Sunday, June 20, 2010

Como Throws Hat in Race Against Addabbo by Howard Koplowitz -

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State Sen. Joseph Addabbo (l.) is being challenged by former City Councilman Anthony Como. Photos by Christina Santucci

Just as it looked as if state Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) would be free of opponents for re-election in a contentious western Queens district, former City Councilman Anthony Como,a Republican, said he would challenge the one-term senator.

Como, a former city Board of Elections commissioner who briefly held a Council seat now occupied by City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) following a special election in 2008, said he had been grappling with whether to run against Addabbo.

“It was something that I had been contemplating for some time,” Como said in a phone interview Tuesday.

Como was being considered for the $170,000 a year executive director position at the city Board of Elections, but said he withdraw from consideration last week to mount a bid against Addabbo.

“With all the calls, texts and e-mails I received, I changed my mind,” Como said.

Como said having a Democratic governor and Democrats being in control of the state Legislature are not benefitting people in the 15 Senate District, which includes Howard Beach, Ozone Park, South Ozone Park, Richmond Hill, Woodhaven, Glendale, Middle Village and Ridgewood.

“We see that the one-party tyranny of the state Legislature just hasn’t worked,” Como said. “We have a budget that has been dragging this entire state down. This is not a game. This is people’s lives. This is children’s lives and senior’s lives.”

But Addabbo said the Democrats are not to blame for the state’s economic situation, pointing out that 39 other states have budget deficits.

“I don’t think the party has anything to do with it,” he said. “

Como pointed to his accomplishments during his brief stint on the Council, including speeding up a Ridgewood landmark project, getting a downzoning of Middle Village approved and securing funds for seniors centers that were threatened to be closed, to show that he is a viable candidate.

Como said there is a “lack of leadership” in the district and that Addabbo should have done more to stand up to leaders in his own party.

“We need a person that will stand up,” he said.

“People have felt that there is a time for change and there is definitely time for someone to lead this senate district than what has been happening for a year and a half,” Como said.

Addabbo said he does not vote along party lines, noting he took heat for his vote against gay marriage and he does stand up to leaders in his party.

“The reason you don’t hear about it in the papers is because I do it professionally,” he said.