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Candidates tackle Bell Blvd. parking

Both state Assemblywoman Ann-Margaret Carrozza (D-Bayside) and state Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) told the audience of about 50 people they would work with the community to find available sites for parking near Bayside's "Main Street."

Several prominent community and political players attended the EBHA event as did several city council and borough president candidates for 2001. Democratic council candidates Joyce Shepard and Jerry Iannece as well as Democratic borough president hopefuls Carol Gresser and City Councilman Sheldon Leffler (D-Hollis) were in attendance.

Padavan sparked the anger of Frank Skala, president of the EBHA, when he arranged for a grant to the Bayside Business Association several months ago to beautify Bell Boulevard. Skala maintained the money should have been allocated to create additional parking for Bell Boulevard.

Skala said "our single most pressing problem has to be parking. We don't have bank robbers, we don't have gangs roaming the streets - but we don't have any place to park."

Padavan said beautifying the street with lamps and brick sidewalks would benefit the entire community. The senator said the funds could only be used for beautification.

"A parking lot certainly has priority," Padavan said, "but there is no land available."

In her speech Carrozza said she "would have positive things to report" on the parking issue in two years. She does not face an opponent in the November election.

Afterwards she said parking in Bayside has been on her agenda, but now she would seek out "more creative" ways to find space for it.

Padavan's Democratic challenger, Rory Lancman, spoke. Congressional candidates, U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside) and his Republican opponent, Dr. Ed. Elkowitz, were not present.

Lancman told the crowd he would fight for funding for schools and health care and would be "a tireless, zealot advocate for the issues that are important to you."

After Lancman spoke, Skala presented him with a mailing which described Padavan as an extremist and an anti-abortion advocate. When the civic leader asked the political hopeful if he supported the mailing, Lancman said "absolutely."

Lancman, who said he was pro-choice on the issue of abortion, criticized Padavan for voting against a bill providing safe access to abortion clinics.

Later Padavan said he was pro-life on the abortion issue and pointed out that preventing people's access to abortion clinics through violence was already illegal under existing laws.

Skala said he thought Lancman's mailing "crossed the line."

The EBHA also honored several community members with awards Tuesday night, including: Community Board 11 Chairman Bernard Haber; 111th Precinct Community Affairs Officer Anthony Lombardi; civic leaders Andrew Ippolito and Mandingo Tshaka; Bayside High School Principal Harris Sarney; Bayside businessman Jack Oshier; and Times-Ledger Managing Editor Roz Liston.

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