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She was an outspoken, longtime representative of Southeast Queens in the state Senate. She displayed an increasingly disturbing pattern of public behavior before a highly publicized run-in with the law. And she lost her Senate seat in a primary even with the Democratic Party endorsement and a large fundraising advantage.
Her name was Ada Smith.
Democratic candidates for City Council seats in Southeast Queens all annihilated their competition on Tuesday night.
Scherie Murray’s seemingly unlikely campaign for the City Council — she is a black woman running on the Republican line in overwhelmingly Democratic Southeast Queens — had its genesis in the most unlikely of places: a swing set in Brookville Park.
“I did gymnastics in school and I like to use the swings to work out,” she said in a Monday interview with the Chronicle. But one day she went there and “they were gone.”
What is a state senator from Astoria — who’s not running for higher office — doing in Woodhaven?
Believe it or not, he represents part of the neighborhood.
The final meeting of the 113th Precinct Community Council before summer break was the final one as president for Vivian McMillian, who decided not to seek another term at the helm after 23 years as a council member.
Tributes poured in Monday night for “Miss Vivian,” as she has become known throughout the community, including those from Queens District Attorney Richard Brown; City Council members Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) and Ruben Wills (D-Jamaica); state Senators James Sanders (D-Jamaica) and Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis); and Assembly members William Scarborough (D-Jamaica) and Barbara Clark (D-Queens Village).
With the Senate session winding down in Albany, and about a thousand bills left to debate, the hydrofracking moratorium bill may not even hit the floor for a vote. Most Queens lawmakers oppose allowing the drilling process in New York State without conclusive scientific evidence that it can be done safely, without contaminating groundwater.
The drilling process known as hydrofracking is used to obtain natural gas from rock formations, such as the Marcellus Shale, which stretches from New York’s Southern Tier to West Virginia. Fracking involves injecting millions of gallons of water along with a slurry of sand and about 600 chemicals into a narrow horizontal pipe at high pressure to induce “mini-earthquakes,” which release the natural gas.
The Richmond Hill South Civic Association’s most recent meeting, held at the United Methodist Church on 112 St. on May 30, included the reinstallation of its entire executive board and a special tribute honoring a local community leader, but the star attraction of the evening was unquestionably Margaret Finnerty, who was celebrating the 20th anniversary of her first installation as president, as a seemingly never-ending procession of local elected officials stopped by to sing her praises.
“It’s never about herself. It’s always about others,” said Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), on hand to dismiss the outgoing board, to whom he added, “Don’t give up fighting for this neighborhood. Without you, it just wouldn’t happen.”
Resorts World Casino New York City has hit another big milestone.
The casino, which opened in October, 2011, announced last week that it raked in $67 million in April, putting total revenue since opening at over $1 billion.
Shot in Southeast Queens, “Let’s Get Bizzee” is a feature film that is said to truly inspire youngsters to make a change and be a part of the political process, according to director Carl Clay.
Clay’s re-released film will be featured on May 10 at the Black Spectrum Theatre followed by a panel discussion hosted by state Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D-Laurelton) on “Attack on Black Leaders: Corruption or Conspiracy?” at the event.
Lachman Budhai, the 102nd Precinct Community Council president ,speaks with state Sen. James Sanders Jr., in shades, along the parade route.
On March 1, Alfred Osbourne’s quarterly permit to park in the municipal lot at the Rosedale Long Island Rail Road station went from $90 to $110.
“They initially raised it to $200, but we complained and they cut it back to $110,” he said.
Councilman Donovan Richards, center, would like the city to reconsider some corporate tax subsidies before slamming drivers with triple-digit rate increases at municipal parking lots. State Sen. James Sanders Jr., left, and Rosedale resident Alfred Osbourne joined him Friday at a press conference at the parking lot at the Long Island Rail Road’s Rosedale station.
Seeking to work together for the benefit of their overlapping legislative districts, state Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway), left, and new City Councilman-Elect Donovan Richards (D-Rockaway) recently met at the Sherwood Diner in nearby Lawrence, LI.
Goldfeder congratulated Richards on his Feb. 19 victory in the special election to serve the rest of the year in the 31st Council District, previously held by now-state Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D-Rockaway). Richards defeated seven opponents including, by a razor-thin margin, Goldfeder aide Pesach Osina.
Donovan Richards, former chief of staff for now-state Sen. James Sanders Jr., has declared himself the winner in the race to succeed Sanders on the City Council.
After leading Pesach Osina, a candidate from Far Rockaway and an aide to Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Far Rockaway), by 26 votes on election night, Richards gained 133 votes in Wednesday’s counting of absentee ballots while Osina gained 80 votes, expanding Richards’ lead to 79 votes, wide enough to avoid an automatic recount.
One of the major candidates who ran in the special election the fill the vacant seat of former councilman and now state Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D-Rockaway), Jacques Leandre, announced his concession to supporters and staff Tuesday night in his office. Leandre came in third place but said that his numbers were higher than when he ran for the same seat in 2009.
A lawyer and founder of the Rosedale Jets Football Association, Leandre was one of eight candidates who hoped to fill the vacant council seat of the 31st District, which includes the Rockaways, Laurelton, Springfield Gardens, and Rosedale.
It was around midnight that Donovan Richards claimed victory in Tuesday’s special election for the 31st City Council District, but with only 26 votes separating him and his hottest rival, Pesach Osina, the ultimate outcome is anything but certain.
The race, with Osina, an Orthodox Jew, and seven black candidates vying to fill until January the position left vacant after James Sanders Jr. (D-Rockaway) was elected to the state Senate in the fall, is likely to remain up in the air for a while, as absentee ballots and emergency affidavits were yet to be counted, and talk of a re-count emerged even as Richards’ supporters celebrated.
The race to serve out the last 10 months of now-state Sen. James Sanders Jr.’s term on the City Council is down to the wire, with only a couple dozen votes separating the top two contenders, according to the candidates and reporting in the Daily News.
Candidates in the 31st District City Council race tackled tough questions about job creation, education and crime at a debate held Feb. 7 at St. Luke’s Church in Laurelton.
The event, sponsored by the Federated Blocks of Laurelton, was the second of its kind to be held before the Feb. 19 special election. The winner will fill the post vacated by James Sanders Jr. after he won a bid for state Senate, and will serve out the rest of his term, which ends on Dec. 31.
State Assemblywoman Vivian Cook (D-Jamaica) today denied allegations that she is in any way connected to a fraud scheme perpetrated by disgraced lawmaker Shirley Huntley, who pleaded guilty last week to embezzling nearly $90,000 in taxpayer money.
It’s all about education and youth for Saywalah Kesselly, a political newcomer who is vying for the 31st District City Council seat to replace James Sanders Jr., who won a bid for state Senate. Kesselly calls himself a troubleshooter and a problem solver and says he was motivated to seek elected office because he is tired of the status quo.
Kesselly, a married father of three who lives in Far Rockaway, is the founder and executive director of the African Center for Community Empowerment in St. Albans, a nonprofit organization that serves youth and families in Southeast Queens. But his educational background is in finance, accounting and economics.
Three candidates in the special election for the 31st District City Council seat have taken a stand against what they call unfair tactics employed by one of the competitors, who has gone to court to keep them and others off the ballot.
Rosedale attorney and candidate Jacques Leandre has filed lawsuits in Queens Supreme Court challenging the validity of the signatures of six of the other eight candidates in the race — Mike Duncan, Marie Adam-Ovide, Earnest Flowers, Donovan Richards, Selvena Brooks and Allan Jennings — for the Feb. 19 special election to replace James Sanders Jr., who was elected to the state Senate. The candidates needed to submit 450 signatures by the Jan. 15 deadline to get on the ballot.
Former City Councilwoman Juanita Watkins, the first black woman to represent a Council District in Southeast Queens, died Jan. 20 after battling a long illness. She was 78.
Watkins won election in 1991 and served the 31st District for three terms. During her time in office, she funded numerous projects and organizations for the betterment of the community including libraries, school computer labs, park rehabilitation, after-school programs, senior citizen nutrition and recreation programs, local development corporations and youth service organizations.
Embattled former state Sen. Shirley Huntley is planning to plead guilty to felony mail fraud charges, according to reports by the New York Post and Daily News, and is expected to admit that she used money from a bogus nonprofit for her own gain.
The race for the 31st District City Council seat vacated by James Sanders Jr. is pretty crowded, with nine candidates on the ballot for the Feb. 19 special election. Sanders resigned from his council post after winning a bid for state Senate.
Those competing in the race are Donovan Richards, Sanders’ former chief of staff; Marie Adam-Ovide, the district manager of Community Board 8; Jacques Leandre, a lawyer and founder of the Rosedale Jets Football Association; Earnest Flowers, who runs a communications and marketing firm; Mike Duncan, a community activist; Selvena Brooks, a public relations specialist; Pesach Osina, community liaison for Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Far Rockaway); Saywalah Kesselly, executive director at the African Center for Community Empowerment in Jamaica; and former City Councilman Allan Jennings.
The sound of African drums filled the air as Empress Idama performed a traditional dance. It was an energetic number to start off the inaugural festivities for state Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D-Jamaica) last Thursday at York College in Jamaica.
But Idama’s group, which featured her son, Fatari Huntley, and Sanders’ brother Raphael, wasn’t the only entertainment. There was much prayer and singing as well as various speeches, all honoring the lawmaker, who calls himself the people’s senator.