2009-02-20 / Letters

The Special Election For City Council

Dear Editor,

The Special Election for City Council in the 32nd District, which has been vacated by Joe Addabo, will be held on February 24. Last night The Wave, in an effort to have the constituents make an informed decision on whom they would like to elect to City Council, hosted a Candidate's Forum at the West End Temple. We heard from Geraldine Chapey, Glenn DiResto, Mike Ricatto, Lew Simon and Eric Ulrich. I thank them. It was an interesting evening and I am sure there is coverage elsewhere in The Wave.

We heard lots about change and what each of the candidates will fight for in City Council for their constituents. Interestingly enough, we were educated to find out from Eric Ulrich, that many of the issues that are near and dear to the hearts of Rockawayites are not issues that City Council members decide. That is not to say that City Council members do not have a sphere of influence or that they should have a sphere of influence, with other elected officials in the State and federal level who are the decision makers in a lot of what matters to us. Where are those liaisons now? So what does a City Council member do???

The Role of the City Council

The New York City Council is the lawmaking body of the City of New York. It is comprised of 51 members from 51 different council districts throughout the five boroughs. The Council monitors the operation and performance of city agencies, makes land use decisions and has sole responsibility for approving the city's budget. It also legislates on a wide range of other subjects. The Council is an equal partner with the Mayor in the governing of New York City. This is from their website. Naturally, council members are diligent in trying to bring those resources home to their constituents and need to be able to make substantive cases to the other members. I believe that Eric Ulrich is the best person for that job. He is a young, articulate, informed and focused individual who has long set his sight on becoming a member of the City Council.

I first met Eric Ulrich four years ago, when he first ran for Republican District Leader and I was so very impressed that a young man felt so strongly about a two party system and the need for the Republican Party to stand up and be counted by rebuilding a base here in Southwest Queens, after a period of ten years when the Republican District Leaders seemed to have caved to the pressures and numbers of the Democrats here. Eric did not win that election but that did not deter him. When he approached me to run as his co-leader, recognizing that I also have a drive to bring about a Republican presence, I could do nothing else but agree to run. And we won by a landslide upsetting the machinery of a ten year incumbent. Since then you are all aware of the strides we have made here and we just had our candidate, Jerry Sullivan, challenge Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer for her seat and thus we are all better off. Audrey will need to be more attentive and speak up for us or else be prepared for an additional challenge next time around. We have three viable Republican

Letters Clubs here and believe me when I say that Queens County GOP is well aware of our presence. This is a factor that will help in the mayoral election when we will be asked to step up to the plate as well as the governor's election. Although the job of City Council is more of a non partisan one, each council member is trying to secure funding and services for his or her district. Having an articulate, knowledgeable councilman in Eric Ulrich, will certainly be a positive step in bringing the issues of Southwest Queens to the forefront on many levels.

After becoming the Republican District Leader with my co-leader Eric, many people have suggested that I run for public office. Running the City of NY is not a second career, nor should it be. Eric Ulrich has been preparing for this election long before I met him. He always had a calling to serve people and that is why he attended Cathedral Prep, and studied to be a priest. He learned there that he can serve in other ways and with his God given talents he has decided that he can serve honorably and effectively as a City Council member. He has a vested interest in having City Council get it right. He is getting married and wants to stay in New York City and raise his family here. He understands the issues that we are facing and he needs to be part of the solution for us, but it also affects his family's quality of life. Just like a lawyer, or doctor, everything that Eric Ulrich has done to this point has been preparing him to serve us well in the public sector. He is a man with a long, political career in front of him and " he is educated and connected within the political arena. This is the reason that he is unanimously endorsed by the Queens GOP and all the Republican Clubs within the District.

Eric is from Ozone Park and I am from the Rockaway Peninsula. We are co-leaders within the 23rd Assembly District and we are constantly in touch, keeping each other informed because we cannot be at all events. I am not going away and rest assured we will have a friend in City Hall. In closing, on Rockaway Boulevard and Liberty Avenue there is a billboard and literally Eric Ulrich is watching over us, and he vows that he will continue to watch over us as our next City Councilman. Believe it. I hope you will cast your ballot for him on February 24.

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