If Tuesday’s Republican election victories across the nation were the wave many in the media like to call them, the breakwater around Queens held firm for Democrats, even as the GOP tide rose in some districts as close as eastern Long Island and Staten Island.
In most cases the election was a done deal for Queens Democrats running for the Assembly, state Senate and U.S. House of Representatives before a single vote was cast, as they had no Republican opponents. Where they were challenged, they won.
There are few things vaguer to New York voters than ballot propositions that are often as hard to understand as they are hard to locate on a ballot. This Election Day one such ballot proposal New York voters will be asked to decide on is a legislatively referred constitutional amendment to create a redistricting commission to establish state legislative and congressional districts.
Redistricting is the once-a-decade process in which the legislative districts are adjusted to reflect shifts in population. In New York, like most states, the Legislature has for years had primary control of the redistricting process and that has resulted in districts that tend to protect incumbents and produce noncompetitive elections.
A proposition on Tuesday’s ballot that could take electoral redistricting out of the direct hands of the state Legislature is coming under fire from the Jamaica branch of the NAACP.
Leroy Gadsden, the chapter president, was joined on Monday by civic and clergy leaders at a press conference outside the group’s St. Albans offices.
With Election Day around the corner, residents across Queens are firing up to cast their votes Tuesday.
In the race for governor, incumbent Democrat Andrew Cuomo is challenged by Republican Rob Astorino, the Westchester County executive.
Democratic state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli faces Republican Robert Antonacci, the Onondaga County comptroller.
Democratic Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is up against John Cahill, former chief of staff to Governor George Pataki.
My fellow New Yorkers need to approve Prop 1 on Election Day. Prop 1 is a constitutional amendment to create a fairer redistricting process in New York.
Currently, “partisan gerrymandering” is the rule. Legislators draw district lines to ensure their maximum chance of re-election and favor Democratic control of the Assembly and Republican control of the Senate.
Prop 1 will hand redistricting over to an appointed commission. The commission will be bound by rules against partisan gerrymandering. Districts will have to be roughly equal in population.
Informed Queens voters must remember to flip over their ballots on November 4 and vote yes on Prop 1. More information can be found at voteyesforprogress.org.
Please publicly support this measure,
Despite making big population gains, minorities in Queens continue to be underrepresented in the state Legislature, with the number of white lawmakers far outpacing those from Asian and Hispanic communities. After 2010, when the Census showed the three groups were nearly equal in population, this gap should have narrowed significantly.
Yet minorities are even worse off today, largely because of New York’s broken redistricting process that diminishes the influence of minority communities and allows Albany lawmakers to carefully engineer voting blocs to protect incumbents. Today, lawmakers in office win re-election an astonishing 97 percent of the time, which could lead voters in Queens and throughout New York to wonder why we bother holding elections in the first place.
A veteran politician and an avowed reformer will face off against each other in Tuesday’s Democratic primary for the 16th State Senate district seat.
S.J. Jung, a Flushing businessman who has never held office, will be pitted against 14-year incumbent Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing). Since redistricting, the area now has a majority Asian population at 53 percent, with whites at 24 percent, according to the Center for Urban Research.
Former Rep. Kathy Hochul causally stepped out of the Elite Cafe at 72-28 Main St. in Kew Gardens Hills into the drizzly Friday afternoon. As her shoes hit the sidewalk, she suddenly stopped, her wide eyes opened wider by something happening in front of her — a traffic enforcement officer standing in front of a minivan writing a ticket for an expired meter.
“Oh my goodness, whose car is that?” she asked in her thick Western New York accent.
Rebel state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), the vocal populist whose move into the Senate’s Independent Democratic Conference angered the party establishment and prompted a primary challenge from former City Councilman and Comptroller John Liu, has now won the backing of a key congressman in his re-election campaign.
Avella was endorsed last Friday by Rep. Steve Israel (D-Suffolk, Nassau, Queens), who only started to represent part of this borough in 2013, thanks to post-2010 Census redistricting, but is a veteran lawmaker and chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Eleven votes separated them, but Republican candidate for the 3rd Congressional District Stephen Labate conceded Tuesday to the victor, Grant Lally.
The state Board of Elections certified the victory last Thursday, following a court battle over absentee ballots. At the time, Labate, a financial planner from Deer Park, LI, said he would seek a recount because of the small difference in votes.
Rebel state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), the vocal populist whose move into the Senate's Independent Democratic Conference angered the party establishment and prompted a primary challenge from former City Councilman and Comptroller John Liu, has now won the backing of a key congressman in his re-election campaign.
One Jewish Democratic official called it “touching the third rail of Queens politics.”
A Democratic district leader from Jackson Heights posted one word and a symbol on her Facebook page last week and it has sparked criticism. Depending on whom you ask, her comment ignited a hot debate within the Democratic Party, or was just exploited in a cynical ploy in an obscure political race that is part of the ongoing battle between the Queens Democratic establishment and a group of anti-establishment party members backed by several citywide elected officials.
Despite circulating petitions earlier this month with his name as a candidate for state Senate, ex-Councilman Tom Ognibene will not run, GOP sources say.
Ognibene, of Middle Village, was listed on Republican petitions as a candidate for the seat now occupied by state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach).
The Queens Democratic Party backed former City Comptroller John Liu as their candidate in the 11th state Senate District, pitting the former councilman and mayoral candidate against a former colleague, incumbent state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), who angered his party when he joined the Independent Democratic Caucus — a group of breakaway Democrats who caucus with Republicans in the state’s upper legislative body.
Liu received the endorsement at the county organization’s meeting in Forest Hills on Monday morning.
The Queens Democratic Party has endorsed former City Comptroller John Liu as its candidate in the 11th state Senate district, pitting the former Flushing councilman and mayoral candidate against a former colleague, incumbent state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), who angered Democrats when he joined the Independent Democratic Caucus — a group of breakaway Democrats who caucus with Republicans in the state’s upper legislative body.
A possible contender for Assemblyman David Weprin’s District 24 seat has emerged, though he will not yet confirm he’s running.
Fellow Democrat Ali Najmi, an attorney from Glen Oaks, is holding a fundraiser in Manhattan on May 19 that he has posted on Facebook. The invitation mentions the state Legislature and four issues Najmi wants to address in Albany: economic development, education, housing and senior citizens.
State Sen. Toby Stavisky has moved and she is now making her residence in Forest Hills.
The senator told the Chronicle on Monday that the area she previously covered was redistricted last year and her Whitestone residence is no longer in her district.
Not far enough.
That was the message sent this week by members of Community Board 13 in response to the Indian Cultural and Community Center proposing to cut three stories from a pair of senior apartment buildings on the grounds of the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in Bellerose.
The Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association said it will meet with Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) to encourage her to adopt participatory budgeting, a process in which public input is sought on some spending items from money allocated to a specific member of the City Council.
Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), who was one of the first members to adopt participatory budgeting a few years ago, in the Rockaways, has brought it to the parts of his district in Community District 9 this year, including Woodhaven. Though geographically most of the neighborhood is in Ulrich’s district, the western part is represented by Crowley.
Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) has announced details for the first round of this year’s Participatory Budgeting Neighborhood Assemblies in the Woodhaven, Ozone Park and Richmond Hill sections of the district, bringing the process in which members of the public give input on where city taxpayer money should go into the neighborhoods, much of which were added to the district in last year’s redistricting.
The forums will give residents the opportunity to decide how $1 million in capital funds can be best spent on projects in those communities. Input from the assemblies will ultimately be used to create a list of several capital projects to be voted on by Community Board 9 residents residing in Ulrich’s district.
The ongoing recovery from 2012’s Hurricane Sandy dominated life in South Queens for most of 2013 and was a factor in many other big stories, from the future of the abandoned Rockaway Beach LIRR line to the election battle between Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) and his Democratic opponent Lew Simon.
But South Queens also dealt with a wide array of other issues in 2013, from crime at Forest Park to internal strife on Community Board 9.
The New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, a nonprofit that advocates for low-income New Yorkers, honored Steven Choi, Long Island City resident and executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, at the 2013 Felix A. Fisherman Awards Luncheon on Nov. 21.
Choi and Jonathan Westin —the other recipient of the award — were recognized for “their progressive advocacy work and commitment to helping others in need at the House of the New York City Bar Association in Manhattan.
Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) appeared to prevail over his Democratic rival, District Leader Lew Simon 53 percent to 47 percent in the 32nd Council District — a margin of about 1,100 votes — in what ended up being the closest race in the entire city
Voters in the Tudor Village section of Ozone Park will no longer have to play a game of Frogger to get to the voting booth.
After redistricting, residents in that neighborhood had their voting place moved from PS 63 on Sutter Avenue to PS 232 in Lindenwood, requiring them to venture across busy Conduit Boulevard.
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.