|Ramblings From The Desk
Of A Political Junkie Journalist
By MICHAEL SCHENKLER
CMON: Mike Neibauer, former
hoohah of the Queens Independence Party stopped by the office to promote himself. In his
right hand he had a picture of himself and "The Donald." In his left hand he had
a picture of the Hirshfeldmobile.
Now these two developers (Donald Trump and
Abe Hirshfeld) have several things in common that seem to appeal to Niebauer and maybe the
small group of folks who identify with their party. Donald, for a couple of days in his
life, almost seriously considered a run for president on the Independence Party line.
Hirshfeld a perennial candidate from
Florida to New York is running for U.S. Senator from New York seeking the
Independence line. Hirshfeld, according to Niebauer, is using one of his Jackson Heights
apartment buildings as his official residence. Weve asked to set up an interview
there. Wed like to see how its furnished.
Hirshfeld, last year beat a couple of
serious prosecutions. One for tax evasion, the other for attempted murder. Yeah, you
remember, he allegedly tried to bump off a former real estate partner he was in a dispute
with but the guy died of natural causes and Abe is free to run again. So Neibauer
talks Abe into a Hirshfeld motor home, which Mike uses to drive Abe on his upstate
campaign swing. At other times you can see it parked in the Neibauer driveway. The former
Independence Party hoohah speaks with panic of the time Abe took the wheel on a mountain
Politics is a wonderful thing.
Then there is Neibauers other almost
prospective client "The Donald." Cant tell if it was a wish to be
like Jesse or a desire to promote Trump Inc, but Donald toyed with a big time run. He
hired real consultants, real pollsters and spent a moment seriously considering the
Well, this is their party. I guess it
exists because our previous third parties failed us.
The Liberal Party once a New York
major player sold out for access and left of center just isnt fashionable
Received as part of a mailing promoting a brand of paper to
printers, this item demonstrates there is life after the presidency.
But sorry guys, dont fool
yourself the Independence Party isnt. Pat Buchanan, Jesse Ventura, Ross Perot
and Donald Trump need more than a large tent to bring them together. The party is
schizophrenic; its a lightening rod for malcontents and power hungry showmen. Sorry,
theres no ideology, no cause and no real party.
And in New York, Neibauer has found
Hirshfeld. Or Hirshfeld has found the Party, or whatever. And what does the parking
magnate have in common with the Art of the Deal man? One thing more than the description
you read above, In addition, they are very, very wealthy.
To Neibauer, its business.
To the handful of Party people, its
As far as the Independence Party is
concerned, in their last Primary I remember, the winner got eight votes.
The Socialist Worker Party, now
theyre for real.
FRONTRUNNER: Not so long ago, an item
ran on the NYConfidential page our citywide gossip page which
referred to Carol Gresser as the 2001 Queens Beep frontrunner. No, we wouldnt swear
she is. However, if we had to place a bet on one candidate (out of a potential field of
six or so) Carol would be the frontrunner. Great odds, no. Most likely by a little, yes.
Its still a long way off.
So when Sheldon Leffler engaged in an
extended phone call with Mike Nussbaum, the Trib associate publisher, challenging
our characterization of Gresser, we were surprised. He couldnt produce poll results
to show we misjudged. He just objected and objected and objected. Sheldon wanted what
Sheldon wanted. I guess he wanted to be called the frontrunner.
But wishing doesnt make it so.
Well Sheldon, theres Gresser, Karen
Koslowitz, Helen Marshall and if they all drop out, then Sheldon, maybe youre the
frontrunner. But, maybe not.
Were not trying to be unfair to
Leffler but weve been writing and editing political commentary for quite some time.
It has always bugged us when professional politicians believe they can attempt to dictate
how we cover them. There are a slew of them who are comfortable telling us we got
something wrong but theyll never let us know when theres something big in the
making. Unless that is, it makes them look good. And then they want to spin it their way
and release it on schedule to an obedient press corps.
You politicians pol, well spin.
DIALLO: I am not any more of an expert
on this tragic case than anyone else. Im not sure I can contribute to the extensive
dialogue that already exists. I dont think I have sufficient information to disagree
with the verdict. I do however, condemn the training, attitude and societal racial
profiling that have contributed to this most tragic fatal incident.
I have no quick solutions. I merely suggest
that we in Queens the multi-cultural center of the world could help a
little. When someone walks by you on the street, smile at them, nod your head, say hello.
Forget their dress, language, skin color, national origin. Nod, smile and remember: we are
all children of our great Queens community. We can set an example. We can make a
difference. You matter.
BRIANS SONG: Our friend, Flushing
Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin announced Tuesday "that he will not be a candidate for
any higher public office now, or in the future." McLaughlin will continue to serve as
Assemblyman from the 25th AD and devote himself to labor as Prez of NYC Central Labor
This, for the moment, ends the speculation
that had Brian running for everything from Mayor to Borough President. Alan Hevesi, Pete
Vallone and Carol Gresser are probably smiling today.
WEPRIN: Ran into Mark Weprin and family
in a restaurant. It was in Nassau, but good food is an excuse for legislators to wander
from home. It was gratifying to hear Mark tell me that he and his Albany compatriots
consider this column, Not4Publication a must read and enjoy it greatly
even Frank Padavan. Needless to say Frank has never been part of my fan club.
Its always great hearing stuff like
that. Thanx, Mark.
Oh by the way, Mark Weprin has a really
FEEDBACK: Weve said it before:
this writer, every writer thrives on feedback. We sit and pound the keys of a computer
sharing the words with ourselves and an editor. Its not until you run into someone
in a restaurant, get a phone call, letter, message or email that you really know people
are reading and reacting.
When someone calls and asks: "Do you
want my opinion?" Its always a negative one.
To Mark and Mort and Carol and Clark; to
Doug, Peter, Barry, Jim and Marsha and everyone else who has called, written or emailed,
thanx and please keep it up.
Let any writer you read and appreciate,
know youre reacting.
Email, if you have it, is real easy.
You can always reach me at MSchenkler@queenstribune.com.
Clark Overtons 1984 photo of Tribune baseball was
emailed to us from Plattsburg. Can you find this writer? Clark follows us at: queenstribune.com
EMAIL: From Plattsburgh,
NY, former Trib photog Clark Overton, whose 20+ year-old photo ran recently,
writes: Thanks for the credit. I have been following QT on line weekly since I found
out about it. There is absolutely NOTHING up here even remotely like it. The most
excitement, in fact, was some kids recently tipped over some sleeping cows and then took
lawn ornaments from one side of town and put them on someone elses lawn on the other
side of town in the middle of the night. They are still looking for the perpetrators. Have
told a few transplants about your site and they have also been checking it out. Nice to
hear from you. Will get back to checking out more negatives shortly. -Clark Overton
EAT ME: The "Wildman"
is Coming! And hes going to eat Flushing Meadows Park.
On Saturday, March 11, at 11:45 a.m.,
Queens resident, naturalist and author "Wildman" Steve Brill begins his 18th
season of Wild Food: an Ecology Tour of Queens by eating Flushing Meadows Park.
Openers at Willow Lake will include
sweet-and-hot day-lily shoots, spicy garlic mustard leaves with their horseradish-flavored
taproots and wintercress. The grounds of the 1964-1965 NY Worlds Fair offer beds of
wild chickweed, dandelion greens, common mallow, sow thistle, shepherds purse and
As always, Brill will season all the edible
and medicinal plants with entertaining stories, science, folklore, conservation
information, jokes, and jazz played on the Brillophone.
To attend, call (718) 291-6825. For the
2000 tour calendar, send a SASE to 143-25 84th Dr., Apt. 6C, Jamaica, NY, 11435, or e-mail
SUCCESS: "Sir, what is the secret
of your success?" a reporter asked a bank president.
"And, sir, what are they?"
"And how do you make right
"And, sir, what is that?"
"And how do you get experience?"
"And, sir, what are they?"
CONGRATS Nick Garaufis! (story pg
Michael Schenkler can be reached at: MSchenkler@QueensTribune.com
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