Western Queens special election campaigns in full swing

By Dee Richard

It is only the second week in January, but from the non−stop running around we have been doing, it feels like it should be the middle of Mach.

We had a grueling summer of political wars with a week or two off in November, then back to the war zone — this time for the non−stop holiday party circuit. Surely after New Year’s it would be break time.

Not so. We are now in the middle of two very vociferous special elections.

The first one is for Joe Addabbo’s City Council seat in Howard Beach and the Rockaway’s.

Before we go any further, we would like to give our condolences to the family of 9−year−old Ibrihim Ahmed, who was accidentally struck and killed at the intersection of Cross Bay Boulevard and Liberty Avenue. He was hit by a motor home advertising the campaign of Michael Ricatto, who was running for Joe Addabbo’s seat.

While accidents do happen, if the campaign manager⁄consultant had been an experienced seasoned pro, his first order of businesses would have been to check out the credentials of everyone connected to the campaign. Had this been done, they would have discovered that the driver of the campaign vehicle, 22−year−old Alexander Aponte, had a suspended driver’s license and would not have been allowed to drive.

What a tragedy. It is usually children who bury their parents, not the other way around. We will include everyone in our prayers. This event truly has the earmarks of a Greek tragedy. Even Mike Ricatto, who was neither driving the vehicle nor in it, will surely have to put his political career on hold as of now, as the mention of his name is synonymous with that of 9−year−old Ibrahim Ahmed. Not exactly a positive political message. Our prayers also go out to Michael Ricatto, as I’m sure he’s devastated.

Feb. 24 is Special Election Day and there is not sufficient time to heal and forget.

The other candidates in the Addabbo race are 23−year−old Republican Eric Ulrich, who has a bright and promising future, Democrats Lew Simon, Geraldine Chapey, a lesser−known gentleman and Addabbo’s former chief of staff, Frank Gulluscio.

At this moment, Gulluscio looks like the best bet. He has been a lifelong resident of the area, a prolific community activist and has been a hands−on solver of the area’s problems in his capacity of assisting Addabbo as the area’s councilman. In fact, one could say he has seven or eight years experience in on−the−job training. Who would know better than he how to do the job? In all fairness, good luck to all the candidates.

Elsewhere in Queens, we have the other special election for Hiram Monserrate’s seat in the Corona area. We attended a “meet the candidates” night in Jackson Heights. The candidates present were Francisco Moya, George Dixon, Julissa Ferreras and Edwardo Geraldo. One other candidate, attorney Angel Del Villa, was not present. We wonder why, as it was a good opportunity to state his case. I sure that our paths will eventually cross in the campaign trail, although time is getting short. Again, good luck to all the candidates.

The Padavan⁄Gennaro battle still has not reached a solution, which leaves the 11th Senate District without representation.

U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman cancelled his “Ackerbus” trip to Washington for his constituents due to the inclement weather. It’s a shame, as I was really looking forward to it.

That’s it for this week.

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

I look forward to receiving your voice mails at 718−767−6484, faxes at 718−746−0066 and e−mails at [email protected].

Don’t forget to check out the “Focus on Queens” page.

Till next week, Dee.

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