Mayor Michael Bloomberg looked at the crowd packed into his Sunnyside office that opened last week and noted the diversity.
“There are Latinos, Asians, Filipinos,” Bloomberg began.
“And Dominican Republicans!” one woman shouted.
“Peru in the house!” a man said, banging his hand against the wall.
“Michael Bloomberg, Peru esta contigo,” another Peruvian told the smiling mayor, who as a native English speaker was a minority in the campaign office on Greenpoint Avenue that officially opened Sept. 2.
“This country needs more immigrants, not less,” Bloomberg told the crowd, to whom he partially addressed in Spanish and which responded with cheers and shouts of, “Quatro anos mas [four more years].”
The independent mayor, who is being challenged by city Comptroller Bill Thompson, a Democrat, and City Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside), conceded to the enthusiastic audience that “this is not going to be an easy campaign.”
“You have to explain this is what we’ve done, and it ain’t perfect, folks,” Bloomberg said. “But it is in the right direction.”
Bloomberg emphasized the need to “help the city’s middle class,” including preventing foreclosures, coming to the aid of those who have already lost their homes and making mass transportation more affordable.
“We’ve just started,” Bloomberg said of his administration. “We’re the poster child for the rest of country for what a big city can do.”
Bloomberg’s bid for a third term in the city’s highest office got a boost from borough immigrant community leaders Sept. 2 who praised what they said were the mayor’s immigrant-friendly policies.
“He has been a real friend to the immigrant community,” said Bryan Pu-Folkes, a Jackson Heights resident and immigration attorney whose mother comes from Burma and father from Jamaica. “He enacted laws that required translation in the public school system.”
Pu-Folkes was one of two individuals who addressed the crowd last week, along with the Bloomberg campaign’s senior adviser for Latino affairs, Guillermo Linares.
“We have a champion for education for our children,” Linares said. “He has created jobs and supported small businesses.”
Bloomberg picked up several endorsements from leaders of the Queens Latino community last week, including Miguel Lopez of the Committee of Political Latino Americans, Oswaldo Guzman of the Ecuadorian Civic Committee of New York, Carlos Zamora of the Ecuadorian Civic Center, Lucy Mas Harris of Feria Internacional del Peru and Gerardo Chang, founder of Club Peru de NY.
“Under Mayor Bloomberg’s leadership, we have seen communities of all different backgrounds come together in the shared goal of improving our city,” said Guzman, originally from Ecuador.
Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at agustafson
©2009 Community News Group
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