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queens borough president primary election 2013 queens boro prez primary 2013

Queens Borough President Election

Democratic queens boro prez primary 2013Party Hierarchy & NYC Developers Back Katz & Quinn

September 9, 2013 / Queens Politics / Queens News Analysis & Issues / Opinion / Queens Buzz. So after answering countless annoying and largely uninformative robocalls from those seeking to govern us [what happened to our ability to 'Opt Out' of telemarketing?], and receiving voluminous junk mailers, tomorrow we get to decide who's going to govern us.

Tomorrow matters, because about 80% of the elections in NYC are decided in the primaries.

In the photo above right, Peter Vallone takes Melinda Katz to task for sending out mailers that attempt to demonize him with distorted visuals and labels.

NYC Mayoral Candidates - Final Polls & Agendas & You Decide

There are five major candidates running for Mayor on the Democratic side [de Blasio, Quinn, Weiner, Thompson & Liu] and two on the Republican side [Lhota & Catsimatidis]. The most recent polls show DeBlasio well ahead of the pack, but he needs 40% of the vote to avoid having a runoff election later in the month. Thompson is the runner up and Quinn, once the leading candidate, is running a distant third.

mike bloomberg abuses quinnQuinn has sometimes been referred to as Mayor Bloomberg's lapdog because of her 'dogged' support of his agenda. In spite of that moniker, the Mayor did not endorse her even though she had helped Bloomberg reverse a plebiscite on municipal office term limits and passed the majority of his agenda. Both Quinn and Katz did win the endorsement of the Democratic Party hierachy and the monied support of NYC real estate developers.

Runoffs Weaken Mayoral Candidates

The last time we had an open NYC Mayoral election [meaning no incumbents] it resulted in a Democratic primary runoff. Fernando Ferrer won the primary with 279,000 votes [35.5%]. Mark Green won enough votes [243,000 votes] to compete in a runoff. In the runoff Mark Green prevailed, and then went on to lose against Michael Bloomberg by 35,000 votes. A hotly contested Democratic primary runoff weakens the Democratic candidate shortly before the final election.

Queens Borough President Candidates 2013

There are three Democrats running for Queens Borough President [Vallone, Katz & Brown] and one on the Republican side [Arcabascio]. Tony Avella is on the ballot, but he has dropped out of the race.

There are also a number of City Councilmember races, which we don't have the time to discuss today.

Click For More About Queens Borough President Candidates 2013

Click here to read more about the NYC Primary Elections, with more about the backgrounds of the Queens Borough President candidates, and including a link to find your Queens polling place.


Queens Borough President Primary Election 2013

Dem Party Hierarchy & NYC Developers Back Katz & Quinn

September 9, 2013 / Queens Politics / Queens News Analysis & Opinion / Queens Buzz. Continued. I attended three of the Queens Borough President candidate forums thus far this year.

AVELLA OUT, Arcabascio Uncontested & Brown Support Minuscule

In mid August [the 14th] Tony Avella announced that he was discontinuing his bid, so while he's on the ballot, he's not running. Tony Arcabascio is the uncontested Republican candidate, so there's little point in covering him now. And Everly Brown hardly registers in name recognition or in the polls, and he raised under $2,000 with about a month remaining to go to ballot, so we're going to focus on Katz and Vallone.

Both Voted To Extend Term Limits & For City Council Pay Raises

Katz & Vallone were peers in the NYC Council from 2001 to 2008, and prior to Melinda's attack ads, they seemed friendly. Melinda was the Chair of the Standing Committee on Land Use and Peter was the Chair of the Public Safety Committee. During the forums, one of the contenders pointed out that both Katz and Vallone voted to repeal the public referendum on term limits, and they also both voted themselves pay raises. We could discuss these issues, but again, it's pointless as these are not the differentiating points.

Borough President's Role & Power

The Queens Borough President, like the other borough presidents, has a limited role and has limited powers to govern. Essentially this office has two important roles: 1) oversight / community review of real estate development within the borough and 2) an ambassadorial role [aka the bully pulpit] for the borough. The Queens Borough President also has a budget of about $40 million per year [5% of NYC capital spending] to spend on borough projects, most of which are of an infrastructure / preservation nature.

Queens Borough President's Controlling Role ULURP

The NYC Uniform Land Use Review Procedure [ULURP] has seven steps. Projects that must go through the ULURP process are mandated by the NYC Charter and involve actions that must be reviewed by the City Planning Commission. This procedure requires that certain land use projects must be publicly reviewed prior to their implementation and they generally focus on large construction projects.

The first two steps on the procedure involve filing a certified application. The next two steps involve Community Board review and Borough President Office review. These two steps set the tone for the remaining three steps which involve the City Planning Commission Review, City Council review and Mayoral review.

The Queens Borough President's control over the two key steps at the beginning of the process is nearly complete, as the Queens Borough President selects HALF of the people to serve on the Community Boards. The other half are selected by the City Council Members of their district.

Real Estate Development In Queens - Queens Boro Prez Campaigns

This is why the real estate developers have been making such lavish contributions to the campaign funds of many of the local pols. They want the people in power to help them move their agendas through the political process.

The real estate development community has made significant contributions to both of the leading candidates for the Queens Borough President's Office. Originally Melinda Katz was far outstripping Vallone, but as Tony Avella bowed out of the race, and Vallone's chances to win the race improved, the real estate development community started covering their bets by contributing to his campaign as well.

Community Board Members & Real Estate Development In Queens

One thing is certain, that Queens residents and businesses will have to pay attention to who's appointed to the new Community Boards, and they will also have to pay attention to the ULURP real estate development plans passing through them, as Queens is increasingly becoming a real estate development hotspot.

Real estate development can be good and / or bad, depending on your point of view and depending on how it affects your home or business. Queens has seen initiatives of both persuasions proffered this past year. And the rate of development in Queens is likely to continue or even accelerate in the coming four years, no matter who is elected to office.


Melinda Katz - Assemblywoman, NYC Council Member & Real Estate Lobbyist

Melinda was born in 1965. Her father was the founder of the Queens Symphony Orchestra in 1952 and her mother was the founder of the Queens Council for the Arts in 1966.

Katz was the NYS Assemblywoman from 1994 – 1999. She served for three years [1999 – 2002] as the Director of Community Boards for the Queens Borough Presidents Office. Katz was a City Council Member [2001 – 2008] and Chair of the Standing Committee on Land Use.

Katz most recent position was working as a lobbyist in Government Affairs Land Use for a large Manhattan law firm, Greenberg & Traurig, which handles real estate development deals for local companies, as well as global companies and investment firms.

Positions On Recent Real Estate Developments - FMCP

Katz was the last of the Queens Borough Presidential candidates to oppose the giving away of 13 acres of Flushing Meadows Corona Park land to a national soccer league for the development of a new stadium in the middle of the park.

She also said there weren’t any aspects of the current Iron Triangle plan [Willets Point] she would change. “It’s an urban renewal plan. It’s so easy to talk about amending. We have to look at how to make it happen and move it forward.” Katz also supports the development of a shopping mall in the CitiField parking lot, which Helen Marshall 'marshalled' through the Queens Borough President's segment of the ULURP process.

Melinda Katz Queens Boro Prez Endorsements

Melinda Katz picked up the Democratic Party leadership endorsement. She also picked up endorsements from many labor unions such as the Grocery Workers Union, the Uniformed Firefighters Union, the 1199 SEIU union and the Working Families Party. Katz also received the endorsements of Claire Schulman and Helen Marshall, both of whom she worked for, and who collectively have governed the borough since 1986.

Campaign Contributions as of July 28th

As of the end of July, Melinda Katz had 45 pages of contributors.  A lot of them contributing thousands of dollars.

Campaign Ads For Queens Boro Prez

We received three mailers for Melinda Katz and two mailers from Melinda Katz against Peter Vallone.


Peter Vallone Jr. - Lawyer & NYC Council Member

Peter Vallone Jr. was born in 1961. His mother was a teacher in Astoria and his father was a lawyer who was a City Council Member and the NYC Council Speaker in the waning years of the 20th century.

Peter went to work in the family law firm and became a City Council Member in 2001 where he became Chair of the Public Safety Committee. He will vacate his City Council Member position at the end of this term.

Positions On Recent Real Estate Developments - FMCP

Vallone opposed the MLS Stadium project and "he supported the Willets Point Development before he opposed it" [source: QueensCrap]. Vallone supports the CitiField shopping mall proposal which he declared isn’t on public park land [technically it is, but hasn't been used as such for decades].

Peter Vallone Endorsements

Peter Vallone picked up many of the Queens-based English speaking newspaper endorsements. He also picked up the endorsement of the Patrolmens Benevolent Association and the United Federation of Teachers.

Campaign Contributions as of July 28th

Peter had 112 pages of contributors, many of which were for a thousand dollars or more.

Campaign Ads For Queens Boro Prez

We received three mailers for Peter Vallone and one rebuttal attack ad.

 

Primary Elections Are The 'Real Elections' In NYC Local Politics

As a rule, whomever wins the Democratic primary in NYC, generally wins the general election a couple of months later. This seems likely in both the Mayoral and Queens Borough President races. Click here to use the NYC Poll locator to find your polling polace and please vote in the election on Tuesday. Polls are open from 6 am to 9 pm.


Queens Borough President Forums - Photos From 2013

Click this link or watch the following slide show containing photos of the Queens Boro President Forums 2013.


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