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Southeast Queens demands attention from mayoral field

Community members gather in Jamaica to call on mayoral candidates to pay attention to the issues they find most important. Photo by Rich Bockmann
TimesLedger Newspapers

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 or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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Reader Feedback

Joe Moretti from Jamaica says:
Yeah, what about us, Ruben Wills. Shouting your mouth off, in the meantime you and the other elected clowns of Jamaica have done nothing for this community. It is a mess, one big mess. Garbage all over the place (more than any other community), crime, graffiti, and tons of low class people keep moving in by the bus load. You and your clowns have done nothing to help improve Jamaica and then you are going to blame others. Take care of your own backyard, that is what you were elected for. If it was not election time and you were not trying to keep your seat, we would not hear anything from you.
Aug. 24, 2013, 7:15 pm
denise from queens says:
Ruben Wills!! Sit down and shut up. Your a lunatic and a thief who stole funds under Huntley. Get out of the council And stfu!!! Liser!!
Aug. 25, 2013, 11:53 pm
denise from queens says:
Ruben Wills your a poor excuse of a council member. Loser!! You do nothing for the community but you steal funds for the community. Loser. Get out!!!!!!!
Aug. 25, 2013, 11:55 pm
Joe Moretti: CleanUpJamaicaQueens from Jamaica says:
The whole entire Jamaica political crew needs to be run out of town, all of them have not done a thing to help improve the community of Jamaica. Talk about your black on black crime. Do you think these clowns would be able to do nothing and steal money while the community suffers if they were in a majority white community. NO. But yet they think it is totally fine for people of color to live in filth, garbage and high crime. Twelve years of Councilman Leroy Comrie is not better either. Twelve years and exactly how has the community improved under his leadership?
Aug. 30, 2013, 9:08 pm
denise from queens says:
I feel the entire council should go. The state should take over and distribute the money that is necessary to clean up and fix jamaica. No more COUNCIL MEMBERS!! We need reforms. This entire country is screwed up. No wonder terrorists hate the USA.
Sept. 7, 2013, 12:30 pm

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