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Ackerman and Turner surprise Queens political scene

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Can you believe all the dramatic political changes this week? The biggest surprise was Gary Ackerman’s decision not to run for re-election. As my husband said, “I guess that means no Acker-Bus trip for you down to Washington this coming January 2013.”

I am disappointed, as I am sure the rest of the regular attendees are as well. It has been a ritual for at least 10 years. How will the Senate gift shop show a profit without all the Acker-Bus people not being there to buy shopping bags full of stuff?

That was always a fun day and we will miss it. Unfortunately, not all changes are for the best or at least the most fun. Oh, well, whoever wins his seat may keep the tradition alive and charter a bus to treat the constituents to a trip to see whoever wins being sworn in as Gary did for so many memorable years. One can only hope!

The Queens Democratic Party designated a new congressional candidate for that seat Monday. Its choice was Grace Meng, who was one of the five mentioned as a potential candidate.

Rory Lancman and Elizabeth Crowley announced they will also run — and there’s still time for more to jump in.

The second surprise was Bob Turner’s announcement that he is running for Kirsten Gillibrand’s U.S. Senate seat. We thought he was going to run against Greg Meeks for his congressional seat. What a difference a day makes. A friend suggested that in order to keep up with the times I should consider doing a daily blog as well as a weekly column just to keep the record straight.

As I’m sure you know by now, at the Republican convention in Rochester, three candidates emerged for what will be a three-way primary June 26. In order to get on the ballot, you must secure at least 25 percent of the votes. The early report said that Wendy Long received 40 percent of the votes, with George Maragos and Turner each receiving a little more than 25 percent each. All three have declared they are in it to win it.

Even though this is not a gubernatorial race this year, all New Yorkers are getting revved up for both the local and presidential races. This election cycle is heating up to be a fascinating group of races. The candidates as well as the constituents have gotten themselves all warmed up and raring to go to push their choice of candidates over the finish-line. It won’t be a dull summer for sure.

Happy 50th birthday to Darryl Strawberry! Monday night he had a party at — where else? — Strawberry’s in Douglaston. He graciously stopped by every table, signed autographs and posed for photos.

March 13 was girl’s night out, which we celebrated at Bourbon Street on Bell Boulevard in Bayside. The Tuesday night special is a New Orleans-style clam bake, which consisted of a salad or soup, a lobster, muscles, clams, fresh corn on the cob, small red potatoes, a glass of house wine or a pint of Coors Lite Beer plus key lime pie for desert. All of the above cost $23.95 — the best deal in town.

Last Thursday, the ladies who are members or on the board of the Go Red Organization had a strategy meeting pertaining to their plans for their annual gala. The organization exists to make women aware of how susceptible they are to heart disease and heart attacks, which take the lives of more women than breast cancer. They do an excellent job. Their meeting was also at Strawberry’s.

Later last Thursday evening, I had planned to stop by the Douglaston Manor, where the Queens Chamber of Commerce was scheduled to have a St. Patrick’s Day casino night. Sad to say it was canceled. This is the second consecutive St. Patrick’s Day celebration the chamber planned that was canceled.

What’s the problem? Doesn’t anyone love the Irish anymore? For years they held a successful luncheon at Terrace on the Park. Let’s hope the luck of the Irish is better next year for the chamber.

But the luck of the Irish held out for the parade Saturday. What a gorgeous day for a parade. The hosts of the largest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the world are New York City, with the largest attendance followed by Savannah, Georgia and then Dublin, Ireland.

I look forward to your voice mails at 718-767-6484, faxes at 718-746-0066 and e-mails at deerrichard@aol.com.

Till next week, Dee.

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