Dems recruit Liu to depose incumbent

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Despite a deal between the mainline Democrats and the Independent Democratic Conference to reunite, former city Comptroller John Liu said his primary opponent, state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) is not to be trusted.

In February, the incumbent joined the IDC, which controls the Senate with Republicans, angering Queens Democrats and sparking Liu’s challenge.

“You can say you’re in favour of something, but if you then take actions that make it impossible for what you are supposably in favor of to see the light of day — that is outright duplicitous,” Liu said of Avella in an interview at TimesLedger Newspapers’ offices.

Liu blasted Avella for what he said was propping up a coalition that failed to pass progressive legislation such as the Dream Act and the Women’s Equality Agenda.

“You can say you’re for women’s equality until you’re blue in the face, but if you vote in favor of the Republican leadership, [who] you know is not going to let this bill come up for a vote, then that’s where we differ,” he said.

Liu was first elected to the City Council in 2001 to represent northeast Queens.

He became the first Asian American elected to citywide office in 2009 when he won the comptroller race.

Liu never really stopped campaigning after he tumbled out of the 2013 mayoral race in fourth place following a campaign finance investigation that snarled his bid and resulted in the conviction of an aide and a volunteer. The former comptroller was never accused of any personal wrongdoing.

After the race, he continued to hold a tireless public schedule attending events across the borough, fueling rumors he was considering a run for Congress. He also landed a gig teaching municipal finance at Baruch College, a job he intends to keep if elected in September.

The former comptroller entered talks with the Queens Democratic Party leadership to run against Avella and officially launched his campaign for District 11, which covers northeast Queens, at the beginning of the summer.

He has since put together a broad coalition of support from many Queens elected officials, including three of the borough’s congressional members and Borough President Melinda Katz. He has also amassed more than $500,000 in funds, according to campaign finance filings, far out-raising Avella.

Liu has rolled out a number of policy announcements over the last couple months, outlining his priorities in education, transportation and a number of other areas.

The Senate candidate, who chaired the Transportation Committee during his time on the Council, proposed an expansion of bus service in northeast Queens.

“People have too often referred to northeast Queens as a transit desert,” he said.

Liu lauded the effectiveness of express bus service and said he would work to create transfers for commuters who go from buses to the Long Island Rail Road.

“Express buses are a really good solution,” he said. “If you really want to ease the congestion into Manhattan and other parts of the city, you have to give people incentives. You can’t just penalize them.”

He said he has seen strong support, particularly in the areas he used to represent in the Council that are now part of Avella’s district, which covers Bayside, Whitestone, College Point, Bay Terrace, Douglaston, Hollis Hills and part of Flushing.

Reach reporter Alex Robinson by e-mail at arobi‌nson@‌cnglo‌ or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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Reader Feedback

John from College Point says:
So how much did Liu's people pay you not to mention his seemingly endless array of unscrupulous connections and scandals? Liu is the one who is not to be trusted, as Senator Avella has proven time and time again that his interest is in the district, not his own political gain. If this wasn't true Citizen's Union would not have endorsed him over Liu.
Aug. 28, 2014, 12:07 pm
anon from queens says:
Won't this nuisance ever go away?
Aug. 28, 2014, 12:49 pm
Joe Moretti from Jamaica says:
Not too be trusted. So I guess that does not apply to Liu's blatant lies on his campaign mailings which everything on them are not based on any type of truth.

Senator Avella has proven his worth and hard work to the people over the years.

Go away little puppet Liu, you are just like the majority of Queens elected officials, do nothings, dishonest, in the pockets of developers and care nothing about public service. To prove my point, the Democratic machine is backing Liu, that says everything.
Aug. 28, 2014, 2:27 pm
nauseated from queens says:
Please put this dirt bag in jail or deport him.
Aug. 28, 2014, 5:05 pm
Glen Oaks from Queens says:
Liu vs Avella is an interesting event where neighborhood is changing
Aug. 28, 2014, 6:21 pm

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