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Final candidate night before special election – QNS.com

Final candidate night before special election

A few dozen residents came to the final candidates’ forum before the 30th City Council District’s Special Election to replace disgraced councilmember Dennis Gallagher and some left with their minds made up about who they were going to vote for in the June 3 race, while others remained undecided.
“I didn’t know anything about any of the candidates,” said Catherine Osti, a longtime resident of Richmond Hill at the Richmond Hill Block Association (RHBA) forum on Wednesday, May 28. “Now, I know how I’ll vote. You can get a lot of information on a person based simply on how they can answer a question.”
The four candidates – Anthony Como, Elizabeth Crowley, Charles Ober and Tom Ognibene – started the RHBA forum by delivering seven-minute speeches introducing themselves to the crowd of more than 25 interested residents.
Como and Ognibene both stressed that experience is key and that no single issue is the most important.
“The candidate that wins must be able to hit the ground running come June 4,” Ognibene said.
Ober cited his background in business, noting that it would help the community during this time of “great economic turmoil,” while Crowley stressed education as the most important issue, expressing her desire to lower class sizes in the area.
Following their introductory remarks, the candidates fielded questions from the audience. Topics included the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), cost of living and eliminating crime in certain neighborhoods.
Overall, the crowd found the RHBA candidate night to be informative and a helpful tool in getting to know each candidate.
Joanne Franco found the forum very interesting because the candidates addressed a number of issues affecting the local community.
During the question-and-answer period, Franco asked the candidates how they would go about reducing the number of bars in certain residential areas. She found each candidate’s answer compelling, and is still undecided about the best candidate.
“It’s a toss-up,” Franco said after the event. “I have never been to this before, but they all touched on issues I feel strongly about.”
Simcha Waisman, the President of the RHBA, felt that candidate night was one of the best forums the RHBA has ever held.
“All of the candidates were very honest in their answers,” he said. “It helped me decide who I will vote for, and I can tell that if some other people came in undecided, they left having made up their mind.”
The city is holding the special election to replace former Councilmember Dennis Gallagher, who stepped down from office in April after pleading guilty to charges of sexually abusing a 52-year-old woman.

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