Dishing with Dee: Candidates for city, boro races appear at Bay Terrace center

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Mother Nature did herself proud. She supplied us with a glorious weekend weather-wise. One feels sad to see the official end of summer, although this year weather-wise it wasn’t one of our best. We still have an Indian summer to look forward to and those are usually rather beautiful days.

Now that the primaries are almost upon us, everyone seems to be in a dither doing their best to try and catch the brass ring for their particular position of choice. Although there are many contenders, there can only be one winner. Who will it be?

It seems this year there are many more candidates for the available seats than ever before. Maybe the economy and loss of many jobs makes a political job seem much more palatable. Unless you goof up, it’s a guaranteed job for four years. Even at that you would have to do some pretty serious goofing to get unseated.

One of the best meet the candidates nights I have attended this season was on the night of Sept. 1 at the Bay Terrace Jewish Center. The event was produced by the Bay Terrace Alliance. Not only did they have all seven local candidates running for the 19th City Council District, which is Bay Terrace’s district, but they also had the candidates for many citywide offices.

The ones who attended were mayoral candidate Tony Avella; city comptroller candidates David Yassky, David Weprin, Melinda Katz and John Liu; public advocate candidates Eric Gioia, Norman Siegel and Alex Zablocki; borough president candidates Helen Marshall and Mark Leavitt; and of course candidates Debbie Markell, Jerry Iannece, Dan Halloran, Paul Vallone, Tom Cooke, Steve Behar and Kevin Kim who are all running for the 19th Council District seat presently held by Avella.

Mark Green is also running for the public advocate’s slot, which he had held previously, but this night he was a no-show due to a prior commitment, I guess. The rumor mill has it this may be our last elected public advocate. It seems the powers that be would like to do away with the position, as they believe it duplicates many services other agencies provide and in these tough economic times corners must be cut wherever possible.

Kudos to the Bay Terrace Alliance for providing us with a bird’s-eye view of the other potential electeds, not just our locals. After all, the others also have an impact on our lives as well. It’s nice to hear them one-on-one rather than read canned press releases or hear professionally prepared TV commercials. Now the question is which ones will the voting public decide they think is best suited for the jobs?

On Wednesday night the same old 19th District candidate faces showed up at a different place — this time at the Bayside Historical Society in the beautiful Officers Club at Fort Totten. That meet the candidates night was sponsored by the Broadway-Flushing Civic Association. Each candidate was asked his or her position on landmarking even if the homeowner didn’t want his home receiving landmark status and if they thought the homeowner should be forced to do so.

Another issue posed to the candidates was that of eminent domain for uses other than the city’s or state’s need to acquire the land for highway, bridge, tunnel or airport purposes.

The third issue was the chopping down of trees. We all know the strip of land between the sidewalk and the street belongs to the city and there is a hefty fine involved if you cut down one of the city trees, planted by the city on that strip. Everyone agrees trees are a good thing in general, but some in the Broadway-Flushing group think you should be able to prevent a homeowner from chopping down trees on his own property.

I agree that stately old trees are beneficial for more reasons other than just their landscape appeal, but I think that type of mandate is going a bit too far. It would seem more agreeable to convince the owners that it would be beneficial to them and the neighborhood to have an abundance of trees. If the power of persuasion fails, in the final analysis it is the homeowner’s choice. This type of proposal has a decidedly big brother attitude. The moderator of the evening’s event was Paul Graziano.

That’s it for this week.

I look forward to hearing from you with information on people, parties and politics or gossip.

I like receiving your voice mails at 718-767-6484, faxes at 718-746-0066 and e-mails at

Don’t forget to check out the Focus on Queens page.

Till next week, Dee.

Posted 6:29 pm, October 10, 2011
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