Dishing with Dee: Boro Dems seem poised to play politics with Forcina

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A few sources have confirmed that the Queens Democratic organization and state Senate candidate Tony Avella are trying to push attorney Nora Marino to run in the 26th State Assembly District — Assemblywoman Ann-Margaret Carrozza’s seat — Democratic primary to divide the Italian-American community.

Marino ran against Sen. Frank Padavan in 2006, but has not been heard from in a while. The objective of this classic political move is to take votes away from the current lone Italian American in the race — Whitestone attorney Elio Forcina, an independent Democratic candidate who has been gaining steam and support in the community and is doing well raising money. Thus the power brokers are worried. They want a candidate they can control and pair with Avella to share resources.

Forcina is seen as too independent and friendly with both Dems and GOPers. Avella and the county’s chosen candidate is Ed Braunstein, a Shelly Silver aide and nephew of powerful Albany lobbyist Brian Meara. If county and Avella, who was chairman of the Italian-American Caucus in the City Council, are caught in this conspiracy to divide the Italian-American community, they will certainly run the risk of angering and alienating many Italian-American voters in Whitestone and Bayside who would then galvanize Republican Padavan, who is also of Italian descent.

Others in the race include Steve Behar, Matt Silverstein, John Duane, Carol Gresser and Michael Sais.

I also received an e-mail from Behar, a Democratic candidate running for Carrozza’s seat, about the Queens Dems’ endorsement of Braunstein for the Assembly seat. It said he was disappointed the Democratic Party chose nepotism over neighborhood. “Since the only job he [Braunstein] has ever had is with the leadership in Albany and his campaign is being backed by his super lobbyist uncle and his special interest clients,” the e-mail said, “Ed Braunstein’s candidacy represents everything that is wrong with our dysfunctional government in Albany.”

When Forcina was contacted and shown the e-mails, his comments about the Democrats allegedly trying to split the Italian-American vote were: “I hope it may be just a rumor. If not a rumor, then I am indeed deeply saddened.”

Forcina went on to say that “I would like to inform them that I am staying in the race and I am in it to win it. Both Behar and Braunstein will have to fight to the finish in order to try to be elected.”

So much for the Democratic politics in the 26th Assembly District. We shall now move on to the Queens GOP. What’s it all about, Alfie? First the Queens GOP endorsed Republican Rick Lazio. They then unendorsed Lazio. Next they endorsed Democrat Steve Levy. They then unendorsed Levy. They have now endorsed conservative businessman Myers Mermel. The only person left whom they haven’t endorsed or unendorsed is Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino.

This week I will be attending the Republican convention in the Sheraton Hotel in Manhattan. It should be one of the most interesting conventions in years. I can’t wait to hear the opinions of the Republican Party from the entire state about the Queens GOP.

What ever happened to loyalty, or is that only a word in the dictionary? According to some factions of the Queens Republicans, they are embarrassed and question the ability and competency of Phil Ragusa and Vince Tabone to run the county organization. It also brings up again the issue of the Ragusa-Haggerty controversy in some Republican circles as to who is the real county leader. I’ll have more to report next week after the convention.

It was a beautiful weekend weather-wise and we enjoyed attending and covering the College Point, Whitestone and Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day parades.

On Sunday after the College Point parade, we were invited to a barbecue at Gary Bonelli’s house in Beechhurst. On Monday after the Little Neck-Douglaston parade, we attended a barbecue at the Douglaston home of Barbara and Bill Bart.

Both barbecues were a lovely way to end the weekend.

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

Till next week, Dee.

Updated 5:46 pm, October 10, 2011
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