“My temper tends to get the best of me, but
it seems to work.”
Favorite isssue: Neighborhood Preservation and Rezoning
Ayala, vice resident ofthe Jamaica Hill Community Association since
2002, is the most vocal person in Jamaica Hills on the issues of community
preservation because she takes it personally.
Ayala, a legislative aid at the Rochester City Council, came back home
to Jamaica Hills in 1998 to take care of her mother. She was “shocked”
and did not recognize her neighborhood. Her mother passed away shortly
after and Ayala inherited the house, along with the meticulously tended
front lawn where she and her mother planted roses and other flowers
together. One day she came home from work and found the rose bushes
ripped out, and the entire lawn “demolished” by a so-called
“homeowner” who was actually a developer building illegally.
And so Ayala’s battle for preservation began.
In 2002 she was elected vice president of the civic association, and
on Oct. 13 the City Council voted unanimously to approve the rezoning
of Phase I of Jamaica Hills, preserving the one- and two-family home
character of the neighborhood.
Ayala adds that despite the tremendous success of Jamaica Hills rezoning,
her biggest achievement is Sofie Meihle Braun, her four-month-old baby
she had with husband Martin.
Ayala admits to being hot tempered, loud and in your face. She starts
out politely but gets angry quickly if her demands are not met. While
she has been successful in stopping illegal construction and is highly
regarded for her contributions to Jamaica Hills, sometimes she admits
she can go too far.
Knowing her temper, her neighbors will step in when they sense that
she’s getting heated up.
“They’ll call me and tell me ‘You need to calm down.’
And I’ve had to calm down – they’re older and they’re
wiser,” she said.
Ayala was at a loss when picking her boldest move.
But her favorite episode is the first time she met Councilman James
Gennaro. She has been trying to get Gennaro to come out to look at the
construction next to her house that destroyed her mother’s garden,
until one day she took it one step further.
“I spent all day calling the media – all the local papers
and all the dailies, like the Post and the Daily News.” She called
Gennaro’s office and told them the press was coming, and that
he better be there. “I started yelling at the people in his office
– ‘Get him here now!’ So he shows up at the site,
and I say to him – ‘This is what I’m talking about.
This is unacceptable!’”
Gennaro got on the phone with Queens Dept. of Buildings Commissioner
“I see Jim trying really hard, I’m getting really heated,
I’m prancing back and forth,” she said. Mossad said that
according to his computer everything was fine. “I grab the phone
out of Gennaro’s hand, and I start screaming really, really badly:
‘It’s not what you see on your computer!’ I went off.”
Gennaro pulled the phone from Ayala, saying that it wasn’t just
anybody on the line, that it was the commissioner.
“I told him: ‘I don’t give a damn who it is, he’s
The next day the DOB issued a stop work order.
As the councilman representing Jamaica Hills, Gennaro met Ayala early
on in her campaign of preservation and has been an integral part in
the rezoning of Jamaica Hills.
“Her whole thing is neighborhood preservation and rezoning,”
Gennaro said. “She knows what she wants and she knows what
to do. She is determined, focused and persistent. That says it all.
That’s the formula that yields success.”
“Why am I a character? That’s a good
question. I don’t know that I’m a character. Who thinks
I’m a character?”
Favorite issue: Parks and recreation, Jewish issues
Bearak says he doesn’tknow why he made this list other than his
tireless commitment to working to better his community. He seems to
be on every board imaginable, has good working relationships with several
local politicians and is a visible leader of the Queens Jewish community.
But is he a character? The guy admits to not only liking the band Poco,
he’s started a petition drive to get the 70s country-rockers elected
to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “Now you might be getting into
the character side of me,” he says.
Bearak believes the easiest way to affect change in the community is
to know your community. As a lifelong resident of Queens, the government
affairs lawyer and former assistant to Mario Cuomo (when he was secretary
of state), he said some of his greatest successes have come about by
simply remembering his childhood in the borough.
“I remember playing basketball on the playground at [MS 172] and
there was only one full court,” he said. “We’d be
playing on it and all the older kids would always chase us away. I remembered
that and I was able to get a park project going to address those kinds
of problems. We were able to get four courts up there. Now you see kids
playing full court basketball and you know they’re not going to
get thrown out by the bigger kids. It’s satisfying to be able
to fix problems that you remember when you’re all grown up.”
One look at Bearak’s resume and you can see that he’s done
a little bit of everything. He’s been a staffer for numerous local
politicians and now serves as a consultant to public officials, government
and community agencies, unions, private firms and individuals. He is
active in the Queens Civic Congress, chairs the executive committee
of the Northeast Queens Jewish Community Council and served seven years
as president of that organization.
But perhaps his most overlooked passion is coaching - specifically,
coaching girls’ softball. He managed for 12 years in the Glen
Oaks Little League, coaching his daughter Marisa’s teams. In 12
years he won three district championships and says many of his players
have gone on to play varsity softball at the high school level.
“I couldn’t say,” he says. “But if I had one,
I probably couldn’t tell you!”
If you ask anyone who has worked with Bearak, past or present, his greatest
asset is his willingness to be everywhere all at once.
“There’s not anything that occurs in civic politics and
in the Jewish services realm that he’s not involved in,”
says Councilman David Weprin, who goes all the way back to Hofstra Law
School with Bearak. “He’s always been a pretty big activist.
He’s a dedicated public servant without running for office. He’s
one of those guys that works behind the scenes, but you always know
he’s there. He’s always getting things done.”
and the Strays
“I drive my family crazy because animals are
the only thing I really stop for.”
Anywhere an animal is in need
Favorite Issue: Saving Animals
true love is animals. Her life is devoted to them and has been ever
since she found three kittens in a paper bag that someone threw out
in a parking lot when she was a kid. She later came across someone who
was also an animal lover and before too long she had become obsessed.
“My life is always being interrupted by animals,” she said.
“They are the only thing I can keep my attention on.”
Bobbi’s greatest achievement is hard to determine. She considers
every animal she has saved her greatest achievement. But forming her
organization, Bobbi and the Strays, is probably the single greatest
thing to happen to animals across Queens and all over New York City.
Bobbi takes animals from kill-shelters and from the street and from
the parks, she cleans them up, gives them shots and neuters them, often
using her own money. She runs foster homes for small dogs, assigning
them to homes, but not before she does extensive interviews with the
potential new owner, even checking the homes to make sure they are suitable.
“It is a seven-day thing, I put in 12 hours a day,” she
Bobbi goes to any length to rescue disenfranchised animals across the
city, often at the expense of her family and her friends. If its three
in the morning, she will rise out of bed to help an animal picked up
by animal control and she never considers putting an animal to sleep
as an option.
“If I knew the animal control picked up a dog, I wouldn’t
sleep until I picked up that dog,” she said. “They are like
my children, we call them our children, we don’t really call them
animals. I don’t really know what drives me. But when it’s
cold, I think of them freezing, when it’s raining I think of them
being wet outside.”
Bobbi once found a dog that had been dragged by a car for several blocks.
Most people, anybody except Bobbi really, would have put the dog to
sleep, given up hope, assumed it was dead. But not Bobbi. The dog has
been dragged so far that its skin, almost entirely, had been torn off.
Bobbi picked up the dog and rushed it to a vet, where, after a great
deal of surgery, it was saved.
But this is only one example. There are many more endless examples of
Bobbi’s heroism. And now her group, Bobbi and the Strays, which
is a collection of dedicated volunteers, needs a home. Bobbi is trying
to raise money to buy a shelter where she can better take care of the
many animals she saves.
Bobbi’s army of volunteers work for free and often long hours.
But they all do it for the same reason; they all love animals and respect
“Her love of animals, it is an undying love,” said one volunteer.
“They are actually her life, she is dedicated to finding them
homes and saving them when they are sick. The ones she really wants
to save is the ones on the streets, the ones with nobody, the ones wandering
the streets freezing, starving, sick. Animals in the sewer pipes, in
the airports, she brings them back to health and a home and she keeps
them as long as she has to and she gives them the medical attention
To contact Bobbi call 718-845-0779 or send donations: Bobbi And The
Strays P.O. Box 170129, Ozone Parks, NY 11417.
— Peter Gelling
“I get brushed off
a lot, I lose a lot of friends because of the goody-goody factory.”
22 years of age, Vanessa Branco is the youngest Community Character
on this list. And that is exactly why she is on this list. When the
rest of her friends have odd jobs, go out several times a week and generally
live the typical college existence, Branco is working for free, for
her community with the United Forties Civic Association. Having grown
up in Woodside, she has a special commitment to the neighborhood.
Branco works tirelessly with the United Forties to better the community,
but her work cleaning it up might be her greatest accomplishment. Branco
formed a committee to help clean up and prevent graffiti from even happening
in the first place.
“My greatest accomplishment was probably forming the anti-graffiti
committee; we had about a hundred people,” she said. “But
I don’t do it for the accomplishment. People call me up and ask
me to help them.”
Branco said it was simple. She saw a problem in the community that she
didn’t want to get worse and she decided she needed to do something
about it, so she got involved with the United Forties and cleaned up
the graffiti in her neighborhood.
Now she has been with the United Forties for two and half years. Branco
majored in business and is now working for web publishing company. She
said she doesn’t intend to make a career out of working in community
affairs even though she is well set up for a potential political career.
But she did say that no matter what she ends up doing with her life,
she hopes to involved one way or another.
Branco was going to college and although she knew she didn’t have
to work or at least that she could have worked at a paid job, she decided
she wanted to help the community somehow.
“I just wanted to help out, to be more aware of what was going
on,” she said.
Little did Branco know that she would soon become the Vice President
of the United Forties and own the honorable title of the youngest Community
“I just kept on going with the flow, I saw problems with the neighborhood
and I knew I could do something, so I pursued them, I formed committees
and got people together,” she said.
Branco said that among the people she works with, her age is never really
“I get the same respect as if I were older,” she said.
The only difference, she said, her age makes is that it sometimes creates
a conflict in terms of ideas.
“Some of the older people might not like change,” she said.
“But I am all for it.”
But becoming so active on a community level at such a young age is an
outrageous act in itself. While her friends are out partying, Branco
is cleaning up graffiti. To say the least, this causes a certain amount
of ire among her friends.
“All the time I get the most negative remarks from my friends,”
Branco said. “I get brushed off a lot, I lose a lot of friends,
because of the goody-goody factory, and they just think I am crazy,
they can’t understand how I work for free.”
Among those that Branco works with she is described as a hard worker
who is a testament to her generation. If more 20-somethings were as
involved as Branco, there is really no telling what would happen in
— Peter Gelling
“Politicians are trying to kill me.”
Late 30s- early 40s
Neighborhood: Springfield Gardens
Favorite ISSUE: Civil Rights
Brooks is a street solider
who prefers to work alone.
She chooses not to attend community board or civic association meetings,
and she does not trust authority because “nothing good can come
Getting in touch with Brooks requires: waiting for her to call because
she does not have a phone (she turned it off because she was being stalked
by a former boyfriend); or looking for her on the streets of Southeast
Queens as she does street safety surveys.
Brooks is known by elected officials as somewhat of an annoyance.
If she feels a streetlight needs to be placed on a street, she will
phone, write and visit every politician responsible for that street
in order to get it fixed or replaced, she will stop at nothing. Brooks
believes in a safe environment to live and work and she often has her
eye out around town looking for things that might endanger her neighborhood,
and that could be anything from people loitering or traffic problems
to prostitution and gang activity.
She said her goal is to have her demands met in no later than a week,
and if they are not met in a timely manner, she cries conspiracy –
much to the chagrin of local politicians. But she feels if the pressure
is not on, the positive results will never show.
Her greatest achievement was having a racist store clerk fired from
Green Grocery in Jamaica. According to Brooks, the Asian cashier threw
a plastic bag at an elderly, black customer’s face.
Brooks contacted Councilman Allan Jennings’ office and the 103rd
Precinct. And she continued to contact them, over and over again, almost
to the point of harassment, until the store clerk was relieved of her
Brooks said she fought to have the clerk fired because “If I worked
in a store in a Korean neighborhood and threw a bag in an elderly Korean
woman’s face, I would not hear the end of it.”
If Brooks does not approve of something going on in the community, it
automatically becomes “unacceptable or racist.”
Brooks is a superhero in her own right. Cops dread her phone call, and
anyone breaking the law in her neighborhood fears getting caught by
her because they know she will report them.
There is no shame in Brooks’ game. When she suspected there was
prostitution going on around Springfield Boulevard, she walked up and
down the street after dark to confirm what she heard.
Since her stroll down Springfield Boulevard, Brooks and her boyfriend
have decided to play it safe, she does her investigative work from the
passenger seat of his car.
Many elected officials labeled Brooks a “drama queen.” Some
have said she tends to overreact to certain indiscretions in the community.
According to Jennings, she blew the store incident way out of proportion.
But if you ask Brooks and the people in the community, they will tell
you that it is the little things that keep them safe and every little
Whatever others think about the lengths Bobi Brooks goes to make her
neighborhood safe, she is successful in keeping an eye out for every
last wrong doing.
— By Raynelle Cerica Bull
“It’s never a dull moment.”
Favorite Issue: Overcrowding
Cardali has lived in College Point for the past 42 years. She is president
of the College Point Civic and Taxpayers Association, the president
of the 128th Street Block Association, and writes a column for the Times
Ledger. Until recently, she was also on the College Point security patrol,
but she “put that aside for now.”
These days, she’s largely involved with the people who often do
not have the resources to defend themselves – the very old and
the very young. Cardali has been teaching a religion class for decades,
and now frequently works at nursing homes. Herself a grandmother who
goes to visit the young ones in Las Vegas, Cardali has grown more concerned
with making sure that children in College Point have figures like her
in their lives.
“This year I’m gong to be the Halloween witch. That’s
always titillating,” she said. “I like working with children
because too many parents are both working these days, and they don’t
have too much time on their hands, and people should be paying attention
to these children.”
According to State Senator Frank Padavan, Cardali’s greatest and
most recent contribution has been in opposing the development of 180
retail stores at the old Flushing Airport site.
“It would have been much too crowded, there were many, many stores
that they wanted,” Cardali said. “You would need a pogo
stick to get around the area!”
For Cardali, however, the biggest achievement is what she gets back
“It is the love that these people at the nursing homes give you,
and also the children,” she said.
She values being remembered as having contributed to people’s
lives, recalling recently being approached by a student from her religion
class she used to hold in her basement. The student was 40 years old,
which meant that Cardali taught him 30 years before this meeting, and
he remembered her.
“I asked him: ‘Do you remember what I taught you? Because
if not I will have to bring you back there!’ And he said he did,”
Cardali is giggly and likes to crack little jokes, and is a woman utterly
comfortable in her roles as grandmother, wife, civic leader and religion
teacher. She is also one very persistent lady when it comes to overcrowding
of College Point and speaks her mind when getting the local politicians
to help her community.
“I do all this for nothing, if I feel it’s correct,”
she said. “The politicians are getting paid for it – they
should take care of this!”
“I never did anything radical because I had very strict Italian
parents, and they were there all the time. That’s what I learned,
and I think that’s the way to go,” Cardali said.
“Sabina is ubiquitous in terms of her activities in College Point,”
said Senator Frank Padavan. “In her area particularly, she does
stand out as a very hard worker.”
Passionately concerned with everything from opening sports fields for
children to the hazards of spraying for the West Nile virus, Cardali
usually takes on whatever major issue is affecting the neighborhood.
“She definitely has her finger on the pulse of everything that’s
going on in her community,” said Councilman Liu. “And she
will definitely let you know exactly what’s on her mind.”
“I just try to do the simple, logical things
other people don’t seem to think about.”
of the Unpaid Jobs
Neighborhood: Middle Village
Favorite Issue: Against Eliminating
Cermelli says he doesn’t go out in search of attention, but he
usually seems to find it. The former school board president, union representative
and current executive board member of Community Board 6 has worked hard
throughout his life to affect change from “behind the scenes,”
earning him the dubious nickname, “The King of the Unpaid Jobs,”
by his wife.
“I suppose I am,” he said. “But I’ve been a
community activist for a long time. It’s something I’ve
committed myself to.”
Cermelli said his greatest achievement has been getting some much-needed
school facilities built in his overcrowded Distrcit 24. With the expertise
he gained in his 33 years working for the city’s Department of
Design and Construction, he was able to spearhead the building of several
schools in the area, including PS 7, IS 5 and School of Hero, which
he named. He’s also been vocal about the city’s decision
to do away with school boards.
A longtime school board member himself, he said he’s proud to
have helped several concerned parents in District 24 to start their
own committee which is its own body and run by the parents themselves.
“I’m happy to say that organization is still meeting today,”
Through his years as an active member of school and community boards,
as well as a litany of other groups and organizations, Cermelli has
made more friends and influenced more people than he can remember. Literally.
“One thing I’m proud of is that, when I go around the community,
people know me,” he said. “I go into the store or walk down
the street and I hear, ‘hi, Bob,’ or ‘hey, Bob, how
are you?’ It’s not something I’m proud of, but I’m
embarrassed to say I don’t always know their names, or even recognize
them! I’ll ask them where I know them from and as they tell me,
sometimes it will come back to me.”
So when you bump into Bob Cermelli, have your bio ready.
Cermelli said that outrageous acts are the one thing he tries his hardest
to avoid. He’s not afraid to take his issues to politicians and
explain his side, but when he tells of these stories, he uses words
like “calmly” and “carefully.”
“I try not to be too flamboyant or flashy,” he said. “That’s
not always the best way to get things done. I’m critical of a
lot of things, but I try to get people to understand the issues. Too
many times people are squabbling when they should be working together.”
Bob Cermelli isn’t so much a pest as he is a “pusher,”
according to Community Board 5 District manager Gary Giordano.
“He’s very good at making it his business to be aware of
the issues and to make the board aware of the things he thinks are the
important ones,” Giordano said. “He’s very good at
pushing our board to make the right things the priorities. He’s
very caring and very organized and very thorough. He’s definitely
been able to make a real civic-type mark.”
– Jack Buehrer
“That’s a big deal and it freaked me
Neighborhood: College Point
Favorite Issue: Environmental Preservation
professor at Pace University with degrees in marine biology and disease
pathology, James Cervino never planned on turning his academic career
into a neighborhood extracurricular activity. But the once- sleepy neighborhood
of College Point, which sits in the midst of a vulnerable wetlands and
precious glacial aquifer, soon came under threat from stepped-up development—and,
without intending to, Cervino found himself involved.
As an advocate for the preservation of coastal ecology, Cervino brings
scientific know-how to community activism, which makes him a rare resource
for a wide range of causes in and around College Point. His greatest
accomplishment came just this month, when a coalition of homeowners,
politicians and environmentalists defeated a plan to turn the site of
the Flushing Airport into a sprawling wholesale center—despite
the public support of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the city’s top
Cervino conducted pro-bono studies of the wetlands on the airport site
to show the ways in which intensive commercial development could harm
the regional environment. “We highlighted the significance of
the wetland in terms of biodiversity.”
Some community activists are born; others enter the fray almost by accident.
Cervino, who was born in Corona but moved to College Point at age five,
is an accidental activist.
About three years ago, as a school exercise, he took a group of students
out to the waterfront area near his house to conduct some basic experiments
on the environment. Cervino was shocked by what they found.
“I was using the wetlands as a laboratory with my students,”
The College Point coastline is dotted with new residential and commercial
developments, and the students found that shellfish near the construction
sites showed high levels of toxins and diseases. Others marine life
away from the construction appeared healthy.
“That’s what got me started in the activism, to stop dumping
in the water associated with these construction sites,” he said.
Things took a dramatic turn earlier this year, when Cervino and a few
other activists uncovered an illegal waste disposal operation at a rundown
boatyard in College Point. At the site, an unscrupulous business had
set out to destroy vast quantities of yellow foam material once used
to float barges. Cervino discovered that the business had been burning
the foam, sending toxic fumes out into the surrounding streets.
“The fact that I saw the toxic foam and it was being burned—we’re
talking about toxic chemicals getting into the human respiratory system,”
Cervino said. “That’s a big deal and it freaked me out.”
It freaked out officials from the State Department of Environmental
Conservation, who sent armed enforcement officers to the scene.
Joan Vogt, the executive director of the State Northeast Queens Nature
and Historical Preserve Commission, called Cervino a rare asset in College
Point. “He has something we’ve never had before, as far
as hands-on training on the environment and useful knowledge of how
to get things done,” she said.
— Aaron Rutkoff
“I joined the third party to increase the democratic
process. There’s just so much dominant control [of the main party
candidates], from the speaker to the governor, that you are no longer
in a representative democracy. ”
Long Hair, but prefers Ox
for the People
Favorite Issue: Affordable housing,
free David Wong campaign
co-founder and current head of the Flushing Greens/ No to War Party,
Evergreen Chou is known for his support of leftish causes and his incredibly
long hair. A self-described “outsider” of the political
process, Chou belongs to few civic associations or organizations, but
manages to take on a wide array of issues in his roles as the Green
party representative in Flushing.
Chou believes that his singular most important victory has been the
Oct. 21 New York Appellate Division’s granting appeal of the case
of Chinese immigrant David Wong. While in prison at the Clinton Correctional
Facility for robbery, David Wong was sentenced to 25 years in prison
for the 1986 fatal stabbing of another inmate. The Free David Wong campaign,
which Chou is associated with, claimed that Wong was “scapegoated”
and did not receive a qualified interpreter who spoke his dialect for
the trial. Following a two-year investigation, a key witness recanted
his testimony against Wong, admitting to lying in order to receive a
transfer to a less dangerous prison and a letter of recommendation.
What makes Chou a community character is also what makes Chou stand
out from the majority of civic leaders around Flushing. In an area increasingly
concerned with preserving community character, sometimes at the cost
of blocking the development of affordable housing, Chou has been a proponent
of the rights of lower-income families. Chou has been pushing for raising
the minimum wage, provisions for affordable housing, affordable commercial
real estate to protect small business, as well as bilingual education
Chou’s most outrageous act is his insistence on getting on the
ballot. Ever since volunteering for the campaign of “Grandpa”
Al Lewis for Governor, Chou wanted to run for City Council. In 2001,
Chou lost the only New York Green primary to fellow activist Paul Graziano.
In 2002, Chou ran unsuccessfully for an Assembly seat. Even by his own
account, these were long shots, but they were an alternative that, he
believes, people are paying more and more attention to.
“Running with the third party, you don’t get enough press
coverage or enough contributions – we work our day job, night
job, part time job,” he said. However, Chou believes that people
are starting to doubt that the current political process is helping
While Chou has been called a “gadfly of the system” and
a “righteous dude,” he has also earned the title of “perennial
candidate.” However, even the man he technically ran against,
Councilman John Liu, sees in Chou a clear commitment to his causes.
“Evergreen has run for office several times to highlight the issues
that he considers important,” Liu said.
Evergreen and Liu have worked together frequently, partly by virtue
of being Asian American representatives of the Flushing community. In
the current elections, Chou is facing fellow Chinese Americans Jimmy
Meng and Meilin Tan, and all three have gone to their communities to
rally Asian American support as the perfect candidates to represent
that constituency. Chou, however, will always stand out from the crowd.
“Evergreen is a very colorful person,” said Liu. “One
thing’s for sure – my mother would not approve of a hair
cut like that.
– Alex Padalka
look at the people who cross your path and you can tell who is out for
the glory and who wants to help people.”
Favorite Issue: Improving safety on Queens Boulevard
Norbert Chwat says he and his wife are most concerned
with the quality of life for the citizens. And they know a little
about quality of life. Estelle immigrated to the United States from
Poland in 1929 when she was only five years old. A few years later,
Norbert escaped the Holocaust hopping the last boat for the states
in Norway. Since then, they’ve done everything from starting
a newspaper in Virginia to a community action league here in Queens.
You might consider Norbert and Estelle Chwat “The First Couple”
of civic activism in Queens. The two have fought mightily to push
for improvements to Queens Boulevard, which has claimed the lives
of more than 80 pedestrians, and injured thousands of others, since
1993. Norbert has run for city council, with Estelle running his campaign,
and served as Vice Chair for Community Board 6.
Perhaps their greatest achievement has been the creation of the Forest
Hills Action League more than five years ago. Both still serve as
co-presidents of the organization, which, through marches, silent
protests and petition drives, has effectively pushed local politicians
for change in many areas.
Neither Chwat is afraid to tackle any issue that threatens the safety
or way of life of the people of Queens, and specifically Forest Hills.
Estelle has publicly fought with the Queens Public Library system
for being closed on Sundays and for carrying “terrorist, anti-Semitic”
books, while Norbert has moonlighted as a Ham radio operator for the
American Red Cross Emergency Radio Service.
Both Chwats certainly have a flair for the dramatic, but when you
are hospitalized while fighting for what you believe in, it’s
easy to pick your most outrageous moment. While running for city council
in 2001, the Queens Democratic Party challenged Norbert’s petitions
and the two were called before the Board of Elections to defend his
While testifying before the board, Estelle suffered a small seizure
defending her husband. While at the hospital, the board voted to take
Norbert off the ballot, further drawing the ire of the scrappy couple.
According to Kathleen Histon, district manager for Community Board
6, it’s hard to argue with success.
“They’re extremely enthusiastic about what they believe
in and the people who support them, support them just as enthusiastically.”
— Jack Buehrer