Dishing with Dee: Braunstein holds fund-raiser for his run at Carrozza’s seat

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I hope everyone enjoyed Mother’s Day whether it was your day as a mother or you helped your own mom celebrate her day. Remember, mothers are the greatest supporters you will ever be lucky enough to have, so make sure you treasure them.

This as usual has been a busy week. At lunchtime Friday we ran into Elio Forcina, Mario D’Elia and Peter Zucarella — all of whom were having lunch at the Whitestone Diner.

Elio took the opportunity to inform me he thinks he is the best candidate for state Assemblywoman Ann Carrozza’s 26th District seat because he is a moderate Democrat and not an extreme liberal, which would not work well in this particular community. He is also a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, a small business owner as well as a lifelong Whitestone resident and as such appeals to the traditional Italian voters in this area — the same swing voters that elected Republican City Councilman Dan Halloran, also a moderate.

On Saturday at lunch time, we bumped into Bob Schwartz and Mitch Schwadron enjoying bagels in the bagel store on 41st Avenue and Bell Boulevard. They were discussing the possibility of Schwartz obtaining two sets of petition signatures: one for state Sen. Toby Stavisky’s seat and one for Carrozza’s seat. The reasoning behind that decision was to give Schwartz time and opportunity to decide which way he has a better shot at winning.

Oh, well — chalk all of the above off as a typical Schwartz moment. You know you can’t make this stuff up.

I had stopped in for a bagel before I was due at Ed Braunstein’s fund-raiser from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Bourbon Street next door. Braunstein is also a Democrat running for Carrozza’s seat.

I had never met Braunstein before and must say I was impressed. It turns out he is the nephew of Brian Meara, a longtime friend, and is also from a politically active local Bayside family. In fact, a remark was made in jest that if all the Mearas along with their friends and family turned out to vote for Braunstein, he was a shoe-in as there were so many of them. A distinct possibility!

An interesting group showed up at the fund-raiser for support. Aside from Brian and all the other Mearas, there was Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Democratic District Leader Joe Bechtold and Frank Skala and Andrew Rothman — both of Community Board 11. Even Bob Schwartz wandered in from the bagel store next door to see what was going on, as well as probably hoping for a possible photo op. Political types surely are a rare breed.

According to the rumor mill, former Councilman Tony Avella, who is running against Sen. Frank Padavan for his seat, said that he, Avella, hopes to have some impact in the Democratic Party’s choice for the Assembly seat. As he said, they both must work together. I don’t know why that is necessarily true, as Carrozza, a Democratic assemblywoman, and Padavan, a Republican senator, managed to work well together in taking care of the area’s issues for many years.

Now that we are officially back in the swing of things, we covered two big important events at Terrace on the Park. One was on Thursday for Queensborough College; the other on Saturday for the Queens Symphony Orchestra, where city Comptroller John Liu was the honoree.

Both events were for great causes, but both also noted that the support this year was not as good as other years, due I guess to the lackluster if not downright depressing turn of events in the economy. They are saying there seems to be some glimmers of encouragement in certain sectors of the economy. Let’s hope it continues.

We were invited to a number of other upcoming fund-raisers this week, so next week we can report on the doings of all the other candidates running for political office, as we do not wish to leave anyone out.

For those of you who have expressed confusion about the schedule of both my column as well as my Focus on Queens pages, it is as follows: the column will appear every Thursday and there will be two photo pages every other Thursday.

That’s it for this week.

I look 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

Don’t forget to check out the Focus on Queens pages.

Till next week, Dee.

Updated 5:50 pm, October 10, 2011
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