Author Topic: City Council Candidates Forum  (Read 12144 times)

Offline v70cat

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Re: City Council Candidates Forum
« Reply #15 on: April 20, 2009, 02:48:00 PM »
I would like to hear more from Danny and Helen can we get rid of Stanley,  he is waste of the real candidates time.

Offline Chuckster

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Re: City Council Candidates Forum
« Reply #16 on: April 20, 2009, 02:59:27 PM »
I would like to hear more from Danny and Helen can we get rid of Stanley,  he is waste of the real candidates time.

I wouldn't call it a waste of time.  From what I watched, he actually had some good talking points re: Helen Sears, but he needs to address a lot more than that.
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Offline CupcakeTownie

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Re: City Council Candidates Forum
« Reply #17 on: April 20, 2009, 07:17:42 PM »
thanks for posting the videos -- and I see another event on Wednesday!   this is great!  this is very useful...    and ya gotta love the shakiness!   it's the image stabilization technology of our generation!   yu need a table-top tripod or a stick.   today with some co-workers we daydreamed of a steadicam for the flip -- any engineers out there?

thanks again, this very much appreciated!
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Offline willsweeney

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More City Council Candidates Forum Videos
« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2009, 07:11:01 AM »
Audience Questions and Candidate Responses

Question about Charter School Funding
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nE_ZKZDl9ew

Question about Building a High School in Jackson Heights
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUaHe_9i-qU

Question about Expanding Greenspace
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btnlDT54k2Y

Question about Immigrant Voting Rights
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFLin-5dM_4

Question about Helping People with Disabilities
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FX_LjaiUEE

There were more questions that night but this is all the footage I was able to record.
My camera only holds one hour of footage. :(

Offline toddg

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Re: City Council Candidates Forum
« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2009, 10:38:18 PM »
Just to reiterate, since it's been pushed down in the thread...

JFK Democratic Club hosts
CITY COUNCIL (25th District) CANDIDATES FORUM

All Candidates Have Been Invited and Are Expected to Attend
including: Daniel Dromm, Stanley Kalathara, Alfonso Quiroz, and Helen Sears

Wednesday, April 22nd 7:30pm
Community Methodist Church
81-10 35th Avenue
Jackson Heights

Free & Open to the Public

Offline CupcakeTownie

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Re: City Council Candidates Forum
« Reply #20 on: April 22, 2009, 11:12:49 PM »
I went to this, but before I give my report from it I will ask a question.  Please bear with me...

Tonight's meeting was held by the JFK Democratic Club...

As a recovering anarchist (but registered Democrat -- I used to be Green but now I'm just Blue), I'm new to party politics and the "Democratic Clubs" of Queens County (or anywhere for that matter).  I need to learn about this "club" thing and how it functions (a) within the Party and (b) as distinct by locality -- for example, are all Democratic Clubs structured the same way with respect to state law in differing states? Anyhow, I'll have to go find that out somewhere else--as it's a really basic question, I know, if you know the answer.  What I don't know, and would like to know, is what is the differences are between the JFK Democratic Club and the New Visions Democratic Club.  I know a little bit, say, by knowing that Danny Dromm was the founder of the NVDC, but only because I'm presuming that because I know a little about what he stands for, the club would hold roughly similar positions.  That "clubs" even take positions is an assumption I'm making.  So, I'm curious if there is a source for explanation of the nuances and differences in terms of history, demographics, ideology, and even gossip and personality, etc., (or whatever points of comparison one might make). Some of the same people were there but the vibe was very different. Gotta love that stage tho... and all the rude talking and kissing sounds coming from the back... Hilarious! again, another night -- Goodbye Television, hello "As the 25th Turns"

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Offline Aronan

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Re: City Council Candidates Forum
« Reply #21 on: April 23, 2009, 12:23:41 AM »
Just back from the Candidates Forum and thought I'd post my thoughts on the event for those who missed it.

The format for the evening was different from the New Visions format. Candidates were given 5 minutes to speak and then the floor was opened to a handful of questions from the audience. I'd say the event was well attended, about 70 people if not more were assembled.

Kalathara was the first to speak.  His central focus seemed to be on business development, citing his experience as a bus boy, turned real estate agent, turned real estate broker, turned restaurant owner, turned lawyer. He says he has a plan to turn Roosevelt Ave. in to a business development zone form 69th St. through 111th St. and connecting it to the Willets Point Development.  When asked about whether or not he lived in the district, he stuttered for a moment, gave out his address and invited everyone to his home on Fridays form 7pm to 9:30 to discuss community issues. He said he has about 35 or 40 chairs :). Apparently there is some concern that Kalathara doesn't actually live here.   Either way, Kalathara broadened his platform  a bit since the first debate, instead of just attacking Sears for her term limits vote, he brought up the business development idea. But, in my humble opinion, he seems more interested in the pageantry of the political process than the actual work a Council Person has to do. He is entertaining though:)

Sears followed Kalathara, and I must be honest and say that I have a hard time listening to her. She talks in odd confusing circles. I did catch the draft from the fit of rage she flew in to when she answered, or rather, didn't answer a question posed by a friend of mine. Apparently asking Sears why she felt "intimidated" and "threatened" by her constituents calling her office (her words, during the City Council hearings on term limit extensions) causes her to vomit up anger from the bowels of hell. She practically devolved in to a seething beast railing at my friend about how her office has extended hours, and people are there all the time, and that if he wanted to talk to her he should go to her office. Apparently, in order to talk to our elected official, we can not email, fax, call or write a letter to her, we can only talk to her office in person. Her fit ended as she called my friend's question "stupid". Her display was neither professional or fitting of a community leader. She should be embarrassed.  I'm not sure how insulting constituents gets one any votes. She did add a bit of levity to the evening when she mentioned that the term limits vote is a thing of the past and a non issue. Even her supporters in the audience laughed at that.

Quiroz came next and  essentially rattled off his resume. He talked about his time as a White House Intern, eventually dropping Monica Lewinski's name, his work on the Gore Campaign, Mark Green's campaign, and touched very briefly on his time as Helen Sears' deputy chief of staff, before his work as a spokesperson for Con Ed. He kept repeating how it was important to have new leadership, with fresh ideas about the issues.  He kept coming back to the word "issues", but never really identified the issues that the district is dealing with and what he would do to handle them.  That is, of course, until he was asked by a person to identify three issues he considered important. He responded with a canned response of what he calls the three "E"'s Economy, Education, and Environment. He went on about green roofs and how they were important and how Jackson Heights would make a great model community for a green roof program. Her admitted he didn't know too much about them but always had an interest, and had no answer as to how to make it actually happen in Jackson Heights. He never spoke about education or the economy. It's interesting to note, this seemingly softball question was posed to him by none other than Sears' son Stewart. One would think that Stewart might have been a bit tougher on Quiroz, assuming he supports his mother's bid for reelection. In the end, Quiroz came off as a nice guy, which I guess  he is, but not much more than that. He doesn't seem terribly serious about community issues.

Dromm ended the forum, and once again came off as prepared and passionate. He received a warm welcome from the audience and spoke with passion and conviction. He talked about his activism in the community going back several years. His work as a community organizer in the district, as well as his commitment to education. Dromm has been a public school teacher for many years, and was able to handle some pretty in depth questions about the educational system in NYC  with a clear command and understanding of the issues. He spoke about his process of coming out as a gay man in 1992, despite opposition and hatred spewed at him form all sides. He seems to have transcended his organization experiences in the GLBTQ community to the greater Jackson Heights community. Dromm mentioned that he is driven by equal rights for all, and realized that it wasn't enough to simply advocate for GLBT causes without also advocating for rights for all. I really appreciate the obvious hard work Dromm has put in to his campaign. He has been consistent with his message and it's clear he really wants the job and he wants to win it the hard way, through honest campaigning and vote by vote.          
« Last Edit: April 23, 2009, 12:29:25 AM by Aronan »
"It is widely recognized that the courageous spirit of a
single man can inspire to victory an army of
thousands. If one concerned with ordinary gain can
create such an effect, how much more will be produced by one who cares for greater things ?" -Chunag Tse

Offline Shelby2

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Re: City Council Candidates Forum
« Reply #22 on: April 23, 2009, 02:24:13 AM »
Thanks to those who provided updates.

Just wanted to mention that Stanley Kalathara has extended the invitation to have people visit his home on this board before so it looks like it is a regular thing now.  This invitation below is from a few weeks ago (April 3)

Dear Volunteer:
Needy families and individuals in our community go without proper food, shelter, and essential medical care every day due to a variety of factors including low wages, job loss, injuries, illness, age, domestic violence, or divorce. While all of us are susceptible to hard times, children and the elderly are at the most risk, and they make up the largest number of clients we serve.
Would you like to help me make a difference? We need people like you to donate time, energy, and experience,   please visit my house on all Friday’s at 7.30.p.m., at 70-48 Broadway, Jackson heights, NY 11372
Together, we will discuss share our ideas and will make difference to be able to help many of these families and individuals, but to work toward a brighter future with better programs.
Please visit me at my home and be a part of the online community at www.stanleykalathara.com.   I can be reached at 718-426-0427 or email me at Stanley@stanleykalathara.com
Thank you and I look forward meeting you!
Sincerely,
Stanley Kalathara
Candidate for City Council  District 25 (Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Rego Park )


Offline CupcakeTownie

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Re: City Council Candidates Forum
« Reply #23 on: April 23, 2009, 06:27:42 AM »
I thought Helen Sears behavior towards the person that asked that question was really disturbing.  Good thing it was caught on video.  ;)

A few people at the meeting thought we should "ask permission" to video-record (as a courtesy) before the meeting.  I'm pretty sure she, at least, would have said no. To me, asking permission opens the door for excuses as to why such an event should not, finally, be "open to the public."

Personally, I would not have brought my Flip camera had there not been Will there with his, and some other person with a camera on a tripod.

If we'd had a news truck, a flag on a mic, or some other accoutrement of professional news-gathering organizations, that wouldn't have come up. Perhaps Helen Sears will now treat all of her constituents as if each one of them is carrying a recording device. 

I used to live as a Company Townie, but now I am living in Cupcake Town.

Offline CupcakeTownie

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Re: City Council Candidates Forum
« Reply #24 on: April 23, 2009, 06:34:36 AM »
And, btw, as a newbie in the area, with an interest in public policy, human rights, social justice, bla bla bla, I've written her/her office and never heard back. Now I know to go over there--though I am probably wasting my time. Perhaps she'll be more helpful and responsive in the run-up to the election.
I used to live as a Company Townie, but now I am living in Cupcake Town.

Offline erospolitico

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Re: City Council Candidates Forum
« Reply #25 on: April 23, 2009, 08:23:12 AM »
Think about the following:

- Karen Koslowitz has stepped down as Deputy Borough President (running for City Council)

- Helen Sears is listed as undeclared (no office listed for upcoming election)

- Helen Sears has been seeking to find her way into the Borough President's Office

- The Daily News has asked Stuart Sears if he will be his mothers hand-picked successor (he avoided the question)

- Alfonso Quiroz is being praised by both Stuart and Helen Sears


The reality is apparent, that Helen Sears will drop out, to pull votes to either her son or Mr. Quiroz

Offline Chuckster

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Re: City Council Candidates Forum
« Reply #26 on: April 23, 2009, 12:44:01 PM »
I noticed toward the end of the candidates' speaking that Hiram Monserrate had arrived. Unfortunately, I had to leave right at the moment that Julissa Ferreras stepped up to speak.  Does anyone have info on what she said, and did Monserrate have anything to say?
The Chuckster has spoken!

Offline causidicus

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Re: City Council Candidates Forum
« Reply #27 on: April 23, 2009, 01:46:10 PM »
I was the individual at the JFK candidates' night who asked Council Member Sears why she never responds to constituents like me.  I have called, written, and visited her office on several issues, but only received one response and that was with indirect pressure from Speaker Christine Quinn.  (Every other elected official who represents me at the very least responds in a professional manner; I'm not sure why Council Member Sears cannot.)

I guess my reasonable question made her feel "threatened" and "intimidated," to use her own words when describing the phone calls that her office received during the term limits debacle.  http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/10/23/committee-takes-up-term-limits-bill/?pagemode=print

Council Member Sears definitely took a posture like someone who felt threatened.  Her response was full of anger and never came close to answering my question.  She certainly did not act like she wants her constituents to vote for her.

Offline willsweeney

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Re: City Council Candidates Forum
« Reply #28 on: April 23, 2009, 02:39:41 PM »
From Queens Chronicle: http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=20303502&BRD=2731&PAG=461&dept_id=574903&rfi=6
by Willow Beldon

 They’re all Democrats, but they didn’t waste time attacking each other.
   Three of the five Democratic candidates for Helen Sears’ seat in the City Council spoke at a forum hosted by the New Visions Democratic Club in Jackson Heights Thursday, explaining why they think they should be elected, and answering questions that community members posed.
   Daniel Dromm of Jackson Heights, who has been a teacher for the past 25 years, called for more emphasis to be placed on the district’s schools and on other programs for children. He promised strong support to the gay community and said he would work hard to create more green space in the area.
   â€œIn this community, it’s not that we’ve had a lack of good ideas, but that we’ve had a lack of leadership,” Dromm said. “I want to offer to people the hope that we can have things better in this community.”
   Sears, the incumbent, responded by saying, “This council has been the most progressive there has ever been in the City Council.”
   Sears said repeatedly over the course of the evening that it’s not easy to get things done in the City Council.
   â€œWe don’t overturn things on a dime,” she said, adding that she has done much for women, gays, education, healthcare and human rights during her eight years in office.
   Seemingly on the defensive all evening, Sears pointed out that she has years of experience in public office, which she said would enable her to accomplish more than her competitors. She said her priorities for the next term include the environment, healthcare, housing and providing more support for the growing senior population.
   Stanley Kalathara of Jackson Heights, who described himself as “the new kid on the block,” latched onto Dromm’s criticism of the incumbent, poking fun at Sears all evening and smiling throughout the entire forum. His comments — often beginning with phrases like “Helen Sears might have more experience on that topic, but ...” — elicited repeated laughter from the audience.
   Kalathara, an attorney and former real estate agent and restaurant owner from India, criticized Sears for running for a third term after she initially said she would only run for two terms, and he criticized her for supporting Mayor Michael Bloomberg on various issues.
   â€œDanny and Helen are part of the system — politics as usual,” Kalathara said. “I am the new vision.”
   He said 87 percent of the people in District 25 are minorities and added that as an immigrant himself, he understands their concerns and would work to bring them together.
   The 40-some audience members at Thursday’s forum were brimming with questions, and the meeting, which was supposed to be an hour, lasted almost two.
   â€œHow could you let that happen on your watch?” was a question posed to Sears on a variety of topics, from the closing of St. John’s hospital to the deterioration of the economy. The accompanying question posed to the other candidates ran along the lines of: “What would you do to fix the problem?”
   Sears responded to most questions by pointing out the factors beyond her control and adding that things would have been a lot worse without her leadership.
   Audience members said they want more schools, more green space and a community center.
   Sears said the main obstacle to all those endeavors is lack of space.
   Dromm countered that “we have to become really creative. ... We have to look at building up, or rezoning.” He said he has already been working with Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Queens/Bronx) to aquire land for a park in Jackson Heights.
   Dromm said he hopes to extend his eco-friendly agenda into the economic sector by creating more jobs in green industries.
   In addition, he said one way to boost the economy would be to “reduce some of the bizarre regulations that businesses have to go through.”
   Sears agreed that it’s a problem that start-up businesses have to go through “a myriad of layer upon layer of bungling bureaucracy” and added that she wants to allocate more money to retraining individuals who have lost their jobs.
   Kalathara made his biggest assertions of the evening in regards to the economy.
   â€œI know how to create money,” he said. “I know how to make money. I am a businessman.”
   He said one of the biggest problems in the city is high rent, which many small business owners struggle to afford.
   Of the three candidates who spoke, Sears has raised the most campaign money so far, with $110,623. Dromm has raised $79,057, Kalathara is at $29,632 and Afonso Quiroz, a fourth Democratic candidate for the District 25 seat, who was not present at the forum, has raised $62,558. The final Democratic candidate, Mujib Rahman, has not reported any campaign funds to the city’s Campaign Finance Board.
   Quiroz and Rahman were both invited to the forum but did not attend.

Offline Aronan

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Re: City Council Candidates Forum
« Reply #29 on: April 23, 2009, 03:18:05 PM »
I noticed toward the end of the candidates' speaking that Hiram Monserrate had arrived. Unfortunately, I had to leave right at the moment that Julissa Ferreras stepped up to speak.  Does anyone have info on what she said, and did Monserrate have anything to say?

Monserrate spoke very briefly and focused on Albany's plan for "bailing out" the MTA. No one had any questions for him but those of us in the front row did put on safety goggles just in case of flying glass. 
"It is widely recognized that the courageous spirit of a
single man can inspire to victory an army of
thousands. If one concerned with ordinary gain can
create such an effect, how much more will be produced by one who cares for greater things ?" -Chunag Tse

Jackson Heights Life

Re: City Council Candidates Forum
« Reply #29 on: April 23, 2009, 03:18:05 PM »