Tempers flared and constituents clashed last Sunday outside Rep. Anthony Weiner’s (D-Queens and Brooklyn) Kew Gardens office during a rally organized by an area civic organization that is calling on the embattled congressman to resign.
Members of the Juniper Park Civic Association toted handmade signs — some direct, others boasting Weiner puns — urging the seventh-term pol to step down as more lurid photos continue to surface.
On Monday, Weiner was granted a two-week leave of absence from the House to receive professional treatment. President Obama has said that if he were in Weiner’s predicament, he would resign.
“We certainly at this point feel Anthony Weiner cannot be an effective leader,” JPCA President Bob Holden, a registered Democrat, said through a megaphone Sunday afternoon. “That’s our seat, not his seat. If he wants to get well, and come back in a year and a half and run, let him do that.”
More than 50 people were involved in the demonstration, but not all were demanding Weiner relinquish the leadership of the 9th Congressional District, a position he has held for the last 12 years.
Chants of “Hey! Ho! Weiner must go!” and “Resign today, rehab tomorrow!” were met by messages such as “We support Weiner!” Emotions ran high, and as more people sought to express their opinions, the event became heated at times, replete with face-to-face exchanges and finger-pointing.
Harde Singh, 46, of Forest Hills was particularly vocal in his support for Weiner, who Singh has helped get re-elected in the last two races and would vote for should he seek an eighth term.
“My congressman, who is very liked by his constituents, hasn’t done anything illegal,” Singh, a registered Independent, told the Chronicle after the rally. “This is a man who has done something over the Internet — is it right? No. But it’s something he has to address with himself and his wife.”
Singh went on to rattle off names of elected officials who, in his opinion, were accused of acts more egregious than Weiner’s and did not step down, including former U.S. Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho), arrested for lewd conduct in an airport bathroom, and U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-Louisiana), who admitted to patronizing prostitutes.
Singh later added that if Weiner “is charged with something, or if there is an ethics violation, he should resign.”
Jane Deacy said she voted for Weiner’s GOP opponent, Bob Turner, in the 2010 race and her biggest issue with Weiner is his lying.
“As a female, mother and grandmother, I’m outraged that my congressman should act in this manner,” she asserted.
Lorraine Sciulli, vice president of the JPCA, agreed with Deacy’s assessment of Weiner.
“He’s making New York look terrible,” Sciulli said. “We are outraged at his behavior. This is not a guy fit for office.”
Last week, according to a NY1-Marist poll, 56 percent of registered voters in the 9th district did not think Weiner should resign. Approximately one-third believed he should, and 12 percent were unsure.
“That was baloney,” Holden said of the poll numbers. “I haven’t run into one person who supports him. Weiner, resign now; you’ve disgraced the office.”
JPCA member and former GOP Assembly candidate Tony Nunziato said elected officials need to be held to a higher standard.
“We have to stand together to show morals for America,” he told the Chronicle. “This is not family values. We have to get America back on target. If we keep accepting this, we’ll keep spiraling out of control. It has to end.”