2001-07-21 / Front Page

Two Dozen File Petitions,

Two Dozen File Petitions,

Simon First To Challenge by Howard Schwach

An even two dozen candidates have filed the necessary petitions to get on the ballot for the two City Council seats that represent the Rockaway peninsula, but candidate Lew Simon has already challenged the petitions of three of those candidates in an attempt to remove them from the ballot.

Those candidates whose petitions have been challenged by Simon through a surrogate, Richard Berger, include Chris Jorge and Palmer Doyle, both Rockaway residents. In addition, Simon has challenged the petitions of Joe Addabbo.

Berger is the son of Sarah Berger, one of Simon’s chief lieutenants.

As yet, there are no reported challenges in the 31st district.

The 31st District encompasses much of the East End of the peninsula, as well as a number of census tracts along the bay front.

Those who filed petitions in that district include Republican Everly D. Brown, Democrats Charlotte Jefferson, Edward Lewis, James Blake, James Sanders, David Hooks, Jr., Amanda Clarke, Rosalind O’Neal, Carolyn Howell, Renaldo (Rey) Clarke, Sikiru Fadairo and Henrietta Fullard. Francisco Pena has also filed petitions to run on the Green Party line. In addition, O’Neal has filed for the Independent Party line, Lewis for the Liberal line and Sanders for the Worker’s Party line.

The 32nd District encompasses much of the West End of the peninsula, including a number of census tracts along the beachfront.

The lone Republican candidate who filed is Joann Ariola. Rockaway resident John Macron, who had indicated that he was in the race to the end, did not file the required petitions by the Thursday night deadline. The Democratic candidates who filed include Joseph Addabbo, Chris Jorge, John Seminario, Martina Duran, Joseph Palmer Doyle and Lew Simon. Rockaway resident John Baxter has filed as the candidate for the Independent Party and Robert Curran has filed for the Green Party nomination. Ariola has filed for the Conservative Party line and Addabbo has filed for the Liberal line.

Candidates have three days from the filing deadline to file "general objections" to petitions. They then have three further days to check their opponent’s petitions and to make "specific objections."

"Any serious candidate will file general objections against all of the other legitimate candidates," Norm Silverman, a campaign worker for Simon told The Wave. "There has been no decision as yet as to what, if any, specific objections we will make."

Silverman, a long-time spokesperson for the Simon campaign, said that Simon was filing specific challenges against Palmer Doyle because he did not file the required number of signatures.

"Our indication is that Doyle filed only 573 valid signatures when he needed more than 900," Silverman says. "It is part of the democratic process that one candidate challenge another who does not file correctly."

Typically, a candidate files four or five times the number of signatures necessary to insure that challenges are unsuccessful. According to Silverman, Doyle did not even make the required number.

Doyle, however, sees it differently.

"I am surprised at Simon’s move because the Democratic Party has always stood for choice," Doyle told The wave. "The people of Rockaway deserve a legitimate choice and Simon is trying to keep them from having that choice. People need more choices, not fewer."

Doyle was also annoyed that Richard Berger, the son of Simon loyalist Sarah Berger, was used to file the challenges.

"I like Sarah and we honored her at the OctoberFest last year," Doyle says. "That her son should go and pull a partisan, anti-Democratic move such as this one is something that I do not understand at all."

Chris Jorge, another of the Rockaway candidates for the seat whose petitions have been challenged by Simon, agrees.

"Lew told me that he was going to challenge anybody who filed, so I was not surprised," she told The wave. "But you have to understand that desperate people do desperate things and Lew is desperate to get us off the ballot."

Specific challenges must be made by the end of the week and then they will adjudicated through hearings at the Board of Elections. Candidates who are still unhappy after those hearings may have their grievances heard by a Special Term of the State Supreme Court. Those hearings should be completed by the end of the month, according to a spokesperson for the Board of Elections.

The primary election will be held on September 11.

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