Approximately 40 residents rallied Tuesday in Maspeth in hopes that Councilman Bob Holden (D-Middle Village) will run for mayor next year — despite the lawmaker previously stating that he plans to run for re-election and not showing up at the event.
Supporters lauded his support for the NYPD, his criticism of the city’s plan to close Rikers Island and build four borough-based jails, and his views on wanting to keep the Specialized High School Admissions Test in place.
“Right now, Bob Holden is the most rational person who could possibly run for mayor,” said Ryan Girdusky, a Maspeth resident and author of “They’re Not Listening: How the Elites Created the National Populist Revolution.”
Retired prosecutor Jim Quinn noted that crime has spiked in 2020, as thousands of inmates have been released from Rikers.
“[Mayor de Blasio] wanted Rikers closed not for any real, legitimate reason,” Quinn said. “He wanted it closed because the radical base of the Democratic Party wanted Rikers closed and they wanted everybody released from Rikers Island. Mayor de Blasio went along with it and crime in New York started to increase.”
Quinn, who was a borough president candidate until Gov. Cuomo canceled the nonpartisan special election, said Holden was one of the only Council members to adamantly oppose bail reform and the jail plan, while also praising the police.
“New York City has the finest police department in the country ... They are the most polished, the most professional, trained police department,” Quinn said.
About 20 critics of Holden voiced opposition from across the street, calling him a racist for his views on the homeless shelter on Cooper Avenue in Glendale. They also chanted, “No cops, no KKK, no racist USA.”
While the event remained peaceful with police monitoring the situation, community activist Charlie Vavruska ripped the counterprotesters, saying he remembered the 1970s, the worst times for the city.
“But when it gets like that, they’re going to be running back to mommy and daddy’s house in the suburbs or wherever it is,” he said. “And they’re going to start getting their rent paid by their parents’ trust funds. But we’re going to stay here and we’re going to fight and we’re going to elect Bob Holden as mayor.”
Quinn said he has never been so concerned about the future of the city.
“I’ve heard it over and over again, ‘You think de Blasio is bad, you should see what’s behind him.’ And that’s one of the scariest things I’ve heard in a long time,” Quinn said.
“I was humbled when I heard about this, and I certainly appreciate the support,” Holden said in a statement. “We have great people in District 30 and I’m focused on being the best council member I can be. I plan to run for re-election to the NYC Council and will announce in the near future.”
Holden, who ran on the Republican line and defeated Elizabeth Crowley in the 2017 election after losing the Democratic primary to her, is one of four Council members in Queens not facing term limits.