Longtime community activist, Lew Simon has all the pieces in play to take back the 32nd City Council District. Lew is running against incumbent Eric Ulrich, a one term Councilman who Simon said failed to serve the entire community during his tenure.
Counting on his experience as a longtime Assembly District Leader, Simon feels he’ll be better able to communicate with constituents. In terms of supporting the Community Safety Act, Simon said “it is ridiculous to threaten police officers with lawsuits,” and pointing to the Civilian Complaint Review Board, which is already in place, by giving it an enforcement mechanism by appropriate legislation. Recently Simon had two stints placed in his heart, however the downtime had not taken him off the campaign trail entirely, in fact he made the most of it and campaigned right from his bedside. By aligning with a paper tiger, Dennis Saffran might as well throw in the towel and avoid the embarrassment on Election Day. According to a North Queens GOP insider, word on the street is that Dennis Saffran is getting no support from the Queens Republican County organization and relying on a skeletal campaign staff from Nassau county.
Meanwhile, and here’s the ironic part, Ulrich made his disdain of Saffran crystal clear to political insiders. Ulrich has zero influence in this part of Queens, but no one told Saffran and now he’s screwed on all sides.
After reiterating his opposition to speed cameras, and following the deaths of at least six pedestrians and cyclists in his district in the last 15 months, Queens City Council Member Eric Ulrich isn’t talking about street safety. On the subject of keeping New Yorkers safe from dangerous drivers, Eric Ulrich is uncharacteristically silent. At the end of June, an editorial from Alexander Blenkinsopp — an Ulrich constituent and member of Community Board 9 and the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association — applauded state lawmakers for approving NYC’s speed camera demonstration program. Blenkinsopp said he hoped the cameras would be used to slow speeding drivers near schools in Woodhaven. Blenkinsopp said that at least six pedestrians and cyclists died in traffic in Woodhaven between 1996 and 2009. Speeding is the leading factor in NYC traffic deaths, and the probability of pedestrian death increases dramatically with motorist speed. Despite his history of ridiculing DOT traffic calming efforts, however, Ulrich told us he is “committed to ensuring the safety of pedestrians, motorists and cyclists” across the city. According to our sources from the Rockaways, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy’s destruction, Lew Simon organized the community and played an instrumental role in advocating for the recovery and rebuilding of the Rockaways. Rumors of an in-house poll placing Lew Simon neck and neck with Eric Ulrich have circulated the political establishment and may have played a pivotal role in reassuring Democratic leadership that Simon could actually pull it off this time around.
In the meantime, rain or shine, he’s pressing the flesh and going door to door spreading his message of advocacy for increasing public transportation options, storm relief for The Rockaways, Broad Channel, Breezy Point, and Hamilton Beach, plus construction of sea barriers, including a new boardwalk and a new hospital for the Rockaways and in south Queens as well. It’s ironic that the individual who was sometimes seen as the misunderstood activist of the Democratic Party could finally put the nail in the coffin of the Southern faction of the Queens GOP.
Rolaine Antoine, a former BOE employee explains why our electoral process is always in a state of jeopardy.
An Ulrich loyalist demanded a BOE employee to give up her office chair and forced her in the corner, right before she was terminated. For far too long we’ve heard stories about the bungled mismanagement over at the Board of Elections, but no one has ever written about specific instances which embody the status quo. But there are victims, countless victims that are in fact professionals, executives, people who bring leadership and experience to the table that are often the first to be fired with politically trumped up charges only to be replaced by those less qualified. Regardless of the political consequences, Rolaine refused to yield, she thought it would be best to let the voters decide, and then she was terminated.
When Michael Michel came in, he came with a voracious axe and basically terminated people who were associated or deemed to be loyal with the County organization.
What the voters need, they are not getting because all of this is going on she explained, “we are failing the voters.
In all fairness there’s something odd about a partisan political hack hired to oversee a “fair election.” A conflict of interest?
Just two months ago, Councilman Ulrich came into the office to meet with Gisela Mengler, to ask her to stay on board and postpone her retirement.
In the aftermath, Rolaine reached out to her Union President Gwendolyn Youngblood, a labor attorney as well as the media, and she’s not going to stop there.
Times Ledger: In 2011, Ulrich gave $5,000 to the Forest Park Senior Center run by Donna Caltabiano, a district leader in state Assemblyman Michael Miller’s (D-Woodhaven) district. Ulrich insisted that the donation had nothing to do with politics, but rather the senior center does not get state or federal grants and instead relies on discretionary funding.
For Caltabiano, the money was a vital resource, since her center gets limited funding, and she defended Ulrich’s reputation as an upstanding councilman.. She said she had never voted for anyone from Ulrich’s faction but was not fond of the opposing side either. Council Speaker Christine Quinn (whom I contacted in writing in August, 2006), Councilman Eric Ulrich and Assemblyman Michael Miller have collectively known about these charges for more than three years. Simon cites Ulrich’s poor attendance record at Borough Board and stated Council meetings, as well as his reputation for ignoring constituents pleas for help, as grounds for removal. He mentioned the support his campaign received as proof, calling it a “fusion” including members of ethnic coalitions, civic organizations, even members of his opponent’s party. The rift allegedly began when Saffran publicly switched his support mid-primary from John Catsimatidis, who was supported by the Queens GOP, to Joe Lhota and thus aligning himself with whom many insiders call one of the biggest pompous and delusional politicos in Queens county, none other than power-hungry boy wonder Eric Ulrich.
He also noted anti-enforcement rhetoric from Ulrich, which peaked before the council endorsed the speed camera measure. At least six pedestrians and cyclists have been killed by drivers in Ulrich’s district since May 2012, according to crash data compiled by Streetsblog. Since March, when Ulrich told Streetsblog he believes speed cameras are a revenue scam, at least one pedestrian has died in his district — Rafael Diaz, a senior struck by a motorist on May 16.
But now the tides have changed -and with a missing in action Republican councilman in a pivotal reelection year – the smart money is stating that Lew Simon may actually have his day in the sun and defeat incumbent Republican Councilman Eric Ulrich.
In On The Waterfront Marlon Brando’s character yelled, “I coulda been a contender,” but in this city election on the Rockaway waterfront, yes Lew Simon, you are finally a contender. Antoine to retain a bulldog lawyer (like Joseph Tacopina), and sue Ulrich and the Board of Elections with a cause of action that forces these corrupt and dysfunctional agencies and persons into a new era of accountability, integrity, maturity, self-control and for the very first time throughout the annals of Queens County history, a platform of honest, ethical leadership.  Given the flagrant abuses of power, privilege and ignoring the will of constituents like me, I don’t ever believe that there will be leadership (that was needed two decades ago), to permanently change the way corruption, misconduct and patronage destroys public trust, before the end of my natural life span.  Is anyone listening to the people whom they purportedly represent?  Certainly not any of the intensely incompetent, cradle-to-grave cronies within the corridors of staggering power at Ulrich headquarters! It’s common knowledge that the entire building is a refuge for nepotism and political favors. She was prompt, on time and ready to work – the same way she has been for the past two years. When they complain, they are right,” referencing the slowdowns, technical malfunctions, and logistical mishaps which plague every election administered by the BOE. According to Rolaine, Councilman Eric Ulrich put his key people onboard right down to the poll workers.
They needed her, after terminating Deputy Chief Clerk Marie Lynch and until they placed an Ulrich pal in the seat. Rolaine Atoine is a hero, a hero to everyone that had been fired for trumped up political reasons.
Councilman Ulrich funneled donations to a senior center to lure political support from a District Leader in charge of the operation. State dollars had dried up in 2010 and the borough president cut her funding a year later, which is why he made up the difference, the councilman said.
It came down to me and the borough president,” Ulrich said, pointing out that Caltabiano had never voted to elect anyone from Ulrich’s faction to party leadership positions as a district leader. He said he would approve DOI investigation of Michael Michel (who previously served as a campaign aide to Councilman Ulrich) but didn’t. They should shit can their filing before it’s too late for the distinguished gentleman from Staten Island. How can you serve constituents while you’re busy pretending to be a party boss and meddling in elections on the other side of town? Please take note that it’s such cut-throat politics and paybacks which gets in the way of real work – but not just any work- the sacred duty of carrying out the democratic process. Colleagues said she’s intelligent, resourceful, respectful, but above all else a pleasure to work with. Her accolades led to her election as a Republican District Leader, recognition for her activism on behalf of civic organizations. About an hour later, Scott Jordan and Gisela Mengler, the Deputy Chief Clerk,  instructed Rolaine that she had to give up her seat, that she had to give it up for someone else that needed it, meanwhile she was the only one that was asked. But she couldn’t just be terminated, she had an excellent record, never been written up, always on time, well-liked by colleagues and poll workers.
He even had Bart Haggerty, whose brother embezzeled millions from Mayor Bloomberg, now a BOE employee as a lead trainer in charge of instructing the very people that will be training all of the poll workers. Her termination is the reason why the Board of Elections is dysfunctional, why our democracy is constantly in jeopardy and why our electoral process is the laughingstock of the nation. The senior center received the most cash out of those in Ulrich’s district, with most centers getting $5,000.
Iritano and record falsification,” which was simply not true, and firmly supported by the Transit Authority’s complete reversal of all misconduct allegations against me during oral argument in Appellate Court, Second Department, on May 9, 1991. Quinn’s patronage mill administration has created a hostile environment with me that betrays public service, and Ms.
And let’s not forget the Southern GOP rebels are going to have enough trouble with Democrat Lew Simon, he may win so how exactly are they going to help Saffran? During her tenure she was never written up for any reason, never complained or made an out of place comment.
All of this happened right after the new commisssioner, Michael Michel, was placed into power following a paper mishap.
After all it was where Rolaine did the work she was paid to do and there were plenty more available. And when he came in, he was ready to fire anyone that was loyal to the County organization. Rolaine was not exempt from the hostile work environment Gisela had created for her and to make matters worse, the woman she was about to fire was the one who had written letters in response to voter complaints which Gisela was responsible for writing and who also prepared reports that were too complex for Gisela to produce! If going before the council the speaker requires full DOI clearance, which Judy had, but Michel didn’t because it went through the caucus.
She had the opportunity to enlighten new immigrants and members of a community as to how to become active and responsive to issues that pertain to where they lived. Rolaine said these new people that were handpicked will report directly to Ulrich and company with no problem, hence their hiring.
Quinn in September, 2012 (and I am still waiting to see it, despite multiple requests), supposedly questioning the jurisdiction of the City Council with regard to their failure to demand a completed investigation by the Department of Investigations (that DOI investigators and officials initiated in May, 1993, but failed to complete), and Ms.
The section of law is meant to protect the minority party, if all else fails – not to steal the party’s perogative. Quinn’s own role to initiate her own, independent investigation, as her August, 2006 letter clearly states.  When Mr. How often is it that a hardworking African-American female is told to give up her seat and go to the backroom?
Quinn, dated December 6, 22012, it yet again contradicts her initial letter to me from six years ago, suggesting that her office cannot help me, despite an incomplete investigation by DOI investigators, intimating that the Transit Authority is a state governed agency (I maintained a CITY pension with New York City Employees’ Retirement System, and the agency that I worked for is the MTA New York City Transit).  Ms. Shortly afterward, Scott Jordan and Robert Pataky presented her with a letter of termination. Miller on Monday, December 17, 2012, and urging him to respond, with my assisted help in composing an evidentiary letter (with document attachments).  Moreover, Mr.
She had only asked if her firing had anything to do with being an African-American, which at the time appeared to be a reasonable question given the circumstances, and especially since Michel’s appointment, there has been discrimination against most of the minorities, who have been severely disciplined or let go, she said.



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