Political Action: Two more candidates vie for Gallagher’s seat

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Interest is increasing in the special City Council election in the 30th Council District of southwest Queens, which comprises Middle Village, Glendale, Maspeth and Ridgewood. This special election, scheduled for early June, includes candidates Anthony Como, Charles Ober, Thomas Ognibene and Elizabeth Crowley.

We discussed the platforms of Ognibene and Crowley in last week's column.

Como has been endorsed by the Queens Republican Party executive committee. He served in the Queens district attorney's office and has been chief counsel to state Sen. Serphin Maltese (R-Glendale) of the 15th State Senate District in western Queens, made up mostly of the 30th Council District.

Como has his own law firm and is one of the 10 commissioners on the city Elections Board. He is also one of the two commissioners representing Queens. He will have to relinquish his position on the board, however, when his petitions are filed for the council race.

As a Maltese representative, Como has visited many civic associations, senior citizen groups and various community-based organizations. Como has indicated that if elected, he will concentrate on all issues affecting his district. He mentioned that he will oppose property tax increases.

He will also devote a lot of attention to seeing that his district's schools have the proper equipment to work with, including computers and books. Como further mentioned that he will work to obtain financial resources to revitalize the community and encourage small business enterprises. He said he will devote his full time to being a councilman.

"I am sure once everyone knows about the special election and they have the opportunity to see my background, experience and everything I've been working for during the past 15 years, they will realize that I am the best candidate for the job," Como said.

The last candidate in this special election is Charles Ober, from the Ridgewood area of the 30th Council District and the vice president of the Ridgewood Property Owners and Civic Association. He holds an MBA in business administration and works in corporate finances. Through his civic association he has worked on issues affecting his community, including obtaining more of a police presence, enforcing zoning regulations, stopping overdevelopment, combating drug traffic and generally dealing with quality of life matters.

Ober is also president of the Ridgewood Democratic Club and in that capacity has worked on past political campaigns. It should be mentioned that state Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan (D-Ridgewood), of the 37th Assembly District, is a club member. Through his leadership roles in these community organizations, Ober hopes to obtain the support necessary to put together an effective campaign organization for the 30th Council District race. Although Ridgewood is not a large part of the district, it nevertheless plays an important role in southwest Queens.

"My background in the community civic association and working on issues important to the residents of this district during the past years, including knowledge of business finances during these economic times, gives me the experience to affect change in this district," Ober said about his chances of winning.

All four candidates mentioned in this column have impressive credentials and strong political bases from which to operate. They all are optimistic about their chances of winning. With two Republicans and two Democrats splitting their parties' votes, it may depend on which candidate is the most successful in getting his or her supporters to the polls on Election Day. There will be no mention of party affiliation on the ballot for this special election. All candidates will be running as independents with other party names.

There is also the possibility that other candidates may join the race, thereby giving the registered voters of the 30th Council District a wide choice. With the petition drive lasting only about 12 days, and 2,700 signatures needed to qualify as a candidate, it is going to be a difficult race. A lot of this will depend on which candidate has the most effective campaign organization.

Next week I will be on vacation, so this column will resume May 8.

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