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The city’s mayoral candidates were put on notice that, as of Monday, they had 76 days to show the voters of southeast Queens they are more than just a stop on the campaign trail.
City Councilman Ruben Wills (D-Jamaica) climbed a ladder near the corner of Sutphin Boulevard and Liberty Avenue and, with a red marker, scrawled out the number of days left until the Nov. 1 general election.
“We are here to wake up our communities from the slumber that has been induced by term after term of being asked to the dance and then being stood up,” he said with his feet on terra firma. “What we want to find out today is: What are the candidates running for mayor for this city going to do after that? What are you going to do after the primary and after the general?”
The sign invited passersby to chime in on Twitter with their community concerns using the hash tag #WhatAboutUs?
Southeast Queens has already hosted two mayoral forums, but the members of the What About Us Concerned Citizens Committee said they did not believe a forum is the best venue to have a meaningful conversation with the candidates.
Pastor Larry Davidson, of the Resurrection Celebration Center in South Jamaica, urged the media to forget about the “circus atmosphere” on the campaign trail and focus on the issues that matter.
“Our concerns — social, economic and environmental — should not be taking a back seat to one’s indiscretions,” he said. “We are simply saying to the mayor’s office and whoever will become the next leader of New York City, ‘Please don’t forget about us. We are here.’”
Nicole Paultre-Bell, whose fiance was killed by police on the eve of his wedding in 2006, said access to affordable, quality daycare was on the top of her list of concerns.
The committee has organized six community tour dates in late August and early September when candidates can visit community groups, houses of worship and even peoples’ homes for dinner, Wills said.
Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan), he added, had already confirmed she would attend one.
Quinn was conspicuously absent from the two mayoral forums, but Wills said that since he was a member of the Council he would refrain from commenting on how the community felt.
Paultre-Bell, however, offered up her view.
“I think it’s every candidate’s responsibility to make it out here,” she said.
Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4574.
©2013 Community Newspaper Group
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