Open mouth, insert
foot, contact. Elected officials in Queens have some pretty good ideas
on how to fix pot holes, improve schools, and make life better. Sometimes,
though, they have a little trouble getting their message across. When
that happens, our reporters are there to catch them in their most revealing
Councilman Hiram Monserrate at the start of an interview about death
threats made against him by a political opponent’s aide. The threats
came days after the murder of Councilman James Davis who was shot inside
City Hall by his political rival, Othneil Askew.
me, can you move over so I can take this shot?”
“Do you know who I am?”
“Yeah, you’re Clifford Miller, now can you move over?”
An exchange between
a weekly photographer and speaker of the City Council Gifford Miller,
after he was introduced, at the 2003 All Inclusive St. Patrick’s
Day Parade in Sunnyside.
gets a lot of ink but I get the television.”
Allan Jennings on his popularity, compared to City Council Speaker Gifford
Millers’, during an interview with the Tribune.
repeat, unless you have held a legislative office and have had this
experience you cannot, at all, understand the process.”
Assemblyman Ivan Lafayette in a letter to the editor explaining why
the 2004 state budget was the latest in New York’s history.
to talk radio, that’s when I realized I’m a conservative
City Council candidate William Horowitz, during an endorsement interview
with the Tribune.
for career politicians in Queens was significantly altered in 2002,
when the venerable and long-stagnant City Council first introduced term
limits and several longtime seat holders were forced out of office.
Contenders for longest serving politician in Queens, as a result, must
come from state and federal offices, where term limits have yet to take
Padavan – 11th District State Senate – 32 years
2. Ivan Lafayette – 34th District State Assembly–
3. Anthony Seminerio – 38th District State Assembly
– 26 years
4. Nettie Mayersohn – 27th District State Assembly
– 22 years
5. Gary Ackerman – 5th District U.S. Congress
– 20 years
6. George Onorato – 12th District State Senate
– 20 years
7. Catherine Nolan – 37th District State Assembly
– 20 years
8. Barbara Clark – 33rd District State Assembly
– 16 years
9. Serphin Maltese – 15th District State Senate
– 16 years
10. Ada Smith – 10th District State Senate –
by the Queens Tribune
|LaGuardia Airport is the worst place in Queens
to look for a breath of fresh air.
Making the world’s greatest Democracy run smoothly
isn’t what happens when corruption, greed, and selfishness are
elected to office. The biggest scandals involving Queens officials in
recent years have made for some citywide front page headlines. Here
is a sampling.
One month after resigning as Queens Borough President, Donald Manes
attempts suicide a second time, plunging a kitchen knife into his chest
while in his sister’s Jamaica Estate home. In January, Manes slit
his writs in a car on the Grand Central Parkway following a probe into
alleged kickbacks he received from the Parking Violations Bureau.
The Harvard-educated Hollis Councilman conspired with Queens slum lord
Rita Stark in 2000 to funnel her contributions to his campaign under
bogus contributors. The scheme would have netted Leffler roughly $40,000
in his bid to be Queens Borough President. Leffler was disbarred in
The Jamaica Councilman who professed his love of Asian women in a paid
advertisement in a Chinese newspaper in 2003 was later that year charged
with sexually harassing two former staff members. Claiming the plaintiffs
were too ugly to warrant Jennings advances, his lawyer told one newspaper:
“Some of these people couldn’t attract a howling wolf in
the middle of a wilderness.” An investigation is still pending.
The 111th Precinct cop turned Councilman had a near death experience
on the campaign trail when he and an associate received death threats
from an aide to a political rival. The threats were publicized one week
after Councilman James Davis, also a former cop, was gunned down in
City Hall by his political rival. The case is still pending.
She threatened a former aide with a meat cleaver, allegedly bit a cop
and tried to run down a security guard at an upstate parking facility.
According to the Jamaica State Senator, each episode was mischaracterized,
exaggerated or completely false. Complaints from her former aide and
others suggest otherwise.
Sheldon Silver, Speaker of the State Assembly, survived a coup attempt
in 2000 no thanks to Nettie Mayersohn. Fed up with Silver’s iron
fisted ways, Mayersohn and other reformers backed Majority Leader Michael
Bragman’s attempt to oust Silver. After several Bragman supporters
balked, he was stripped of all but one of his staff members, and Mayersohn
was stripped of her committee chairmanship.
Judge Laura Blackburne heard police were waiting to arrest a man who
appeared before her in State Supreme Court. To help the man avoid arrest,
Blackburne had court officers escort the man to an exit normally reserved
for judges. Public outcry led to Blackburne’s reassignment to
Famous Historical Politicians To Visit Queens
John F. Kennedy
Came to Flushing Meadows in 1962 to break ground for the United States
Pavillion for the 1964 World’s Fair.
One of the signatories of the United States Constitution in 1787, King
was a Jamaica resident since 1788, where he had a brilliant career in
politics, having represented New York in the U.S. Senate for three terms
The current Pope has visited Queens not once but twice, leading close
to 100,000 faithful in prayer each time. He was last in Queens in October
As the former governor of the State of New York, this flamboyant U.S.
president visited Queens on numerous occasions, most notably in 1914
when he delivered an address at Forest Hills Gardens Long Island Railroad
The famous First President of the United States visited Queens before
his political days, namely in August 1776 while retreating through the
area on his way to losing the Battle of Long Island to the British on
Aug. 27 of that year during the Revolutionary War. He returned after
becoming president in 1789 with John Adams to visit the Prince Nurseries
King George VI and Queen Elizabeth
The Royal Family came to Queens in June of 1939 to visit the World’s
Fair where, it has been said, they sampled hot dogs for the first time.
Stopped by the Fresh Meadows Diner in 1994 to discuss a new nationwide
1. Another New York
The former prosecutor wants the five boroughs’s to ditch the Empire
State altogether and form it’s own state. Peter Vallone, Jr.,
a two-term councilman, says it’s mostly a negotiating tactic,
meant to emphasize how important NYC is to NYS’ economy.
2 . Teen
Count sidewalks and park benches among the places teens can’t
go after dark. A citywide curfew for kids under 18 is the pet project
of Queen’s only Republican City Council member, Dennis Gallagher.
Gerrymandering, or the process by which politicians play a role in shaping
their districts and protecting their status as incumbents, would be
a thing of the past if this Harvard grad had his way. Michael Gianaris
wants an independent commission to draw district lines.
Sport Utility Vehicles would be barred from certain roads and parkways
because of their weight if Assemblyman Ivan Laffayette’s bill
Churches, synagogues, mosques, and doctor’s offices would no longer
be able to set up shop without adequate parking spaces if Tony Avella
has his way.
Diplomas and voter registration cards would go hand in hand, if Eric
Gioia’s plan were enacted.
This bi-partisan couple wants only men and women to walk down the aisle.
Serph Maltese, a Republican State Senator, and Anthony Seminerio, an
Assembly Democrat, have co-sponsored a “defense of marriage act,”
that would bar same sex unions.
The maverick Councilman, Allan Jennings, got laptops for school children
in his district. The high priced investment scored the Councilman huge
points with parents in his Jamaica district.
9. No More
Queens Congressman Gary Ackerman leap frogged over his rural counterparts
in demanding that sick and downed animals be taken out of the food supply.
U.N., Watch Us
Anticipating a nail-biting, finger-pointing November election a la Florida
2000, Carolyn Maloney and Joe Crowley joined a handful of other Congress
members in asking the United Nations to observe this year’s president
Youngest Queens Politicians
Queens has an impressive amount of up and coming younger politicians.
Youth doesn’t always translate into effectiveness, but if the
following pols can keep their heads above water, a long career might
be in the making.
The following politicians are the youngest serving in Queens.
Gioia – 26th District City Council – 31 years old
Peralta – 39th District State Assembly – 32 years
Titus – 31st District State Assembly – 34 years
Jennings – 28th District City Council – 37 years
Liu – 20th District City Council – 37 years old
Carrozza– 26th District State Assembly – 39 years
Katz – 29th District City Council – 39 years old
Weiner – 9th District U.S. Congress – 40 years
Vallone, Jr. – 22nd District City Council – 43
Grodenchik – 22nd District State Assembly – 44