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Addabbo, Maltese clash over election flier

By Howard Koplowitz

City Councilman Joseph Addabbo's (D-Howard Beach) campaign said it was hypocritical for state Sen. Serphin Maltese (R-Glendale) to mail out a flier attacking the councilman for voting to raise or extend taxes when Maltese did the same “365 times.”

“It's sort of ludicrous,” said Addabbo campaign spokeswoman Alexis Grennel. “It's wrong to obscure the facts about your own voting record and distort your opponent's.”

Grennel said the flier was first brought to Addabbo's attention last week.

She said it attacked the councilman for voting to raise sales and personal income taxes, but she said the vote was to temporarily raise those taxes shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the hikes expired about a month later.

Maltese's campaign said the flier was a comparison piece, not an attack, and criticized Addabbo for claiming schools were being underfunded when Maltese and Senate Republicans helped deliver record increases in school funding.

“They're going to try to run away from their record and we're not going to let them,” said Maltese spokesman Justin DiSanzo. “It's political rhetoric.”

In a news release responding to the mailer, the Addabbo campaign said Maltese “voted 365 times to raise taxes” between 1995 and 2007.

The councilman's campaign singled out two bills in the release, one each in 1995 and 1999.

While Maltese did vote in favor of those bills both times, all of the 57 senators present to vote on the 1999 bill approved it and 55 out of 56 senators voted in favor of the 1995 legislation.

But Grenell said the campaign was only pointing to the hypocrisy of the votes and not attacking him for raising taxes.

She also said the flier claimed Addabbo attacked Maltese, but Grenell said the mailer was actually referring to a Daily News article about the end of the legislative session in Albany that quoted the councilman as saying that more needed to be done in the Republican-controlled Senate.

“This is all the senator has to hang his hat on here,” she said, calling the flier “a pre-emptive attack.”

DiSanzo said it was the Addabbo campaign that fired the first blow, referring to the Daily News article.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.

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