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Queens Chronicle

ENDORSEMENT Ulrich for City Council

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Posted: Thursday, October 31, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 11:12 am, Thu Nov 7, 2013.

City Councilman Eric Ulrich has many of the qualities you want in a lawmaker. He’s intelligent and thoughtful, principled but moderate, ambitious but not an egomaniac.

He deserves to be re-elected Nov. 5.

Ulrich has served the 32nd Council District well since winning office in 2009, focusing on quality-of-life issues and deferring to residents’ wishes on many questions, while also making sure taxpayer money isn’t wasted.

He’s done everything from getting new garbage cans installed on the 101st Avenue business strip, where litter had been making the area look bad and been costing area merchants money for code violations that weren’t their fault, to getting the much-needed rezoning of Woodhaven and Ozone Park approved. He’s battled graffiti and gotten SAT prep programs started in area schools.

When Hurricane Sandy hit, he was there to help, even though his daughter was born two days after the storm, naturally drawing some of his attention.

Ulrich has been especially respectful of what his constituents want. He was one of very few Council members in Queens who implemented participatory budgeting, a bit of direct democracy under which residents vote on where to spend their district’s discretionary funds.

He summed up his approach when discussing a pedestrian plaza that will be installed on the Queens-Brooklyn line.

“If the people want it, we should give it to them,” he said. “If this is something that they believe is going to be beneficial to their community, then who am I to deny it to them?”

If only more lawmakers agreed.

Ulrich says he has plenty of “unfinished business” to get to, especially helping determine how Sandy aid funds will be used to rebuild, but also expanding the Rockaways’ ferry service, bringing bike share to the peninsula and getting better lighting on Jamaica Avenue.

Ulrich’s Democratic opponent, Lew Simon, has been a great district leader in the Rockaways, but hasn’t made a compelling enough case for denying the incumbent’s re-election. His campaign has mostly focused on decrying the shortfalls and delays in Sandy relief funds, but those are problems a city councilman has little control over.

We’re glad to endorse Eric Ulrich for re-election in the 32nd Council District.

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