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Dishing With Dee: A week that contained two political stunners

By Dee Richard

One of the two political blockbusters this past week was Friday's decision by federal Judge John Gleeson that the process for selecting State Supreme Court judges in New York is unconstitutional. He ordered an immediate halt to the current practice of back room wheeling and dealing by party bosses. Judge Gleeson decided that justices should be nominated by primary elections, so that the people vote for their choices and the party bosses do not make the selection for them. Speaking of party bosses, all of them must be in a state of shock due to the unexpected judicial decision. The second blockbuster was Eliot Spitzer's decision to ask state Senate Minority Leader David Paterson to be his running mate. That decision also seemed to shake up a few of the power brokers and ruffle the feathers of others. It seemed they were not consulted nor was their opinion solicited. With this new development it would seem the ball is now in Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi's court. Suozzi, a Democrat, is expected to run for governor. We can't help but wonder what his next political move will be. On Saturday the Independence Party held a seminar in its “Politics for the People Series,” entitled, “Hands off Term Limits.” Attorney Harry Kresky and Cathy Stewart represented the Independence Party; the third person on the dais was City Councilman Leroy Comrie, who espoused the opposite point of view. It was conducted in a good-natured informal way. The position of the Independence Party was that the people have voted twice against tampering with term limits, and they also felt it didn't seem to be a smart political move to defy the electorate for your own personal gain. It did seem to be rather self-serving for the Council members to vote to extend their own limits. What makes it even worse was that they did not intend to present to the public their intentions in the form of a referendum, but rather they were going to pass a law for themselves, by themselves, behind closed doors. The Independence Party thought felt that this was indeed a conflict of interest. The conference was held at the Zenon Taverna in Astoria. It was a most informative afternoon, but it is our opinion the Independence Party won that discussion hands down.On Tuesday evening the Bayside Hills Civic Association had an interesting program. It was a debate between Democratic Bush basher Chet Szarejko and Republican Bush supporter Greg Menken. Chet is the co-president of the New Americans Democratic Organization, while Menken is the New York regional director of the Republican Jewish Coalition. The two men batted their opinions back and forth. Both managed to handle themselves rather well. But again not only from our point of view but also from the comments of the attendees we feel Menken won that one. The civic association plans to celebrate its 70th anniversary on May 20 with a dinner at the Bayside Historical Society at Fort Totten. Thursday was a busy day. It started off with a breakfast at the Roma View in Howard Beach given by the Queens County Republican Organization. The purpose of the breakfast was to introduce John Spencer, who intends to run for the U.S. Senate. Spencer was the mayor of Yonkers for two consecutive terms. During his tenure Yonkers, the fourth largest city in New York state, saw an unprecedented rebirth.Early Thursday evening the Board of Elections held a 25th anniversary party for Barbara Conacchio at Antun's in Queens Village. It was a veritable who's who in politics. Every elected official has to interact with the Board of Elections continuously. Apparently everyone loves Barbara, as the turnout was tremendous to help her celebrate her 25 years with the Board of Elections.We don't have room to list all the attendees but one that we must list was none other than Paterson and, of course, everyone there peppered him with questions as to his decision to become Spitzer's running mate. We have crossed paths with Paterson at many Democratic events and have always found him to be charming, witty and well informed.Our last stop Thursday evening was at the Villa Russo in Richmond Hill. That event was the Women's Republican Club of Queens' Winter Awards Gala. The honoree was Arlene Fuimano. Guest speakers were Board of Elections Commissioner Anthony Como and state Sen. Serf Maltese, the Queens County Republican Chairman.At the dinner, officials introduced K. T. McFarland, a dynamic woman who is planning to run for Carolyn Maloney's Congressional seat. Spencer also attended that dinner. Good luck to all the candidates, both Democratic and Republican. As we stated before, this is definitely not going to be a dull election year. Congratulations are in order to Eric Gioia and his wife, Lisa, who are expecting their first baby; to Anthony Como and Tiziana Mazzaferro on their engagement; to Lauren Cacioppo on her admission to the state bar; and to Cassandra Mullen, who has been appointed a judge on the Court of Appeals.That's it for this week; we look forward to receiving you voice mails at 718-767-6484, your faxes at 718-746-0066 and your e-mails at deerrichard@aol.com Don't forget to check out the photos on the “Focus on Queens” page. Till next week, Dee

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