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Thompson woos small biz on stop in Queens Village

Photo by Rich Bockmann
By Rich Bockmann

Former city Comptroller Bill Thompson was one of the last mayoral candidates to do a five-borough tour when he stopped in Queens Village Monday for a low-key chat with a few small business owners.

With his wife, Elsie, by his side, Thompson spent most of his time listening to a few shopkeepers at the Franhill Plaza.

“Somebody will tell you this, somebody will tell you that,” Gaby’s Pizza owner Steve LoGiudice told the Gracie Mansion hopeful about the maze of city regulators he has to navigate as a business owner. “It never ends.”

The three sat down over one of Gaby’s’ famed plain pies as Thompson and LoGiudice chatted while they sipped on bottles of water.

When they were through, the pizza man introduced the candidate to the longtime kitchen staff, and LoGiudice shook his head as he pointed out the 16-ounce cups that would have been outlawed under Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s failed soda ban.

Thompson quietly introduced himself to a few customers as he mingled, lacking some of the fireworks Democratic opponents Bill de Blasio, Christine Quinn and John Liu’s kickoffs displayed when they visited the borough earlier this year.

Thompson said he was planning on releasing a comprehensive, small business plan in a few weeks.

“The first thing is to stop squeezing small businesses,” he told reporters. “Now it’s about revenue. It’s not about enforcement.”

Thompson took Queens in the 2009 Democratic mayoral primary with 63 percent of the vote, when he ran against Tony Avella, then a councilman from northeast Queens, and nonprofit manager Roland Rogers.

The only Assembly district he did not take was No. 26, Avella’s base.

Thompson’s path to victory is less clear this time around.

The Queens Democratic Party last month endorsed Quinn, and Liu is likely to pick up a large segment of the Asian vote that Thompson nabbed last time.

Anthony Weiner, the former congressman from Forest Hills, recently jumped into the race, throwing a wild card into the crowded field.

Still, Thompson won over at least one voter Monday.

“At first I was undecided between him and Quinn,” LoGiudice said, explaining he thought Quinn was a flip-flopper and too closely aligned with Bloomberg. “But after today he’s definitely got my vote.”

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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