Live Blog: 2013 November Elections

Live Blog: 2013 November Elections
By TimesLedger Staff

TimesLedger Newspapers is covering the 2013 elections for Queens borough president, 12 City Council seats and citywide offices.

Saffran blasts Halloran for backing Vallone

Republican Dennis Saffran fired off a statement following news that City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) crossed party lines when he announced he was voting for Paul Vallone, the Democratic candidate for his seat.

Saffran linked voters to a video from a candidate forum last month in which Vallone remarked on how important public support was in the race.

“As Paul Vallone himself said at the Bayside Historical Society Candidate’s Night: ‘Any candidate…you have to ask them…who is standing with you?’ Now we have our answer,” Saffran’s campaign said in the statement.

—Phil Corso

Constantinides family in the spotlight

Four-year-old Nikolas Constantinides was in familiar territory when he helped his father Costa cast his ballot Tuesday morning. They were at his elementary school, PS 85 in Astoria. His mother, Lori, joined them but for her she was in unfamiliar territory. Lori Constantinides is a private person who does not seem thrilled that the political spotlight has fallen on her family. With Costa Constantinides hours away from likely winning the City Council’s 22nd District, she said, “This is all pretty surreal.”

The she added, “He was a manager at the KayBee toy store when we married — this wasn’t in the plans.”

—Bill Parry

Voter in Bay Terrace backs GOP candidates

Council candidate Dennis Saffran and his daughter Kristina greeted voters at PS 169 in Bay Terrace at about 2:30 p.m. Hal Janis said the Republican hopeful earned his vote.

“I voted for Dennis Saffran because I think his opponent is an extreme liberal.”

Janis said he also cast his ballot for Republican mayoral candidate Joseph Lhota in hopes of preventing a change in the city’s police commissioner.

“I feel [Bill de Blasio] is going to fire Ray Kelly immediately once he takes office,” he said.

—Christina Santucci

Voters take different sides at PS 85

After voting in Astoria at PS 85, a former Community Board 2 member surveyed the political landscape and didn’t like what he saw. “I vote all the time even though I realize it doesn’t mean much anymore,” said Ronald Yedlowski. The military veteran blames the Bloomberg administration for breaking the public trust when he circumvented term limits to gain a third term as mayor. “That’s why Christine Quinn is watching from the sidelines today,” said Yedlowski. “She supported it and it cost her. They have to fix a system that’s broken.

When Colin Pierce moved to Astoria from Massachusetts five years ago he was enamored of the local political scene. He became a fan of Peter Vallone, Jr., now vacating the 22nd Council seat after 12 years because of term limits. Pierce thinks Democrat Costa Constantinides will make a fine replacement. “I think Costa is fantastic, pro-business, pro-environment, he’s good on both,” Pierce said, “He’s sparkling enough that he may go further than City Council.”

After voting in Astoria at PS 85, a former Community Board 2 member surveyed the political landscape and didn’t like what he saw. “I vote all the time even though I realize it doesn’t mean much anymore,” said Ronald Yedlowski. The military veteran blames the Bloomberg administration for breaking the public trust when he circumvented term limits to gain a third term as mayor. “That’s why Christine Quinn is watching from the sidelines today,” said Yedlowski. “She supported it and it cost her. They have to fix a system that’s broken.”

—Bill Parry

Banners for Brown

Posters and banners for Everly Brown, a candidate for borough president, have been spotted in prominent places around Queens on Election Day. At least two giant banners proclaim support for the Jobs & Education candidate, one along the Grand Central Parkway near 168th Street and another along Farmers Boulevard near Merrick Boulevard.

-Christina Santucci

Hopefuls for Comrie’s seat campaign for votes in St. Albans

City Council candidates I. Daneek Miller and Sondra Peeden staked out different sections of the same St. Albans corner at about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon. Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans), whose seat the pair are seeking, came out to support Miller. Peeden is running on the Independenc Party line.

Miller, a Democrat, said the past 10 months have been grueling. “Hopefully, it will all be worth it.” he said.

Ernest Washington said he planned on voting for candidates down the Democratic ticket, with a possible exception at the City Council level.

“It’s hard because [Miller] was with Comrie,” Washington said before heading into PS 36 in St. Albans. “I may give Peeden a shot.”

—Christina Santucci

Voters keep up a steady beat at JHS 226 in Ozone Park

About 475 people had voted at JHS 226 in Ozone Park as of about 1:30 p.m.

Site coordinator Nalini Dukhram said the school had seen a relatively steady flow of traffic. The morning, however, had been busy, and she expected the site to “be a zoo” after 5:30 p.m. when voters get off of work.

Dukhram said she had not heard complaints from voters about the ballots or machines.

“They know that this is the process we have to deal with,” she said.

She said most of the voters she has seen are between the ages of 30 and 60.

Dukhram, who is 32, has been volunteering at polling sites for about eight years, she said.

“If the youth and my generation are not voting, at least this is a way I can contribute,” she said.

—Bianca Fortis

Howard Beach man tries to get out the vote for Ulrich

David Hughes stood outside of PS 232 in the cool weather to distribute campaign literature about his candidate of choice, Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park). The Howard Beach resident said voters had been responding positively to the palm cards.

Asked about residents who were not so enthusiastic about the political process, Hughes said some people just do not like politics.

“But then they wonder why they don’t get the services they need,” he said. “If you don’t vote for anyone, what are you contributing to your community and the future of your country?”

When asked if he would be visiting other polling sites throughout the day, Hughes said, “Whatever they want me to do, wherever they need me to go.”

As of just before noon, about 500 people had cast their votes at PS 232 in Howard Beach.

— Bianca Fortis

GOP’s Halloran crosses party lines to vote for Paul Vallone

Republican Dennis Saffran’s campaign was buzzing after seeing that the 19th District’s embattled incumbent City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) had said on his Facebook page he was voting for Democrat Paul Vallone in the race to replace him in northeast Queens.

“Voting today for the first time in my life voting for a Democratic City Council candidate and candidate for public advocate,” Halloran posted online.

“Should hardly be a surprise given Saffran’s negative campaign and lack of populism in the district,” Halloran said soon after on Twitter.

Halloran said he would not seek re-election this year after he was arrested April 2 and hit with a federal indictment accusing him of soliciting bribes to help propel Democratic state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis) into the mayoral race as a Republican.

—Phil Corso

Constantinides votes at school named for Peter Vallone Jr.’s grandfather

Democratic Council candidate Costa Constantinides cast his vote alongside wife Lori and 4-year-old son Nikolas at PS 85 in Astoria just after 11 a.m. State Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria) and state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) joined him in greeting voters right beforehand. More than 800 voters had voted at the busy site by 11:30 a.m.

During his campaign, Constantinides said he knocked on 12,000 doors.

“I did it the old-fashioned way,” he said. “I treated it like a job interview — that is how politics should be done.”

He marked his ballot in the school named for Judge Charles Vallone, fitting because he is running to replace Peter Vallone Jr., the judge’s grandson. The father Vallone and son Vallone have held the District 22 Council seat for nearly 40 years. Peter Vallone Jr. must give up the seat because of term limits.

—Bill Parry and Christina Santucci

Bayside voters troubled by small print size on ballot

Things were quiet at the PS 31 polling space in Bayside, where fewer than 400 votes were recorded as of 11:30 a.m. There were no major problems reported, but voters there were also concerned with the small fonts making it difficult to read the propositions on the ballot.

—Phil Corso

Crowley votes at PS 113 after meeting voters

Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) voted Tuesday morning at PS 113. She said she felt good about the outcome of the election. She also met earlier in the day with voters at PS 91 in Glendale.

“I’ve been getting a great response from voters today,” she said. “They know who they’re voting for.”

She described the effort she and supporters had launched during the last couple of weeks, which included phone banking, meeting passers-by at subway stops and knocking on thousands of doors in the district.

—Bianca Fortis

Caruana brings doughnuts to poll workers

Craig Caruana, the Republican in the race for Crowley’s seat, cast his vote nearby at St. Margaret’s Church. He, too, said he was feeling great about the race and had received a positive response from voters earlier in the day when he walked up and down Eliot Avenue.

“I feel like it’s going to be a victory,” he said.

To thank the poll workers at his site, Caruana brought them a box of Munchkins from Dunkin’ Donuts.

“People work here for a really long time,” he said about the workers. “They’re working hard. It’s a thankless job. It’s a nice way to say you’re thinking about them. And who doesn’t like doughnuts?”

—Bianca Fortis

Some Bay Terrace voters complain about small print on ballot

A total of 537 voters were tallied at the Bell Academy in Bay Terrace as of 10:30 a.m. The school is typically one of the busier polling locations in northeast Queens.

Voters did not report any significant problems when casting their ballots, but some were concerned over the small font sizes – particularly for the propositions.

Democratic City Council candidate Paul Vallone was greeting voters outside Bell Academy with his brother, City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. and his father, former City Councilman Peter Vallone. State Assemblyman Ed Braunstein was also distributing Vallone literature as residents filed into the school.

—Phil Corso

Forest Hills voter sees ageism in amendment on judges

Erica Llanera, 20, voted for the second time Tuesday at PS 144 in Forest Hills, after casting her first ballot in the 2012 presidential election. She used the opportunity to vote for Bill de Blasio and Melinda Katz, who also had cast her vote at the same site a few minutes prior. Llanera said she opted against an amendment setting an age limit for judges. “I think that’s kind of ageist,” she said. The poll coordinator at the location said 281 people had voted there by about 9:45 a.m.

—Christina Santucci

Flushing voter splits ticket

Voter George Kiladitis in Flushing said he cast his ballot for Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio and Republican Council candidate Dennis Saffran. “I did more research on (Paul) Vallone than any of his competitors,” he said about searching for info before the Democratic primary. “I saw too many negatives so I went for the lesser of two evils.”

Saffran and Vallone are running for the 19th Council District seat in northeast Queens.

Kiladitis also said he felt strongly against an amendment to allow casinos in New York state. “I’m not for it. I think we have enough of them. Let Connecticut run that.”

—Christina Santucci

Union members back de Blasio in Rochdale

Rochdale Village appeared quiet with a few voters trickling in and out. A quartet of CWA 1180 union members outside the Catherine and Count Basie middle school were encouraging voters to vote for Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio on the Working Families Party line.

“We are here campaigning for our jobs,” said Betty, a Rosedale resident. “We have been working with no raise for the last four years and we don’t expect to get one under Joe,” she said, referring to GOP candidate Joe Lhota.

—Rich Bockmann

Katz, Miller meet voters in Cambria Heights

Borough president candidate Melinda Katz started her day in southeast Queens where she and I. Daneek Miller, a fellow Democrat, who is running to succeed term-limited city Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans), greeted voters outside the Campus Magnet complex in Cambria Heights.

Miller said he was looking for strong voter turnout to provide a mandate for the next administration and council.

“Those numbers will prove that,” he said.

—Rich Bockmann

Paul Vallone’s brother Peter joins him at poll

Democratic Council candidate Paul Vallone was joined by his brother. Councilman Peter Vallone (D-Astoria), and wife Anna-Marie to vote at about 9 a.m. Paul Vallone was number 67 to cast his ballot at his precinct, and there were 150 votes as of about 8:45 a.m. at PS 32 in Flushing. He is running for the seat in the 19th Council District to replace Councilman Dan Halloran (D-Whitestone),. who decided not to run for re-election after his indictment on federal bribery charges.

—Christina Santucci

Voting brisk at Ulrich’s voting site

Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-0zone Park) was joined by his wife Yadira and daughter Lily to vote at PS 232 in Howard Beach, which had 122 votes recorded by about 7:30 a.m. Coordinators said the site is very active because of several hi-rise buildings located nearby and the accessibility for seniors.

Voter Vanessa Morgan said the incumbent earned her vote. “Eric Ulrich I know from his work around the neighborhood,” she said, pointing out that she also voted for Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota. “I know he worked closely with (Rudy) Giuliani so that was a motivating factor.”

—Christina Santucci