Dishing with Dee: Ackerman holds D.C. bus trip for official swearing-in

By Dee Richard

Well, all the holiday hullabaloo is finally over, including the Salute to Sen. Padavan Party. The last item on the list was a trip to Washington, D.C., on the “Ackerbus.”

The trip was fun, as it usually is. What wasn’t fun was getting up at 4 a.m. Jan. 5 in order to be at the Northern and Springfield boulevards bus stop by 5:30 a.m., but then you can always sleep on the way down.

It was a beautiful day and no matter how many times you make the trip, it’s always a thrill when all our national buildings and landmarks start to come into view. This was the first trip I remember that we didn’t see Jimmy Stewart in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” I kind of missed it as it had become sort of a ritual.

Some of my fellow passengers on the bus were Gene Kelty and Marilyn Bitterman of Community Board 7, Thomas Chen with a business associate from Crystal Windows & Doors, Joe Anuta of TimesLedger Newspapers and my old photo shooting buddy Ira Cohen of the Queens Tribune. It was an enjoyable trip. Of course, some of us managed to squeeze in a side trip to both the congressional and Senate gift shops. The shops have gotten a little more pricey this year. Men’s neck ties were $45 to $50 each. How often are you going to wear a tie with an official seal on it? We ladies passed up on the ties and happily purchased other things.

It was quite an impressive sight, seeing the new speaker of the House, Republican John Boehner, swear in longtime Democratic Congressman Gary Ackerman.

Gary and Rita Ackerman’s family is expanding by leaps and bounds. They now have four grand-babies — or rather grandchildren as they are growing rather rapidly, as most children have a habit of doing.

Needless to say, some of us slept all the way back home. Thanks for the invite, Gary. It was a most enjoyable trip.

Last Thursday it was back in the saddle again, with the first stop Thursday evening being the swearing in of the new officers of the Stevenson Democratic Club at the J.I.B. Building. Claire Shulman did the honors, as she usually does. The Stevenson club is state Assemblywoman Nettie Mayersohn’s home base.

The second Thursday evening stop was for the Queens Village Republican Clubs swearing in of their new officers. That ceremony was conducted by City Councilman Dan Halloran at the club’s usual meeting place, the Trattoria Lucia in Bellerose.

On Sunday afternoon, CB 11 had its annual post-holiday luncheon at Bourbon Street in Bayside. Though the guests made it look more like a northeast Queens local chapter of the Democratic Party, the official unofficial host was Frank Skala, a lone Republican, and myself of course, a blank. It would appear that we were the only odd men out.

During the luncheon I had an opportunity to have a pleasant chat with newly elected Assemblyman Ed Braunstein. He is a nice, decent young man and I happen to like him and think he will do all the right things for his constituents.

And now the latest update in the Padavan party saga. When the senator called Queens Republican headquarters and asked why they didn’t attend his party, do you know what colossal gall they had? I was told they said, “We didn’t come because we weren’t invited, and Frank, you owe us an apology.”

The problem is Frank did not give the party — I did. Frank owes them nothing and neither do I. I mailed out 1,500 invitations and theirs was one of them. In addition to which their organization, the Queens Republican Party was listed on the VIP list. It would seem that 1,500 people knew they were invited — how come they didn’t know?

That evening, Bob Bishop and Judy Stupp said they didn’t know if Phil Ragusa could make the party as he might be in Canada skiing at the time, but Vinny Tabone was definitely coming and, in fact, would be sitting at Bob Bishop’s table. Apparently, while the invitation was good enough for 1,500 other people, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg and with 300 other attendees, I guess it just wasn’t good enough for the Queens Republican Party officers, but then that’s life!

That’s it for this week.

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

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

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

Till next week, Dee.

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