A political fundraiser gives an insider’s view of things to come.
Councilman Dan Halloran’s fundraiser at Verdi’s of Whitestone is noteworthy not because of the money raised, but because of the people that came to show support.
Fundraisers are not usually covered by Queens-Politics, but because Dan is my Councilmember and he works on behalf of my friends and neighbors, I felt it was important to inform our readers of what was said here especially if you couldn’t make it.
At the fundraiser I saw many Queens luminaries particularly from our corner of the borough. I had the chance to reconnect with old campaign buddies as well as the owner of Verdi’s who happens to be a good friend of the family. I spoke with Dan’s staff, whom I find to be terrific and professional. A constituent can call up with an issue and they are on it the next day (if not that very hour).
No waiting, no politicking, none of that stuff.
When you need something accomplished for the community, Dan’s office is unmatched. Not everyone may agree, but if you ask me I’ll tell you about the time Dan fast-tracked the installation of a no standing sign in front of my Uncle’s house because motorists were blocking the driveway (he did this almost overnight), or how he’s working on making the city plant a tree in a brown site on my street after my request was lost in bureaucratic red tape.
The most striking moment was when Dan took to the podium. He addressed his detractors, particularly the mainstream media that may not have found his reaming of a business which terrorized local residents appropriate for an elected official. QP thinks otherwise.
Many reporters are new additions to the neighborhood and – more often than not – have lived west of the Hudson most of their life. If that’s the case, it’s an uphill battle to get a bead on what’s going on behind the scenes. But that didn’t matter to Dan. He embraced it, even calling attention to his Youtube video that went viral. “For 10 years my predecessor did nothing,” Dan said and described a two-year period of negotiation with the owner and management of Star Nissan that seemed to go in one ear and out the other.
The people are joyous that someone cares enough to do what it takes even if that means rocking the boat a little.
Dan asked the audience rhetorically, “how do you maintain decorum with what goes on in government?” Everyone seemed to nod in agreement.“We’re all here because it is our hope,” he said and hinted at a run for Assembly or Congress, or a reelection to City Council pending on how the district lines are redrawn.
Elio Forcina was the MC for the evening and he helped organize the event with Mario D’Elia, Philip Zerillo, Pete Zuccarello, and Dennis Ring. Don Capalbi, President of the Queensboro Hill Neighborhood Association was in attendance and so was Dee Richard. Serphin Maltese gave a pep talk, and members of the Bacrarella family were also on hand to show their support.
Frank Padavan was there too. He said Dan would make an excellent Senator. Was it an endorsement? I don’t know.
The audience was a mixture of folks from all political stripes including Democrats, Republicans, and some notable Independents and union members. “It’s not a Democratic or Republican district, it’s a community,” said Dan who was elected on the Republican, Libertarian, Conservative and Independent tickets for which he credits his victory in 2009. A lot of folks tend to overlook that fact.
Vince Tabone, the Executive Director of the Queens Country Republican Party gleamed around the room. He didn’t say hello. I wonder why? Tabone ran against Democrat Ed Braunstein in 2009 for an Assembly seat and lost although I’m not so sure he realized I was the guy with the bullhorn at his poll site. Moving on, Eric Ulrich and Tom Ognibene, who tried to break up the Queens GOP this year were missing in action. That’s a no brainer.
In his closing remarks Mario D’Elia said, “Whitestone has awakened.”
Expect the members of this community to play a significant role when election season heats up.