3 candidates battle in race for 16th Senate District

By Dee Richards

Two more weeks and summer is over. Where did it all go?

Thursday, state Sen. Serf Maltese (R-Glendale) held his annual “Serfs Up” Hawaiian luau at the Roma View in Howard Beach. The crowd filled the main room and half the adjoining room. Most guests were in Hawaiian shirts and everyone sported a lei, which put everyone in a tropical party mood. It was a who's who of the Republican and Conservative parties.

The evening's conversation centered around Peter Koo and his ballot status in the 16th Senate District race. The contenders are Koo, state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone) and Robert Schwartz.

Schwartz and Stavisky are Democrats, while Koo is the only Republican in the race. Schwartz and Stavisky will both have to run in the primary Sept. 9. Since Koo has no Republican opponent, he will not run until the general election Nov. 4.

The Stavisky campaign position is that Koo is not a legal Queens resident, but resides with his family in Port Washington, L.I. If it can prove that true, Koo is disqualified. The Stavisky camp took Koo to Queens Supreme Court, where it was successful in having Koo removed from the ballot. Koo, however, took his case to the Appellate Term Court in Brooklyn, where the decision was reversed and Koo was reinstated on the ballot.

The rumor mill is running rampant with speculation. One is that the Stavisky camp will take the case to the state Court of Appeals in Albany. The other rumor is that it will let it ride and the voters decide. As of yet, I have not heard which way the Stavisky camp will go. It would seem there is wiggle room either way. Stay tuned.

Demographically, the 16th Senate District has traditionally been a heavily Democratic and Jewish district. Schwartz and Stavisky, both Jewish Democrats, are reflective of the district. Koo, however, is the lone Asian Republican and if he remains on the ballot, what are his chances of winning? Although Koo has been running a well-organized campaign, does he have enough district support to put him over the top?

Stavisky enjoys being the longtime incumbent and as such has a lot of powerful support.

Now we come to the race's dark horse: Schwartz, a longtime Forest Hills resident and retired businessman. One of the companies he owned was Dellwood Farms and he started the idea of placing missing children's photos on milk containers.

Up to now, he has been quiet, without much being seen or heard of him. An update on the Schwartz campaign is that his first mailer went out this past weekend. It was a tickler, with indications of more to come. As I have said, this seems to be one of the more interesting races to watch. We cannot help but wonder how it will end.

Also on Thursday evening, Bobbi and the Strays held a fund-raiser at Carrosella's in Howard Beach, across the street from the Roma View and Russo's on the Bay. That is an energetic group that does much to help Queens' unfortunate animal population. Support it if you can. Maltese thinks highly of it and gives whatever support he can earmark for it.

It was with sadness Friday night that we attended the wake of Judge Joseph Dorsa of Flushing at Gleason's Funeral home in Flushing. Dorsa was well-loved by his family and friends and well-liked by his colleagues and acquaintances. He was the husband of Democratic District Leader Mary Ann Dorsa. Rest in peace, Joe. We miss you, but will remember you in our prayers.

Saturday, the Philippine American Center held a series of day-long events commemorating the 25th anniversary of the death of former Philippine President Benigno Aquino, who was assassinated on his return to the Philippines 25 years ago.

In attendance were congressional candidate Gonzalo “Jun” Policarpio, City Councilman and borough presidential candidate Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) and John Choe, a representative of City Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing).

Liu is running and amassing a great deal of money, but has not indicated what position he intends to run for. He was not present, as he had left the day before to attend the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

That's it for this week.

I look forward to hearing from you with information on people, parties or politics or gossip.

I also like receiving your voice mail at 718-767-6484, faxes at 718-746-0066 and e-mails at deerrichard@aol.com.

Till next week, Dee.

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