A Wave Election Special
A Wave Election Special:
Councilmanic District 32 Candidates
Addabbo Talks About Running As A Councilman-Candidate
Wave: None of the others who ran for the 32 Council District in 2001 have returned to challenge you. Why is that?
Addabbo: We scared them off! (laughs) Truthfully, I’m happy to report that I’ve worked with all of my former opponents except one (Lew Simon), and that’s good. It’s to the benefit of the community.
Wave: How else is your 2003 campaign different from 2001?
Addabbo: In 2001 I had all the time in the world to be a candidate. Now, I’m a city councilman and a candidate. My first priority is as a councilman and then as a candidate.
Wave: Your opponent, Mike Mossa, has raised the issue of the increase in property taxes. He even said he has "set the tone" of the race – making it taxes. Why did you vote in favor of the 18% increase?
Addabbo: Mike Mossa and every other opponent facing an incumbent is doing that, but they never have a second step. Even the city council members who voted "no" didn’t have a plan. It would have meant deep service cuts – services would have been worse than in the 1970s.
Wave: What was your biggest challenge, from this part of your district, during the last two years?
Addabbo: The summer season is the biggest issue: concessions, the boardwalk, and lifeguards.
Wave: What should we look forward to next year?
Addabbo: I want to make sure everyone has an enjoyable summer.
Wave: Have you met with the new commanding officer of the 100 Precinct, Captain Paul Piekarski?
Addabbo: We have met informally, but there is still a need for us to sit down and go over the ground rules.
Wave: What kind of things do you think you can accomplish with another term in office?
Addabbo: I want to take a closer look at school safety, before we have to react to a child being killed. The city needs to readdress school safety. I also want to find a way to stimulate the local economy.
Wave: In 2001 you said you supported getting rid of the tolls on the Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge and the Cross Bay Bridge as a way to attract off-peninsula shoppers. Where are you on that subject now?
Addabbo: I still support that. It’s an albatross around the neck of our residents…retailers always point to the Cross Bay Bridge toll as a problem.
Wave: Do you support the MTA takeover of the private bus companies?
Addabbo: That would be a huge move. I don’t think handing it over to the MTA is the best thing…we already know from the fare hike that they’re bad at math.
Wave: What are your thoughts on the Arverne by the Sea project, with regard to Rockaway’s future?
Addabbo: It could make Rockaway and it could break Rockaway. It’s a snapshot of things we need here, but there’s more than one issue. It’s foolish to focus all attention and effort on one issue.
Wave: List some of your accomplishments for us.
Addabbo: I’m proud of the little things…I hated the fact that there was a rusty, dilapidated fence along the bay on Beach Channel Drive…now at least there’s a new fence…we’ll have a skateboard park by late next summer. The (Rockaway Sunset) diner is able to display its "God Bless America" sign. I’ve been able to help thousands of constituents with their problems.
Wave: What are your thoughts on the Flight 587 memorial?
Addabbo: I have to side with the residents. That’s why I couldn’t be a neutral party to bring the two sides together; I’m biased. What do the Belle Harbor residents want? They probably want to see something small but appropriate, and maybe a larger memorial in Riis Park.
Wave: Give us a list of things we are guaranteed to see if you’re re-elected.
Addabbo: I try not to make promises, but in 2001 I promised to do my best. I also promised to be a full-time councilman, and to be accountable.
Mossa Takes Issue With Addabbo Over Property Taxes
Wave: Tell us a little bit about yourself and give us a condensed version of your biography and resume.
Mossa: I have worked in insurance ….I’m a May 2001 graduate of Western New England School of Law, and I live in Howard Beach.
Wave: Tell us what you would work for as a representative of Rockaway and Broad Channel in the city council.
Mossa: What I want to do is have some town meetings. I’d like to see some development come in and provide more jobs. Mass transportation must be worse in Rockaway, and the people pay their bills by working in Manhattan. I support a Super A Train that skips stops in downtown Brooklyn.
Wave: How have the last few weeks of your campaign been? What are you planning for the last two weeks?
Mossa: I feel good…New York City is putting an 800 pound gorilla on the back of the middle class (taxes) and we need a councilman who is going to speak up for them.
Wave: What do you think could have been done to avoid the property tax increase?
Mossa: Well, why didn’t they cut out the office of public advocate? I don’t think we need borough presidents either. The era of big government is over.
Wave: You have not had the chance to debate your opponent in Rockaway, and it doesn’t look like you will get that chance. Do you regret that?
Mossa: I would like a debate on the issues in Rockaway. The people in Howard Beach deserve to hear that Addabbo raised their property tax, and the people from the Rockaway community do too. Councilman Addabbo didn’t speak out on behalf of his constituents.
Wave: You held a fundraiser at the Roxbury Barn last Sunday, but the vast majority of the people there were not from Rockaway. How important is it and what are you doing to court voters here?
Mossa: Rockaway, if I’m going to win, and I feel very confident, is going to give me the victory. That won’t be forgotten. I’m not going to take
Rockaway on a anti-Addabbo sentiment, and there’s plenty of that. Voter apathy is tremendous. When people sit down at their breakfast tables and ask ‘Why is this?’ it’s because they elect the same people. Addabbo sold out the property owners. When he does that, don’t expect him to ever stand up for you. Campaigning is a lot of work, but people have been pretty responsive, even people who are generally turned off by politics.
Wave: Incumbents have so many advantages: the power and staff of their office, a record of community service and familiarity with their job, name recognition, and the ability to help constituents and gain their votes. What made you seek a council seat now?
Mossa: Any incumbent has a tremendous advantage. People’s jobs depend on his being reelected. But, you have to hold an incumbent’s feet to the fire.
Wave: How do you feel as a conservative republican challenging a democratic incumbent in an area where most residents are registered democrats?
Mossa: Well, of course I’d rather have the voter registration in my favor.
Wave: Your father, Sebastian Mossa, has been a big part of your campaign. At the Roxbury Barn he spoke to the people who were there, and your speech seemed secondary. Is he pressuring you to run in this election?
Mossa: He has been a great help. He has helped me form a common sense approach. My father is a small businessperson and an example of the kind of people that are the backbone of the district. It was my idea to run.