Dishing with Dee: Queens voters can expect slight changes at polls

By Dee Richaard

Here are some helpful hints for all you voters out there — and I do hope you exercise your right to vote. The Board of Elections is trying to make the process much faster and easier.

Super Tuesday, March 2, is Presidential Primary Day, but you must be a registered Democrat to vote on that day, as the Republican Party has no presidential primary in this election.

The board will mail you a 5-by-8-inch yellow card with your name, address and election and Assembly districts. It will also include the address of your polling location. If you bring the card with you it will help speed things up by saving everyone time and energy.

They are also instituting a procedure this year that requires all voting machines to have a release lever. This means that after you push the large red handle to the right you must cast your vote before you can return the handle to the left. The installation of this device prevents the electorate from losing its vote.

Often in the past they would push the lever right and left before they cast their vote and thereby they lost the opportunity to make their choice known. At that point if they still wanted to vote they had to go down to West Street in Long Island City where a judge would have to sign a form, which they would then have to bring to their polling place and start all over. This new procedure prevents that possibility. Congratulations to the Board of Elections for entering into the 21st century.

In my Jan. 15 column I reported that Robert Cornicelli was one of two candidates challenging U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman for the fifth congressional seat. Not so. Cornicelli has decided to run instead against U.S. Rep. Steve Israel for the second congressional seat.

Whatever his reasons were for his changing venue — and no one seems quite sure what they were — my sources tell me his decision was tantamount to committing political suicide. If the sources are correct, he did all this on his own without consulting the powers that be. It doesn’t seem that anyone who has any political smarts or ambition would do something so dumb.

But again this is hearsay. I called Mr. Cornicelli three times and neither he nor anyone connected with his campaign returned my calls. If anyone has any information regarding this matter please call me, if for no other reason than to set the record straight.

The Queens Council on the Arts held its Fabulous at 40 cocktail party at Terrace on the Park. The honorees were state Sen. Serf Maltese, chairman, New York State Special Committee on the Arts and Cultural Affairs; Assemblyman Ivan Lafayette, speaker pro tempore, state Assembly; Janet Rodriguez, vice president, corporate social responsibility, J.P. Morgan Chase; James Cohn, Douglaston composer; and Tariq Hamid, president, Shaheen International.

It was a fabulous turnout with a most interesting mix of people. Someone was very lucky that evening as they raffled off a beautiful, large, framed oil painting. I don’t know who won it, but I wish it had been me. It was gorgeous. The Rockaway Artists Alliance also was there and helped make the evening a success.

The New York Press Club had a Valentine’s party at the Jolly Whaler Bar in the Madison Towers Hotel at 38th Street and Madison Avenue. It was a rather small, intimate group in a cozy lounge complete with a café singer and pianist tinkling out romantic tunes on a baby grand.

The drinks were super and the hors d’oeuvres were first-class. If you need space for a small gathering, check out this place. As usual, the Queens contingency was well-represented to show support for the press club. Some of the Queensites were Dan Andrews, Phil O’Brien, Tamara Hartman, Leo Meindel as well as Club President Rich Lamb.

The Queens Chamber of Commerce held its annual legislative breakfast at the Crowne Plaza Hotel at LaGuardia Airport. Borough President Helen Marshall reported on the State of the Borough. She had lots of good things to say about Queens’ prospects in the upcoming year. If they happen, we are well on our way to being a force to be reckoned with. Queens has been very fortunate to have had two caring, competent women at the helm — Claire Shulman and now Helen Marshall.

As they used to say in a commercial for an unmentionable product, “You’ve come a long way, baby.” If you are ever called on by either of these women to lend a hand, please help in whatever way you or your business can. They and Queens appreciate all the support they can get from our various communities.

I saw Phil Ragusa, Republican state committeeman, at a meeting the other night. Phil says he is recuperating very nicely from his recent knee replacement. He and his wife, Nellie, are the proud grandparents of a lovely new baby girl, Ava Maria. Congratulations and good wishes to the whole family.

Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s wife, Judy, was one of the guest speakers at New York Hospital’s new program, the Women’s Heart Advantage. Apparently, heart problems have become a serious issue with women, so be sure and have yourself checked out regularly.

If detected early enough, most conditions can be controlled. Your family and friends love and need you — they don’t want to lose you. So have your checkups for them if not for yourself.

Keep sending all the gossip, invitations and news to my voice mail at 718-767-6484, fax at 718-746 0066, or e-mail at deerrichard@aol.com.

Don’t forget to check the photos on the Focus on Queens page.

Till next week,


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