Incumbent Assemblywoman Marge Markey is facing a challenge from a fellow Maspeth resident. The problem with the candidacy of her opponent, Anthony Nunziato, is that he is having trouble getting an endorsement from even his own family. Yes, his own cousin, Woodside Councilman Eric Gioia has endorsed Marge Markey.
Anthony is an activist who lives in Maspeth, but has not been successful getting support from the key Maspeth organizations he has worked with for years. After being president of Maspeth's Town Hall for seven years, he filed a frivolous lawsuit-style complaint to the Attorney General against the important Maspeth non-profit after-school conduit agency.
He also spearheaded a protest against a local bank because he thought the bank should control the owners of a property for which they had provided a mortgage. He did not want to understand that the bank is not allowed to do that. He is sometimes well intentioned, but usually talks in circles, with the skill to be charming and engaging. Being bitter and grumpy doesn't work in politics. He falls short of understanding how to work with the movers and shakers in city or state government to get important things accomplished.
Marge Markey, on the other hand, has brought home the bacon for Maspeth, Woodside and Jackson Heights since being elected to the Assembly. The Democrat, who lives in Maspeth, has been a sparkplug for getting funds for street improvements to Grand and Roosevelt avenues, as well as spearheading the sound barrier program along the Long Island Expressway in Maspeth.
Markey has established herself as someone who matters up in the government in Albany. She has been Albany's “go-to” assembly member when it comes to children's rights and protection from child predators. According to Albany insiders, her child protection bills have a good chance of passing both houses this session, especially if the Senate flips to the control of the Democrats.
State Senator Serphin Maltese
For State Senate in the 9th District in Queens, Councilman Joe Addabbo is looking to move up to Albany and take the seat away from the 20-year senator from Middle Village, Serf Maltese. The seat runs from the Rockaways to Maspeth.
Maltese admits that two years ago his supporters did not think his challenger, Al Baldeo, was a serious threat to take the seat. Maltese narrowly won then, and he says it put a fire in his belly.
"Being a state legislator is largely about bringing money to the district and sponsoring bills which help the people in the district,” he told us during a recent sit down.
During his tenure, Maltese has been behind or a sponsor on literally hundreds of different pieces of legislation that have become law.
A peek at his bills shows Maltese has focused on making sure veterans are taken care of and has been supportive of countless pay raises and benefit packages for law enforcement officers, as well as passing animal advocate laws. Being a Republican senator in a Republican-controlled house has enabled him to secure millions of dollars for groups in the district.
Councilman Joe Addabbo is well liked throughout the City Council and in the district. He is in touch with his constituents and he comes from civic and community board roots. We tend to like legislators who have come from that kind of background because they understand the basic “quality of life” issues that have an impact on the people.
Addabbo has been effective in the Council. When kids were flooding Forest Park and parts of the Rockaways with skateboarding antics, instead of seeking to get rid of skateboarding, he secured funds to build skateboard parks. In the end, the teens could do it safely and without negatively impacting other park goers, both in Forest Park and in the Rockaways. He gets it, and we think if term limits are extended, he should be in the City Council for the next five years before taking the Senate seat.
In the Council seat for the 30th District covering Maspeth, Middle Village, Glendale, and parts of Ridgewood, Richmond Hill and Woodhaven, the special election in June of this year was won by Republican Anthony Como by less than 40 votes. Nearly 7,000 people voted in that election, where there were four candidates: two from each of the major political parties. One of the key questions we asked each of the candidates before the June special election is what they each thought they could do in three months – before this election - to prove that they were worthy of the job.
Well, Como has come to the plate and shown that he has been able to work with school officials towards a smaller high school for Maspeth at the corner of 57th Avenue and 74th Street, has set up conversations with the DEP to tackle the flooding problems in Glendale, Middle Village and in Maspeth, and he was able to handle the pressure of the mayor by voting against repealing term limits.
The bill overturning term limits passed anyway – and Como detractors said he made some kind of a deal, but we looked into the allegations and have no reason to believe that he was anything but sincere in his nay vote.
We endorsed the candidacy of Liz Crowley over Como in June, but, in an unlucky turn of events, another Democrat who decided to run took more that 700 votes from her, and she did not win. Como has had three months to show he is a formidable legislator and he has. He has worked with us, and promises to continue a communication with us to let our readers/residents be better informed of city agency activity in the district, and we believe him.
As a newspaper that covers as well advocates for the residents and businesses in the areas we cover, in the short time we have gotten to work with him we find that Como has shown that he will work with civics, the community board, and the chambers of commerce to make a better neighborhood. We give the nod to Como for City Council.
State Senator Serphin Maltese isn’t the only long-sitting state senator facing a tough re-election campaign this year from a current city councilman. Republican State Senator Frank Padavan also has a formidable challenger this year in the 11th Senate District.
Councilman James Gennaro is looking to unseat Padavan, who has served in the State Senate for over three decades. That’s an incredibly long time, and perhaps at one point Padavan was the right man for the job.
But over the years, we feel that Padavan has become increasingly out of touch with the issues that face his district. That said, if politics as usual is what you are looking for in Albany, then Padavan is probably the right man for the job. In a Republican-controlled State Senate, Padavan is effective at bringing home millions and millions of dollars in member items for his district, which he can dole out in political favors to local civics, sports organizations, etc.
But with the potential of a Senate flip to a Democratic majority, politics as usual isn’t what the city or the state needs. While Padavan has been able to secure those member items thanks to his political patronage, he has done little during his 30 years in office to address the fact that the city as a whole sends billions more in tax revenue each year to Albany than it gets back.
Politics as usual isn’t what we need right now.
There is a fragile culture of – to use a popular buzzword right now – change growing in Albany. Northeast Queens needs to send somebody like James Gennaro to Albany to grow that culture.
Gennaro has been a leader in the green movement, introducing and passing several key pieces of legislation that have made New York City a more environmentally friendly place. He could be that same type of leader in Albany.
Gennaro has been part of a City Council that has managed to work with the mayor to pass fiscally responsible budgets while doing its best to maintain vital services. Albany could use somebody like James Gennaro as the state is facing a projected budget gap in the coming fiscal year of upwards of $12 billion.
More importantly, Albany needs less politics as usual. If the voters in the 11th District re-elect Frank Padavan, that is exactly what they’ll get. For that reason, we believe that James Gennaro deserves your vote on November 4, not just because he isn’t Frank Padavan, but because he will be an outspoken leader and a voice of reason in one of the most dysfunctional state legislatures in the country.