Addabbo running hard for Maltese’s state Senate district

By William Lewis

City Councilman Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach), now completing his seventh year in the City Council, is pursuing a relentless campaign for the state Senate against his Democratic primary opponent, Albert Baldeo.

If he wins the primary, he goes up against Republican incumbent state Sen. Serphin Maltese (R-Glendale). About half of Addabbo's Council district falls within Maltese's 15th state Senate District. He is spending a lot of effort campaigning in areas of the Senate district not included in his Council district, such as Middle Village, Glendale and Ridgewood.

Addabbo has said he will not conduct a negative campaign. His opponent, Maltese, however, has been attacking Addabbo on cable TV regarding his voting for tax increases while a councilman. Addabbo answers these charges by saying that tax increases came after Sept. 11 and were necessary for the city to continue providing vital services and that since that time, most of those tax increases have been eliminated.

He wants his state Senate district, and Queens generally, to get their fair share of this education funding. Addabbo believes in doing everything possible to maintain a stable community so residents will not move out, but stay and be motivated to help build a better neighborhood.

He wants to provide better health plans for our citizens and transportation with a particular effort geared toward trying to keep the Metropolitan Transportation Authority from raising rates. He has also spoken about giving tax credits to homeowners for home heating costs.

As Addabbo has done in his Council district, if he is elected to the state Senate, he will establish a 24-hour hot line in his district to reach out to his constituents so he will be aware of problems within his district and thereby be able to deal with these problems swiftly.

Regarding his differences with Maltese, he mentions that his opponent has not done enough for tenant rights and that if elected, he will take an interest in tenant issues, including rent-stabilized apartments and rent-controlled buildings.

Addabbo seems to have a different style of campaigning than his opponent. He has been having smaller events, such as local house parties, to meet registered voters and listen to their views about local and state issues.

He has had several important fund-raisers. One of them featured U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Jackson Heights), the Queens Democratic county chairman, as his guest of honor. Presently, he has two campaign headquarters: one in Howard Beach on 102nd Street and another on Myrtle Avenue in Glendale.

Addabbo is the designated candidate of the Queens Democratic Party for the 15th State Senate District, although he is being challenged in a primary. He is also the candidate of the Working Families Party.

Maltese has three party endorsements, including the Republican, Conservative and Independence parties. It was the combined vote of the Conservative and Independence parties that gave Maltese his narrow election victory almost two years ago.

This particular state Senate election has two incumbent office holders, both of whom have considerable name recognition. As in the case of other local Queens candidates, this year's presidential race will have an effect on these candidates, especially since there are no U.S. Senate or gubernatorial races in 2008.

In the 5th Congressional District in northeast Queens and northwest Nassau County, Gonzalo “Jun” Policarpio's Republican petitions have been invalidated by the state Elections Board. That leaves attorney Elizabeth Berney as the Republican candidate who will oppose incumbent U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside).

There are still challenges, however, involving the Conservative and Independence petitions that seem to be headed toward court action.

In the 16th State Senate District, state Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Whitestone) is challenging her Republican opponent, Peter Koo, on his residency status. The matter is in court, with Stavisky charging that Koo's primary residence is in Nassau County, not Queens.

More from Around New York