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Point of View: Liu has opened path for Asians, Flushing

By George Tsai

It does not come as much of a surprise, though, since term limits will force him out of office in 2009. Liu is smart, popular and has served his district well, particularly the Asian community. Apparently he sees grass-roots support beyond his district.But his constituents, particularly new immigrants, may miss his continued service. Of course, in a higher position, Liu could better serve the city's Asian community as a whole.Rumors are rife. One Chinese-language newspaper in the city says that Liu is toying with the idea of running for a citywide position, possibly comptroller or a post of that nature. Later I called his local office to confirm that report. It's sheer speculation, however. Liu told me over the phone that he would run for a yet-unspecified position but declined to elaborate on it.Liu also said he has already kicked off a fund-raising drive. Four years from now, with a big coffer and political maturity, he will be a tough candidate to beat in campaigns for a citywide or statewide position or beyond. Barring serious blunders, he will definitely achieve his cherished goal. I wish him the best of luck!Liu is the first Chinese-American ever elected to the City Council in New York City history. He has distinguished himself for his services to the city in general and to the 20th District in particular.He is perhaps a rising star in the political spotlight among Asians across the nation. You never know, someday he may find a seat in the state Legislature or emerge on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.Asians account for 10 percent of the city's population of 8 million and about 4.4 percent of the nation's population of 297,883,000, according to the latest figures. Yet, there is no Asian representative in either the state Senate or in the U.S. House of Representatives. Jimmy Meng (D-Flushing) is also the first Chinese-American elected (in November 2004) to the state Assembly. Politically, Liu and Meng are the trailblazers of the Asian community in the state of New York.I am sure there are a lot of young and well-educated Asians eager to follow in their footsteps. I am equally sure that after Liu has made his political career wish known to the public, many young Asians are waiting in the wings to take over his council seat.In the past four years, this young councilman has made a lot of visible contributions to Flushing, such as better garbage cans and cleaner streets, as well as the formation of the business improvement district, which apparently has played a big role in improving its image and environment.Besides, Liu is omnipresent in Asian community, on both happy and sad occasions. For one thing, I still want him to renew his efforts to tackle the issue over sidewalk stands. Regrettably, in November Liu withdrew the bill he introduced to curb those stands that may affect public safety.Although I have never met this gentleman, I think he is a very conscientious politician. For instance, I talked to one of John Liu's assistants at 10 a.m. about the published report, but she was hesitant to confirm it. She conveyed my question to Liu, who called me up around 10:30 that night. Since Liu was elected to the Council five years ago, there have been phenomenal physical changes in Flushing. He should be credited with some of those changes.The landscape is fast changing in downtown Flushing these days. Just look around and you will see high-rises dotting almost every corner. 2005 is perhaps the best year ever for the real estate industry in this part of Queens. An imposing building is even rising on one side of 40th Road, which often draws criticism for its outrageous traffic jam and sanitary woes. This writer has brought up this subject more than once.The sprawling Queens Crossing now under construction on 39th Avenue will be the largest commercial building in town upon its completion this year. With 12 stories, it will be the new landmark that will dwarf all others in town. And its emergence will surely brighten Flushing's image as a town of tomorrow.Flushing is doubtless an Asian town. But Queens Crossing may have the magic power to attract other ethnic businesspeople to set up shops offering quality merchandise and services, making Flushing a dynamic metropolis with diversities.According to the New York Community Times, a Chinese-language weekly, so far the management of the Queens Crossing already has received 298 applications for the 80 units in the building. Those applicants, it seems, may have to go through a lottery-drawing process to get what they want. They are mainly medical doctors and professionals. Supply cannot meet demand notwithstanding reports of looming bubble-burst in the real estate industry. It's incredible at a time when many buildings in other towns and cities remain partially vacant.This phenomenon seems to reflect what I said all along: that the real estate market in downtown Flushing would be immune to a bubble. And it's expected to remain red-hot in years to come as long as immigrants continue to pour into this region.

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