Richards Absent From Jamaica Forum

From left to right are Queens Borough President candidates City Councilmember Costa Constantinides, Antony Miranda and Elizabeth Crowly. Photo by Noah Fleischman.

As the Queens Borough Presidents race moves into the home stretch, several of the candidates vernally jousted again at a candidates forum in Jamaics last weeknd.

Faith in New York hosted the forum, which feaured Anthony Miranda, City Councilmember Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria, East Elmhurst, part of Long Island City, Woodside) and Elizabeth Crowley.

City Councilmember Donovan Richards (D-Arverne, Bayswater, Broad Channel, Cambria Heights, Edgemere, Far Rockaway, Howard Beach, Jamaica, JFK Airport, Laurelton, Rockaway Beach, Rosedale, South Ozone Park, Springfield Gardens) could not make it due to a scheduling conflict.

Each candidate has vouched that they are the right person for the job of borough president, each offering differing ideas on affordability, job creation and transit. The major points they addressed in the forum were affordable housing and gentrification as well as further explaining their platforms.

Throughout the forum Constantanides touted his record of creating affordable housing in his district, like his conversion of a parking lot into senior affordable housing. He justified his ability to handle the developers, laying down the foundation of creating affordable property, which involves tough negotiations.

“We need to make sure that when we’re talking about city property that it’s 100% affordable and 100% percent for community use,” he said. “We can make sure that we’re getting the things we need from our community, to ensure that we are getting deep levels of affordability.”

Miranda presented himself as the “outsider” in this election, he has no prior experience as a politician went on the offensive, attacking those who have approved the projects and taking money from developers.

He promises to be an advocate for the common person in Queens. “What we should be fighting for is a moratorium on all luxury development right now, until they’ve done a feasibility study, until they’ve done an environmental study.”

Crowley comes from experience, she is a former councilwoman, who is working to secure Queens’ share.

“We never get our fair share, when it comes to transportation, education, cultural affairs, you name it,” proclaimed Crowley. “Why are we always the forgotten borough? … That’s why I am running for Queen borough president because it is our time now, it’s time for Queens to shine.”

An argument broke out between Constantanides and Miranda, in which Miranda claimed his opponent approved luxury projects as well as took money from developers previously. Constantanides responded back saying that these claims are “complete nonsense.”

One of the event’s coordinators stepped in to settle both the candidates down. This did not, however, stop Miranda from once again going after Constantanides’ track record. He once again went after councilmembers that have approved and taken money from developers and insists that they should be held accountable.

Early voting for the election starts on March 14 to March 22 and the official election date is set for March 24.