisting in that he registered to vote in Flushing earlier this year.


James Wu

One of the current district leaders in District 20, Flushing. Also served in Marines and is a member of his civic association


Has made digital textbooks major campaign issue. Claims that city can negotiate a lower price with manufacturer and give every student digital textbooks rather than traditional paper ones. Will reduce strain on students and help environment Extensive knowledge of community due to his work as a civic and district leader Strong record of reinforcing voting rights, opening new polling sites

Has run a very quiet, low key campaign (signs were posted only this week)

Needs to assert himself, lack of presence allows opponent Yen Chou to convince the Chinese-American community that she is the only Chinese candidate running The centerpiece of the campaign, digital textbooks may become a logistical nightmare for the schools and bureaucracy

The verdict: He needs to make some noise and be heard or will be overshadowed be other candidates. His knowledge of the community is among the best among the candidates and has a long record of civic leadership in regards to parks, voting stations and youth sports.


Isaac Sasson

A former cancer researcher and lottery winner

Has won the lottery so will likely not accept donations from third parties

Has engaged in ethnic campaigning in the past

condemned by Congressman Gary Ackerman

Allies include anti-Asian former city councilwoman Julia Harrison,
other district leader Martha Flores Vasquez

"Rude merchants and criminal smugglers" - Julia Harrison

"The district can have a qualified candidate or an Asian candidate" -
Martha Flores Vasquez

Represents the older residents of Flushing, most of which resent the
new immigrants

Strongly anti-development platform leaves no room for new families

Engaged in vicious lawsuit to knock another candidate off ballot

Known for refusing to compromise, often out of touch with needs of community wanted Flushing hospital closed, defeated in vote 39 – 1

The verdict: In spite of the fact that he immigrated to America, Sasson clearly sides with the anti-Asian faction with Flushing. Regardless of the ethnic support he may receive, he is clearly banking his roots in the Jewish community and xenophobia to win the office. I've tried to be fair to all candidates but this individual and his views are reprehensible and it is undeniable that he is trying to play among ethnic lines.


Constantine Kavadas

Recent college graduate and youngest candidate in the race

Recent Political Science degree give him great understanding of the city's political system

Platform more extensive and organized that most opponents

Lots of practical experience

Extensive experience in affordable housing due to construction work, coordination with dept of buildings

Junior port master of Chios harbor in Chios, Greece

May be knocked off ballot due to allegedly fraudulent signatures

Currently defending candidacy in court after Sasson files lawsuit against him. Lost temper at candidates forum and accused Sasson of attempting to monopolize the White vote for himself

Political experience may be an issue
The verdict: Kavadas's campaign may or may not survive the week. Although he has the least experience in city politics, his recent political science degree indicates that he might already have a basic understanding. Fundraising is currently under severe drain due to legal defense. Should his campaign survive the legal issue he may be in a very weak position to continue. Likely has promising future in city politics nonetheless.

John Choe

Chief of Staff to current city councilman John Liu, civic leader


Worked eight years under current city councilman, extensive knowledge
of city hall and issues

Endorsement of many labor groups, Queens Democrats, 1199 SEIU,
Teamsters, League of Humane Voters and current councilman John Liu


Has worked on legislation at City Hall

Broad ethnic coalition

Endorsements from Latino, African American and LGBT groups

Has coordinated with 109th Precinct on community issues

Police-community relations not frequently addressed by candidates

Late entry into race has put him at fundraising disadvantage

The verdict: In spite of many citywide endorsements and the all important Democratic endorsement Choe has not been able to separate himself from the other candidates. He has chosen to files for matching funds as late as possible in order to maximize the amount he would receive. It remains to be seen if he can overtake his better funded opponents (Y Chou, Jung and Sasson).


Evergreen Chou (Green Party)

Health care worker and leader of the Flushing Green Party

Targeted recruitment for police department extremely important

Eco Friendly

Scoutmaster of Troop 888


Initiatives such as emphasizing Chinese medicine to fight swine flu and more cats to get rid of rats in Flushing are impractical and even a little dangerous

Not much is known about his candidacy

Was only allowed a minute to speak at recent candidates forum

3k raised is dwarfed by all candidates

The verdict: Although targeted recruiting of officers that represent (and speak the same language as) members of the community is exceptionally important, most of his other campaign promises seem impractical, especially using cats in traffic heavy and bustling downtown Flushing. Some ideals of the Greens will mesh well in helping to fix the severe pollution in Flushing, but as a third party candidate, his chances of winning are very slim.


Peter Koo

Small business owner and fixture in Flushing community

Very well known in community

Built chain of Starside Pharmacy from scratch, self made

Has worked with Business Improvement District across party lines to help attract tourism, promote events and cleanups

Tough on public safety and crime

Has called for direct election of State Judges

Republican in an overwhelmingly Democratic District

Anti-development platform may be at odds with some residents

Residents and developers: affordable housing

Koo: quality of life and infrastructure issues

The verdict: Peter Koo is probably one of the nicest people you will ever meet, but his political party puts him at a distinct disadvantage. In his previous campaign against the incumbent
Democratic State Senator, he was crushed by a wide margin even withhis community ties and popularity. However, if the Democratic party cannot get its house in order by November, Koo may just pull off anupset. That being said, Koo is a major figure in the Business Improvement District where he worked with Democrats, business owners and community leaders to pull off some major events and benefited the community at large.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Jerry Iannece "Political Bridezilla"

Save Flushing Queens has been organized to allow concerned citizens a voice in their community and the electoral process. Some people can sit idly by and not be concerned. Others must voice their opinion and take political action. The future of our section in Queens in local politics will be decided in September and November in the local elections for City Council.

In the 19th District, it is a classic battle with the top 3 Democrats being Jerry Iannece, Paul Valone and Debra Markell. The winner faces a strong Republican in Dan Halloran. Frankly, Markell and Vallone are qualified, energetic and have histories in political involvement for the right reason, while Jerry Iannece will forever be a political bridesmaid and never a bride. Here’s why. Despite what appears to be an impressive display of community involvement, Iannece is a pompous, self-centered political wannabe who serves not for the feeling of satisfaction of assisting those in need, but to further pad his already bloated ego.

Those in political circles raise their eyebrows and shrug their shoulders when they hear the name Jerry Iannece. They know that he is a political self-promoter who is void of substance and lacks integrity. If you listen to Jerry Iannece speak you will immediately notice that he believes that he is the anointed one, that he is already a councilman, he even believes he can cure cancer.

Ultimately, Jerry Iannece is a jackass and Tony Avella said it best, “Jerry Iannece is unfit for public office”

The Democratic Party has much more to offer than Jerry Iannece. They have candidates who actually care. So while we set out not to endorse candidates, we certainly feel strongly that he should be denied.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Wu Slays "Queen of Mean"

Apparently, Yen Chou was giving dollar bills in exchange for individuals signing her petition sheets. This is just another example of the devilish tactics Yen Chou will use to eliminate her competition. It is clear that the demonic Yen Chou will not run a campaign based upon the issues but chooses to use dirty tricks, illegal tactics and political war to win election. She has proven to be a person who would rather divide and conquer rather than unite and win.

Thankfully, the fine people of the 20th Council District see through her devilish charade and are supporting James Wu and John Choe.

According to published reports, James Wu’s attorney Daryl Fox toldreporters that through an intensive investigation, they found out that Yen Chou’s campaign bought petition signatures from seniors inFranklin Senior Center for one dollar per signature.

Fox said, they accused Chou for petition fraud. However, all the senior witnesses were not willing to attend the hearing. In the UnitedStates a witness is only valid if he/she is voluntary. So Daryl Fox made an agreement with Yen Chou’s lawyer Lawrence Mandelker andwithdrew the motion on behalf of James Wu.




Tuesday, August 11, 2009

James Wu Fires Back

世界日報8月11日針對有媒體報導20選區市議員周燕霞呼籲所有拿到相對基金(matchingfunds)的參選人將錢捐給社區的說法,華裔選民聯盟總顧問李瑞生10日表示,相對基金的錢按照法律規定只能用於選舉,如果用在其它方面,不僅錢會被收回,更會受到紐約市選舉財務委員會(NewYork City Campaign Finance Board)的處罰。
World Journal

August 11

In response to Yen Chou's press conference, which demands all the candidates return the matching fund they've got from the City,Chinese American Voters Association General Counsel Johnson Lee said,according to law matching fund can only be used on campaign expenses.If not, the Campaign Finance Board would not only take the money back,but fine the candidate.

However, Yen Chou's campaign responded, they just emphasized candidates should raise their own money and return the matching fundto the City for the use of community establishments.

Johnson Lee pointed out, matching fund is designed to give opportunities to candidates who are not able to raise much money. In fact, after the City started providing matching fund, the number of candidates has increased tremendously. Thus, voters have gotten more choices and the rich special interest groups can no longer monopolizethe elections. Moreover, according to the law, the application and usage of matching money is strict and the matching funds can only be used for campaign purposes.

Otherwise the candidates would be punished. James Wu said, choosing to enroll in the matching fund program proves that his resourse and usage of campaign finance can stand the test.

Choosing to enrolled in matching fund program is not only for more transparacy and responsibility of elected officials, but good goverment and democratic system. This has nothing to do with wasting taxpayers'money.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Yen Chou Political Novice, Rank Amateur And Campaign Finance Fraud?

Yen Chou Political Novice, Rank Amateur And Campaign Finance Fraud?
政治新手周燕霞是否搞不清楚状况 还涉及竞选财务欺诈?

We hear that Yen Chou is calling on her opponents to give back theirmatching funds from the City. While we here at Save Flushing Queensare not the big supporters of the NYC Campaign Finance Board... but itis the Law!
In order for Yen Chou not to be considered a whiny political hypocriteshe should stand up and announce that she will not exceed the spendinglimit set forth by law. Is she willing to do that? We doubt it!
Will she be a Slave to Special Interest? Most certainly!
Will she owe everyone under the sun if she were to get elected? Yesand when that happens it leads to corruption!
Yen Chou is coming under scrutiny for potential campaign FinanceViolations including what some are saying may be illegal tactics.Investigators from Democratic circles are following a lead that somecontributions are illegal because someone is fronting the money fordonors. Is this true? Time will tell!
One thing is for sure, those who live in glass houses should neverthrow stones. Might be wise words for Yen Chou to listen to.

Mudslinging Takes Over District 20 Forum

Mudslinging Takes Over District 20 Forum20市議員選區政見會 候選人互揭瘡疤

It was billed as a debate, but it turned into an airing of dirty laundry.原該是一場辯論,卻變成一場互吐口水的烏賊戰。

The six Democratic candidates running for the seat of City CouncilmanJohn Liu (D-Flushing) participated in a candidates’ forum in FlushingMonday night, but what started as a cordial discourse on issuesaffecting District 20 quickly devolved into a fracas replete withallegations of everything from racism to planted questions.六位角逐劉醇逸市議員遺留席位的民主黨候選人,上週一參加一場候選人論壇,但原本設定位討論20選區重要議題的論壇,卻演變成候選人相互指控彼此種族主義以及問題為特定候選人量身訂做的混戰。

During the course of the forum, held at Korea Village by TerencePark’s Our Political Coalition, candidates Yen Chou and Isaac Sassonwere openly called racists, John Choe was criticized for calling theUnited States imperialist in a 2006 speech, S.J. Jung was accused ofliving in another state and Constantine Kavadas erupted against forumpanelists whom he accused of asking questions planted by opposingcampaigns.這場論壇在韓國村舉辦,由补容範「我們的政治聯盟」所發起,周燕霞與沙頌被公開指責為種族主義者,崔容準被指稱曾於2006年一場演說中發表美國是帝國主義者的言論,鄭勝振被指居住在外州,卡瓦德斯則單挑主辦單位,指輪談的問題是為特定陣營量身打造。

“This was a zoo,” said Chou’s campaign manager, Michael Olmeda,following the event. “An absolute mess.”周燕霞的競選經理歐敏達說:「論壇就像動物園一樣」,他在論壇後指出:「根本是一陣混亂」。

The bizarre fracas started shortly after Choe left to attend a meetingof his co-op board at the Mitchell Linden Houses. As Choe left he wasaccosted by a member of the audience, who demanded he answer questionsabout his views on North and South Korean relations with the UnitedStates.這場乖誕的混亂在崔容準離席,準備去參加他所居住的大樓管委會會議後開始,一位觀眾要求他回答他對南北韓與美國關係的看法。

In his absence, Sasson and several audience members harped on theKorea point further, saying they wished he had been in attendance toanswer questions about a 2006 speech he gave on free tradenegotiations between the U.S. and South Korea, where he referred to himself as a “byproduct of U.S. imperialism.”崔容準離開後,沙頌與幾位現場觀眾繼續在韓國問題上做文章,說希望崔能在場回答觀眾對於他2006年對美韓貿易談判所發表言論的問題,他當時稱自己是「美國帝國主義的副產品」。

Reached for comment, Choe rejected the criticisms of his views on international politics.崔容準受訪時,拒絕對自己關於國際政治的評論發表意見。

“This election is about the future of Flushing, not past statementsabout Korea,” Choe said. “It is about working together toward a futurewith better schools, good jobs and improved quality of life.”崔容準說:「這場選舉是關於法拉盛的未來,而非過往對於韓國問題的評論」,他說:「選戰應該是要討論大家未來能怎麼合作,讓學校變得更好,創造更多工作機會與改善生活品質」。

Shortly after Choe left, the discourse between the remaining fivecandidates quickly deteriorated.崔容準離開後不久,其他五位候選人間的混戰越演越烈。

Kavadas was angered by the phrasing of a question about contextualrezoning and ripped moderator Richard Jannacio, accusing him andseveral of the forum’s panelists of planting questions on behalf ofSasson’s campaign — an accusation the debate’s organizers flatlydenied.卡瓦得司對主持人Jannacio問問題的用詞大表不滿,他指控這位主持人在很多論壇的問題都是為沙頌的競選團隊量身打造,辯論的主辦人斷然否認此項指控。

Not long thereafter, during a period in which the candidates wereallowed to ask questions of one another, Jung asked Kavadas “if hefelt the quality of life in the district had deteriorated during thelast eight years.”其後不久,辯論進行到候選人交互詰問,鄭勝振問卡瓦德斯,他是否覺得過去的八年來,選區內的生活品質逐年下滑。

“The reason you’re asking me that is because you just moved to thedistrict from New Jersey last Tuesday,” Kavadas said.卡瓦德斯說:「你會這樣問我是因為你上禮拜二才剛從紐澤西搬到選區裡面」

Jung responded that he “moved to the district 20 years ago” and has been serving the community ever since. City Board of Elections recordsshow Jung did vote from an address in Rivervale, N.J., in November2008, but has since moved to an apartment on Sanford Avenue inFlushing.鄭勝振表示,他在二十年前就搬到選區,並且從那時候就開始為社區服務。選舉局的資料顯示,鄭勝振去年11月大選確實在紐澤西登記投票,但其後就搬到位於法拉盛三福大道的公寓。

“You can tell you’re the frontrunner in a race because your opponentsstart kicking you,” Jung said.鄭勝振說:「當你的對手開始攻擊你的時候,你就知道自己的選情越來越好」

Kavadas then accused Sasson of leading a “racist” campaign againstKavadas and unfairly taking him to court by challenging his petitionsin an effort to become the sole Caucasian in the race.卡瓦得司指控沙頌對他發起「種族主義」宣傳,並且挑戰他的連署,把他告上法庭,希望成為唯一的白人候選人。

“Absolutely untrue. I would defy anybody that would say anything likethat,” Sasson said. “Every campaign has the opportunity to challengepetitions and almost all of them did.”「這當然是不實的指控,任何人說類似這樣的話,我都會跟他們辯解」沙頌表示:「每一個競選陣營都有機會挑戰他人的選民連署,幾乎每個陣營都會這樣做!」

Next, Wu accused Chou of circulating fliers, saying he, the only otherChinese-American candidate, was not running in the race.其後,吳明曉指控周燕霞散發一份文宣,指稱他(唯一的另外一位華裔候選人)並沒有在競選。

“Why have you been telling people I’m not running?” Wu asked.吳明曉質問:「你為何不斷告訴別人我並沒有在競選?」

“Well, you’re here, you’re running and I acknowledge that. So, there’syour answer,” Chou said. Later, a volunteer for Wu, whom he said actedon her own volition, demanded an apology from Chou for allegedlycirculating what she called “racist” campaign literature callingSasson a “Jew” and contending any vote not for Chou would elect “theJewish candidate.”周燕霞說:「好吧,既然你在這,你確實在競選,我也承認,所以這就是我的答案」,稍後,一位吳明曉的女性義工要求周燕霞道歉(吳明曉說那是義工的個人行為),因為周燕霞散發一份她稱作是「種族主義」的「競選」文宣,不但稱沙頌為「猶太姥」(Jew)還說只要不把票投給周就會幫助猶太裔候選人當選。

At one point, the discourse became so heated and decentralized thatthe organizer, Park, had to remind the moderator, Jannacio, that hewas not supposed to participate in the discussion or critique thecandidate’s responses.場面到後來瀕臨失控,活動主辦人甚至還需要提醒主持人Jannacio,告訴他不應涉入候選人的討論以及評論候選人的回應。

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Save Flushing Queens To Be BiLingual

Since we started our Community Site Save Flushing Queens. We have received many different emails. Some saying we are the tools for a political candidate, some saying we are ignorant, some saying we are the voice of the silent majority.


Well thanks to the offer of a trusted friend our post will now be translated into different languages. We purchased an email list from a list broker and it seems that we were attempting to reach out but some did not understand our message.

So look for our new feature! Have a Great Day!


Monday, August 3, 2009

Only the Strong Will Survive

It is my understanding that tomorrow all the "Political Wanabees" and "Political King Makers" will swarm to the Board of Elections to fight to knock candidates off the ballot and to try to stay on the ballot. You see our archaic system of operation allows for opponents to keep candidates off the ballot and deny voters the right to a real choice in September and even in November for the most minor of reasons.

Yen Chou has become the "Queen of the Political Challenge." She must have something to be fearful about after all her minions are telling the Chinese press they will get her opponents off the ballot... we will see if she does knock anyone off the voters should deny her the right to be elected. What is even more deceitful is hiding behind attorneys and "challengers" I would have more respect if Yen Chou or anyone who was challenging would put their name to the challenge.

Never they are too scared! Well we will give you an update as the decisions are rendered. Only one fact remains for sure.... Taxpayers are losing money as these self serving candidates continue to run up a bill in Board of Elections overtime and soon Court cases. Shame Shame Shame... Let the Voters decide!