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Did this really happen in 2012? Did a candidate running in a primary for the state Senate attempt to win by accusing his opponent of having dinner with a gay colleague?
Although it’s hard to believe, it appears to be true. In the Republican Party primary in the 15th Senate District, Juan Reyes distributed anti-gay fliers attacking his opponent, City Councilman Eric Ulrich. In addition to noting that Ulrich and his wife had dinner with a gay colleague and his partner, he accused Ulrich of hiring an openly gay chief of staff and another gay staffer.
The tactic didn’t work: Ulrich won more than two-thirds of the vote.
The 15th District includes Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Glendale, Middle Village, Woodhaven, Maspeth and parts of South Ozone Park, Rego Park, Ridgewood and Sunnyside. This was once home to the fictional Archie Bunker, but much has changed since he was on TV.
Ulrich will now face incumbent Sen. Joseph Addabbo, who has held the seat since 2008.
In his mailer, Reyes called his opponent “gay-friendly” and not a “real conservative.”
Nevertheless, Reyes’ campaign consultant, Gerry O’Brien, insisted the mailing wasn’t gay-bashing. Reyes, he said, only wanted to point out that Ulrich had flip-flopped on his position on gay marriage.
After winning, Ulrich said, “You don’t have to get in the gutter, you don’t have to employ negative campaign tactics — you can win with a positive message.”
There’s no denying Reyes took the low road and, fortunately, it didn’t work.
The Soda Police
It happened. The city Board of Health voted last week to ban the sale of sugary soda larger than 16 ounces in certain venues.
In response, much has been said about the overreach of the Nanny State.
The critics may be right, but we see a larger problem when a regulation passed by a board affects millions of people. If the city is going to dictate to hundreds of fast-food and other businesses in every borough, shouldn’t the Council be involved?
Perhaps the ban is a good idea, but so is democracy. Mayor Michael Bloomberg is a lame duck and, by extension, so is the Board of Health. It’s a little scary that a regulation with this much impact could be passed without the Council’s input.
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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