By Kevin J. Ryan
At our April meeting, we began with a moment of silence dedicated to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing before welcoming new Queens Republican Board of Elections Commissioner Michael Michel as our guest speaker. Michel spoke about his background and his goal of transparency and accountability at the Board. Michel, who also serves as president at Christ the King High School, said that he has been involved in politics off and on for many years. Emphasizing his policy of openness and fairness, Michel gave out his cell phone number and email address, inviting anyone with questions or concerns to directly contact him.
Michel also answered questions from the large crowd. When asked why he was selected to serve, he said, “I have no problem saying ‘no’ to my best friend, if I have to.” His message was clear: the days of no-show patronage jobs at the BoE are over and a new era of accountability has begun, at least under his watch. Though it was a spirited meeting and all were allowed to be heard, it was a very civil dialogue and one of our best-attended meetings so far.
Attorney and NYC Council candidate Alex Blishteyn also addressed the Club and emphasized the dangers of driving Queens businesses away with high taxes and fees. Even the often-villified large businesses, he explained, started out as small ones. Blishteyn, who resides in Fresh Meadows, is running in the 24th District.