The smile on my face was shared with many as we witnessed the swearing in of the newest and youngest City Councilman Eric Ulrich, my co-leader of the 23 AD, on Sunday, March 15, 2009 at PS 207 in Howard Beach by Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
It was standing room only as Eric assured the crowd after this hotly contested race, " … some may think that my term in office may be brief, but I am here to say I am not a bench warmer, I'm not a place holder, I'm here to serve and I'm here to stay!" And the crowd went wild.
This special election was an eye opener for many and although it was predicted that only 5,000 voters would turn out, the unofficial number was in excess of 7,331. This was truly a grass root effort in getting out the votes. Voters are a lot smarter than some give them credit for and I congratulate you for your vision and, of course, for agreeing with me!
Eric is indeed humbled to be sent to City Hall and knows that he will have to earn everyone's trust to be re-elected in November. This special election should have been certified March 17, 2009 and the official swearing in has hopefully taken place by print time.
With that said, Eric Ulrich will have an office in Rockaway as well as Ozone Park and as soon as they are opened we will announce their locations and he will be in attendance to many community affairs. When you see him, please make it a point to introduce yourself and, of course, realize that he is now your ears to City Hall.
His offices will be open for you to stop by to alert him to your concerns and your problems, but feel free to stop by and just say hi.
I am certain that he will serve with distinction. Congratulations once again to Councilman Eric Ulrich and we certainly did, "Make Waves" here in the 32 Council District/23 Assembly District.
Looking ahead, there continues to be lots of buzz about the next General Election which will be for Mayor. Mayor Bloomberg has been meeting with the five county Chairmen of the GOP requesting the opportunity to run on the Republican line in November. Nothing has been decided by the chairs at this time as the process of interviewing qualified Republicans has not been completed. Anthony Weiner has not officially announced that he is no longer running, but that announcement is expected shortly. City Comptroller Bill Thompson is in the running and I have to say that I was very concerned while watching his interview with Dominic Carter on NY1's Road to City Hall. Repeatedly the conversation went to the African American vote and how did he expect to get the endorsements of African American leaders. Bill Thompson is black. I never hear people asking how a white candidate is going to recruit the endorsements of white leaders! Bill Thompson spoke of the wave of people who came out to vote for Barack Obama, the grass root people and yes it was historic and yes it was moving to have a half black, half white man win the Presidency, and it was definitely a historic grass root movement in getting out the vote. I am hoping that in this Mayoral race, people will educate themselves to the candidates track records and abilities to lead during this stressful time in NYC and I hope that the grass root efforts will play a big part in the education process.
If the election was to be tomorrow and the candidates were Bill Thompson and Mike Bloomberg, I would have to encourage you all to vote for Mike Bloomberg. Although some people might be upset that the City Council has given him the right to overturn term limits, my position is that he did it lawfully and if the constituents do not want elected officials to have that ability, then that loophole should be closed so that it can not happen in the future. Remember how your city council member voted when that was put before them and if you do not agree with their vote, you have the power to withhold your vote from them in November.
That will send a message.
With that said Mike Bloomberg has done a good job and the polls show that he still entertains high approval ratings.
I would like to end by stating how very disappointed I am that The Wave's editor, Howie Schwach, chose to disparage my co-leader, Eric Ulrich, in last week's Wave by insinuating that he photoshopped a picture of himself and Pope John Paul II. Let me set the record straight. Eric Ulrich did have the distinct pleasure of meeting Pope John Paul II and did have that very picture of him receiving rosary beads from the Pope, taken as that remembrance of that special moment. If there had been any question as to the legitimacy of the photograph, I would have hoped that The Wave would have contacted either Councilman-elect Eric Ulrich or me to ask for clarification on the matter. Perhaps in the future, that will happen, I hope so.