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Southeast Queens voters say they were snubbed when their city councilmen voted last Thursday for Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s bill to extend term limits, but at least one of the leaders said he will be working to address those issues with the constituents immediately.
Councilman Thomas White (D−Jamaica), Councilman Leroy Comrie (D−St. Albans) and Councilman James Sanders (D−Laurelton) all voted “yes” on the controversial bill after White and Comrie had rejected an amendment that would have created a public referendum. Sanders abstained on the amendment.
Many Jamaica residents said they were greatly upset with the three because they did not get a say on the issue.
“I think the mayor got to them,” Jamaica resident Chandra Combs said of the councilmen. “They didn’t want to go up against Bloomberg.”
Comrie and Sanders were set to be term−limited from office next year while White was set to be term−limited in 2010.
One voter, Marc Lumpkin, who lives in White’s district, said he was so disgusted by his councilman’s vote that he would vote against White in a future election.
“If they voted for Bloomberg, I can’t vote for them,” the 38−year−old father said.
Comrie said his office has gotten several calls from constituents since the vote last Thursday and he welcomes the responses both good and bad. He said his vote was made after long thought and input from the two days of public testimony in the Council chambers last week.
“We had an opportunity to discuss it at many levels. It was a decision that showed how democratic the Council is,” he said.
In response to his constituents, Comrie, who has not yet made a decision about running for a third term, said he has been talking with them and will be making visits to hear more of their opinions. His office is slated to issue statements about the vote directly to the voters soon, according to the councilman.
“I consider all feedback positive,” he said.
One of Comrie’s constituents had some good words for the vote and praised the councilman’s support. James Lee, 59 of Hollis, said the community has improved, thanks to Comrie’s work, and he thinks that it will continue to do good if he runs again next year.
“I know Comrie. He has a really good feel for the neighborhood,” he said.
Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e−mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 146.
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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