Queens Republicans have a new chairman.
After the death of Phil Ragusa last month, the county party’s executive vice chairman, Robert Beltrani of Jackson Heights, was automatically elevated to chairman.
Phil Ragusa, 74, of Beechhurst, who led the Queens Republican Party for seven years, many of them tumultuous, died Tuesday from leukemia at New York Presybterian Hospital.
Accolades from across the state and farther have poured in about the certified public accountant who took over the helm of the Queens party from former state Sen. Serphin Maltese, who stepped down in 2007.
Sports fans are well aware of the number of can’t-miss top draft picks in baseball, football and basketball who were never able to live up to expectations, much to the chagrin of the teams that signed them to lucrative contracts and the fans whose hopes were dashed. As former Mets star Rusty Staub famously quipped, “Potential means that you haven’t accomplished anything yet!”
The pop music world is littered with artists who looked like big hit makers but for one reason or another failed to light the charts on fire. “American Idol” fans can recite the names of most of the past winners as proof.
Richmond Hill is one of the older communities in Queens, and got its own high school in 1899, when there were only a few in the borough.
The school was unusual in that it had an astronomy observatory and telescope, built at a cost of $6,000. The first principal was not an administrator but respected mathematician and astronomer Issac Newton Failor (1851-1925). The RHHS yearbook and newsletters were dubbed “The Dome.”
Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) was ceremonially sworn in for his second term Jan. 30 in the packed auditorium at PS 63 in Ozone Park, where he was a student from kindergarten through fourth grade.
City Comptroller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Letitia James joined Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Manhattan, Bronx) and several more of Ulrich’s colleagues to speak at the swearing in, which was conducted by Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway Park), standing in for Justice Augie Agate, who was under the weather. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) also made an appearance, as did Rep. Greg Meeks (D-Jamaica), and prominent Republicans, including former Rep. Bob Turner, former mayoral candidate Joe Lhota and former Councilman Tom Ognibene.
Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) was ceremonially sworn in for his second term Jan. 30 in the packed auditorium at PS 63 in Ozone Park, where he was a student from kindergarten through fourth grade. City Comptroller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Letitia James joined Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Manhattan, Bronx) and several more of Ulrich’s colleagues to speak at the swearing in, which was conducted by Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway Park), standing in for Justice Augie Agate, who was under the weather. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) also made an appearance, as did Rep. Greg Meeks (D-Jamaica), and prominent Republicans, including former Rep. Bob Turner, former mayoral candidate Joe Lhota and former Councilman Tom Ognibene. In his speech, Ulrich thanked his family and friends, and recognized his kindergarten teacher, Barbara Martuscello.
The Northeast Queens Republican Club swore in its newest president, Kevin Ryan, at a ceremony held at the Clearview Golf Course in Bayside on Sunday.
Former Congressman Bob Turner and Councilman Eric Ulrich (R- Ozone Park) swore in the new Board of Governors and the new executive officers. Outgoing president John Watch was also honored for his two years of service to the NEQRC, which has existed since 1894.
All these former Republican officials: Gov. Pataki, former Mayor Giuliani, former City Council members Mike Abel, Anthony Stabile, Tom Ognibene, Anthony Como and Dennis Gallagher, state Assemblyman Doug Prescott, state Sens. Frank Padavan and Serf Maltese and Congressman Bob Turner; along with current Councilman Eric Ulrich and Queens GOP Chairman Phil Ragusa have all collectively failed to assist Aurelio “Tony” Arcabascio in raising sufficient funding to run a competitive race against Democrat Melinda Katz (“I’m the ‘real Queens” candidate, Arc says,” by Peter C. Mastrosimone, Oct. 24).
As of April 1, 2013 there were more than 1,076,000 active voters in Queens, including 703,202 Democrats; 128,335 Republicans; 206,770 “blanks” (with no declared party affiliation); 27,556 Independents; 5,862 Conservatives; 3,280 Working Families and 1,235 others.
Arcabascio needed to raise a million dollars months ago to pay for direct mail, telephone banks and newspaper, radio and television advertising to overcome these overwhelming odds if he was to be taken seriously. This was necessary to level the playing field against Katz.
No wonder the last Republican Queens borough president was James A. Lundy, who served from 1952 to 1957. Ditto for Nat Hentel, who served as the last GOP district attorney in 1970.
By comparison, the odds of winning any million-dollar lottery are greater!
Queens Republican Chairman Phil Ragusa, left, defeated Rep. Bob Turner, right, to keep his position as head of the party, but his election is likely headed to court.
The Queens Republican Party re-elected Chairman Phil Ragusa to another term leading the borough’s warring party at a meeting Friday that Ragusa’s opponents called a sham and appeared to only exacerbate the years-long divide in the party.
Queens Republicans, battered after years of infighting, held the reorganization meeting at 12:30 p.m. on Friday at the Reception House on Northern Boulevard in Flushing. At the meeting, Ragusa was re-elected chairman of the party by a resounding margin over former Rep. Bob Turner, who stood as the choice of the anti-Ragusa faction that has been led by Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) and former Councilman Tom Ognibene, who attempted to wrestle control of the county organization out of Ragusa’s hands in 2011.
For many Queens Republicans, there was hope that Tuesday’s primary election for state committee positions, also known as district leaders, would put an end to the ongoing civil war within the party.
But as results trickled in Wednesday, it appeared there wasn’t any decisive decision one way or another.
In tomorrow's Republican primary for the state committee positions in the 26th Assembly District, which includes Auburndale, Bayside, Douglaston, Little Neck and Whitestone, Queens Republican Chairman Phil Ragusa and former Board of Elections Commissioner Judith Stupp are facing off against Sal Bacarella and Ann Marie Devlin, in a race that could end the years-long civil war in the county party.
When I was a kid, fall meant the end of summer vacation and a return to the school grind. The good news was that it meant the end of the summer TV rerun doldrums and the eager anticipation of checking out the new fall TV lineup. As an adult, I still look forward to the debut of new shows.
As the Democratic primary races for citywide offices and open seats on the City Council top the headlines, on the Republican side are key elections that have gone relatively unnoticed, but could hold huge consequences to the future of the borough’s small, but powerful, GOP.
Across Queens, there are nine races for the state committee, a key position that often decides who gets the county organization’s backing for statewide races.
These days, the New York Mets are not having any trouble finding new and creative ways to lose. Even by their impressive standards, this past weekend’s series against the Miami Marlins was unprecedented.
In 30 innings over two days, the Marlins swept a two-game series from the Mets at Citi Field. To put into perspective just how bad things have gotten for the Mets, the Marlins are 8-3 against them and 10-41 against the rest of baseball this season. That’s telling.
The Subway Series, which gets underway on Monday at Citi Field and concludes Thursday at Yankee Stadium, is a great way to take stock of our two Major League Baseball franchises. Last June the Mets dropped five out of six games against the Yankees, which served as a warning that their supposed terrific first half when they won 46 games was a mirage.
This year the Mets are not teasing their fans, as they have been playing at the low level that was expected of them before the season began. The Yankees, on the other hand, have been near or at the top of the American League East standings despite the loss to injuries of such household names as Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Texeira and Curtis Granderson. Granderson has returned to the team but was replaced on the disabled list by veteran pitcher Andy Pettitte.
The race for mayor of New York City took a long-expected turn last night when Anthony Weiner, the former city councilman and congressman from Forest Hills, entered the contest with an announcement posted on YouTube.
Weiner, who quit the House two years ago after sending lewd photos of himself to young women across the country via social media and then lying to the public about doing so for two weeks, said he had made big mistakes in his life but is looking for a second chance.
Middle Village native Craig Caruana wants the Republican Party to take back the 30th District City Council seat and said he’s the man for the job when he announced his candidacy in front of the Little League clubhouse in Glendale on Monday.
“We are lacking leadership in this district,” Caruana said in front of family, friends and supporters. “What we need is someone who will take responsibility for what happens in Queens.”
Former Rep. Bob Turner has been suggested as a favorite to lead the Queens GOP in the wake of this week’s arrests.
Officially the chairman of the Queens Republican Party is Phil Ragusa. But if what U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara says is true, that may come as a surprise to the borough party’s Deputy Chairman Vince Tabone, who was one of six people indicted in the scheme centered on state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis) and Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone).
Tributes poured in last Friday for Ed Koch, the three-term mayor who personified New York City from 1978 through 1989, and who died early that morning at age 88.
They came unsolicited from elected officials across the city, and were echoed on the street by the people of Queens.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank each of you for allowing me to serve as your Congressman. I was born and raised in Queens and having the chance to represent my friends, neighbors and all the people of Brooklyn and Queens in the 9th Congressional District has been a great honor.
As a lifelong resident of this area, my office’s primary focus has been on serving you. In just a few short months after the special election, we answered a backlog of letters, emails and casework as well as opened the first full-time Brooklyn district office. I am extremely proud of the hard work my staff did for people throughout the district. We were able to help current and future generations of our military by ensuring veterans receive the benefits they are rightfully entitled to and awarded the medals they deserve.
The country did go off the fiscal cliff this week, but it was more like a bungee jump than a fall.
Less than 24 hours after billions of dollars in tax hikes and spending cuts went into effect, the House of Representatives agreed to a deal struck by the White House and Senate leaders and passed by the upper body of Congress on New Year’s Eve, before the year-end deadline that had been termed the “fiscal cliff.”
Take your big-ticket 2012 headlines about superstorms and elections and throw them out the window for a moment. Sure, the year was filled with its fair share of natural and political change. But scratch a little deeper and you’ll find 2012 was the year residents felt divorced from their government, when city agencies were called out for dubious practices.
The year was pockmarked with calls for transparency and fair representation. In short, there was often a gulf between government’s practices and voters’ desires.
Politics dominated much of the news in South Queens in 2012. With local and national elections looming, the communities were the epicenter of a hard-fought state legislative race with statewide implications.
But much like T.S. Eliot’s explanation of the apocalypse in “The Hollow Men,” the campaign ended not with a bang, but with a whimper, shoved from the top of people’s minds by the most devastating natural disaster to strike South Queens in a lifetime.