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Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone), who was arrested last month on accusations that he took part in a scheme to bribe Republican officials in order to get state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis) onto the mayoral ballot as a Republican, announced Wednesday that he will not run for a second term.
Halloran, who was first elected in 2009, was arrested April 2, along with Smith and Vince Tabone, former vice chairman of the Queens Republican Party, for an alleged plot to solicit bribes to acquire a Wilson Pakula for Smith, a Democrat, in order for him to get a place on the GOP primary ballot for mayor. He was indicted late last month.
“The more you’re in politics, the more corrupt you are,” then-Congressional candidate and Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) said during a meeting with the Queens Chronicle’s editorial board last fall. “I don’t care if you’re the best person on the planet. You make deals, the line becomes blurry.”
That was Oct. 19. One day earlier, he allegedly left an unnamed Queens eatery $800 richer in exchange for promising someone a no-show job and other favors, according to a criminal complaint leading to Halloran’s April 2 arrest at his Auburndale home.
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.
This year in Southeast Queens, there were plenty of highs and lows, accomplishments and disappointments, most involving crime and politics.
In an effort to curb violence, two gun buybacks were held, resulting in 564 weapons being taken off the street. But there were still several shootings, including a triple homicide involving an AK-47 and another in which a Nassau County cop was killed.
For many Queens residents, 2012 will be forever married to Superstorm Sandy and the havoc she wrought. For good or ill, North Queens was spared the brunt of the storm.
A sizeable number of downed trees and power outages hit the area, but most counted their luck. Compared to the borough’s southern edge, Sandy was forgiving to Flushing and its satellite neighborhoods.
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.
Queens politics in 2012 brought new districts, a historic election in the 6th Congressional District and enough cloak-and-dagger intrigue to fill a Robert Ludlum novel.
But when Hurricane Sandy struck in October, killing 12 people in Queens and more than 40 in the city, devastating the Rockaways, Howard Beach, lower Manhattan and Staten Island, the people of central Queens, who were largely spared the storm’s wrath, rallied to the cause of those worst hit.
Politics in middle and southwestern Queens was the favorite sport outside of Citi Field in 2012, and the worst storm to hit the region in 74 years devastated some while causing others just a few flickers of their lights.
As the year began, the city filed an appeal of a ruling by federal Judge Nicholas Garaufus that found discrimination on the part of the FDNY against African-American firefighters in the testing and hiring process.
The closing days of the 112th Congress, known as the lame duck, will see a historic debate called Fiscal Cliffhanger. Budget cuts vs. higher tax rates are at the heart of this battle royale between President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner.
However, behind the scenes, a nonelected GOP politician will play an important role. His name is Grover Norquist. For decades, he was the antitax advocate and “field marshal” for the Republican Party. He manipulated most GOP congressionals into signing his “no new tax” pledge. If anyone violated the pledge, Grover had enough clout to see that member of Congress defeated in his or her primary bid for re-election.
Mr. Norquist is best known for saying, “My goal is to cut government in half in 25 years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.” Former GOP Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyoming) responded to his remark by commenting, “I hope he slips in there with it!”
Since the Republican Party was unable to elect Mitt Romney president, there are signs that, for the good of our country, some GOP members of Congress will reject their pledge to Norquist. Are Grover’s days numbered? Only time will tell.
When Grace Meng is sworn into Congress in January, she will become New York’s first Asian-American politician on Capitol Hill.
Meng’s political rise — from representing Flushing in the state Assembly all the way to Washington, D.C. as a member of Congress — is the latest example of an emerging Asian-American political base spawned in Queens during the last decade.
Six years after Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D-Glendale) first launched his political career in Albany’s corridors, the 43-year-old has set his eyes on City Hall.
“I think I can make a very significant difference,” he said in an interview, pointing to the prospect of fresh blood flooding the council, as nearly half of the legislature’s members will be term-limited out of office.
It was an easy victory for Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica) and Assemblywoman Barbara Clark (D-Queens Village), both of whom are retaining their respective seats after Tuesday’s election.
Meeks claimed 146,278 votes or 89.7 of the ballots, according to unofficial results by NY1. Republican challenger Allan Jennings came in a distant second with 15,640 or 9.59 percent, followed by Libertarian contender Catherine Wark with 1,161 or 0.7 percent.
Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing) holds a huge edge in campaign fund raising for her congressional race against Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone). She also holds a considerable advantage in personal wealth, with a household net worth valued between $994,045 and $3,267,998, spread over family real estate and her husband’s financial investments.
Meng’s campaign and supporters — including Mayor Michael Bloomberg — have cast her as a champion of the middle class. Her household’s estimated net worth lifts Meng at least $900,000 above the national median of $77,300, according to her personal finance disclosure released last week by the U.S. House of Representatives, and statistics from the Federal Reserve.
One longshot candidate for mayor has found a way to stand out from the crowd of big-name Democratic hopefuls — switching parties to run as a Republican.
Tom Allon, a community newspaper publisher whose holdings include Our Town, The West Side Spirit and City & State, announced this week that he wants to be the GOP nominee for mayor in 2013.
With only 29 days to go before Election Day in what national pundits are unanimously calling a safe Democratic Congressional district, Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing) was out campaigning like a challenger.
She says she is trying to run the last days of her campaign against Republican Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) as she has run her Assembly career.
While the race to Capitol Hill is heating up between Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing) and Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone), efforts by nonprofits to mobilize the district’s Asian population may tip the scales in Meng’s favor.
Two organizations — the Alliance of South Asian American Labor and the MinKwon Center for Community Action — have been trying to increase voter turnout within certain immigrant groups.
This week Mayor Bloomberg, he of many parties, announced his endorsement of Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing) in the race for the newly redrawn 6th Congressional District.
“New Yorkers demand representation in Washington that puts the needs of the taxpayers ahead of partisan politics,” the mayor said in announcing the endorsement. “Grace Meng will be the independent voice in Congress that middle-class families in Queens deserve.”
In the final weeks of the Republican primary for the 15th state Senate district, Forest Hills attorney Juan Reyes, backed by the Queens GOP leadership, whacked his opponent, Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), for being supported by the state Republicans, for often voting against the wishes of his party and even for being a devout Catholic with gay friends.
In the end, none of it appeared to have worked. If anything, it might have backfired.
In the final weeks of the Republican primary for the 15th state Senate district, Forest Hills attorney Juan Reyes, backed by the Queens GOP leadership, whacked his opponent, Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), for being supported by the State Republicans, for often voting against the wishes of his party and even for being a devout Catholic with gay friends.
New information on the electorate from the 6th Congressional District primary on June 26 shows a Democratic voting bloc that was far more white proportionally than the population of the district.
The new 6th CD is 40 percent white, 38 percent Asian, 18 percent Hispanic and 4 percent black.
Etienne David Adorno pulls few punches when asked why voters should support him over Assemblyman Mike Miller (D-Woodhaven) in the 38th District Democratic primary on Sept. 13.
“I’ve seen changes in the district, changes I’m not happy with,” Adorno said Friday in a meeting with the editorial board of the Queens Chronicle.
Voters throughout much of Queens will go to the polls Thursday, Sept. 13, to cast ballots in primary races held by both the Democratic and Republican parties.
Citizens can expect some changes and possible complications, however. The state Senate and Assembly districts for which the primaries are being held have been redrawn, as per the last Census, so many residents will be faced with names that may not be familiar to them.
Even her cousin’s being Queens County Democratic chairman does not appear to have spared Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) from party discipline.
Crowley will be unable to run to retain her position as a district leader in the 38th Assembly District after party officials succeeded in challenging enough signatures on her nominating petitions.