Thursday, July 23, 2009

Politics Unusual: Petition Challenge Fever; Dennis Gallager Resurfaces

By Patricia Adams

Let the games begin. Yes it’s that time of year where the frenzy that marks petition challenging season is once again upon us. Before we go further we’d like to offer kudos to Councilman Eric Ulrich and his opponent Frank Gulluscio who are no where to be found on the challenge list. Apparently these two candidates for the council seat in the 32nd District have decided that they will let the people vote for their own choice. Now please don’t get us wrong, we enjoy a good challenge as much as anyone else but we feel the process should be used only in times of impropriety.

Gulluscio has filed over 5,500 signatures—more than six times the legal requirement while Ulrich submitted 2,500 signatures. “I think the lack of challenge here sends a very clear message,” said Ulrich. “Frank and I are serious candidates who are willing to face the voters on the basis of our own merits.”

In races around our readership area the petition challenge list is overflowing with the names of candidates seeking office for themselves and a boot off the ballot for their opponents. Albert Baldeo, Mike Miller, Nick Comanianni, Donna Marie Catalbiano all vying for the seat evacuated by disgraced Assemblyman Tony Seminerio.

Pardon us while we depart from the petition process for just a minute. Seminerio is engaged in sort of a signature campaign of his own — a solicitation from his lawyer for character reference letters to be used at his sentencing. We could hardly keep from gasping upon the reading of the letter released by Seminerio’s attorneys, Michael Ross and Perry Krinsky. As it appears in the letter, here is the request made on Tony’s behalf:

“A very important part of the sentencing process is the information provided to Judge Buchwald through letters from people who now Mr. Seminerio well, including detailed personal accounts from friends, family members, constituents and colleagues, which describe, among other things Mr. Seminerio’s character and the type of person he is…” OK let’s hold it right there—these guy’s who are presumably being paid a hefty fee for his defense are asking people to write letters about his character and the type of person he is? Let’s see now…if one were to look at the details of the indictment perhaps they could sketch out a letter as to what kind of character Tony Seminerio has and perhaps even get a clear picture of what kind of person he is. I’ll bet one letter the lawyers wouldn’t appreciate is one off the tip of this pen.

OK, back to the real world of the petitions. The list is littered with the name of virtually every candidate falling on most occasions in two columns, that of the challenged and under the guise of objectors as the challengers. But underneath the rubble there is even something of even more concern than some candidates who seek to defame their opponents.

Lurking at the bottom of the barrel is a “dirty little rumor” that some candidates have reportedly signed on some questionable “help” for their campaigns. Word reached us, from most reliable inside sources that the former councilman and forever sex offender, Dennis Gallagher is back on the political scene in a consulting/advisory capacity. Also rumored is the fact that he was paired with former Como and Ricatto staffer James McClelland.

When we reached McClelland to ask about the supposed affiliation, it took all of two seconds before he was offering complete assurance that there was absolutely “NO PROFESSIONAL RELATIONSHIP” between him and Dennis Gallagher. McClelland did confirm that he is the sole owner and employee of the firm he started in March, J. Mac & Associates Inc. His clients include Peter Koo and possibly Jay Golub, whom he confirmed has in fact enlisted the professional help of Gallagher.

We’re glad that James has averted professional/political suicide by having the good sense to avoid a plague worse than many of biblical proportion. But how about Jay Golub? In fact how about anyone who seeks public office and knowingly takes on someone who disgraced his elected position, broke the law and was banished from his seat for it.

From where we sit that type of poor judgment is a clear and present indicator of who not to elect. We wonder how any candidate could endorse the behavior of a criminal by accepting his professional service or advice. We promise to keep you informed as more information becomes available. We also promise to keep printing extra copies for any that should mysteriously disappear…and yes we’re talking to you.

Until next week...


Stanley, Glendale said...

Former Councilman Dennis Gallagher should be behind bars instead of working on campaigns. We in Queens should hold District Attorney Dick Brown accountable for giving Gallagher a way out with his cowardly plea deal. Brown does the bidding of the Queens Democratic Party Machine and not the people of Queens County.

Eric Lee from Maspeth said...

I really enjoy reading the Forum more than any local newspaper. I can get the news from my neighborhood and political information with a refreshing sense of humor, unlike the poorly written and confusing Queens Ledger. Keep up the good work.