By Sadef Ali Kully
Bob Friedrich, a Democratic City Council candidate running for Mark Weprin’s former seat, won a major fight.
For last couple of months, he organized local civic associations, residents, elected officials and community leaders to protest every Saturday afternoon in front of a former school in Queens Village which was slated to become a group home for juvenile offenders.
Last week, the city Administration for Children’s Services said the site was no longer needed.
When Friedrich found out about the juvenile group home, he contacted leaders of the surrounding civic associations and brought elected officials together.
“This was something that could not be done alone,” he said in an interview with TimesLedger Newspapers. “It had to be done together.”
This is Friedrich’s second bid for the City Council seat for District 23, which stretches from Douglaston through Oakland Gardens to Fresh Meadows, Queens Village and Hollis.
“The Weprins flip-flopped, so even though I knew I did not have a chance, I felt I had to stay in the race,” he said, referring to 2009 when Mark Weprin ran for David Weprin’s City Council seat and his brother ran for Mark’s state Assembly seat. “It’s good to give competition.”
The district’s seat became vacant in June when Weprin resigned to work as deputy secretary of legislative affairs with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration in Albany.
Friedrich, current president and CFO of Glen Oaks Village, moved to the large cooperative 25 years ago and almost immediately became involved.
“It was a mess and resident needs were not being met. But the real problem was everyone was not connected.”
Friedrich said he brought civic associations and community boards together so that they could talk about the issues affecting each other.
His platform addresses homeowners, resources for seniors, transportation, job creation, environmental safety and making good school districts even better.
Friedrich strongly stands against tolls on the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge and within the city.
“I have seniors in my district that go to the doctor in the city. That means they have to pay a toll to get across the bridge and if they have an appointment across town—that is another toll. Plus, they pay for parking. That is not common sense.”
“I believe in common-sense politics,” he said about political relationships. “If you are not putting the community ahead, ,hen I am not interested—my whole life has been putting community first.” He said homeowners pay for sidewalk fines and repairs after city trees destroy them. He plans on using the public funds to give back to homeowners.
“People must be able to live in their homes—homeowners are being nickled and dimed to death.”
He said subway and LIRR fares should be the same.
“A train is a train—it should be fairly priced. The LIRR and subway are the same thing, run by the same organization, so why are residents in my district paying more than Long Island City?”
Friedrich, who went to Bayside High School and Queens College, said he wants to address the overcrowding in schools.
“I have a record of solid achievements and I am just a volunteer,” he said. “ The reality is that I have walked the walk. Everyone else just talks the talk.”
Reach Reporter Sadef Ali Kully by e-mail at skull