Political Action: Community Boards 11 doesn’t have a role in politics: Iannece

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There has been a continuing controversy over a campaign flier sent out by now-state Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Little Neck) in the closing days of the campaign against Bob Friedrich, who was running against him as a Republican in the 24th Assembly District special election held Feb. 9. The brochure included a picture of the Nazi swastika emblem, which Friedrich has charged associated his campaign with this symbol.

Friedrich has asked Community Board 11 in northeast Queens to pass a resolution condemning this act. The board, under the chairmanship of Jerry Iannece, has refused. The board members supported their chairman’s decision by voting 31-6 not to have the board deal with this matter.

In an interview with the chairman of CB 11, he gave his views on this issue. He said, “It has long been the situation that community boards do not get involved in political matters, especially political campaigns. That means we do not render or give opinions regarding what constitutes fair or ethical campaigning. For us to do so would set a precedent whereby candidates who believed that their political opponents used unethical methods against them would appeal to community boards for support.”

He indicated there could be other campaign symbols used against candidates who find the symbols objectionable besides what occurred in the special election. Iannece believes it is not the role of community boards to be arbitrators in these matters. He further indicated those types of political matters fall under the jurisdiction of the city and state Boards of Elections.

Iannece concluded by saying, “Our role is to deal primarily with urban planning, land usage and construction. We feel that Community Board 11 has made a positive contribution to our area in working to maintain and improve our quality of life.”

He also mentioned that CB 11 is in the final stage of approving the rezoning of northeast Queens.

In the 28th Assembly District, which includes Rego Park and Forest Hills, an important Assembly race is shaping up. Republican Alex Powietrzynski is challenging incumbent Andrew Hevesi (D-Forest Hills). Powietrzynski is just completing Fordham Law School as he makes his first run for public office.

At law school, he served as an associate editor on the Journal of Corporate and Financial Law. In March of this year at Fordham Law School’s annual Public Interest Student and Alumni Awards dinner, he received a Public Service Award for his dedication to public service during his law school career.

In his forthcoming political campaign, Powietrzynski intends to stress that taxes are too high and the need to increase the amount of private sector jobs to improve the economy in the state. He also calls for a reduction in state government spending. He is very interested in school reform from the standpoint that he wants to see emphasis put on developing more charter schools.

Powietrzynski believes Republicans have a much better chance this year than they have had in recent previous years. He indicated Republicans have a good idea of where they are going and how to get there.

Turning to the growth of the Tea Party movement during the past year, he said the reason for it is that the government has not been listening to the people. In his Assembly campaign, he intends to stress issues and reach the people of his district.

“The New York state government is broken and needs to be fixed,” he said.

Updated 5:46 pm, October 10, 2011
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