Long met with his brother, Thomas Long, and other members of the Queens Conservative Party at the American Legion in Forest Hills to discuss the state of the party, gun control, illegal immigration, same-sex marriage, campaign financing and the candidates bidding for mayor this year. Although Long did not grant his support to any of the current nominees, he did say, “We should have more people like Peter Vallone.”
Well, Vallone isn't actually running for mayor – although now maybe he should consider it! - but he is running for Queens borough president. And last week he got some good news on that front, when an independent poll was released showing him with an 11-point lead over his opponents.
Of 300 Democratic voters polled, 26 percent said they would back Vallone, followed by 15 percent for former Councilwoman Melinda Katz, 13 percent for Councilman Leroy Comrie, 12 percent for State Senator Tony Avella, and 7 percent for State Senator Jose Peralta.
Bad new is that the only candidate Vallone is trailing is Mr. Undecided; 28 percent of the voters are not sure who they are going to vote for yet in the Democratic Primary.
Incidentally, former Assemblyman Barry Grodenchik was not included in the poll. (How rude!)
• We have a feeling the mayor's not going to enjoy the upcoming race to replace him, or all of the hits he is going to take from candidates criticizing 12 years of his policies as they try to make a name for themselves and let voters know why their lives are going to be better with them in the corner office (we assume the mayor gets a corner office, he's never actually invited us) down at City Hall.
We expect a lot of criticism on issues like stop and frisk and the ban on large sugary drinks. Public Advocate – and mayoral candidate – Bill de Blasio got the ball rolling last week with a new report.
At an unrelated event on Rikers Island last week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg was forced to address de Blasio's report that charges Bloomberg's administration has hit small businesses in the outer boroughs particularly hard with excessive fines.
“Fines are very different than taxes,” Bloomberg said in response to a reporter's question. “You can't avoid taxes, fines are easy to avoid - just don't do what we are trying to prevent you from doing and you won't have a problem.”
But that was only after he issued a warning to reporters about asking him to comment on things people campaigning for his post say in the press and public.
“I'm not going to sit here and answer everyone of their campaign slogans,” the mayor warned reporters yesterday.
Oh Mr. Bloomberg, we have a feeling the slogans – and the subsequent questions – are just beginning.
• And in the category of “tell us something we didn't know,” Paul Graziano ended months of “speculation” that he would enter the City Council race in the 19th District in northeast Queens. Shh...it's a secret!
Seriously though, Graziano, an urban planner and civic activist, joins a crowded Democratic Primary that includes Paul Vallone, Austin Shafran, Matthew Silverstein, and one-time former assemblyman John Duane.
They all be vying to take on the incumbent, Councilman Dan Halloran, this November.