Tag Archive: South Queens

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

Education

  • 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

Health

  • 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

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

Oct 22 2012

What was the Hofstra debate really like?

Journalists can predict the future?

A savvy journalist pens an insider’s perspective behind presidential debate coverage.

From Queens Chronicle: Consider, for a moment, six hours of unadulterated free time. You’re entitled to a folding chair, an electrical outlet, about three square feet of table space to call your own, and an LG plasma screen TV feeding you footage of two empty chairs in a makeshift town hall.

You’ve spent weeks predicting what would happen when those two chairs are finally occupied. They’re are literally a stone’s throw away in a neighboring building. But thanks to grimacing Secret Service agents and helicopters humming overhead, the chairs might as well be in Siberia.

So, what would you do for six hours?

There’s free food and beer at a Budweiser-sponsored tent outside, and it feels sort of shameful to chow down. But you do. There’s a youthful buzz only the Long Island college campus can produce, but the undergrads are slowly going from exuberant to antsy. They’ll eventually become tired. And bored.

Like you. It’s the second of three presidential debates, this time at Hofstra University. The one the political chattering class claims could cost either candidate the election. It’s a big deal… Right?

Yeah, right. Big deal. It wasn’t, at least not to most of the press present that Tuesday.

Because here’s the deal: some reporters were so bored, frankly jaded despite the beer, campus and all the free time, they decided to write the first draft of history before it even occurred.

Welcome to life as a member of the roving press corps following President Barack Obama and/or Mitt Romney. One of the two men will be the next President on Election Day. But until then, the banality of daily life covering the campaign leads some to create excitement and productivity in little doses. How? Turn the campaign into a guessing game.

Sorry to ruin Oz by pulling back the curtain, but this pre-reporting has existed as long as deadlines and headlines. Especially in the era of mobile news updates and social networking chatter. Being first is often more important than being right — or at least it’s more profitable.

The resulting media frenzy has created a self-fulfilling narrative. So when Obama dismissed Romney by saying, “I don’t look at my pension, it’s not as big as yours,” some reporters stopped typing.

Nothing to add or fix when the guess you made two hours ago was correct. Just lay that quote into the story and send it off to the virtual presses.

“Why would you quote a reporter about any of this?” one said in response to a question about the practice.

The candidates played to the predictions, swinging hard as daily polling numbers showed a dead heat in the states where votes count most. The result? Admittedly one of the most acrimonious debates ever televised. At various points, Obama and Romney were reduced to vying for attention like two antsy Chihuahuas. But boy was it entertaining. Right?

Not if you were a member of the predicta-press, which groaned at times because “rude and feisty” wasn’t in the magic crystal ball that dictated their stories. Others started amping-up their stories with adverbs and bang-zoom-pow descriptors.

Stories were amended and filed. Then came the heady warp zone of “spin alley.”

To understand “spin alley,” imagine politicos of local and national fame floating around like lava lamp orbs in an area about the size of a basketball court while reporters swarm to the most recognizable name.

…. Click here for full story 

http://www.qchron.com/editions/queenswide/killing-time-at-the-hofstra-debate/article_b387778a-1724-57d1-9e78-57a00713b6c3.html

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/10/hofstra-debate-spin-control/

Jan 23 2012

Congressman Furious With The New York Post

If I were two faced, why would I wear this one?

Meeks blames a deluge of negative press on two Post reporters, Melissa Klein and Isabel Vincent. He alleges that the New York Post only writes negative stories, but he doesn’t know why these two are “after him.”

In the interview, Meeks links a lack of journalistic integrity to  an agreement the Post has with a group called NRPC [National Legal and Policy Center].

Meeks stands by his record and points out that the community he represents does too.

City and State:The very first sentence out of embattled Queens Congressman Greg Meeks’ mouth during an interview yesterday was a New Year’s resolution.

“This is going to be the year that the New York Post stops spreading these things about me,” Meeks said.

Meeks had just come from a meeting with the secretary general of the United Nations. And before that, he attended a State of the State address by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in Queens. But as he sipped tea in the posh lounge of the Carlton Hotel on Madison Avenue, it was clearly the Post that was on his mind.

That’s understandable. Open up the paper many Sundays, and there’s some sort of negative article about the Queens congressman – usually followed the next day by an editorial. The tabloid has hit Meeks for his ties to indicted real estate tycoon Ed Ahmad; ties to a troubled charity he founded; the AEG scandal; his outstanding water bill; campaign cash used to fix a car; and much, much more. Its coverage has sparked subpoenas and investigations.

Our interview wasn’t scheduled to be about anything in particular. I asked Meeks about the details of the various scandals and the proposed convention center out in southeast Queens.  But all the really interesting answers seemed to come when Meeks talked about the Post. What follows is an edited transcript:

For full Article: http://www.cityandstateny.com/congressman-greg-meeks-declares-war-york-post/

Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/01/congressman-furious-with-the-new-york-post/

Oct 28 2011

Scala Seeks Democratic Endorsement For 6th Congressional.

NY6 includes the neighborhoods of Cambria Heights, Edgemere, Far Rockaway, Hollis, Jamaica, Laurelton, Queens Village, Rosedale, Saint Albans, Springfield Gardens, and South Ozone Park, old Howard Beach as well as John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Michael Scala will announce this Sunday, October 30th that he is seeking the Democratic endorsement for the sixth Congressional district in Queens.

It is widely rumored that embattled incumbent Gregory Meeks will stepdown in the wake of criminal and ethics probes, leaving the seat up for grabs.

Michael grew up in Rosedale, attended public school and graduated Polytechnic University. He is a soon to be minted lawyer and a professional recording artist. Michael is a veteran of the Obama campaign in 2008 and he  recently founded the Solid Ground movement, which advocates for transparency in government and the protection of Social Security and Medicare as well as supporting strong labor unions and capitol improvements for critical infrastructure.

Read his press release for more background on Michael Scala, the candidate. Check back with Queens-Politics.com for the latest updates.

QUEENS, NY – Mike Scala, who was born and raised in Rosedale, Queens, will announce on Sunday that he is seeking the Democratic nomination to represent New York’s sixth congressional district in the United States House of Representatives. The announcement is open to the press and will take place at Once Upon A Time (8761 111th Street, Jamaica, NY 11418) at 3 PM.

His campaign espouses the message that those on the ground level have better perspective than the establishment

“With over 8% of Americans unemployed, now is the time to demand stronger leadership. Strengthening essential programs on which everyday Americans rely, investing in our infrastructure, and improving our educational system must be prioritized over needless wars and tax spending on the wealthy. To put it simply, President Obama needs more support from his own party to enact the changes promised by his election.”

Mr. Scala graduated cum laude from the Polytechnic Institute of NYU, and is now in his final year of study at Brooklyn Law School. He has worked for the legal department of New York State United Teachers, where he helped defend educators facing discrimination. He additionally spent time at the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, which advocates for improving end of life care and is the largest nonprofit membership organization of its kind in the United States. During the 2008 presidential election, Mr. Scala worked with the Obama campaign to help college students vote early via in-person absentee ballot. Scala is a Hip Hop artist who has released music through the storied Rawkus Records. He recently founded the Solid Ground movement, which promotes governmental focus on everyday Americans and has garnered national support.

New York’s sixth congressional district includes the Queens neighborhoods of Cambria Heights, Edgemere, Far Rockaway, Hollis, Jamaica, Laurelton, Old Howard Beach, Queens Village, Rosedale, Saint Albans, Springfield Gardens, and South Ozone Park. John F. Kennedy International Airport is also located within the district.

Please direct inquiries to Paul Rozenberg at 908-331-0641 or media@scalaforcongress.com

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2011/10/mike-scala-ny6/

Oct 06 2011

Bitter End Seen For Congressman Meeks

Congressman Meeks could be replaced. Insiders say he was on his way out the door anyway.

Representative Greg Meeks of the 6th District implodes over sweetheart deal and politicos everywhere want to know who boss Crowley will choose as his successor.

How the mighty have fallen. Congressman Meeks received a fugazzy ‘loan’ of $40,000 from Edul Ahmad, who was subsequently arrested in 2011 for participating in a multi-million dollar mortgage fraud scheme.

Ahmad is also alleged to have business ties to narco-trafficing, prostitution, and gun running, according to an inside source. Ahmad made an unsecured personal loan to Rep. Meeks that was repaid only after Meeks’ finances came under scrutiny by the FBI, according to National Legal and Policy Center.

The meat of this story is whom will Crowley choose to replace him? No, he hasn’t stepped down, but to some Democrats, he’s on the slippery slope.

According to the NY Post, the Queens Democratic boss allegedly held a meeting at the Guy R. Brewer Democratic Club to discuss Meeks replacement assuming that Ahmad will squeal to the FBI about Meek’s questionable financial deals. This would be the tipping point, in what some say is “a career of corruption and graft of serious magnitude.”

While Crowley denies ever stepping foot inside the club, political insiders are drawing their own conclusions. Council Member Leroy Comrie? Or maybe State Senator Malcolm Smith? If Mr. Smith goes to Washington, the report says Comrie will go to state senate. What about the council seat? Comrie is a masterful fundraiser and is well respected in political circles. I just can’t see him traveling back and forth to Albany. Oh and by the way, no one has ruled out an insurgent candidate, or two. What do you think?

Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2011/10/bitter-end-seen-for-congressmen-meeks/


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