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Learn more about this district in Searchlight 2002
x-Allan W. Jennings, Dem 11,670 - 69 percent
Anthony D. Andrews, Lib 2,665 - 16 percent
Rameshwa Jodha, Rep 1,536 - 9 percent
Inderjit Singh, Ind 353 - 2 percent
Garth Marchant, Fus 290 - 2 percent
Patrick B. Jenkins, Wor 283 - 2 percent
Allan W. Jennings 4,437
Anthony D. Andrews 3,991
Trevor K. Rupnarain 2,396
Aziz Uddin Bilal 1,330
Garth Marchant 593
(Official Vote Count from the Board of Elections)
Incumbent: Thomas White, Jr. (can't
run in 2001)
- Anthony Andrews (Lib)
- Patrick B. Jenkins (Wor)
- Allan W. Jennings (Dem)
- Rameshwa Jodha (Rep)
- Garth Marchant (Fus)
- Trevor Rupnarain (Gre)
Contributors to these candidates, according to the Campaign
to Anthony Andrews, Jr.
to Imam Aziz Bilal
to Patrick B. Jenkins
to Allan W. Jennings
to Garth Marchant
to Trevor K. Rupnarain
Official Primary Election Voter Guide for Residents of District
Petition challenges have narrowed the field of eleven Democratic
candidates to five. Patrick Jenkins, Rameshwar Jodha, Dwayne Kirkland,
Inderjit Singh, Michele Titus and Carolyn Younger were all kicked
off the ballot. Some will appeal the decisions, others said their
campaigns have come to an end. But the battles are not just in
the courtroom. Several weeks ago, someone set fire to the campaign
headquarters of front-runner Anthony Andrews. See the Campaign
Update and Campaign Trail for more details. Posted
No Free Trip to Jamaica
South Jamaica is a transportation hub for much of the city. Every
day, thousands of New Yorkers fly out of John F. Kennedy airport,
drive on the Van Wyck Expressway, and pass through on the Long
And what do the residents in the area get in return? Not much,
say the candidates running for City Council district 28, including
a Muslim cleric, an economist, a lawyer, and government staffers.
"This district receives its share of dirt, dust, noise, and aggravation,"
said Inderjit Singh.
Though the district cannot change its status as a gateway for
the rest of the city, the candidates promise to create incentives
to help travelers stop, shop, and spend some money in the area,
which includes neighborhoods such as Richmond Hill, Rochdale Village,
and South Jamaica.
Anthony Andrews said encouraging small businesses is key so that
when travelers do stop, the "money is recycled back to the residents."
"We have to make sure travelers are not coming into JFK and going
straight into midtown Manhattan," said Inderjit Singh, who proposes
building more office space, hotels, and parking lots in the area.
Clifton Diaz wants to clean up the vacant lots along the Long
Island Railway that are littered with garbage. "This is not the
image we want passengers to have of Rochdale Village as they glance
outside their windows," he said.
But promises of new construction are easy to make, and often
difficult to fulfill. One candidate said even building sidewalks
and streets is a challenge. "Where's the pavement in Jamaica?"
asked Michele Titus, a Democratic district leader for the area.
Titus warns that there are also risks in depending on the airport
for economic development. "The airport, our neighbor, is slowly
encroaching into the neighborhood with recent development of hotels
and warehouses that service the travelers and businesses of JFK
airport," said Titus. "I will ensure that the quality of life
for residents in the district is not diminished by the airport's
expansion into the community."
The first real test for the new council member may be to ensure
that the new Air Train -- a monorail train that will connect JFK
airport with Howard Beach and the Long Island Rail Road terminal
in Jamaica -- brings jobs and economic growth into area.
"Contracts and other jobs associated with the Air Train need
to be given to our residents," said Aziz Bilal.
The Air Train, which is presently under construction and is scheduled
to be completed sometime in 2003, is supposed to create 4,150
new construction jobs and 195 permanent jobs. It will also bring
about 7,000 passengers a day into Jamaica Station, the areas main
Another major task for the new council member is bringing together
the diverse residents that live in the area, but there is a physical,
not just cultural, barrier to uniting the residents of the district.
The Van Wyck Expressway splits the district in half and some say
this geographical divide has created two communities.
In general, more recent immigrants from Guyana, India, Ecuador,
and the West Indies have settled on the south side of the Van
Wyck, particularly Richmond Hill and parts of South Ozone Park.
The area is characterized by residential homes, a variety of religious
institutions, and ethnic stores and restaurants.
The north side of the Van Wyck is a predominately African-American
area, which includes the neighborhoods South Jamaica and is home
to some of the older institutions of the area like South Jamaica
Baisely Park, York College, and the Queens Borough Library.
Some in the immigrant community have expressed their unhappiness
with the current council member Thomas White Jr., and have complained
that the north side of the expressway receives more attention
and funds, and that certain bills being introduced do not take
immigrant concerns into account.
"That's why we need to build bridges across the Van Wyck and
not focus just on the divide." said Trevor K. Rupnarain.
Two years ago, legislation was introduced in City Council, by
Queens council members Archie Spigner and John Sabini at the request
of Queens Borough President Claire Shulman, that would have banned
converting parts of houses to separate apartments. The bill angered
many in district 28 who live with extended family members in the
same home. In the end, the bill did not become law, but some candidates
say it demonstrates a need for change at City Hall.
"Politicians need to reflect the new reality, new faces, different
races and backgrounds," said Inderjit Singh.
The candidates also say that for improvements to last attention
must be paid to the children of the area.
"There are no youth programs," said Aziz Bilal. "When I was young
there was a night center where I played basketball and that was
a safe environment."
"There is a real void from 3 to 6 p.m. for our young people,"
added Michele Titus. "We also need intergenerational activities,
such as literacy programs where young people read to seniors."
This year, district 28 will get the first new representative
in a decade. Many hope it will signal a new start for the area
that many just pass through.
Jamaica is no paradise when it comes to getting on the ballot.
At one point there were 11 Democratic candidates hoping to appear
on the primary ballot in September. Now there are five.
Patrick Jenkins, Rameshwar Jodha, Dwayne Kirkland, Inderjit Singh,
Michele Titus and Carolyn Younger were all kicked off the Democratic
line, according to the Board of Elections.
Younger said she will not appeal the ruling, but next time she
will choose a different political path. "I went as far as I could
with a fight but the system failed," said Younger. "I am going
to a [new] party that will respect the black families, other minorities,
and all voters in general. I am going to the Republican party."
Patrick Jenkins, who was also knocked off the Democratic line,
said he learned through his campaigning that "many people were
not familiar with the existing City Councilmember or have a hard
time understanding how City Council was even relevant in their
lives." Jenkins will still appear on the ballot in November because
he received the endorsement of the Working Families party.
The five remaining candidates for the Democratic primary -- Anthony
Andrews, Allan Jennings, Garth Marchant, Trevor Rupnarain, and
Azziz Uddin Bilal are still trying to present ideas to the community
that will boost their campaigns.
Allan Jennings said he would like to abolish the Board of Education
and set up a city agency that is more accountable to the voters.
He also said he would try to put in place a grant system for section
eight residents who live in public housing. "New York City spends
millions on rent subsidies. It would be better to turn dependent
tenants to taxpaying home owners," said Jennings.
But this race has not been just a battle of ideas. In July, someone
threw paint on a 10-foot-long banner above Anthony Andrews1s headquarters
and then started a fire. The fire department said it was a case
of arson, but no one has been charged and no other candidates
have been implicated. Anthony Andrews has the backing of the Queens
Democratic organization and his boss, outgoing Councilmember Thomas
Anthony Andrews Jr. was the former chief of staff to Councilmember
Thomas White Jr., an assistant to State Senator Alton Waldon Jr.,
and legislative aide to Councilmember Archie Spigner. Andrews
currently works as an administrator in the Division for Student
Development at York College. Andrews has held several political
positions such as Democratic National Committee Member, president
of the New York State Young Democrats, chairperson of the Governors
Youth Task Force, president of the Queens County Young Democrats,
and executive member of the Fred Wilson Democratic Club. Andrews
holds an Masters degree in Public Administration from Baruch College.
Andrews is involved with several community organizations such
as Rochdale Kiwanis Club, Sutphin Boulevard Civic Association,
Knights of Peter Claver, Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning
and Agenda 21.
Imam Aziz Bilal earned an Associate Degree at Dutchess
Community College and is certified in Therapeutic Crisis Intervention
from Cornell University. Aziz has volunteered as an Imam or Chaplain
at the New York City Department of Corrections. Bilal established
Masjid Al Humdul Lillah, a mosque in Jamaica, in 1994.
Patrick B. Jenkins currently works as an executive assistant
to U.S. Congressman Gregory W. Meeks in St. Albans, New York.
Before working for the Congressman, Jenkins worked at the office
of the New York City Comptroller as a community associate and
executive assistant. Jenkins has served on Community Board 25
as substance abuse prevention/intervention specialist (SAPIS)
and he has been an outreach counselor and instructor for the YMCA.
Jenkins is working towards his Masters in Urban Policy and Administration
at Brooklyn College and will graduate this December 2001.
Allan W. Jennings, Democratic District Leader in the 31st
district since 1992, worked for Assemblymember John Duane. Jennings
ran against City Councilmember White Jr. in 1997.
Rameshwar Jodha works at Jodha Insurance Agency, Inc.
Trevor K. Rupnarain was born in Guyana and came to the
U.S. in 1986 after completing law school in Trinidad and Tobago.
He worked as a legal assistant with IBM and as a consultant with
Putnam, Hayes &Bartlett, Inc. in Washington D.C. In 1989, Rupnarain
moved back to New York as a senior consultant with a major New
York City law firm, and he has opened his own law practice in
New York City. Rupnarain is an active member of the Caribbean-American/Black
Community, founding member of the Caribbean Daylight Newspaper
and the founding member and former president of the Queens Caribbean
Bar Association. Rupnarain is also the founding member and former
vice president of the New Concept Democratic Club in Queens and
member of several organizations such as the American Bar Association,
New York State Bar Association, Queens County Bar Association,
Association of trial lawyers of America, Friend of the Congressional
Black Caucus Foundation, and John Marshal Bar Association. Rupnarain
is also a small claims arbitrator.
Inderjit Singh is an economist and a former college professor
at City University of New York and Long Island University. Singh
has worked at the United Nations, New York City Department of
City Planning, Human Resources Administration, and New York City
Michele R. Titus is the Democratic District Leader for
the 31st Assembly District, attorney for the New York City Board
of Education, and was the Executive Director for the New York
State Black and Puerto Rican Legislative Caucus. Titus has worked
for the New York State Attorney Generals Office, and was the Chief
of Staff for state Senator Ada L. Smith.
Caroline Younger is a certified caseworker and worked
at the office of the Employment Services for the Human Resource
Administration. Younger worked as a counselor for two years and
is the founder of Black Families International Inc., which is
a self-help, self-assessment, crime prevention organization. She
is also the founder of Black Family Day, a gospel music event.
There are five Democratic candidates remaining from a pool of
eleven contenders. Rupnarain challenged the petitions of Jodha,
Singh, and Bilal. Due to Rupnarain1s petitions both Jodha and
Singh have been knocked off and Bilal has survived. Both Jodha
and Singh are going to court this week to appeal. One reason why
Rupnarain is trying to fight to get these three of the ballot
because they all appeal to the same voters and Rupnarain does
not want factions to develop which may lead to defeat. (Jamaica-Times.com)
Inderjit Singh considers himself to be the "candidate for the
millennium." He is running for the Democratic nomination for City
Council in District 28, which covers Richmond Hill, South Ozone
Park and Jamaica. He hopes to serve new immigrants better than
past officials have.
In an interview with the India Post, Singh reiterated this desire,
stating that the community has been "undeservedly neglected for
new immigrants, mainly South Asian and Carribean." Among his list
of achievements is over thirty years of experience in city government.
Property value is a topic of great concern for Singh. He is concerned
about the air and noise pollution caused by construction projects
at JFK airport, fearing the airport has further worsened property
values. In addition, Singh also wants to see a more diverse working
environment among the construction crews at the airport. He would
like to see more of his constituents involved in the construction
efforts. Another major concern for Singh is the overcrowded state
of the district's schools. In addition, Singh has highlighted
the need for adult education.
"I know the constituency," declared Singh confidently, "and I
am confident of the response." (India Post)
Fire Department officials suspect that a fire was deliberately
set at the campaign headquarters of Anthony Andrews, one of the
11 candidates running to succeed Thomas White in the district
28 seat of City Council representing Jamaica. At 4 a.m., someone
threw paint on a 10-foot-long banner above his headquarters and
then started a fire, officials said. (Daily News)
Allan Jennings attended the graduation ceremony for York College
"You Can Go To College" program along with Mrs. Meeks, wife of
the U.S. Congressman Gregory Meeks. Jennings congratulated the
recent graduates for overcoming obstacles. (The Queens Courier)
On June 21st, P.S. 223 was to hold a prom party for students and
a parent appreciation night. However, when the students and parents
got to the school they found the lunchroom doors locked and auditorium
doors chained. Ms. Gibson, President of the PTA, had applied for
permits for the evening even though the principal did not initially
sign them. Allan Jennings, who was at the meeting, felt that it
was an unacceptable way to treat both the parents and students
especially since they had the correct paperwork. (The New Voice
of New York)
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. Just this Tuesday, for
example, a gathering in Cambria Heights for Patrick B. Jenkins,
a candidate for City Council in Queens, was just one of the half-dozen
fund-raising events that night. For three hours, about a dozen
supporters met in the home of a supporter to engage in a bid whist
tournament, with participants paying $25 apiece to test their
skills at the card game and to raise money for Mr. Jenkins's first-ever
campaign for public office. At the end of the evening, Mr. Jenkins
had raised more than $250 from the event. The $250 generated by
the whist game for Mr. Jenkins brought him $1,000 more from the
city. "It was a great night for me," said Mr. Jenkins, a 33-year-old
aide to Representative Gregory W. Meeks. "It helped my campaign
with another $1,000. I enjoyed being with friends and supporters.
And I won three of the four hands." (New York Times)
Trevor Rupnarain, along with nine other Asian-American candidates
for City Council, attended a reception hosted by the Asian American
Federation of New York. Rupnarain spoke of the neglect faced by
immigrants in his community. (Jamaica
Queens is the most diverse area of the world and this year has
a diverse set of political candidates, including Imam Aziz Bilal,
who if elected, would be the first Muslim on the City Council.
So far there are four Democratic candidates running for the 28th
councilmanic district-Anthony Andrews Jr., Imam Aziz Bilal, Garth
Marchant, Trevor Rupnarain. (Jamaica-Times.com)
The history of Richmond and Ozone Park, and who lives there today.
Trevor Rupnarain hopes to be the first Indo-Guyanese candidate
elected to political office in New York. (Times Ledger)
The article examines the shortcomings of the $1.5 Billion monorail
light-rail link from JFK Airport, by taking the perspectives of
tourists navigating through this complicated system (Queens