At the time, his probable opponent was Paul Vallone. Vallone lost the primary to Kim, who came with support from the growing Asian community and Congressman Gary Ackerman. It was a tight race between Halloran and Kim, and then the story about Halloran belonging to a pre-Christian pagan religion surfaced. Being a Republican, facing a tough opponent, and a story about his unconventional beliefs should have sunk Halloran, but he won. And now he has carved out an interesting place in city politics. He is the “every man.”
As I have mentioned before, I love this part of the city. The 19th Council District, which includes Bayside, is probably one of the most politically centrist districts remaining. Halloran has taken on a controversial police officer, the snow plowing controversy, and now a noise issue with a local auto dealership.
Most City Council members get into the constituent services groove and focus on smaller, quality-of-life issues. It is what you have to do to get re-elected. But Halloran seems to absorb the emotion of the people in his district, and his salty language reflects this.
That is not always good when you are running in a national election - even statewide elections can get derailed by a politician losing his (or her) cool - but local politics might be the exception.
Having lived in Queens my entire life, I have dealt with the noise issue – airports, neighbors, businesses, etc. If Halloran is a little too animated about this, it may or may not make good press. But if I lived across the street from a business that was disturbing the peace, I would be more than happy to have him feel my pain. If anyone thinks that local politicians do not use vernacular that is reflective of the borough itself, they must have just arrived.
Halloran has been touted by some as potential congressional timber. That may be a possibility, but Congress is a separate beast. The issues become a more national. With two years left in a term, anything can happen.
One thing is for sure, Halloran’s mouthpiece, Steven Stites, has had a busy month. First his Texas Rangers had to deal with the pesky St. Louis Cardinals, and now he has to make sure that his boss is handled fairly in the press. Unlike Texas, there are no wide open spaces in Stites’ schedule.
A Non-Muslim Fights for Islamic Rights at Catholic University (You read it right…)
John Banzhaf is a law professor at the George Washington University School of Law. He is known for bringing knee-jerk reaction legal complaints in the spirit of equality and justice. Recently, Banzhaf has issued an official complaint with the city of Washington, D.C., that Catholic University has not officially recognized what the Washington Post has reported as “non-Catholic worshiping groups.”
A common public reaction to a situation like this would be to question why students would attend Catholic University (sponsored by the bishops of the country with the approval of the Holy See) if they wish to worship during school time. But Muslim students are not making this an issue. Banzhaf, a professor from a neighboring university, has made the complaint on his own.
Most universities have denied groups official status at various times, and because Catholic University is a private institution, they probably have the constitutional ground to push back against this complaint. Banzhaf is a well-educated professor, who appears to be looking for an issue (this is the second complaint he has levied against Catholic University in a year).
I should disclose that I am a Ph.D. candidate at Catholic University. I have found that, having taught in two universities and attended three, these students are beyond respectful to one another. This university follows Catholic doctrine closely, and students and parents are made aware of this right away.
Gay students have not been happy that their group, CUAllies, has not been given university status, but they still love the university, as they fight for a place among the other campus groups. The Muslim students have also been respectful, and at this point, the issue comes only from an outside academic.