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Dishing with Dee: Chinese biz, gay pride events draw VIP crowds

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The seminar was conducted by both current President Daniel Peterson and former President Robert Hornak. Robert Hornak is going to run for Peter Vallone Jr.'s Council seat in Astoria. We understand that Vallone has his eye on the borough president's position. Peter, as you know, will be term-limited out in 2009. Good luck to both gentlemen, as they are both assets to the Queens political circle. Friday evening, Terrace on the Park was packed to capacity in order to celebrate the 26th annual Flushing Chinese Business Association banquet. Peter Koo of Starside Drugs is the president of the association. Koo, we understand, has his eye on Toby Ann Stavisky's Senatorial seat. Again, these two persons are also very fine qualified candidates. As we were entering Terrace on the Park to attend the Chinese event, we ran into Judy and Tony Avella, who were both leaving to attend another event.The guest list for the Chinese businessmen's event was very impressive. Among those in attendance were the director-general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York, Ambassador Kenneth K.M. Liao, U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley, state Sen. Frank Padavan, Assemblyman Mark Weprin, Councilman John Liu, former Queens Borough President Claire Shulman and City Council candidate Debbie Markell. Association President Peter Koo was ably assisted by Assemblywoman Ellen Young. The duo made excellent emcees. I sat at the table with five of my serious ladies-night-out girlfriends: Debbie Markell, JoAnn Ariola, JoAnn DeMartino, Grace Barberi and Myra Baird-Herce. We ladies always manage to have a good time in each other's company. An interesting man I met at the dinner was John Tandana, who is the vice president of the United Nations Association of the United States of America and the business council for the United Nations-Queens chapter. Another interesting man I had a conversation with was Jerry Pi, who is the founder of Pi Development LLC, Pi Management Associates LLC and Victoria Cruises Inc. As you can see, Jerry is a real innovative businessman who hails from Woodside. The Asian influence in Queens is responsible for the exciting, upbeat experience that visiting Flushing has become. Those of you who have lived here can remember that 20 years ago Flushing was a rather sad and sorry example of urban decline. Congratulations to our Asian neighbors for a job well done.Saturday night we joined one of my favorite fun groups. It was the 15th annual Queens Winter Pride Dinner Dance at the Astoria World Manor. Among this year's honorees were Assemblyman Daniel J. O'Donnell of the 69th Assembly District. He is the first openly gay man in the New York State Assembly and was born in Queens. O'Donnell's award presentation was made by Ari Gershman. The other honoree was Matt Foreman, who has been the executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force since May 2003. Matt Foreman's award presentation was made by both Hank Krumholz and Stewart Kessler.The Winter Pride guest list is always one of the most impressive. I will try to name as many as I can remember. If I overlook a few, please forgive me - it is not intentional. The number of VIPs at the dinner was so mind-boggling it is difficult to remember them all. Some of the VIPs were City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Deputy Queens Borough President Karen Koslowitz, state Sen. Thomas Duane and his brother John, Jeff Simmons representing city Comptroller Bill Thompson, Judges Bernice Siegal and Rudy Greco, U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley, Assemblymen Mark Weprin and candidate for the 29th Council District Lynn Schulman.Congratulations to Danny Dromm and friends of the Queens Lesbian and Gay Pride Committee on doing their usual excellent job. That's for this week. I always look forward to hearing from you directly with information on people, parties, politics or some plain old-fashioned gossip.I also like to receive your voice-mail t 718-767-6484, your faxes at 718-746-0066 and your e-mail at deerrichard@aol.com.Till next week, Dee.

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