Sunday, August 31, 2008

Rockaway Homeowners to Become Landowners by Donald Bertrand - NYDaily News

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The owners of 17 bungalows on a Jamaica Bay pier in the Rockaways will finally be given the chance to buy the property on which the homes sit.

Many of the homes have been passed down from generation to generation for the past century.

Legislation allowing the city to sell the Beach 84th St. Pier to the residents living there was signed by Gov. Paterson last month.

"If you own the house, you should be able to own the property under it," said Community Board 14 District Manager Jonathan Gaska. "It will be nice for the people to be able to own the land and be able to borrow money to fix it up."

"It should be a win-win and help preserve one of the unique neighborhoods on the Rockaway peninsula, if not in the whole city," Gaska added.

Taryn Duffy, whose father, Ronald, owns one of the bungalows, said, "To the naked eye to anybody who has never been down there and doesn't know what a summer night is down there, they really look like nothing.

"But for the people who have spent their summers down there for 50 years, they are everything.

"This property means the world in sentimental value. It has been a home for generations and generations for these people," she added.

Gaska said he expects the city to start its Uniform Land Use Review Procedure next month or in October to allow the owners to buy the property.

Normally the city sells only surplus property and at a public auction, said Citywide Administrative Services spokesman Marc Daly.

It has not yet been determined what the price will be, "but it is expected to be nominal," Daly said.

"Home ownership is the backbone of a growing and vital community. This legislation allows the longtime residents of the area ownership of their property," said Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer (D-Rockaway), who with State Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-St. Albans) sponsored the legislation.

The pier was owned by the state and then the city for almost a century.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

City Council Turnover Could Come Well Before 2010 - City Room by Jonathan P. Hicks - Metro - New York Times Blog

Seven City Council members are running for state or federal legislative positions in this fall’s primary or general elections. From left: Joseph P. Addabbo Jr., Simcha Felder, James F. Gennaro, Miguel Martinez, Michael E. McMahon, Hiram Monserrate and Kendall Stewart.

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One of the arguments most often waged these days against term limits is that two-thirds of the City Council’s 51 members will be new to that body after the 2009 election.

To be sure, there will be a great many new members — if the current term limit laws remain intact. But a handful of candidates might well get a nearly one-year head start on the class of 2009.

A number of council members — seven, in fact — are running for other offices this year. And if they are successful, their Council seats will become vacant at the end of this year. And by law, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg would be compelled to call a special election within 45 days of those vacancies.

As a result, there could be a number of new council members as early as February of next year.

Although not every council member seems assured of victory, one vacancy appears to be certain. And that is in Queens, where City Councilman Hiram Monserrate is running for the State Senate that was recently vacated by John D. Sabini, who resigned to take a position as chairman of the State Racing and Wagering Board.

In that race, Mr. Monserrate is the only candidate who filed petitions to run in the general election in November (there is no primary in this district). Mr. Monserrate is running on the Democratic and Working Families Party lines and there is no other candidate.

The other vacancies depend on victories in a string of contested elections. On Staten Island, City Councilman Michael E. McMahon is running for Congress in an effort to succeed United States Representative Vito J. Fossella, a Republican. And if he wins, there would have to be a special election to fill that Council vacancy.

However, for Mr. McMahon to prevail, he must first win the Sept. 9 Democratic primary against Stephen A. Harrison, a Brooklyn lawyer. And after that, he would face a Republican opponent in November, depending on the result of that primary. Two Republicans are also competing for the nomination to run for that seat in November: former Assemblyman Robert A. Straniere and Jamshad I. Wyne, the finance chairman of the Republican Party on Staten Island.

In another race, City Councilman Joseph P. Addabbo Jr., a Democrat, is running for the State Senate seat in Queens now held by State Senator Serphin R. Maltese, a Republican. (Last week, Albert J. Baldeo, Mr. Addabbo’s rival for the Democratic nomination, dropped out of the race and endorsed Mr. Addabbo.)

Another Republican incumbent state senator, Frank Padavan, is being challenged this November by a City Council member, James F. Gennaro, a Democrat.

In Manhattan, City Councilman Miguel Martinez is challenging Assemblyman Adriano Espaillat in the Democratic primary.

There is one race that a City Council member is certain to lose. That is in a Democratic primary in Brooklyn for the State Senate seat now held by Kevin S. Parker. The reason? Mr. Parker faces two City Council members: Kendall Stewart and Simcha Felder.

Friday, August 29, 2008

One for the Books: Queens Librarian Gets Tresses Axed for Two Good Causes by Chad Smith - NY Daily News

Queens librarian Sueli Zaqem donated hair to charity after losing bet kids wouldn't read 1,000 books. Barcelo for News

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This haircut is one for the books.

A Queens librarian chopped off her long hair and donated it to charity yesterday after the kids in her summer reading program won a bet.

Sueli Zaqem had wagered that the children couldn't finish twice and many books as they did last year - and said she'd cut off her black tresses if proven wrong.

When the youngsters at the Hollis branch read 1,000 books - compared to the 490 they tallied last summer - Zaqem kept her word.

"I was proud," said Zaqem, 48, of South Ozone Park. "I had to live up to my end."

The kids clapped and cheered as she sat in a chair and let a colleague snip off a 13-inch ponytail for Locks of Love, which donates hair to kids made bald by illness.

"She still looks really good," said Campbell Goin, 11, of Queens Village, who read 30 books this summer.

Zaqem said when she first made her pledge at the beginning of the summer, the kids thought she was a "little crazy."

"But after I told them about the cause, they got excited and promised to read more," she said.

"I'm not interested in doing the least amount of work for this job," said Zaqem, who came to New York from her native Brazil roughly 20 years ago

"I'm interested in being a mentor and a role model. Ideally, I want to inspire kids to one day take part in charitable work, too."

Fans of Zaqem - who also organized a talent show and dance competition at the library - weren't surprised by her challenge.

"Sueli has been an asset to this community the second she stepped into his library," said Lorraine Smith, 55, of Queens Village, who brought grandkids Jasmin, 9, and Kaymari, 3, to watch Zaqem's mane come off.

"She is always encouraging kids to read and stressing how crucial it is to keep your mind active," Smith said.

A former model, Zaqem said she's happy with her new look, especially because she knows where her locks are going.

"I don't care that my hair's gone," she said. "I'm just happy knowing that I'm going to make a kid smile when they get this hair."

Roger Tory Peterson Birthday Centennial 1908-2008

Golden Eagle Painting - Roger Tory Peterson

“In this century‚ no one has done more to promote an interest in living creatures than Roger Tory Peterson‚ the inventor of the modern field guide.” — PAUL EHRLICH‚ The Birder’s Handbook‚ 1988

When I first started birding over 32 years ago, my first learning tool was the Roger Tory Peterson beginner's bird field guide. The series of nature field guides spinning off that historical bird identification publication revolutionized the naturalist world , birders and non birders alike .Today is a momentous day for all birders ( and naturalists) who got their first start with those groundbreaking field guides . We all owe a tremendous debt to Mr Peterson for his incredible contribution to our passion of birds and nature. In essence, his work has touched untold millions of folks.

Today is Roger Tory Peterson's 100th birthday , August 28th.

For more on the great teacher, artist and man, see

Roger Tory Peterson Naturalist / Artist
Born: 28 August 1908
Died: 28 July 1996
Birthplace: Jamestown, New York

Best known as: The author of Field Guide to Birds Roger Tory Peterson was an artist and avid birder who revolutionized the world of bird-watching when he published his Field Guide to Birds in 1934. His detailed paintings and a simplified method of identifying birds helped to make birding a popular hobby. The guide was so successful that Peterson's system was applied to all manner of flora and fauna.

Extra credit: Before Peterson came along, the world's reigning painter of birds was John J. Audubon.

Good birding and thanks Mr Peterson!

Brooklyn Bird Club ( 100th next year)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Talking Science's AquaCabaret - NY Aquarium - August 8...

Actress Dannica McKellar

Back on August 8, I attended the New York Aquarium's Aqua Theatre in Coney Island...TalkingScience’s AquaCabaret gives the subject of science a wacky twist...The tickets were provided by the Brooklyn Blogade, they were free too...

It was a beautiful summer evening with the sea breeze keeping it cool...we got to see a seal perform in the pool...

Ira Flatow, Me...

Ira Flatow, host of NPR's Science Friday, was the emcee, Ira is the popular host of NPR’s Talk of the Nation: Science Friday...He whipped up a batch of ice cream with Liquid Nitrogen...the ice cream was extremely runny..!

NYTimes environmental reporter Andy Revkin fronting for the band Reckon So

The New York Times environment reporter Andy Revkin accompanied the band “Reckon So” for a few country/swing/blues numbers which kept the crowd tapping their toes...

Reckon So

Brooklyn's own cheerleader, Borough President Marty Markowitz was there doing his best to advocate for Brooklyn and the Aquarium. There were also performances by Coney Island sideshow performers Bambi the Mermaid and Sword Swallower...

Bambi the Mermaid

Those Phunky Physics Professors (a gang of scientists from Rutgers ) AKA "The Jersey Guys" lie on a bed of nails and blow things up...

Dannica McKellar and emcee Ira Flatow

Actress and mathematician Danica McKellar (best known as Winnie Cooper from The Wonder Years) was also on hand to test our math knowledge with a quiz. Score! with Danica McKellar: The beautiful actress, mathematician and author of Math Doesn't Suck and Kiss My Math revealed some of her math magic and explained how she feels that more girls should pursue math and science in their studies..

Dannica McKellar & me...

After the show there was a fascinating 3-D presentation about the Coney Island coastline by Gerald Marks...

3-d Glasses...

After all the fun, there was the regular Coney Island Fireworks which we watched from the best seats on the boardwalk at the Aquarium...!

Dannica with the Franqui family...

I enjoyed the show and would recommend others attend future TalkingScience events at the Aquarium...

Kin Sues Jewish Cemetery in Ozone Park by Victor G. Mimoni - Queens Courier

The management of Bayside Cemetery in Ozone Park is being sued by the grandson of a couple interred there, claiming they used “perpetual care” monies to repair their building. PHOTO BY NICK BENEDUCE

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A management consultant from Connecticut has gone back to federal court in Brooklyn, to sue a congregation in Manhattan over their management of a Jewish cemetery in Queens.

John Lucker, 47, had brought a lawsuit against Congregation Shaare Zedek, a synagogue on West 93rd Street in Manhattan. He charged that they breached their contract to provide “perpetual care” for the graves of his grandparents, Harry and Ruth Lucker, who are buried in Bayside Cemetery in Ozone Park, along with some 35,000 other Jews.

Bayside is the middle of three Jewish burial grounds, located between Liberty and Pitkin Avenues, between 80th and 84th Streets, just blocks from the Brooklyn border.

In 1842 the congregation, then on the lower East Side, bought the land, between Acacia and Mokom Sholom cemeteries, not far from the margins of Jamaica Bay.

Over time, most of the plots were sold to individuals and “burial societies,” private groups that cared for the interment of members and their families.

Though some of the area nearest to the entrance at 81st Street and Pitkin Avenue is recognizable as a burial ground, a large portion near the rear of the cemetery, bordering Liberty Avenue, is a jumble of un-pruned trees, weeds and tilted headstones.

Stephen Axinn, the synagogue’s lawyer, contends that the congregation owns only a fraction of the 12-acre site.

“The synagogue doesn’t own 90 percent of the land in the cemetery,” Axinn reportedly said. “The property that’s inside that cemetery was sold off from 50 to 125 years ago to burial societies,” he explained.

“But those burial societies, which came from various towns and villages, are now kaput,” Axinn insisted.

Lucker disagrees; the suit accuses the synagogue of using money intended for the perpetual care of the graves to make structural repairs to its building. “The fees for perpetual care were set by the synagogue and should have been properly accounted to arrive at enough income to provide for the cemetery,” he reportedly said, after going to court last September.

In May, his attorney, Michael Buchman, accepted a suggestion by Judge Raymond Dearie that the suit be postponed, in view of an offer by unidentified benefactor to perform a “one-time cleanup” of the overgrowth.

In court, Axinn had claimed that “One of the leading owners” of the city’s Jewish cemeteries volunteered to put his personnel and his equipment to work on the cleanup.

“But he would not set foot in the cemetery or take any steps to assist us so long as this litigation is pending because he feared that he would somehow be brought into the case,” Axinn said, before agreeing to contract for the cleanup by August 15.

“No physical dent to improve the cemetery’s condition has been made at all,” Buchman told the court in a letter requesting the lawsuit go back on the court docket.

According to Buchman, Lukin toured the cemetery and found bags of rotting garbage among the headstones, before going back to court.

“Despite various indications by defendants that corrective action would be taken, nothing of any significance has been done to rectify the squalid conditions at the cemetery,” Buchman wrote the court. “It is now time to act and achieve results, he reportedly said.

In 2003, six funeral directors and several hundred volunteers, mostly Mormons, spent four days hacking away at the overgrowth and debris covering many of the graves.

Though the funeral directors reportedly “continued to work on the grounds for months after,” the volunteers left, many reportedly saying “they sensed a lack of interest from Congregation Shaare Zedek.”

Neil Leventhal, a 34-year-old filmmaker from Los Angeles, who recorded the 2003 cleanup reportedly returned to the cemetery last month.

According to a published report, he found the grave of his grandmother, Ethel Leventhal and great-grandmother, Emma Stoloff, barely visible amid the weeds and the gate to the family plot missing.

The cemetery’s groundskeeper, Bob Martorano, was reportedly at the cemetery when Leventhal visited and is said to have declared that the cemetery had no equipment, not even a lawn mower, to clean up the property.

The congregation reportedly secured a $145,000 grant from the United Jewish Appeal for cleanup costs, and has created a nonprofit corporation to raise funds to maintain the cemetery in the future.

Axinn reportedly acknowledged that the cleanup has not begun, but insisted that progress is being made to improve the cemetery for the long term, claiming in a published report that the grant, “Would merely cover weeding, mowing and minor repairs - and in six months, the cemetery would look like there had been no cleanup at all.”

Maltese Runs TV Ads in Appeal to Democratic Voters by Jonathan P. Hicks - City Room - Metro - New York Times Blog

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It was just before Hillary Rodham Clinton’s speech at the Democratic convention last night when watchers of CNN in Brooklyn and Queens were treated to a campaign commercial by State Senator Serphin R. Maltese, a Republican from Queens in a tough re-election battle this year.

And, that same commercial was broadcast again tonight before former President Bill Clinton’s speech at the convention.

Rarely do State Senate candidates broadcast their pitch for voters on television – let along during a widely watched event. But Mr. Maltese, who was elected in 1988, is one of the prime targets of Democrats hoping to regain control of the Senate. Indeed, of the handful of incumbent Republican state senators whom Democrats are singling out for defeat this year, Mr. Maltese is at the top of the list.

He is being challenged by City Councilman Joseph P. Addabbo Jr., a Democrat.

Mr. Maltese is a conservative Republican who has represented an overwhelming Democratic section of western Queens for nearly two decades. He has rarely faced a tough re-election battle. But he won his last election two years ago by about 900 votes – about 2 percentage points. And Mr. Addabbo, who has a large portion of the Senate district in his council district, has a well-known political name. His father, who died in 1986, served in Congress.

The ad, which ran on Time Warner Cable stations, portrayed Mr. Maltese as a champion of tax cuts during his years in Albany. By contrast, the ad said, Mr. Addabbo voted for an 18 percent increase in New York City property taxes several years ago.

It was not Mr. Maltese’s first campaign commercial this year. He has broadcast four others in recent months. But the placement of the ads – shortly before the high point of last night’s convention – was a sign that Mr. Maltese is once again after Democratic votes.

In fact, his ad made no mention of his party affiliation. But the 15th State Senate District has about 72,000 registered Democratic voters, compared with about 30,000 Republicans (There are about 6,000 others registered in the district). Winning Democrats and independent voters has been vital to Mr. Maltese’s political survival.

“We’re going to run an issue oriented campaign,” said John McLaughlin, a consultant to the Maltese campaign. “And whenever they hit the senator on various issues, we’re going to respond. We’re going to compare their records and let the voters decide.”

Mr. McLaughlin declined to say how much the Maltese campaign is spending on the television ads or how long they will be on the air.

Alexis Grenell, a spokeswoman for Mr. Addabbo’s campaign, said that the councilman had no plans to broadcast campaign commercials on television, saying that he preferred face-to-face contact with voters.

“This campaign is a grass-roots effort that is based on meeting people, going door to door, shaking hands and talking directly to voters about the issues,” Ms. Grenell said.

“An ad buy on CNN during the convention is incredibly expensive and it was clearly aimed at prime Democratic voters,” she added. “And all it will accomplish will be to remind voters that there is an election. The overwhelming majority of people who saw that will vote Democratic. The rest are people who live outside of the district and can’t vote for him.”

Analysis: Addabbo Seeks to Topple Maltese by Austin Shafran - Queens Courier

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The anticipated fall match-up, which may determine control of the State Senate, just got a little more complicated. Call it addition by subtraction.

Albert Baldeo, who in 2006, came within approximately 800 votes of unseating incumbent Senator Serphin Maltese, dropped out of the race and threw his support behind the Democratic establishment candidate, City Councilmember Joseph Addabbo.

Two years ago, when Baldeo ran an insurgent campaign without any assistance from the State Democratic Party, he nearly toppled the seemingly impenetrable Republican State Senator, providing an early wake-up call to Democrats eager to find a way to win control of the State Senate.

Baldeo had announced plans to run again this year, and again, he would not be receiving the support of the State or Queens County Democratic Party who have endorsed Addabbo. Fearing that having Baldeo on the ballot as a possible third-party candidate might detract from Addabbo’s chances of defeating Maltese in the fall. Rumors swirled of deals to get Baldeo out of the race, but he would not budge until this past week when Baldeo announced that he was dropping out of the race and throwing his full support behind Addabbo.

Baldeo cannot officially withdraw from the Democratic Primary since it is too late to remove his name from the primary ballot.

After learning that Baldeo had opted not to run and would be supporting Addabbo, Queens County Republican Party Chair, Phil Ragusa, immediately responded with a statement claiming, “Mr. Baldeo’s own web site calls City Councilmember Joe Addabbo a law-breaking, tax-increasing, animal rights-abusing puppet who denigrates and harasses minorities. With this in mind, Addabbo should come clean with voters about what promises were made and what deals were cut that led to this miraculous conversion.”

Regardless of what may or may not have occurred preceding Baldeo’s decision to withdraw from the race, his absence is one less obstacle Addabbo will have to hurdle.

Addabbo received a second shot of good news when he was endorsed by DC 37 Retirees, which represents more than 50,000 retired municipal workers. Maltese still figures to be very tough to beat, even without Baldeo in the race because of the wide-ranging support he has garnered from public safety sector union workers who comprise a significant voting block within his district.

To combat that strong support, Addabbo will likely court the new immigrant and minority community vote - now that Baldeo is out of the race.

Hillary Clinton Introduction Video Shown at the DNC

Tuesday August 26th

Triborough Bridge Renamed After Bobby Kennedy - Howard Beach Times by Nathan Duke ->

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Astoria's Triborough Bridge has been renamed to honor former U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. Photo by Christina Santucci

Gov. David Paterson signed a bill into law last week that renamed the Triborough Bridge, which connects Astoria to the Bronx and Manhattan, after the late U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (D-N.Y.), a spokeswoman for the governor said.

The governor signed the bill, sponsored by state Assemblyman Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria), on Aug. 5 following recent approval by the state Legislature, the governor's spokeswoman said.

The bridge's new name went into effect immediately, Gianaris said.

The assemblyman said Kennedy had long been an advocate for minority groups, so the renaming of the bridge was geographically significant.

"Bobby Kennedy was not only a great New Yorker, but also a great American," Gianaris said. "As our U.S. senator for a number of years, he had a platform from which he fought the struggle for equality and civil rights. It's appropriate that a bridge that unites diverse communities bears his name. Those of us who represent those neighborhoods that are served by the bridge will be proud to have his name on it."

Kennedy represented New York in the U.S. Senate from 1965-68. He was assassinated during his 1968 presidential campaign after winning the California primary.

Kennedy's family had long requested that the bridge be renamed in his honor and former Gov. Eliot Spitzer proposed the name change in January, Gianaris said.

The bridge, which can be reached from Hoyt Avenue North in Astoria, is now known as the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge. The structure opened in 1936.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

Light Action Looms On Primary Day, With Heavier Ballot On Election Day - Eye on Politics by John Toscano - | | Queens Gazette

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Primary Day, which is just three weeks away on September 9th, will produce very little action in Queens this year—only six elections, all of them among Democrats, and four of these involving incumbents.

That's according to the official candidates list for the primary elections issued by the New York city Board of Elections dated August 12, but still subject to change.

But on Election Day in November, there will be considerably more activity in the borough, with the presidential election topping the ballot and the rejuvenated Republican Party throwing down several challenges to the Democrat-dominated congressional and state legislative ranks.

At present, of the 31 legislative seats that cover the borough, all but two are held by Democrats. The two holdouts are the state senate posts occupied by Republican lawmakers Frank Padavan and Serphin Maltese, and the Democrats have mounted serious challenges for both in an attempt not only to occupy every legislative seat covering Queens, but also perhaps help to take control of the senate away from the GOP for the first time in 40 years.

Queens Republican leader Phil Ragusa of Whitestone, who has tried to pump new energy into his organization since assuming command about a year ago, is hoping his party's competitive foray into the congressional and state legislative races will get a boost from presidential candidate John McCain at the top of the ticket.

Ragusa is placing his hopes on the trend established in past presidential year elections which showed their presidential candidate running favorably in some areas, such as Ridgewood/Glendale and Northeast Queens, and providing some traction for their candidates at the bottom of the ticket in those regions.

Getting back to the primary elections, at the congressional level, longtime incumbent Gregory Meeks, representing the 6th CD in Southeast Queens, is being challenged by Ruben Wills, who, like Meeks makes his home in St. Albans.

Wills' candidacy sprang from the presidential primaries earlier this year. He was part of a group of black pols in that area headed by City Councilmember James Sanders Jr. that supported a slate of delegates committed to Barack Obama. Meeks, the only black congressmember in the borough, supported the delegate slate favoring Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The Obama slate, in a surprise showing, won three of the five delegate positions, and the Obama partisans have now mounted a challenge to Meeks, who is favored to win renomination.

Another incumbent in the Southeast Queens area, Shirley L. Huntley, is being challenged for her 10th senate district seat by a pol who's quite well known in the district, former Councilmember Allan W. Jennings Jr.

Jennings was thrown out of the council after being found guilty of several improprieties and is now attempting a comeback. Huntley is backed by the regular Democratic organization and is favored to win. Both candidates are Jamaica residents.

The state senate primary commanding the most attention on primary day will pair Councilmember Joseph Addabbo Jr. (Ozone Park) against attorney Albert Baldeo. The winner will face Maltese in the general election and the outcome in the November contest will play a part in deciding which party will control the senate next year.

Addabbo, now in his seventh year as a councilmember, is the son of the late Congressman Joseph Addabbo and thus well known and well regarded in the district. He also will have more than the usual support in the primary because the regular Queens Democratic organization headed by Congressmember Joseph Crowley wants to make the most of its chance of defeating Maltese.

Also pitching in for Addabbo is the powerhouse New York Hotel & Motel Trades Council. The 30,000 member union, which reportedly has earmarked several million dollars for this year's elections, endorsed Addabbo in this key contest.

Meanwhile, another labor organization whose endorsements are valued, Local 1199/Service Employees International Union, has endorsed Maltese, continuing its relationship with senate Republicans.

The organization also reportedly endorsed Senator Padavan in his re-election battle against Councilmember James Gennaro, the Fresh Meadows Democrat.

Standing in the way is Baldeo, a Jamaica resident, who ran a very strong race against Maltese in the general election two years ago and has been running a strong campaign against Addabbo.

In a third state senate primary, incumbent Toby Ann Stavisky is opposed by newcomer Robert Schwartz, of Forest Hills.

The only Assembly incumbent who will be busy on primary day will be Ellen Young, who represents Flushing's 22nd Assembly District. She's being challenged by a member of another local political family, Grace Meng, who's father, Jimmy Meng, held the seat before Young but left office reportedly for health.

Young comes from the political organization headed by Councilmember John Liu, who's the district leader and the borough's regular organization representative in the area, making Young the favorite to win the tussle with Ms. Meng, an attorney.

The only other primary on the ballot will be to pick the Democratic nominee for the 34th Assembly District seat in Jackson Heights left vacant by the retirement of Assemblymember Ivan Lafayette.

Facing off in the contest are Michael DenDekker, of Jackson Heights, and Marlene J. Tapper, of East Elmhurst. DenDekker appears to have the edge.

ON CAMPAIGN TRAIL: Senator Frank Padavan (R- C, Bellerose) announced that Governor David Paterson had signed into law his bill which provides incentives to New York residents and businesses which install and use solar power on their property. The bill provides a four-year property tax abatement for the installation of a solar generating system on residential or business properties. The abatement is part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's PlaNYC 2030 environmental program.

Meanwhile, Councilmember Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows) announced he is filing legislation that creates "drug-free park zones", which like the drug-free school zones already in existence would set higher penalties for the sale or use of illegal drugs in or within 1,000 feet of any park or playground in New York City.

"We protect children with tougher drug laws in and around schools and we should give kids the same protection in the parks and playgrounds that they frequent as well," Gennaro stated.

ENDORSEMENT: Assemblymember Mark Weprin (D- Little Neck), seeking re-election in the 24th Assembly District in Eastern Queens, has been endorsed by the New York League of Conservation Voters (NYLCV), which works to make environmental protection a top priority with elected officials, decision makers and voters.

COUNCIL RACE ON NOVEMBER BALLOT: Councilmember Anthony Como, who was elected recently to replace Dennis Gallagher for the remainder of this year, will be on the ballot in November seeking election to hold the 30th Congressional District seat for the final year of what would have been Gallagher's term.

Como (R- C, Middle Village), the only Republican representing Queens in the council, will be opposed by Elizabeth Crowley of Glendale, a Democrat.

In winning the seat earlier this year, Como defeated Crowley and two others in a very close race. In November, Como will occupy the Republican, Conservative and Independence Party lines and Crowley will be the Democratic- Working Family Party candidate.

The 30th Congressional District includes Middle Village, Glendale, Ridgewood, Elmhurst and part of Rego Park.

Stop Jamaica Bay Dumping: Weiner By Ivan Pereira - Howard Beach Times -

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U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (l.), Sanitation Department Chief Stephen Harbin and Gateway National Park General Superintendent Barry Sullivan show off an abandoned boat at Jamaica Bay.Photo courtesy of Anthony Weiner

For years, polluters have turned the environmentally sensitive Jamaica Bay ecosystem into a graveyard for abandoned barges. U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Forest Hills) unveiled last Thursday a multi-step plan he would like to implement to crack down on the dumpers and save the wetlands.

Weiner said his plan would complement recent efforts by the National Parks Service, which oversees the bay, to penalize people who threaten the environment.

"Jamaica Bay ought to be a place of refuge for residents, not a junkyard for abandoned boats. Pulling these boat wrecks out of the bay is a giant step toward keeping our water ways clean," he said in a statement.

In May, the National Parks Service started "Operation Clean Bay," the goal of which was to remove nearly 180 abandoned barges from Jamaica Bay. Under the program's guidelines, once a boat is removed, the state's Department of Environmental Conservation works with the park service to track down the boat's owners and fine them up to $37,500.

Although 48 boats have been removed from the bay since the operation began, Weiner wants stricter punishments for the dumpers.
He proposed a $25 million federally sponsored grant program for states and cities for the removal of abandoned barges and an increase in Operation Clean Bay's maximum penalties to $52,500.

The congressman said the parks service could use the extra money from the fines to create a clean-up fund.

"Increasing fines and creating a special clean-up fund will help us remove the boat wrecks that present environmental dangers and give law enforcement the tools they need to go after someone who dumps their boat in Jamaica Bay," he said.

Last year, a report issued by the Jamaica Watershed Protection Plan Advisory Committee, a seven-member group chosen by the city to help the National Park Service study the ecosystem, said the bay has lost 70 percent of its marshland over the last 50 years.

The study also warned that if nothing was done to prevent the mass lost, all of the wetlands would be gone by 2012.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

Queens Ledger - Operation Cleanbay

Operation Clean Bay Underway Abandoned boats spilling fuel, battery acid, and other chemicals into the water are now being pulled out of Jamaica Bay through “Operation Clean Bay”, a clean-up program to tow more than 200 hazardous boats from city waterways.

“Operation Clean Bay” aims to keep City’s waterways clean, towing abandoned boats out of the water and discarding them. Since National Park Service (NPS) launched the program three months ago, 48 boats have been retrieved. According to NPS, there are currently 180 remaining derelict boats strewn across the Jamaica Bay area.

Once a boat has been removed, NPS works jointly with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to identify boat owners, track them down, and issue hefty fines on them. The maximum fine is $37,500.

Rep. Weiner said, “Jamaica Bay ought to be a place of refuge for residents, not a junkyard for abandoned boats. Pulling these boat wrecks out of the bay is a giant step toward keeping our water ways clean.”

Congressman Anthony Weiner recently called for a new plan to crackdown on owners who leave boats in Jamaica Bay It would include creating a $25 million federal matching grant program for states and cities to remove environmentally-risky abandoned boats, boost the maximum penalty for abandoned boat owners from $37,500 to $52,500, and creating a NPS cleanup fund for abandoned boats. Fines would supplement the program.

A Show of Unity in SD-15 Race - Baldeo Drops Out of Race - August 22nd - Additional Photos

Albert Baldeo, Joe Addabbo & Joe Crowley (Left to Right)

Joe Addabbo, Baldeo, Greg Meeks, Malcolm Smith & Joe Crowley (l-r)

Frank Gulluscio, Addabbo, Baldeo, Meeks, Smith & Crowley (l-r)

Addabbo & Baldeo - Meeks in Background

Baldeo Walks Away from Senate Race, Clearing the Path for Addabbo by Pat Adams - Forum News

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A crowd of pleased onlookers, including Democratic District Leader Frank Gulluscio (left) and State Senate Minority Leader Malcolm Smith, applaud a handshake exchanged by Albert Baldeo and the man they hope to send to the New York State Senate, Councilman Joe Addabbo. Photo by Pat Adams

Unity was the order of the day last Friday when State Senate candidate Joe Addabbo received the unexpected endorsement of Albert Baldeo, his would-be opponent in the September 9th Democratic Primary. According to Baldeo, he arrived at his unique decision in the name of party unity.

Standing in front of Baldeo’s law office on Liberty Avenue to receive the official endorsement, Addabbo was joined by Queens County Democratic Party Leader, Congressman Joe Crowley, NY State Senate Minority Leader Senator Malcolm Smith and Congressman Gregory Meeks.

Baldeo said, “I’m proud to be supporting Joe Addabbo for State Senate and plan to work with him here in the district, and hopefully in Albany, for the good of my community. Joe Addabbo has been an outstanding Councilman and I have full confidence that he will bring that same spirit of openness and leadership with him to Albany. Joe Addabbo is the best candidate to beat Maltese in November, I encourage all my supporters to vote for Joe.”

Addabbo graciously accepted Baldeo’s ringing endorsement saying, “I applaud his [Albert’s] wholehearted embrace of the democratic process. The Democratic Party is the party of inclusion, it’s a big tent with room for everyone, and we are stronger for his efforts. I look forward to working together as we head into November to bring real reform to Albany and accomplish our shared goals of increased funding for education, better jobs and benefits, increased access to government services, and improving the lives of middle class and hard working people. The voters of the 15th Senate District deserve nothing less.”

“The best way for us to achieve our goals is by working together," said Queens County Democratic Party Chairman Joseph Crowley. “I look forward to a united Queens County Democratic party working to elect Councilman Joe Addabbo to the New York State Senate.”

Addabbo’s graciousness may have come as a surprise to many, given that in recent months Baldeo and some of his supporters have been blatant in their attempts to blacken Addabbo’s political and personal reputation. According to Democratic Party activist Betty Braton, “It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Joe is able to find a way to work together with an adversary. Addabbo’s a consensus builder who knows that people don’t always agree, so common ground must be found to move forward. That is one of his biggest strengths.”

Although the endorsement by Baldeo was seen by some to be a surprise twist in this hotly contested race, many say that recent track of campaign activity was a key indicator that Baldeo was getting ready to step aside. Voters throughout the sprawling district have received no phone calls or mailers from Baldeo while Addabbo has been placed at events in all parts of the district. While Baldeo did make some appearances, they were confined to one small section of the area.

In recent weeks the Addabbo for Senate campaign “has been in high gear with phone banks running, two campaign offices operational, and Joe knocking on doors discussing issues with voters all throughout the district,” said Democratic District Leader Frank Gulluscio. “We welcome Baldeo’s participation in our effort to insure better representation for the district by defeating the incumbent in November.”

Both Gulluscio and Braton have been strong supporters of Addabbo since his first run for public office in 1997. Like Addabbo, both have been on the receiving end of vicious attack and trash talk by Baldeo or his supporters since 2006. When asked why they could join

Addabbo in accepting Baldeo’s support, both indicated that although some people think insults are an acceptable part of politics, their view is that, as Addabbo said, “the Democratic Party is the party of inclusion” and there is common ground in the desire of Democrats of differing views in both camps to win the 15th State Senate seat in November.

“People all across this country are tired of division and polarization,” Gulluscio said, and “are calling for an end to the bitterness between the parties, less focus on ideology, and more focus on working together where there is common ground to get the people’s business done.”

“Our party has been listening to that call,” Braton said. “Within our own party, by unifying with Baldeo and helping Joe Addabbo take this seat, we’re taking a step toward putting acrimony and division behind us. It would be insulting to our country’s democratic process to not work collectively to accomplish what both sides agree on – winning in November.”

Clearly the message sent by local Democrats at the press conference incorporated not only their desire to send Addabbo to Albany, but addressed the grander scheme – to recapture the Democratic State Senate majority which has eluded them for more than 40 years.

Although Baldeo’s name will remain on the ballot for next month’s primary, he indicates he will be working with Addabbo in the effort to oust Senator Maltese and is urging all 70,000 registered Democrats to vote for Addabbo, not him, on September 9th.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Fish-Killing Indian Point Ruled an Eco-Danger by Jim Fitzgerald, AP- New York Post

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The huge numbers of fish sucked to their death by the cooling system at the Indian Point nuclear plant prove that the system harms the Hudson River environment, a state official has ruled.

The finding by J. Jared Snyder, assistant commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation, is a victory for plant critics who claim that up to 1.2 billion fish and eggs are killed each year as the plant, in the Westchester County village of Buchanan, 35 miles north of New York City, continuously draws in river water for use as a coolant.

"For decades, Indian Point has maintained that its cooling systems have no impact on Hudson River fish," said Robert Goldstein, general counsel to the environmental group Riverkeeper. "At long last, the DEC has put an end to this fiction."

Snyder said that even the lowest estimate of fish deaths - 900,000 annually - "represents excessive fish kills" and establishes an adverse environmental impact.

The ruling, issued this month, means the plant's owner, Entergy Nuclear, may no longer raise the environmental-impact issue as it battles the state's order to build costly towers that recycle cooling water and make big river intakes unnecessary. Entergy had argued that the river's adult-fish populations have been stable.

The towers, designed for what is known as closed-cycle cooling, could cost Entergy more than $1.6 billion.

Company spokesman Jim Steets said yesterday that Entergy will continue to argue against the towers, using other issues Snyder said could be raised at hearings that will start next year. Those issues include whether cooling towers are the best available technology for the money, the visual impact of the towers and the effect of outages that might be caused by construction.

"This ruling actually gives us the opportunity to bring in the argument that this could impact electric-power reliability in New York, that the actual construction challenges may make it unfeasible," Steets said.

In May, Riverkeeper commissioned a report that studied 13 species of Hudson River fish and said 10 had suffered population declines since the mid-1970s. The report suggested a variety of causes, including overfishing, global warming and invasive zebra mussels, but also blamed power plants, including Indian Point. At the time, Entergy disputed the findings and said the river's fish were "healthy and abundant."

Steets said then that by using screens, Indian Point safely returns most adult fish to the river; most eggs, he said, are fated to die anyway.

Entergy is seeking license extensions for the Indian Point reactors that would keep them running into the 2030s. The licenses expire in 2013 and 2015. If new cooling technology were imposed it would probably apply only if the licenses were extended.

CM Addabbo, Taxi Workers Alliance Shooting Victim and Mothers Against Guns Condemn Recent Gun Violence, Calls for Tougher State Regulations

Applaud Mayor’s Efforts to Remove Illegal Guns from NYC Streets

Call for Tougher State Regulation of Guns

In the wake of three recent crimes committed at gunpoint, Councilman Joe Addabbo will join with the Queens based group Mothers Against Guns (MAG), the Taxi Workers Alliance (TWA), and cab driver Enois Malbranche, who was shot and blinded on August 7th to condemn the rash of violence and call for tougher gun restrictions. On August 22nd a cab driver in Elmhust was shot in the face, on Monday, August 25th a woman was robbed and raped at gunpoint in Ozone Park, and on August 27th a cab driver was assaulted in the Bronx. In New York violence persists while state laws remain lax. The Republican lead Senate has repeatedly failed to take adequate measures to regulate guns end the cycle of violence.

WHO: CM Joe Addabbo, Mothers Against Guns, Taxi Workers Alliance, and Enois Malbranche (injured cab driver)

WHAT: CM Addabbo and Groups Rally Against Gun Violence and Call for Tougher Gun Laws

WHERE: Blue Lane Car Service
104-19 99th Street

Ozone Park, NY

WHEN: Thursday, August 28th, 1:30 pm

Rep. Weiner to Host "Teletown Hall" from Democratic Convention

New Yorkers Can Talk With Weiner from the Comfort of Their Homes

Representative Anthony Weiner (D – Brooklyn and Queens) will host an innovative "Teletown Hall" THURSDAY, AUGUST 28. Residents of New York's 9th Congressional District will be able to conveniently call in from their own kitchen table or family room and participate in a two-way conversation with Rep. Weiner. Weiner will give constituents an update from the Democratic National Convention in Denver and answer questions on a wide variety of topics, from national to local issues.

On June 11, 2008, nearly 17,000 residents of New York's 9th Congressional District participated in the "Teletown Hall" with Rep. Weiner.

What: Rep. Weiner To Host Innovative "Teletown Hall" from Democratic Convention

Who: Representative Anthony D. Weiner (D – NY) - Residents of Bayside Hills, Belle Harbor, Bergen Beach, Breezy Point, Briarwood, Broad Channel, Electchester, Flushing, Forest Hills, Fresh Meadows, Gerritsen Beach, Glendale, Hillcrest, Homecrest, Howard Beach, Jamaica Hills, Kew Gardens, Kew Gardens Hills, Manhattan Beach, Marine Park, Maspeth, Middle Village, Mill Basin, Mill Island, Neponsit, Oakland Gardens, Ocean Parkway, Ozone Park Parkville, Pomonok, Rego Park, Richmond Hill, Ridgewood, Rockaway Park, Roxbury, Sheepshead Bay, Utopia, Woodhaven and other communities in the 9th Congressional District

When: Thursday, August 28 @ 5:00 PM Mountain Time / 7:00 PM Eastern Time

Where: "Teletown Hall"

***For more information, including call-in number and conference ID, please call Angie Hu at 917-841-0354.***

Election 2008 - The David M. Quintana

Read original...

Hillary's Speech to DNC...She Was Sensational..!

I still think Hillary is the best candidate to beat John McCain and the GOP...and lead the nation and the world to peace and prosperity..!

Clinton: ‘No way. No how. No McCain’

Aug. 26: Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., addresses the crowd at the Democratic National Convention telling them “we are on the same team” and it is time to unite the Democratic Party to win against John McCain.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Last Chance for Superdelegates, Please Do The Right Thing


LINKS to Recent Polls:

Obama 45% vs McCain 42% (+3, down from +6 in July)
Clinton 49% vs. McCain 43% (+6 even with a suspended campaign)

McCain takes 5 point lead over Obama

McCain 48% vs. Obama 43%
(51% with unfavorable view of Obama)

"Polls show bad news for Obama"
Obama 46 vs. McCain 43%
(Obama's lead is down from 8 points in mid-July)

McCain 50% vs. Obama 44%

McCain is more qualified than Obama (55 to 27%)
In July Obama led McCain (50 to 41%)

8/19/08: RASMUSSEN Poll of FLORIDA
McCain 48% vs. Obama 46%
(Obama is viewed unfavorably by 48%)

8/19/08: RASMUSSEN POLL for NEW HAMPSHIRE Obama vs. McCain
June: 50% vs 39% (11%)
July: 47% vs 41% (6%)
Aug.: 43% vs 42% (1%)

Electoral vote TREND FOR June 19:

Electoral vote TREND FOR July 18:

Electoral vote TREND FOR August 4:

Electoral vote TREND FOR August 16:

EPA Commits to New Series of Tests at Newtown Creek

Newtown Creek Closer to Being Designated a Federal Superfund Site - Weiner and Velazquez Declare Victory

New York City – Representatives Anthony D. Weiner (D-Brooklyn and Queens) and Nydia Velázquez (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens) today announced a significant breakthrough in their efforts to cleanup Newtown Creek, home to the largest coastal oil spill in American history. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has committed to a new series of tests at Newtown Creek, taking any additional necessary samples at four priority sites. If the data demonstrates high levels of toxic chemicals, the entire Newtown Creek area could be designated a federal Superfund site and may be eligible for federal funding of up to 90% of the cleanup costs.

The Superfund program is the federal government's principal program to cleanup the nation's hazardous waste sites. Despite containing an oil spill one and a half times as large as the Exxon Valdez spill, Newtown Creek is not a part of the federal Superfund program and has never been tested by the federal EPA for admission into the nation's Superfund program, until now. Specifically, the EPA has agreed to examine existing data on the four sites and gather the data to fill in any gaps required to consider if the sites should enter the Superfund program, and determine where the site should rank in priority on the Superfund list.

Rep. Weiner, a member of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Hazardous Materials, the House panel with jurisdiction over the Superfund program, together with Subcommittee Chairman Gene Green (D – Texas), Vice Chairwoman Hilda Solis (D – California) and Rep. Velazquez, released a letter to the EPA in July identifying four sites along Newtown Creek for priority federal review, including two former hazardous waste facilities, a former copper smelting plant, and a former coal gasification complex.

Working with the EPA, Reps. Weiner and Velazquez identified four sites as the highest priorities for federal environmental testing in consultation with Riverkeeper, Inc. on the basis of New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and New York State Attorney General records. State tests have found the following toxic chemicals and heavy metals in the area: cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, and mercury, petroleum-related hydrocarbons, an underground plume and/or tanks containing polychlorinated biphenyls and petroleum waste, and up to 70,000 gallons of PCB-laden waste oil and additional amounts of solvents.

To date, an estimated 9.4 million gallons of oil have been cleaned at Newtown Creek. Between 17 and 30 million gallons were spilled over an area which covers 55 to 60 acres. Estimates indicate it will take until at least 2026 to finish the remediation.

The resources of the EPA will prove indispensable in protecting the creek and its surrounding communities from a legacy of toxic dumping,” said Basil Seggos, Riverkeeper's Chief Investigator. “We owe a debt of gratitude to our congressional representatives for driving this forward. A restored Newtown Creek is within reach."

Rep. Weiner said, “The commitment made by the EPA to test the sites is a big win for Newtown Creek residents. These tests will help us find answers to basic questions about the spill’s health and environmental risks, giving this environmental disaster the national attention it deserves.”

Congresswoman Velázquez said, “The residents around Newtown Creek have had to live with the consequences of this spill for years while the oil companies have lagged in their cleanup responsibilities. The EPA should begin to quickly review these sites and not delay in designating Superfund status to begin remediation. Thirty years is a long time to wait for what should have been a prompt and thorough response to this environmental disaster.”

In 2007, Weiner and Velazquez released the findings of an EPA study of Newtown Creek, which found that the spill may be larger than originally estimated, but left many questions unanswered.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

DC 37 Retirees Endorse Joe Addabbo for State Senate on August 21st

DC 37 Retirees, which represents more than 50,000 retired municipal workers, will endorse Joe Addabbo for State Senate. Councilman Addabbo has been consistently supportive of the retiree’s needs and concerns and is proud to accept their endorsement.

Joe is sensitive to the needs of retirees even though he is a generation removed. He understands how government can help retirees, seniors and union members. He supports our proposals including the continuation of health insurance coverage to surviving spouses of city retirees. DC 37 Retirees enthusiastically support Joe Addabbo for State Senate. He is far and away the best candidate to represent the 15th Senate District,” said Stu Leibowitz, President of DC 37 Retirees.

The Retirees listed a number of reasons for their endorsement:

  • Spousal Coverage: As chair of the City Council Civil Service and Labor Committee, Joe is a co-sponsor of legislation that would allow spouses and domestic partners of deceased city employees to continue to receive medical benefits.

  • Tenants and Homeowners: Joe supports efforts to preserve quality rental properties, expand homeownership opportunities and assist constituents facing foreclosure. He supports strengthening of existing rent control and rent stabilization laws and is proud to have the endorsement of Tenants PAC. Joe supports inclusionary zoning that require new multi-family housing to provide a reasonable percentage of units for lower-income families.

  • Strengthening Unions: Joe has stated “We need to reform the Taylor Law to encourage employers to negotiate. We’re just forcing workers to work without a contract, for the benefit of the employer and the detriment of the people.” As chair of the Civil Service and Labor Committee, Joe has held oversight hearings on the inequities inherent in the Taylor Law, improvements in public sector pensions and curtailing the wasteful practice of contracting-out.

  • Health Care: In addition to spousal coverage, Joe supports extended health care and other benefits for the workers who helped with rescue, recovery and clean-up after 9/11. He supports paid medical leave for those who care for sick relatives and for new moms.

  • Constituent Services: Joe’s district office telephone, (718) 738-1111, has a live 24/7 answering service for rapid response to emergencies such as blackouts and floods. He secured funding to create a new ferry service to Manhattan and for increased bus service on the QM15 and QM11. He has fought for funding for our senior centers; secured over $11 million for our schools, over $11 million for local parks and $1.5 million for our local libraries.

The Right DNA: Joe is a lawyer and lifelong Democrat who grew up in a proud tradition of public service. Joe Addabbo Sr., his father, represented western Queens in Congress from 1960 to 1986 where he was known as a supporter of union and civil rights. Joe was elected to the City Council in 2001, taking back a Republican held city council seat. His wife, Dawn, is from Glendale and they have two daughters Alexis, 4, and Ariana, 18 months.

I am grateful to have the support of the retirees with whom I’ve worked on a number of initiatives, and hope to continue that close relationship in Albany. Labor should never be taken for granted, especially not the men and women who’ve devoted their working lives in service to our city. I will fight hard for a decent wage, solid benefits, and fair housing to keep New York City a place where working people can raise their families and retire comfortably,” said Councilman Addabbo.

“Councilman Addabbo has always been a friend of Labor and particularly SSEU Local 371. As Chairman of the City Council’s Committee on Civil Service and Labor, he did not have to be taught what the issues are. From supporting of the Civil Service Merit system to always advocating for the protection of City workers’ jobs and benefits, we can always count on Joe Addabbo. Now Joe Addabbo can count on our union to help put him in the New York State Senate, where he can bring the same advocacy and support to workers issues,” said Faye Moore, President of SSEU Local 371 which represents approximately 18,000 social service employees throughout the City of New York and is affiliated with DC 37 and AFSCME, AFL-CIO.

The Tech Guild, Local 375 of District Council 37 was present and offered their full support as well.

List of Unions for Addabbo:

  • Amalgamated Transit Union 1056

  • Amalgamated Transit Union 1181

  • Civil Service Tech Guild Local 375

  • CWA 1180

  • CWA 1182

  • CWA District Council 1

  • District Council 37 Local 983

  • Doctors Council

  • International Union of Operating Engineers Local 891

  • Iron Workers

  • New York Hotel & Motel Trades Council

  • New York State Nurses’ Association

  • Plumbers Local 1


  • RWDSU Local 338

  • SSEU Local 371

  • Tenants PAC

  • UAW

  • UFCW Local 1500


  • Working Families Party