Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Debate in 32nd District is Street Fight by Nicholas Hirshon - NY Daily News

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City Councilman Eric Ulrich of Rockaway Beach mostly played nice with Democratic challenger Frank Gulluscio in a taped debate to air Friday - until the Republican abruptly called out his opponent's former boss.

Ulrich blasted ex-Councilman Joe Addabbo, now a state senator, saying Addabbo "could not deliver" cash to sustain street cleanups on Liberty Ave. - even after Ulrich was "reassured" he would.

Scolding Addabbo - who later told Queens News that he will indeed fund the cleanup - also served as a veiled knock against Gulluscio, who was Addabbo's right-hand man in the Council in 2004 and 2005.

The debate will air at 7 p.m. on Queens Public Television Channel 34 as part of a half-hour forum taped Wednesday and viewed early by Queens News.

The 32nd District race is one of only three Council contests in Queens where political observers believe Republicans have a fair shot of beating a Democrat.

During the debate, Gulluscio asked Ulrich why he cut Doe Fund supplemental sanitation services along Liberty Ave. while securing cash for the same initiative on other stretches.

That's when Ulrich ripped into Addabbo.

"If Joe Addabbo cannot fund the program that he started on Liberty Ave., then I would like to take up that mantle and fund that program when I have the next opportunity to," Ulrich said.

Informed of Ulrich's remark, Addabbo denied ever promising the funds. But he added it's moot since he directed $47,000 in the pending budget for tidying Liberty Ave. from 104th to 115th Streets.

Aside from the Liberty Ave. exchange, the candidates stayed almost oddly cordial in the debate. Gulluscio said Ulrich "will do what's right," while Ulrich lauded Gulluscio for his "commitment to the community."

Ulrich, 24, painted himself as an up-and-comer with seven-plus months of Council experience, and Gulluscio, 60, trumpeted his value as a local activist who learned how the Council works by teaming with Addabbo.

"I'm looking forward to getting right back to work," Ulrich said.

After Friday, the debate will run on QPTV three more times: Sunday at 10 p.m. on Time Warner Cable Channel 57; Oct. 27 at 7:30 p.m. on Channel 34; and Nov. 1 at 10:30p.m. on Channel 57.