BY LUIS GRONDA
A Middle Village activist is looking to bring one City Council seat back under Republican control.
Craig Caruana officially announced his intention to run for the District 30 Council seat currently held by Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village).
Caruana said he believed that Crowley was not addressing enough issues that cause concern for her constituents.
One issue is the rising water and property tax rates in the district and throughout the Borough. He said that while Crowley does not necessarily need to come up with a grand solution for those problems, it needs to be addressed in some fashion – something that Caruana said she has not done during her time as councilmember.
The amount of discretionary funds for the district is another problem that Caruana brought up as a reason for running. According to data on the amount of discretionary funds allocated for the 2013 fiscal year, Crowley received the lowest amount of funding of all the Queens council members and the second least in the City overall. Only Brooklyn Councilman Charles Barron received less funding than Crowley for this year. She got $378,321 for that funding, half of what she received in the previous fiscal year.
According to published reports, the possible reason for the decrease was Crowley’s run for Congress last year, but according to a New York Times article earlier this year, Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) cut her funding as retaliation for not naming her in a press release that Crowley’s office sent out about firehouses in her district, a report that Quinn later denied.
Despite their disagreement, Caruana said that Crowley should have done more to get discretionary funding for the district that covers Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Ridgewood and parts of Woodhaven and Richmond Hill.
“That’s not an excuse,” Caruana said. “We should have a City Councilmember that can work with other politicians.”
If elected, Caruana said he would make sure there was time to address constituent issues, try to reduce the cost of living for the residents of Queens and reduce regulations on small businesses.
Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) and former Congressman Bob Turner joined Caruana at his press conference last week in support of his council bid.
“I know Craig, he’s an honest person with integrity who fights for what he believes in,” Ulrich said in a statement. “He is going to be a strong advocate and one that’s needed in times like this.”
According to the latest filing numbers from the New York City Campaign Finance Board, Caruana has raised $15,716 for his campaign so far. In comparison, Crowley has raised $133,473 for her reelection bid.
Reach Reporter Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127 or at email@example.com.