By MICHAEL SCHENKLER
It has been a journey of about a year and a half — the most
recent leg of the 32-year history of the Queens Tribune.
The paper was started by Gary Ackerman in 1970 — I became
Gary’s partner in 1979 — and was sold in 1989 by Gary and me to News
Communications, a media company where I served for six years as president
and a decade as a board member. Now it has changed hands for just the
second time in its 32-year history.
The paper has come home to Queens.
Earlier this week, an odyssey I began a year-and-a-half-ago
ended as a group of investors joined Gary and me in purchasing the Queens
Tribune, the PRESS of Southeast Queens and Multi
Media, our printing, promotions and public relations company.
Gary Ackerman reacquired
the Queens Tribune
Like many other businesses, we, too, felt the impact of 9-11
and the economic implications of the terrorist attack. A deal, which I
basically crafted earlier that year, came tumbling down when funding was
lost due to the nation’s tragedy and economic uncertainty.
With the help of Ackerman and a small group of friends and
partners, we forged ahead, restructured and refunded. And just this week
we closed our acquisition deal as the Tribune’s proud owners,
Our first official issue as new owners was last week’s
glossy-covered tribute to Queens as home to the world. I couldn’t
imagine a more fitting beginning to my third consecutive stint at the helm
of the Queens Tribune.
I shall serve as president and CEO of the new company with
the mission of building and growing the business, while providing the
people of Queens with expanded comprehensive coverage of the borough as we
continue our tradition of innovation and advocacy journalism.
Michael Nussbaum, our longtime friend and associate
publisher, joins Gary and me and a small group of investors in this
exciting undertaking. Perhaps in weeks to come you’ll get to meet some
of our new friends and investors and realize that the commitment to
quality community journalism is alive and well right here in Queens.
In this space – in weeks and months to come – you’ll
hear more about our unique publishing adventure. We are here to serve the
communities that have been part of our life well before Gary and the
presses gave birth to the Tribune more than three decades ago. We
are here to serve the advertisers, who continue to support us because they
believe in the borough and in our unique response-oriented style of
publishing. Above all, we are here to serve the people — our loyal
readers and our new readers — because it is their stories that fill our
pages and give us the reason to exist.
Yes, in the most recent leg of its 32-year journey, the Tribune
has come home to Queens. But the biggest challenge and the
greatest rewards lie ahead.
Come share them with us.
The Tribune is your paper.
Let us know what you think.
Does The Liberal Party Have A Future?
Despite the Liberal Party’s dismal showing on Tuesday,
obituaries for the 58-year-old third party are premature.
The Liberals fell well below the 50,000 minimum required for
recognition as a political party in New York State. But this does not
necessarily mean they will go out of existence. They may organize, if they
wish, and nominate candidates by petition as other minor parties do and
have done in the past. This is an issue the party must decide for itself.
There are several major reasons for the debacle. The
main one is that the party’s candidate for Governor – Andrew
Cuomo – withdrew from the race early in September, even before his
anticipated defeat in the Democratic primary. He then supported his former
rival, Carl McCall, in hopes of retaining his future political viability.
But the presence at the top of the ticket of a non-candidate
who was in fact supporting someone else created an impossible situation
for the Liberals. Why should anyone vote for Andrew
Cuomo if he won’t even vote for himself? This was the
problem when Alan Hevesi ran on the Liberal line for Mayor in 2001 . . .
he received a mere 8,027 votes. However in politics, as in baseball, there
is always next year, as State Comptroller-elect Hevesi has just shown us.
It was originally hoped that Cuomo would receive a protest
vote, such as Betsy McCaughey Ross did in 1998, which gained Column E for
the Liberals. But the presence of Thomas Golisano on the Independence
line meant there was another Italian-American seeking protest votes and he
spent more than $60 million to find them.
Another reason for the loss was the presence of competing
left parties . . . the Greens and Working Families. These groups are
more radical than the Democrats; they appeal to those who feel the
Democratic Party is too moderate, too Republican for them. People who
actually believe in socialism, the welfare state and appeasement of
hostile regimes now have two homes from which to choose, and the Liberal
Party is neither of them.
The logical choice for the Liberals this year, if they were
to choose a major party candidate, was Governor Pataki, for whom many
centrist and liberal-minded New Yorkers voted. The Conservative Party is
said to have vetoed such an endorsement, on the ground that a tent that
big was just too much for a party founded in 1962 to drive the Republican
Party to the right.
The Liberals could also have tried to recruit an independent
candidate, preferably self-supporting, whose best attribute would have
been integrity, since the major parties are hopelessly compromised by what
politely may be called the requirements of politics, more rudely stated as
“honest graft.” But in recent years this has not been a Liberal
I believe there is a place in the New York State political
spectrum for a center party, a liberal influence on the Republicans and a
standard of integrity for the Democrats. But a political party requires
men and women who believe in its principles and are willing to work hard
to carry them out. It cannot be created by a single person, no matter how
talented he or she may be.
The above is not intended as an examination of the Liberal
Party and its historic and valuable role in New York State and New York
City politics. It is simply a comment on the recent election and a
suggestion that the party’s role is not yet concluded, although that is
a possibility, depending on the will of its members.
Stern was first elected council-member-at-large on the Liberal Party line,
representing Manhattan, in 1973. He
resigned in 1983, when he was appointed Parks Commissioner by Mayor Koch.
He later served (1994-2002) as Mayor Giuliani’s Parks Commissioner. His
Liberal Party ties go back to 1951, when he was elected chair of the Young
Liberals at City College, and participated in Rudolph Halley’s
successful campaign on the Liberal line for City Council President.
When he was appointed to Parks in 1983, he resigned from all party
positions; he was then serving as a state vice-chairman and had previously
been New York County chair of the Liberal Party. He is founder and
director of NYCivic, a good government group. He can be reached at:
of the largest weekly newspaper group in Queens changed hands today. The
Queens Tribune, a 32- year-old award winning weekly, was acquired
by an investment group headed by its Publisher of the past 24 years,
Michael Schenkler and Congressman Gary Ackerman.
Tribune, sold in 1989 by Schenkler and the paper’s founder Gary
Ackerman to News Communications, a media company which publishes
Dan’s Papers in the Hamptons and The Hill in Washington, DC,
is being reacquired from that company.
new company, Tribco, LLC, will continue to conduct business out of the
Tribune Building on the service road of the Long Island
Expressway, publishing the nine weekly editions of the Queens
Tribune and the PRESS of Southeast Queens and
operating Multi-Media, its printing, graphic and public relations
Schenkler and Congressman Ackerman as investors and board members in the
new company are: Tribune Associate Publisher Michael
Nussbaum; Gary Weiss, principal in the advisory services firm, Valeo
Partners; and Warren Cohen, former president of Eagle Electric
Manufacturing and principal in Valeo Partners.
According to Schenkler: “The new company is committed to quality
journalism, community advocacy and providing advertisers with a
high-quality, response-oriented, cost-effective medium. We intend to build
upon the Tribune’s history of innovation to grow our
company in concert with the best interests of the communities we serve. We
intend to have fun and make a difference while doing it.”
by Dom Nunziato