Tag Archive: James Sanders

Feb 18 2013

Vote Donovan Richards In Tuesday’s Special Election

There’s a special election this week, and the people of South Queens will have a chance to elect a tried and tested reformer and civic activist into City Hall. That’s why we here at Queens-Politics are proud to endorse Donovan Richards for New York’s 31st City Council District including the neighborhoods of  Far Rockaway, Laurelton, Springfield Gardens and Rosedale.

  • On Tuesday, February 19th from 6am-9pm the polls will be open and we’re asking you to please make time to cast a ballot.
  • Every vote counts. Low turnout is expected in this crowded race which can go anyway, but with your help we can elect Donovan into City Hall.
  • To read more about Donovan Richards, click here.
  • To locate your polling site click here.
  • To contact the campaign click here.
  • See you at the polls!



Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/02/vote-donovan-richards-in-tuesdays-special-election/

Jan 04 2013

Profiles In Courage: Donovan Richards for City Council

Community service should be the primary consideration for supporting a particular candidate for public office. This week, I’ve been perusing the bios of several candidates and this one in particular stands out above the rest.

Donovan Richards is an activist and community servant running for City Hall to represent the southern portion of Queens including Rosedale, Laurelton, Springfield Gardens and Far Rockaway.

He’s young, smart, and energized. Richards has a history of community initiatives, which rival that of his opponent. Richards worked in the office of then-Councilman James Sanders in a variety of roles despite never losing sight that constituent services comes before politics. In terms of strategy he has significant name recognition with prime voters and the support of Senator James Sanders, his old boss, not to mention the strategic brilliance of Steve Behar steering the campaign.

As of this post he has $8,151 in his war chest

A special election will be held in February, according to a FB post made by Richards.

I think we as a political community are at a critical juncture staring at the upcoming races for 2013. I believe it is important to call attention to this because service is a prerequisite for running for elected office. I think this should be our golden standard, our measuring stick. Given that, I decided to share with you some of Donovan’s bio and hopefully our readers in South Queens will realize the chance to get an excellent rep in City Hall.


Donovan’s Record in the 31st District

Crime and Safety

  • Fought to establish “Gun Buy Back program” in Southeast Queens, successfully removing 919 from our streets
  • Allocated over $5 million dollars to place cameras in Redfern Houses and Hammel Houses to combat shootings and killings
  • Served as President of the Far Rockaway NAACP Youth Chapter, leading efforts to resist Stop & Frisk against local teens by organizing workshops with 100 Blacks & Law Enforcement to teach “Know Your Rights When Stopped and Frisked”
  • Stopped the sale of BB guns and bullet casings at Costco Wholesalers


  • Organized to keep the Rosedale, Laurelton, Averne and Far Rockaway Library open after facing closure threats Mayor Bloomberg
  • Fought against the closures of daycares in Springfield Gardens and the Rockaways
  • Ensured all schools in Laurelton, Rosedale, Springfield Gardens and the Rockaways received $50,000 annually for technology, science labs, and playground upgrades
  • Distributed thousands of book bags and supplies for children since 2005
  • Pushed to keep PS 181 open in Rosedale despite Department of Education’s efforts to close the school
  • Pressured Department of Education to restore PS 251’s playground in Springfield Gardens after it was destroyed by a developer


  • Fought tirelessly against the closure of Peninsula Hospital
  • Pressed the Health Department to increase spraying for mosquitoes this year in Rosedale and the Rockaways
  • Founded Rockaway Walks fitness program in 2005 which continues to combat high obesity rates in the Rockaways during the summer
  • Brought mobile HIV/AIDS testing to residents in the district

Community Based Initiatives

  • Led initiative to bring fresh foods and good jobs to Edgemere next year through a new supermarket
  • Worked along with Counciman Sanders and other community leaders to stop a developer from building a “hot sheet motel” across the street from Springfield Gardens HS and IS 231
  • Allocated millions of dollars to rebuild Montebello Park, Rosedale Little League Baseball Field, Rosedale Jets Football Field, playgrounds for: PS 156, PS 181, PS 104, PS 183 and PS 132 (construction will begin soon) and Lanette Playground
  • Raised thousands of dollars through car washes for disadvantaged youth
  • Called for the Department of Environmental Protection to fund a $14 million dollar project in Rosedale’s Brookville Triangle to alleviate flooding
  • Urged New York City Economic Development Corp to complete Springfield Gardens Lake Project- a $20 million dollar initiative to restore Springfield Lake’s natural beauty and alleviate flooding in Springfield Gardens


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/01/profiles-in-courage-donovan-richards-city-council/

Nov 21 2012

Steve Behar to succeed Senator Avella?

Civic leader Steve Behar may have an opening to run for State Senate.

As the race for Borough President heats up with more prospective candidates testing the waters, one stellar civic leader anxiously awaits an opening to represent New York’s 11th Senate District should the right pieces fall into place.

It is widely rumored incumbent Senator Tony Avella will be throwing his hat in the ring for Borough President. Should Avella become the next Beep, a special election will be held where community advocate Steve Behar will have a chance to take his place in Albany.

Behar, a progressive reformer who ran unsuccessfully for City Council and State Assembly, has been quietly building a coalition of community and civic leaders, which are already expressing encouragement.

Alfredo Centola, President of the Malba Gardens Civic Association agrees Behar would be the right choice for the district. “Steve would be phenomenally excellent and he would take into account all the needs of the community and he would listen to all the different parts of the community and work with everyone” said Centola. “He’s straightforward and he’s genuine, which is rare.”

Democratic District Leader Martha Flores Vazquez also expressed support. “Steve appears to be a gentleman with an open mind; his law experience may benefit the community in the state legislature.”

In what will be a hotly contested race pitting Avella against other campaign heavyweights like City Councilman Peter Vallone and Leroy Comrie, Lobbyist Melinda Katz, and Senator Jose Peralta, despite the strong opposition Avella is said to be mulling a chance to stand out from the crowd to gain a foothold in boro-wide politics for another shot at Mayor in 2017.

in the meantime, Behar, a member of Community Board 11, has been busy honing his campaign skills delivering victory after victory for the Democratic Party. Recently he served as field director for Nassau County Legislator Carrie Solages, campaign manager for Senator-elect James Sanders, as well as spearheading the legal team for Congresswoman-elect Grace Meng.

Should the pieces fall into place, a special election will likely take place in February to fill the vacancy. The County organization will have the choice to endorse Behar in the special or risk losing his large base (who will likely stay home in protest) and give rise to Senator Halloran –  a frightening prospect for the Democratic County organization considering Republican Senator Frank Padavan represented the district for over 30 years.

Senate District 11 encompasses a huge section of Queens where Behar has strong name recognition.


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/11/steve-behar-to-succeed-avella/

Nov 03 2012

DEMS Respond to call for help in South Queens

Political offices are being used as supply depots and relief centers like the office of Democratic Assemblyman Mike Miller pictured above.

Several Democrats have rolled up their sleeves to pitch in and help with what is being called a war zone in Southern Queens.

Thousands are still without power, food, water, and shelter. The gas shortage is breeding tensions as patience is wearing thin. More and more people seem to be at the breaking point looking for relief. Luckily a few super Democrats have mobilized to volunteer and assist the distressed residents of the Rockaways, Broad Channel, Breezy Point, and Howard Beach.

“So far the biggest issue was getting food to the people who need it,” said Nick Roloson, President of the Queens County Young Dems. “I just came back from Rockaway and it looks like a war zone. The streets are covered in sand and mud. The air stinks of gas, and no one had food.”

Roloson has mobilized the Young Democrats and recruited friends and other elected officials to help with the disaster response. “We’ve been collecting food from all over Queens and Brooklyn making sure that these people get fed. We had pizzas, cereal, everything. It felt great when you got to see the smiles on the faces of the people who hadn’t eaten in a while.”

Democrat Steve Behar of Bayside drove his truck all the way down to the Rockaways to volunteer with City Councilman (Senator-elect) James Sanders. Together they surveyed the Rockaways helping to cut away trees and meet with people in the district. “We’re trying to get them in tough with the right people to help them,” said Behar who described a makeshift table set up in front of Sander’s office which lost power during the hurricane to help assist people. Power has not yet  been restored.

“My office literally burnt to the ground,” said Lew Simon, a District Leader from  23rd Assembly District and constituent liaison to Senator Shirley Huntley. “There’s a lot of anger and people are looting and fighting over water. It’s a war zone and people are in a total panic,” he said with a sense of exhaustion. Simon traveled to one of the worst hit areas in the Rockaways to volunteer, but said “he couldn’t be much help due to the severity of the situation and went online to assist and help people locate their loved ones.”

As far as other elected officials, many of them have taken to the Internet and social media to help spread the word, for example, posting notifications of the next available dry ice drop, or relief center stocked with donated food and cloths. But some elected officials may have been missing in action. According to Simon, “Well I have not seen or heard from Eric Ulrich, but I did hear from Joe Addabbo and Malcolm Smith.” Simon also alleged, “Eric was in the command center in Manhattan during the entire storm which is unacceptable.”

Many other pols have chipped in. City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley sent a truckload of food and Senator Jose Peralta, City Councilman Danny Dromm, and  Assembly members Michael DenDekker and  Francisco Moya were down there with rolled up sleeves lending a hand wherever they could.

Despite the dire circumstances, the disaster is bringing out the best in some people and everyone seems to be putting politics aside to pitch in to help their neighbors, even strangers.

“Hey, I run a political club but as Gov. Christie showed the other day – when people’s lives are in danger you have to rise above it and use your political skill for something greater,” said Roloson.


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/11/dems-react-to-disaster-hurricane-sandy/

Jun 09 2012

Democratic clubs say Hell No to Shirley Huntley

We’re not gonna take it!

They defied County and threw their support behind James Sanders.

Did you ever wonder why County candidates almost never have an issue with ballot access?

If you’re a candidate running with County’s endorsement, the petition process is a cake walk unless a mutiny occurs like it did in South Queens.

The petitioning period for County candidates is relatively easy. Each candidate whether for assembly, committee people, or senate hopefuls are all on the same petition sheet and it makes reelection a cinch, usually.

The official petition is delivered to the loyal Democratic clubs which distribute the sheets to their respective members. Every club encourages members to come in where they are greeted by a representative from County.They hand out the petitions and instruct the members to return sometimes on the following day.

The sheer volume of petition collectors almost always ensures ballot access; it’s sort of like an army in waiting. A club that can pull in 5,000 signatures is worth it’s sand.

But this time, it didn’t go as planned.

Sanders supporters – the bulk of which are senior citizens and members of the local democratic clubs – outright refused to carry the petitions with Shirley Huntley’s name on them.

The snub essentially embarrassed all of the County candidates. The petitions were not taken home and they had to be returned to County! The Democratic clubs of South Queens are now carrying petitions for James Sanders.

According to accounts, Huntley hates the Rockaways. In the past she has made derogatory comments that have come back to haunt her. “In times past, she’s put the people down. But the people have not forgotten,” according to a democratic club member from the Rockaways.

Insiders believe the coup indicates Huntley doesn’t have strong support. During the redistricting, most of her old district was cut out. If elected, Huntley will represent less than half of her old district, a special present from Malcolm Smith.

She’s almost not an incumbent in an incumbent district.



Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/06/democratic-clubs-say-hell-no-to-shirley-huntley/

Nov 29 2011

In The Halls Of Justice, The Only Justice Is In The Halls


How does the Democratic party perpetuate its own power? Through manipulating the court system, according to the NY Times.

The Queens county surrogate court is a bastion of power hungry party loyalists. They are the batteries that makes the machine function.

Operatives and future candidates stay in the loop by towing the party line.

Luckily,  a few brave souls that are not afraid to speak out against a good ol’ boy system where loyalty is measured by submission.

Read the scathing NY Times article for the full scoop.


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2011/11/in-the-halls-of-justice-the-only-justice-is-in-the-halls/

Nov 10 2011

Sanders’ Chief of Staff says He’s got the Right Stuff.



A City Council staffer is planning to run for his old mentor’s seat in South Queens. 

Richards sounds like he’s shaping up to be an activist candidate. There are too many lame duck Chiefs of Staff especially chiefs that remained on board after their pol that hired them was ousted in a residency scandal. Preserving the head of the beast after you rode the anti-establishment tide stinks of hypocrisy. True Mammons of civic uprighteousness toting an exaggerated  sense of self-worth.

I know far too many Chiefs of Staff waiting around in the woodwork for their elected official to retire or die, or be ousted in a scandal, or like in Sander’s case waiting for term limits to kick in. Luckily, that doesn’t seem to be going on here.

On the bright side there are many effective and honest staffers in government, but not enough.

 From Queens Chronicle: Donovan Richards, chief of staff to City Councilman James Sanders Jr. (D-Laurelton), always wanted to help others, even at an early age, but his dedication to civic duty came full circle after a tragic event.

On March 13, 2003, his friend was shot and killed after getting into a dispute with another man. The incident led him to attend a community meeting where Sanders was speaking about gun violence, and he was eventually hired by the lawmaker, whom he called his “mentor.”

Now, Richards plans to run for his boss’ seat when he is term-limited out in 2013 and has the councilman’s full support.

For Full Article: http://www.qchron.com/news/eastern/richards-will-run-to-replace-sanders/article_6711e971-8a1e-5f74-8442-4a225b2dc215.html


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2011/11/sanders-chief-of-staff-says-hes-got-the-right-stuff/

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