Queens Borough President Politics & Government
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Queens State of the Borough Address
Katz Delivers Her Third State of the Borough Address
Last Friday I headed down to Jamaicatown to watch Queens Borough President Melinda Katz deliver her third State of the Borough Address at the Milton Bassin Performing Arts Center at York College.
I entered the auditorium shortly after she began her address where she was talking about her role in the good progress that the de Blasio Administration Education Department, headed by Carmen Farina, is having in moving the needle in enhancing both infrastructure and performance in the NYC Public School System.
As an example about of third of the trailers have been removed, with plans for another third to be removed this year. This means kids are back in regular classrooms - after possibly decades long neglect by prior Administrations [need to confirm this statment].
I'll have more on the Queens Borough President's State of the Borough Address sometime soon.
QBP Katz State of the Borough Address
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz Gives Queens Address
I attended Queens Borough President Melinda Katz’s second State of the Borough Address. It was held at the Colden Performing Arts Center at Queens College in Flushing on Thursday morning January 21st beginning at 10 am.
The event began with the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by a dance routine taken from Chorus Line performed by the Edge School of Arts. We were then shown a video segment about Queens Borough President Melinda Katz in a documentary produced by Queens Public Access TV, followed by the Queens Borough President’s speech.
The speech spanned about an hour. QBP Katz first talked about Queens as a tourist destination, and then looked back at the year of 2015, while touching upon some of the ongoing issues facing the borough like lack of affordable housing, aging transportation infrastructure including Queens airports, and overcrowded schools. She included mentioning some of the government efforts to address these issues, and concluded by talking about the Mets making it into the Playoffs. The address ended with the Mets mascots and management coming on stage.
The address was well attended, including a sizeable union presence, made noticeable by applauses when union efforts were highlighted. A reception was held after the address.
State of the Borough Address
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz Gives Her First Address
January 22, 2015 / Flushing / Queens Government & Politics / Queens Buzz. I arrived at the Colden Auditorium at Queens College around 11 am to hear Queens Borough President Melinda Katz deliver her first State of the Borough Address.
To my surprise the auditorium was filled to capacity. I spoke to several members of the audience afterwards to learn a bit more about who had come. Based on a small sample size, many of folks in attendance had affiliations with either community organizations or the unions.
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz's address was preceded by a number of traditional ceremonies including the presentation of colors, the Pledge of Allegiance, the singing of the National Anthem and introductory remarks by City Councilmember Julissa Ferreras of Corona and Dr. Felix V. Matos Rodriguez, President of Queens College. These ceremonies were followed by a musical performance by some of the students from the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts of Astoria.
Before Queens Borough President Melinda Katz arrived on stage in person, we were shown a video of her by her office talking about Queens and family.
Click here a bit later in the quarter for a full report of the State of the Borough Address.
Queens Library - Report Series
CEO Galante & Trustees Controversy
October 2016 / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Issues / Queens Buzz. Given the ongoing importance and drama associated with the Queens Library lawsuit, controversy and Reform Bill, we decided to create a section dedicated to it so that readers interested in learning more about it, may find a public record of what is happening to the Queens Public Library system.
Click here to read our reports about the Queens Library lawsuit, controversy & Reform Bill.
Leroy Comrie Named QBP Deputy
Katz Names Comrie Deputy Queens Borough President
December 3, 2013 / Jamaica Neighborhood / Queens Politics / Queens Buzz. We attended a business meeting in Jamaica on Tuesday afternoon where we learned that Leroy Comrie had just been selected to be the Deputy Queens Borough President. Melinda Katz, Queens Borough President-elect made the announcement earlier in the day.
We've covered a number of events sponsored by or in which Leroy Comrie participated and found him to be well versed in borough issues, hard working and a soft spoken government official who works behind-the-scenes. City Councilman Comrie served two terms in the NYC Council serving the Jamaica and surrounding neighborhoods of St Albans, Rosedale, Cambria Heights and Hollis. During his tenure in office Comrie served as the Democratic Majority Whip, and for a period was head of the Queens delegation.
Shortly after Comrie took office in 2002 [succeeding former City Councilman Archie Spigner] the JFK Airtrain began operations between JFK Airport and the Jamaica railroad and subway station [December 2003]. Comrie was also City Councilmember during the transformation / renovation of the First Dutch Reformed Church into Jamaica Performing Arts Center - which was completed in 2009. During Comrie's tenure as City Councilmember, the Jamaica area was re-zoned [along with the rest of Queens] to accommodate building and growth.
We'll post more about these evolving events at a later date.
Can Local Pols Sing, Dance & Act?
Legislative Acts - Fundraiser At Queens College
November 25, 2013 / Flushing Neighborhood / Theater In Queens / Queens Government / Queens Buzz. Saturday evening I attended the biennial revue, acted out by Queens government officials, at the LeFrak Concert Hall at Queens College. The name of the revue was Legislative Acts.
The all star cast included NYS State Senators, NYS Assemblymembers, NYC Councilmembers, a former NYC Council Speaker, a U.S. Congresswoman, one past Queens Borough President, one current Queens Borough President and the Queens Borough President-elect [some of the performers are on stage in the photo to your right].
The performance including a couple of solo vocals by incoming Queens Borough President Melinda Katz who was accompanied in one skit by Helen Marshall and Claire Shulman. There was also a game of Jeopardy hosted by Jimmy Van Bramer using questions about Queens pols and Queens College alumni, a Rockaways skit including a guest apearance by James Bond, a trip to the North Pole by Wonderwoman to visit Superman at his Fortress of solitude [it seemed futuristic, as they both appeared to have retired from public service], an Albany based performance by Mark Weprin, vocal performances by Julissa Ferreras and Leroy Comrie and a skate boarding and music performance by John Liu ... and more.
They parodied each other, themselves, and some not pols not present - referring to events of the past year(s) in the revue dialogue. We'll post more about the performance, including a photo slide show of Legislative Acts at the LeFrak Concert Hall at Queens College - later this week.
Melinda Katz Wins Boro Presidency
Bill de Blasio Becomes Mayor Elect
November 6, 2013 / Sunnyside Neighborhood / Queens Politics / Queens Buzz. Democrat Melinda Katz handily won the Queens Borough Presidency with about 80% of the vote, defeating Republican Tony Arcabascio with less than 18% of the vote and Independent Everly Brown who won about 2% of the vote.
Katz's victory was expected given that the borough is comprised of about 80% Democrats and less than 20% Republicans.
In Queens City Council races Democrat Costa Constantinides won 66% of the vote defeating Green Party candidate Lynn Serpe (15%) and Republican Daniel Paterson (11%). He will replace Peter Vallone as Astoria's City Councilmember. Paul Vallone won in a very tight race. Mark S. Weprin, Daneek Miller, Rory Lancman and Elizabeth Crowley won handily. And the race between Republican incumbent Eric Ulrich and Democrat Lew Simon was very close and possibly contestable.
Bill de Blasio's victory was also expected, as the polls had shown him leading Republican Lhota by a wide margin. It's worth noting that there hasn't been a Democratic NYC Mayor since Guiliani won the position in 1994, some 20 years ago.
Some pundits believe that this election was a referendum on the Bloomberg Administration. Bill de Blasio's campaign theme of the 'Tale of Two Cities' - meaning the wealthy and everyone else - appears to have struck a resonant chord with NYC voters.
We wish both de Blasio and Katz the best in the coming years and hope they will govern wisely.
Click here for prior Queens Buzz election coverage and politics in Queens.
NYC Municipal Elections 2013
NYC Mayor, Queens Borough President & Six Ballot Proposals
November 5, 2013 / Flushing Neighborhood / Queens Government / Queens Buzz. On Tuesday voters get to decide who will run the city for the next four years. You get to weigh in on who will be the next NYC Mayor, Queens Borough President, City Comptroller, Public Advocate and City Councilmembers.
There are also six NY State Ballot proposals some of which are changes to the Constitution: 1) whether to authorize casino gambling in NYS, 2) a credit for qualified veterans with disabilities in the civil service, 3) exclusion of sewage treatment facility investments from county and municipal constitutional debt limits, 4) proposal to have NYS give up land rights in the Adirondacks to private enterprise in an exchange deal, 5) proposal to allow a private company to conduct mining operations on forest preserve land in a trade deal and 6) extending the length of time judges may serve past the age of 70.
Click here for our coverage of the NYC Municipal Elecitons, including details of the controversial Queens Borough President debate between Melinda Katz and Tony Arcabascio at QPTV in Flushing in October. Story & photos by Michael Wood.
Queens Primary Election Results
Katz Wins Boro Prez / de Blasio Doesn't Face Runoff
Election Night / September 11, 2013 / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Politics / Queens Buzz. Melinda Katz received nearly 45% of the vote in the race for Queens Borough President. Peter Vallone was the runner up with nearly 34%. Everly Brown captured nearly 13% and Tony Avella whose name was on the ballot, but had dropped out of the race, won 9% of the vote. Katz will go onto face Republican Tony Arcabascio in November.
In the photo to your right, Republican candidate Tony Arcabascio speaks as Peter Vallone, Melinda Katz and Everly Brown listen at the Queens Borough President Forum held at Flushing Town Hall on August 26th.
Bill de Blasio was the winner of the Mayoral primary, but at press time it initially remained unclear whether he won over 40% of the vote which would preclude any runoff against Thompson who was the runner up with 26% of the vote. Some paper ballots remained to be counted which could have swayed the tally. Christine Quinn, once the front runner, won only 16% of the vote and Queens' John Liu came in fourth place with 7% and Anthony Weiner netted 5%. On the Republican side Joe Lhota won 53% of the vote, beating out billionaire John Catsimatidis who netted 43%.
As for Queens City Council races, many incumbent candidates went uncontested in the primaries. Paul Vallone appears to have won with 31% of the vote in the 19th District but there could be a runoff. Costa Constatinides handily won the 22nd District [currently Peter Vallone's District] with 56% of the vote. Rory Lancman won the 24th District with 62% of the vote. Ruben Willis won the 28th District with 49% of the vote. Donovan Richards won the 31st District with 52% of the vote. Lew Simon won the 32nd District with 65% of the vote. And Antonio Reynoso won the 34th District with 49% of the vote beating out Vito Lopez. And Daneek Miller is ahead with 24% of the vote in the 27th District.
The general election will be held on Tuesday, November 5th.
Boro President Race Heats Up
Avella, Katz & Vallone Battle For Dem Nomination
July 29, 2013 / Sunnyside Neighborhood / Queens Government / Queens Buzz. I attended two of the Queens Borough Presidential Forums over the past couple of months. One was on July 25th, hosted by Sunnyside Community Services; and the other was on June 13th, hosted by Chhaya at PS 69 in Jackson Heights.
In late May, Deputy Borough President Barry Grodenchik and NYS Senator Jose Peralta, dropped out of the race, just before petitioning to get on the ballot began. On July 13th City Councilmember LeRoy Comrie withdrew his bid.
Currently NYS Senator Tony Avella, former City Councilmember Melinda Katz and City Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. remain on the Democratic ticket, and businessman Tony Arcabascio is the sole candidate on the Republican ticket. In the photo above are [L to R] Tony Arcabascio, Tony Avella, Melinda Katz, Peter Vallone Jr. and moderator Rocco Vertuccio of NY1.
The Democratic primary is on September 10th, so the focus of this report will be on the Democratic candidates, as we have two months following the primary, to file a report about Tony Arcabascio vis a vis whomever turns out to be his contender.
Later this week you'll be able to click here to read the rest of our report about the Queens Borough President Forums / Debates we attended.
State of the Borough Address 2013
Queens Boro President Helen Marshall Delivers Final State of the Boro Address
January 23, 2013 / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Business / Queens Buzz. Helen Marshall gave her last State of the Borough Address on Tuesday morning at the Colden Auditorium on the Queens College campus.
As she's done the past few years we've been covering this event, she took us through each category of borough administration, recounting the efforts of her administration since she became Borough President in January of 2002.
Generally things in the borough look fairly good, given the givens [challenging economy & Sandy]. And based upon her presentation, it appears she's been a good steward of Queens borough affairs.
Click here to read a prior full report on Helen Marshall's State of the Borough Address for Queens.
Queens State of the Borough Address
Boro President Helen Marshall Informs Us We’re Holding Our Own
January 24, 2012 / Flushing / Queens Government & Economy / Queens Buzz. Today I attended the Borough President’s State of the Borough Address in the Colden Auditorium at Queens College in Flushing. Queens College President Dr. James Muyskens opened the program, followed by City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
There were hundreds of people in attendance. The audience included government officials, members of the police, fire and sanitation departments, a number of community board members, educators, healthcare administrators as well as members of the press.
Helen Marshall’s address covered education, healthcare, parks, the economy, business, development, aviation [the airports], culture, historic preservation and awards to a few denizens of the borough for outstanding work. In the photo Queens Borough President Helen Marshall looks a graphic which includes the plans for the new technical center planned for Roosevelt Island by Cornell University and Technion. Click here to our report with photos of the Queens State of the Borough Address 2012.
The State Of The Borough Address
Queens President Helen Marshall Talks 2010 - 2011
January 25, 2011 / Queens College / Queens Buzz. I attended Queens Borough President Helen Marshall’s state of the borough address which she gave at the Colden Center in the Queens College campus on Tuesday.
She structured the presentation in such a manner that it moved from issue to issue or in some cases from department to department, wherein she talked about what had happened over time periods ranging from last year to time periods which began when she took office in 2002.
Most of Queens prominent city council members and state representatives were in attendance – most of whom you can see in the slide show at the end of the report. There were also some former municipal government officials including Peter Vallone Sr who was once the city council speaker and Claire Schulman who was once borough president. Click here to read a full report on the State Of The Borough Address 2011 by Helen Marshall.
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