A series of negative attack mailers sent by Republican Dan Halloran in his bid to defeat Democrat Kevin Kim for Northeast Queens’ Council District 19 has triggered a deluge of support for Kim, with dozens of elected officials, community leaders and independent voters rallying for Kim and deploring the distorted and racially divisive mail.
Many of Kim’s supporters — including Democratic City Comptroller Nominee John Liu, Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, Democratic City Council Nominees Mark Weprin and Daniel Dromm, Assemblymen Rory Lancman and Michael Gianaris and former Kim Primary Election opponent Debra Markell — gathered at Queens Borough Hall on Oct. 26 to express their outrage over Halloran’s divisive mail. Congressman Joseph Crowley and Borough President Helen Marshall sent representatives.
Halloran’s latest mail piece tries to amplify racial tension in the increasingly diverse district by creating an “us vs. them” dynamic and claiming that electing Kim, a Korean American, will turn the leafy neighborhoods of Northeast Queens into “Downtown Flushing.” On one side of the mailer, a picture of Kim is superimposed over a view of a congested commercial corner with many multilingual signs. On the other side, Halloran is pictured playing bocce ball in a leafy residential park, with statements like “I was born here. I grew up here.”
This piece and two others try to make the absurd claim that Kim is controlled by Asian commercial developers, who all want to destroy leafy residential neighborhoods. These claims are nothing but lies and prejudice by the Halloran campaign. In reality, less than one percent of Kim’s donors are from development or construction companies.
In a list that Halloran uses in two of his deceptive mailers, six Kim donors – all Asians — are described as “big developers and construction companies.”
Kim grew up in Bayside, lives in Bay Terrace, went to New York City public schools, got his J.D. from Columbia Law School and is the Deputy Director of Community Affairs for Congressman Gary Ackerman. He just had his first child, a daughter, here in August.
Kim is running on a platform focusing on improving local schools, improving public safety and – contrary to his opponent’s distortions – preserving the quiet and clean residential character of Council District 19 neighborhoods. He has been endorsed by the United Federation of Teachers, Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, United Firefighters Association and the Citizens Union good government group.
Unlike Halloran, Kim has also been endorsed by many elected officials that he’d have to work with as a Council Member, like Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Borough President Marshall, Congressman Gary Ackerman, Comptroller Nominee Liu, Senator Stavisky, Senate President Malcolm Smith, City Council Nominee Weprin, and Assemblymembers Ann-Margaret Carrozza, Lancman, Gianaris, Nettie Mayersohn and Grace Meng. With those who haven’t endorsed Kim, the Democrat has pledged to work cooperatively in order to get the goals of the community achieved.
“Everyone who lives here cares about the same things,” Kim said. “We all want good schools, we all want safe and clean streets, we all want convenient shopping and transportation, and we all want to live in nice neighborhoods that are not crowded and not overdeveloped. My message to Dan Halloran is, stop the divisive attacks and lies, let’s talk about what really matters to people and when this is over, let’s work together to accomplish these common goals we share.”
Congressman Joseph Crowley said:
“Our community is stronger because of our diversity and we will not stand by and let these hateful attacks go unchallenged. Voters see through this kind of pathetic, last-ditch effort to stir up trouble and will vote against anyone supporting these kinds of vile tactics. Kevin Kim is a true leader for Queens and I am proud to support him for City Council.”
Borough President Helen Marshall said:
“As someone who witnessed and participated in this country’s civil rights struggle since its early days and whose job it is to encourage everyone in Queens, America’s most diverse county, to work together, I’m deeply offended by the divisive distortions in Dan Halloran’s latest mailing. This only further demonstrates why Kevin Kim is the best candidate for City Council in Northeast Queens.”
City Councilman and Democratic Nominee for City Comptroller John Liu said:
“This is a worst kind of negative campaigning. This isn’t even an attack on a candidate, but an attack on an entire community, and is thus offensive to everybody. The best and most effective way to respond to this is to come out with a show of force — everybody must come out to vote on November 3rd.”
City Councilman and Democratic Nominee for Public Advocate Bill De Blasio said:
“Campaigns should be about bringing people together behind a common cause, not below the belt attacks designed to divide our communities. Kevin Kim represents a new vision for City Hall that will help create a better future for all New Yorkers. That is the type of leadership we need in the City Council.”
Senator Toby Ann Stavisky said:
“I live in the 19th Council District and I’m voting for Kevin Kim because he represents my values — support for schools, public safety and neighborhood preservation. I represent a community that cares about the quality of your character, not the color of your skin.”
Assemblywoman Ann-Margaret Carrozza said:
“Kevin Kim is my choice for City Council because he will stand up for working families, public schools and our seniors.”
Assemblywoman Grace Meng said:
“As an elected official representing Flushing, I am proud of the diverse neighborhood I represent. It is offensive that anyone would use a snapshot of the heart of my district as a scare tactic for their campaign. This further demonstrates why we need to elect someone like KEVIN KIM — someone who can bring neighborhoods and people together and not divide us. I am proud of Kevin’s candidacy — not because he is an Asian-American, but because he represents what Americans have overcome. We need to move forward, not backward.”
Assemblyman and Democratic Nominee for City Council Mark Weprin said:
“Kevin and I both grew up in Queens and are raising our families here. He has the same values I do for our schools and community.”
Assemblyman Rory Lancman, who represents Broadway-Flushing, Bowne Park, Station Road and parts of Auburndale in the 19th Councilmanic District, said:
“These are challenging times for New York City, and Northeast Queens needs Kevin Kim’s positive message of creating jobs, improving our schools and fighting over-development a heck of a lot more than it needs the tired Republican scare tactic of divide and conquer. The Republicans need to come up with a better message than ‘Don’t vote for the Asian guy.’”
Assemblyman Michael Gianaris, the first Greek American elected in New York, said:
“Pitting people against each other based on ethnicity is particularly despicable in a place like Queens that prides itself on the diversity of its residents. Dan Halloran owes the people of the 19th Council District an apology and an explanation why his shameful tactics should not disqualify him as a candidate. I am proud to support Kevin Kim because he stands for what is best about Queens: a place where one’s success is determined by his or her abilities, not by others’ prejudices.”
City Councilman James Gennaro said:
“As a member of the New York City Council, I’m disgusted that a candidate would use such scare tactics in a campaign in the most diverse county in America. Such tactics denigrate our political process, disrespect our residents and tear deeply into New York City’s wonderfully diverse social fabric. Any candidate who employs such tactics is, in my opinion, unfit to represent the residents of New York City. We need leaders like Kevin Kim who seek to build bridges between all communities.”
City Councilman David Weprin said:
“A campaign should be about the issues facing our communities; it should be about ideas of how to create jobs, educating our future children and providing access to affordable healthcare for everyone. It should be about painting a clear vision of how we move forward in the 21st century — not about how to move backwards into the 19th century, as Halloran likes it. Racial and ethnic attacks have no place in a campaign. It’s people like Halloran that threaten the future progress of this city and nation.”
District Leader and Queens County Young Democrats President Costa Constantinides said:
“Republican Dan Halloran’s latest attack mail represents the politics of the past and the worst of the political process. In last year’s historic election, voters rejected attempts to divide us by ethnic or racial identities. The young people of Northeast Queens still want to hear how we can come together to solve our problems, reach our goals and strive towards a bright future. I stand today with Kevin Kim and our other community leaders and elected officials to deplore Dan Halloran’s cynical attacks.”
Michael Tkach, President of the Michel Regular Democratic Club of College Point, said:
“Recently a mailing came to my house I found to be disturbing. Republican Dan Halloran’s campaign had put a picture of Democrat Kevin Kim’s face over a picture of Downtown Flushing. Kevin has never been involved with ANY of the build-up of Downtown Flushing. And to make it LOOK LIKE just because Kevin is Asian this is what might happen, is a new low for Dan Halloran.”
Former Council District 19 candidate and Democrats for New Politics President Steve Behar said:
“As a former candidate for this seat who focused on the issues, I find it appalling that Dan Halloran and the Republicans are using racial politics and not talking about the things that matter: our neighborhoods, our schools, the economy.”
Former Council Distrit 19 candidate Debra Markell said:
“As the Democratic nominee I believe that Kevin Kim will serve all of the diverse needs his constituents in the 19th Council District. I believe Kevin represents the true ideals of the Democratic Party, and will protect the values of our communities. He will support our schools, public safety and preserve our neighborhoods.”
Bay Terrace Community Leader Warren Schreiber said:
“It’s unfortunate that a platform of hate has been brought to Northeast Queens. The recent campaign literature put out by opponents of Kevin Kim is blatantly anti-Asian and contains racial stereotyping that I had hoped was a thing of the past. All of these lies are designed to create an atmosphere of fear. I have confidence that the enlightened voters of the 19th Council District will reject the feeble attempts of a few hate mongers.”