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Learn more about this district in Searchlight 2002
x-Eric N. Gioia, Dem 12,469 - 93 percent
Ann Eagan, Grn 885 - 7 percent
Eric N. Gioia 4,928
Matthew J. Farrell 2,083
Joseph T. Conley 2,013
Patrick O'Malley 1,541
Michael G. Kearney 840
(Official Vote Count from the Board of Elections)
Incumbent: Walter L. McCaffrey
(can't run in 2001)
- Ann Eagan (Gre)
- Eric Gioia (Dem/Wor)
For who has donated to these candidates see the Campaign Finance
to Joseph Conley
to Ann Eagan
to Matt Farrell
to Eric Gioia
to Michael Kearney
to Patrick O'Malley
Official Primary Election Voter Guide for Residents of District
Lately passengers on the 7 train that runs through the heart
of district 26 have noticed some changes to the area. For one,
a nostalgic sign for the Eagle Electric Manufacturing Plant with
its neon flashing sparkplugs and the slogan "Perfection Is Not
An Accident" is gone. In its place, is a black-and-white painted
billboard promoting technology job development in Queens.
The sign marks a long overdue revival for the neighborhoods of
the district, particularly those on the waterfront that would
like to make the transition from industrial towns to modern business
districts. But it is a transition that is not easy to make.
This has been most evident in the Long Island City and Hunters
Point area. While much has been made recently of the New York
Power Authority's plans to build two power generators in the area,
more general issues of waterfront development have been on the
minds of western Queens residents for some time.
In 1984, the Port Authority conceived of a massive redevelopment
project to provide housing, office space, and 20 acres of parkland
in Hunters Point. Nothing came of the project until 1994, when
a more ambitious follow-up plan, was formally launched. Yet even
today, the only thing that has been built are a 42-story apartment
building called Citylights and a small park. The rest of the development
is still...in development.
Projects like Queens West will, some residents hope, move western
Queens away from the manufacturing that once characterized the
"There is no such thing as manufacturing jobs in the city anymore,"
said Matthew Farrell, a candidate for City Council and current
chief of staff for Councilmember Koslowitz. "We can't let these
areas go to waste. You look at a city like Hoboken or even San
Francisco, which have both really flourished as waterfront areas,
and you wonder why we can't do it here."
But others are more wary. Local community board members express
concerns that allowing development in the current manner could
raise real estate prices and force out small manufacturers and
working class residents. While Queens West has brought more housing
to the area via Citylights, many are unconvinced that luxury high-rises
overlooking the water are the way to solve the district's affordable
"People are getting priced out of their neighborhoods around
here as those who are priced out of Manhattan discover the attractiveness
of this area," said Joe Heaphy, another candidate and the executive
director of the New York State Tenant and Neighbors Coalition.
"Rents are being driven up and it is a problem that seriously
needs to be addressed. I believe that stable housing is the centerpiece
of a stable community."
Overcrowding in the school districts is another problem that
plagues the region and also divides the community.
According to the Board of Education, School District 24 is the
most overcrowded district in the city, operating at 120 percent
of its capacity, and District 30 is also one of the five most
overcrowded districts in the city.
"When I attended P.S. 11 on Skillman Avenue, it was a great place
to learn," said Eric Gioia, an attorney and Democratic Party activist.
"I have a cousin attending the school today who is forced to take
classes in what is essentially a trailer."
Though nearly every candidate running for any office this year
has mentioned education as a priority, there has been neighborhood
resistence to attempts to build new schools in western Queens.
Last year, some citizens favored construction of a PC Richards
electronics store in Sunnyside and a Staples office supply outlet
in Maspeth instead of new schools. In both instances, local residents
said the schools would cause increased traffic and cited the proximity
to dangerous major avenues as cause for concern. While the Board
of Education did end up approving construction of a school on
the Maspeth site, there remains much to be done to alleviate the
overcrowding. And the process is slow.
If the candidates have different visions of what would be best
for their neighborhood, so too do they differ as to what would
be the best qualifications to be the area's represenative on the
Candidates Gioia and Farrell enjoy the endorsement and the backing
of the Democratic leaders in the area. "It's a critical time for
experience in a period of transition," said Farrell. "I can come
into the City Council already knowing the budget process and how
to bring back necessary resources to support our community centers."
Candidates Kearney and Heaphy, however, are operating from outside
the system, a condition they say is not only to their benefit,
but good for the city. "I feel like my independence from the existing
power structures coupled with my experience organizing citizens
to work together will be good for the community," said Heaphy.
Whatever the result, the winner of this race will have to decide
exactly what path will lead to future prosperity for its residents.
And he can expect plenty of arguments on the details along the
Two candidates in district 26 have dropped out of the race. Joe
Heaphy, who had been endorsed by the Working Families Party, quit
in July, saying he wanted to focus on his work at the New York
State Tenants and Neighbors Coalition. "The best way for me to
continue serving the needs of the community and the city is to
focus my energy on my work to preserve affordable housing for
those who need it most," Heaphy said.
James Dillon also dropped out and is now putting his efforts
into creating a new Democratic club in western Queens called the
Justice William Brennan Democratic Club.
Democratic candidate Patrick O'Malley said the major focus of
his campaign is improving city services. He wants to adapt a police
computer system that tracks trends in crime to look at things
like sanitation, fire, and transportation. "By applying the compstat
approach of the New York Police Department to all other city services,
our neighborhood can get improved government action," he said.
Joe Conley entered the race later than most other candidates.
"I wanted to respect our current Councilmember Walter McCaffrey
and see what was going to happen with term limits before throwing
my hat into the race," he said.
Conley touts his experience as chair of Community Board 2 where
he has served 12 consecutive terms. Conley has been critical of
the Queens West development in Long Island City, claiming that
the community was not involved in the process. He also wants to
invite a new kind of development in the area. "Right now economic
development is geared to the commercial spectrum with no incentives
for people to build housing," Conley said.
Ann Eagan, another new entrant, represents the Green party and
is running on a platform of worker's rights and environmental
The Queens Democratic organization has endorsed Matt Farrell,
but Gioia and Conley have raised nearly equal amounts of money
to Farrell. The Working Families Party has now endorsed Gioia,
and outgoing Councilmember Walter McCaffrey has endorsed Conley.
Joe Conley has worked for Mac Properties for the past
18 years. He is also a senior vice president for Modell's Sporting
Goods. He serves as chairperson for Community Board 2, as a national
delegate for American Cancer Society and as advisor to LaGuardia
Community College. He founded the Long Island City Patricia Manning
Memorial Fund for Childhood Cancer.
Ann Eagan is a self-employed yoga teacher. She is active
in the Queens Environment Campaign and the Queens Peace and Solidarity
Counsel, as well as the West Queens Greens.
Matt Farrell currently serves as the chief of staff to
Council Member Karen Koslowitz, with whom he has worked since1994.
He also worked for former Manhattan Borough President Andrew Stein.
Eric Gioia is an attorney from Woodside who coordinated
Al Gore's campaign in New York during this past election. He also
worked for three years in the White House Office of the Deputy
Counsel and most recently was an attorney at the firm of Milbank
Michael Kearney is the chairman and former president of
the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce. He runs a company in the health
care field and is a member of the United Forties Civic Association.
Patrick O'Malley ran last year against Catherine Nolan
for her seat on the State Assembly with the backing of Ed Koch
and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. He has been a former Queens County
Assistant District Attorney and is the brother of the mayor of
The five Democratic candidates running in district 26 talk about the need
for more cops or affordable housing, but darker issues lurk just below the
surface: Revenge, payback and political power. Or, as one candidate put it,
lots of "petty personal politics and intramural squabbling." (Daily News)
The New York Times today endorsed a candidate in this race.
District 26 (Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside, Maspeth):
There is almost total agreement among several very strong candidates
on the major issues facing this district, including overcrowded
schools and more affordable housing, especially for the elderly.
Eric Gioia, who helped manage Al Gore's campaign in New York and
worked in the White House, is the youngest and most energetic
of the group, and has promise as a leader both in the district
and in the Council. We endorse Eric Gioia.
In the waterfront neighborhoods of district 26, something interesting
is happening in this season's City Council race. While candidate
Matthew Farrell, of Woodside, has received the endorsement of
the Queens Democratic Party and local party politicians such as
Queens Borough President Claire Shulman and City Councilwoman
Helen Marshall, pop-up candidate Eric Gioia may give him a race
to the finish line. Gioia, who has raised more money than anyone
in the race - nearly $130,000, including the city's matching funds
- has been endorsed by almost every major union in the city, including
the United Federation of Teachers. Joe Conley, of Woodside, the
president of Outlet City and Med-mac Properties and a consultant
to Modell's Sporting Goods. Conley, also the chairman of Community
Board 12, has won the endorsement of the incumbent Councilman
Walter McCaffrey (D-Woodside) and has raised around $112,000,
including matching funds. (Newsday)
The New York Times called this one of the ten races to watch.
Matthew Farrell, an aide to Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz, is the
choice of the Democratic organization to succeed Walter L. McCaffrey.
But Eric Gioia, a lawyer who worked in the Clinton White House,
has raised more money and gathered more labor support. Patrick
O'Malley, the brother of the mayor of Baltimore, is one of three
others running. This race places the prestige of the party organization
on the line in Woodside and Sunnyside. (New York Times)
Matt Farrell joined residents and local community leaders today
in calling for a traffic light to be placed at 65th Place and
53rd Avenue. (Queens
Joe Heaphy, executive director of the New York State Tenants and
Neighbors Coalition, has ended his campaign for the City Council
seat from the 26th District. "I have decided that the best way
for me to continue serving the needs of the community and the
city is to focus my energy on my work to preserve affordable housing
for those who need it most," Heaphy said. . (Daily
Thomas Manton gives Matt Farrell his endorsement. (Queens
Today Joe Conley attended the groundbreaking of a new park, the
Doughboy Memorial Park. (Queens
Night after night in New York City, fundraising events take
place, in people's apartments or slightly garish catering halls.
And whether the affairs are standard or eclectic, they are all
driven by the same desire: campaign cash. And they are taking
place with a frequency that politicians and donors alike say is
unprecedented in modern city politics.
Some candidates, particularly younger ones, have made an effort
to hold events that attract voters of their generation, for whom
political involvement is new. Eric Gioia, who is a candidate for
a Council seat in Long Island City, Queens, has sought to reach
young, professional voters.
With a collection of more than 6,000 e-mail addresses, Mr. Gioia,
who once was a law clerk in the Clinton White House, said he had
been able to invite a large number of new voters, professionals
with backgrounds in finance, law and the arts, to his fund-raising
events. Mr. Gioia recently had several hundred guests at a fund-raiser
at a bar in the Upper West Side of Manhattan to celebrate his
28th birthday, for a $40 minimum contribution. (It was $15 for
students and previous contributors.)
"We have been able to get a large number of volunteers from these
events and by keeping up with people by using e-mail," Mr. Gioia
said. "This way, we're able to mobilize an army of smart, energetic
young people, most of whom are getting involved in the political
process for the first time." (New York Times)
James Dillon has quit the race for the City Council seat in the
26th District (Queens
Kearney holds a fundraiser (Queens
In Woodside: Of the five candidates running, the two leading in
money and endorsements are Eric Gioia, who ran Al Gore's New York
campaign, and Matt Farrell, Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz's chief
of staff. (Daily
Sunnyside tenant and community activist Joe Heaphy threw his hat
into the ring last week for the 26th Council District seat being
vacated by City Councilmember Walter McCaffrey. (Queens
Another candidate in the 26th Council District race, Matthew
J. Farrell of Woodside, announced that he has hired Laurence Lauffer,
the former counsel to the City's Campaign Finance Board, to assist
him with campaign finance law compliance. (Queens
Michael Schenkler runs down the district races throughout Queens.
Michael Kearney, one of the Democratic candidate-hopefuls seeking
to succeed Councilmember Walter McCaffrey in the Sunnyside/Woodside
26th district, drew some interesting guests at his first fundraiser
on Nov. 29th at Dazie's Restaurant in Sunnyside. (Queens
McCaffrey's successors announce campaign. (Queens