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Citizens Union endorses Vallone, Leffler, others

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The oldest, largest and one of the city’s most influential good government organizations last week issued a list of the Queens politicians it favors in the upcoming Sept. 11 primary.

Every year members of the Citizens Union, a non-partisan organization founded in 1897, chooses the candidates they think epitomize the group’s goals. The mission of the organization is to tackle key issues and to encourage a municipal democracy that values its citizens and operates fairly, transparently and economically.

Since 1910 the group has attempted to interview each of the political hopefuls for city and state offices. It then chooses the candidate who best meets the views of the organization and publishes the results in a non-partisan election guide.

The union’s choices for the city’s 2001 mayoral, Queens borough president and Queens council races were announced last Thursday.

In the Democratic mayoral primary the Citizens Union chose City Council Speaker Peter Vallone (D-Astoria) over Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer, Public Advocate Mark Green and City Comptroller Alan Hevesi of Forest Hills.

On the GOP ticket, the organization preferred media mogul Michael Bloomberg over former U.S. Rep. Herman Badillo.

In the tight Democratic race for Queens borough president, the Citizens Union picked City Councilman Sheldon Leffler (D-Hollis) over former School Board President Carol Gresser and City Councilwoman Helen Marshall (D-East Elmhurst).

There are 14 city council seats up for grabs in the borough.

In the race for Council District 19, the seat held by Councilman Mike Abel (R-Bayside), the choice was Democrat Tony Avella.

The pick to replace City Councilwoman Julia Harrison (D-Flushing) in CD 20 was John Liu, a Democrat.

The Citizens Union chose Democrat Luis Rosero to replace Marshall in CD 21.

In CD 22 Democrat Peter Vallone Jr. was the organization’s choice to succeed his father, Vallone Sr.

In the race to replace Leffler in CD 23, the choice was fellow Democrat David Weprin.

The group did not make an endorsement in CD 24 for City Councilman Morton Povman’s (D-Forest Hills) seat, where three political insiders are on the Democratic ballot.

The pick in CD 25 to replace City Councilman John Sabini (D-Jackson Heights) was Rudolph Greco Jr., a Democrat.

The Citizens Union chose Democrat Joe Conley in CD 26 to succeed City Councilman Walter McCaffrey (D-Woodside).

In CD 27 Democrat Leroy Comrie was the organization’s choice to succeed longtime City Councilman Archie Spigner (D-St. Albans).

In the race to replace City Councilman Thomas White (D-Jamaica) in CD 28, the Citizens Union’s pick was Democrat Anthony Andrews.

There was no preference in CD 29 among the candidates vying for City Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz’s (D-Forest Hills) seat.

In the race to replace City Councilman Tom Ognibene (R-Middle Village) in CD 30, the Citizens Union preferred Democrat Robert Cermeli.

The Rev. Henrietta Ford, a Democrat, was the organization’s pick to replace City Councilwoman Juanita Watkins (D-Laurelton) in CD 31.

There was no preference in CD 32 among the candidates vying for City Councilman Alfonso Stabile’s (R-Ozone park) seat.

Reach reporter Adam Kramer by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 157.

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