Candidates in Queens beep race meet in Bayside
by Andrew Shilling
Apr 03, 2013 | 855 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Peter Vallone Jr. addresses the Bayside audience at the Clearview Golf Course Clubhouse
Peter Vallone Jr. addresses the Bayside audience at the Clearview Golf Course Clubhouse
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Melinda Katz
Melinda Katz
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Barry Grodenchik
Barry Grodenchik
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Bayside stayed out late last Thursday night as Borough President candidates; Tony Avella, Leroy Comrie, Everly Brown, Barry Grodenchik, Melinda Katz, Jose Peralta and Peter Vallone, Jr. met for an open forum, sponsored by the Bay Terrace Community Alliance last week at the Clearview Golf Course Clubhouse at 202-12 Willets Point Blvd.

Each candidate introduced their campaign and credentials, and went on to answer the community's concerns regarding the importance of community boards, the development of parkland, and a number of other issues posed from the packed clubhouse.

They also discussed hospital care, garbage pickup, irresponsible development, and a number of other topics posed by the audience of community members and civic leaders.

Much of the room showed strong support for candidate Tony Avella, who currently represents the area in the State Senate, but voters also got to meet the rest of the candidates as well.

Melinda Katz, a former member of the City Council, fielded many questions regarding education and neighborhood preservation and briefly discussed infrastructure development.

State Senator Jose Peralta showed his support for a Flushing Meadows-Corona Park conservation committee, as concern over a number of possible developments in the park was a debated topic at the forum.

Councilman Peter Vallone, Jr. showed his skepticism over the proposed Major League Soccer stadium and debunked the Willets Point Casino myth.

“There is no casino folks, that’s ridiculous,” Vallone said, adding residents deserve attention and involvement in the Willets Point Development Plan. “I want to see that development happen, because that can’t stay the way that it is.”

Councilman Leroy Comrie disagreed during his time addressing the crowd, and said he thought the soccer stadium is in fact a “responsible development.”

This was also the first chance for many in the audience to get to hear from candidate Everly Brown, a Queens businessman and former candidate for Assembly, City Council, State Senate and District Attorney.

“All politicians do nothing, say nothing. They are trash,” Brown said of his opponents, proclaiming his campaign as the alternative option and only solution for the borough. “There will be no change in Queens if these guys are elected. Change can only come through me.”

After his abrupt speech and brief questioning period, he added that he would be in favor of allowing Walmart into Queens.

James Trikas, representing the Queensboroough Hill Civic and East Flushing Hill Civic associations, felt as though his question was granted the typical political rhetoric when he asked whether the candidates would support legislation making it mandatory that store signs be at least 60 percent English throughout the borough.

“They definitely dodged my question and intentionally dodged it,” Trikas said. “It is the universal language and it is the official language of almost 70 percent of U.S. states.”

Although Robert Fredrich, president of the Glen Oaks Village co-op, thought he too was dodged from time to time, he did however find the meeting useful and necessary at this stage of the race.

“I thought it was great way to get to know the candidates, but I just wish we had more time and fewer candidates so we could probe more into their thinking,” Fredrich said. “I think candidates touch on a lot of issues that Queens is concerned about, but what happens in a forum like this is you get a lot of feel-good rhetoric.”

Warren Schreiber, president of the Bay Terrace Community Alliance, moderated the event and asked many of the questions.

“You can see people’s personalities, you can tell whether they were sincere, whether they answered the question the way you wanted them to,” Schreiber said. “It was beneficial to the candidates.”

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