During a news conference on the steps of Borough Hall Thursday, City Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr. said Miller's position as the No. 2 man at City Hall made him the best candidate to replace Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg. "He's the only one who has the experience to know what's going on," Vallone said. State Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone) said Miller has been a champion for Queens. He blocked the elimination of garbage pickups in the borough, saved a health clinic at Franklin K. Lane High School on the Brooklyn/Queens border and kept services at the Queens Pubic Library and Queens Zoo."I would think of him as the 15th member of the Queens delegation in the City Council," Stavisky said.Miller, who was endorsed by the Queens Democratic Party last month, said he was "humbled" and "honored" by the support of the Queens delegates. If elected, he promised to fight for New York City in Albany with the governor and state Legislature and to improve education by paying teachers better and reducing classroom sizes. Weiner, whose district includes portions of Queens and Brooklyn, downplayed losing the endorsement to Miller, saying he wanted to win the support of average residents, not famous politicians. "I've never been the darling of the political machine," Weiner said in an interview Tuesday. "Anyone who thought I was in running for the county support of Queens or of Kings or the Bronx or anywhere for that matter hasn't been paying much attention. But let me make it clear: I don't dislike the men and women of the Queens Democratic organization and I very much look forward to us all working together after I win the primary." Miller, who places third in most polls behind front-runner Ferrer and Fields, has been raising his profile in Queens in recent weeks to court voters in the outer boroughs. He marched in the Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade and attended a recent Flushing news conference to decry a rash of anti-Semitic graffiti. Political consultant Bob Liff, who has no affiliation with any candidate, said the endorsements were a boon for Miller, sending a signal to Queens voters that he is a man to be trusted. "A lot of the official structure has lined up behind Gifford which says something good for him - these are people who know government," Liff said. "Maybe there are some people who look up to these people (the delegates) and say 'I trust their judgment'." Miller's other backers included at the event included Borough President Helen Marshall; state Assembly members Mark Weprin (D-Little Neck), William Scarborough (D-St. Albans), Jimmy Meng (D-Flushing) and Andrew Hevesi (D-Forest Hills); City Councilwomen Melinda Katz (D-Forest Hill ) and Helen Sears (D-Jackson Heights) and City Councilmen Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) Eric Gioia (D-Sunnyside) Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria), James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows), David Weprin (D-Hollis) and John Liu (D-Flushing). Reach reporter Matthew Monks by e-mail at news@times
©2005 Community News Group
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