Queens Borough President Helen Marshall holds one of the most prominent elected offices in Queens. But the 83-year-old lawmaker was apparently unaware until yesterday that John Liu was running for mayor.
During the Queens Democratic Party’s endorsement event Monday, a reporter for a Chinese-language newspaper asked Ms. Marshall if she was disappointed the county hadn’t backed Mr. Liu, who lives in the borough and used to represent it on the City Council. (They backed City Council Speaker Christine Quinn instead.)
Former Councilwoman Melinda Katz raised $80,000 during the most recent filing period, placing her total at $489,313 raised thus far, her campaign for Queens borough president announced this morning.
“We’re in great shape going into our final push to hit the max by the July filing,” a campaign source wrote to Politicker in an email.
State Sen. and Queens borough president candidate José Peralta, who was among the seven lawmakers secretly recorded by ex-Sen. Shirley Huntley, has been racking up legal bills, spending tens of thousands of campaign dollars on lawyers’ fees.
Since December, 2011, Mr. Peralta’s senate re-election and 2013 borough president campaigns have spent a combined $53,500.00 in fees to Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP, one of the city’s top election law firms, city and state finance records show. That includes $22,500 in payments from Mr. Peralta’s campaign for borough president–about a quarter of the total $88,873 the campaign has spent so far, the filings show.
Last night, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz gave the last “State of the Borough” speech of his 12-year career in the office, and he made sure it was a colorful one, complete with exploding fireworks and a rapping Tony Danza. For his part, Mr. Markowitz himself took on the roles of a talk-show host, comedian and actor–the last featuring a “demo reel” where, among other things, he dons a hoodie for a scene in Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing and dresses up as Captain America.
“With only a few months left in my term, I have to start thinking about a career after the Borough Presidency,” Mr. Markowitz explains. “So, I put together my personal demo reel of auditions for major motion pictures filmed right here in Brooklyn. So, lights, camera, action!!”
As the fiery Rev. Rubén Díaz Sr., a New York State Senator, thundered against same-sex marriage in the nation’s capital, his son, Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr., was about to do the very opposite. The younger Díaz was joining a wave of politicians who have recently reversed their positions in favor of gay marriage, but his father said he was unswayed by the momentum against him.
“Marriage is sacred. Marriage is an institution established by God and it should stay that way,” he said. “The majority is not always right. 2,000 years ago the majority chose the rabbi and rejected Jesus. Now, the majority are rejecting the Bible and not choosing Jesus. I know my conviction and I know I will not change my view. I could be only one in the whole world and I would not change my view.”
The Vallone Zone
“Queens is discriminated against on an almost daily basis,” Councilman Peter Vallone told Politicker last week at Dark Horse, a restaurant near his City Council office.
“Things happen to Queens that would never happen to another borough,” he said, sipping a Stella Artois and taking bites of blackened salmon. “They’d never rename the Brooklyn Bridge. They’d never rename the Manhattan Bridge. Queensboro Bridge is renamed, nobody says a peep. Nobody makes a peep other than me.”
Mr. Vallone, a candidate for borough president, complains that Queens “hasn’t had a bully in the pulpit,” and he would like to change that.
The Vallone Zone
Queens Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. will announce his bid for Queens Borough President tomorrow, a Democratic source with knowledge of Mr. Vallone’s plans confirmed. Mr. Vallone will make his announcement at his father’s holiday party in Astoria. Peter Vallone Sr., the former City Council Speaker, is hosting the bash at the restaurant Don Coqui. The invitation noted the event will include “an announcement as to Council Member Vallone’s future political plans at the party, because he wants those closest to know first!”
king of queens
State Senator Tony Avella, an outspoken Queens pol who has been mulling a run for borough president for some time, is ready to pull the trigger and announce his campaign. And he’s not holding back criticism against the term-limited incumbent, Helen Marshall, and her handling of post-Hurricane Sandy efforts.
“I thought we should have had a much more active borough president and much more of a coordinating effort from the office of the borough president,” Mr. Avella told the Times Ledger. “That convinced me Queens needs a voice.”
Hurricane Sandy has apparently brought together a pair of borough presidents who previously clashed over pop sensation Lady Gaga. The last time we saw Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer mentioned in the same breath, they had a tiff over Mr. Molinaro’s claim that Ms. Gaga was “a slut.” Now, they have teamed up for post-Sandy relief work in Staten Island.
Yesterday morning, Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro expressed his frustration with the lack of help his borough has received after it was devastated by Hurricane Sandy by yelling at the Red Cross in the middle of a press conference and even urging people to cease giving the charity money. Later that day, Mr. Molinaro went on Anderson Cooper 360 to say the Red Cross has finally showed up to help Staten Island.