Today’s news:

Council hopefuls hold first debate

The veteran councilman, first elected in 1971, is being forced from office next year because of term limits. All 13 other Queens members, as well as the borough president, will be prevented from seeking re-election in 2001, creating an open field for political newcomers.

Though the primary election is still nearly a year away, the five candidates laid out their agendas before a lively meeting of the 107th Precinct Community Council Tuesday night at the precinct headquarters in Flushing. The 107th Precinct stretches from Flushing to Fresh Meadows down to Briarwood.

The candidates, appearing before a crowd of about 50 people Tuesday night, were: Morshed Alam, a Fresh Meadows chemist with the state Department of Environmental Protection and vice president of School Board 29; James Gennaro, a Jamaica Estates resident and environmental policy adviser to City Council Speaker Peter Vallone (D-Astoria); Jeff Gottlieb, Povman

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