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Race for Ackerman seat brings out four contenders so far

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This is the week that was and what a week it was indeed. On Monday, Dan Halloran announced his candidacy for Gary Ackerman’s congressional seat in Flushing’s Bowne Park.

Considering the announcement was scheduled for 5 p.m. while most people were still working, he had an impressive turnout. Among his supporters were Rick Lazio, Tom Long, Phil Ragusa, Frank Padavan and George Maragos. The list would be too long to mention everyone. Good luck, Dan!

The other candidates in the race are Democrats Grace Meng, Rory Lancman, and Elizabeth Crowley. One of our sources swears he has heard that both Lancman and Crowley will be dropping out of the race in the next few weeks, making a tighter race of Meng vs. Halloran.

If that’s true, now is the time to place your bets on who wins in that scenario. Lots of strange things are happening on our political horizons. Lots of luck to the candidates!

Last Thursday evening, there was a 50th birthday party for Joe Crowley at the Grand Hyatt Hotel at Grand Central Station. It was a high-powered affair. Some of the superstars were Mayor Michael Bloomberg; former Gov. Mario Cuomo; Peter Sr., Peter Jr. and Perry Vallone; Tom DiNapoli; Bill Thompson; Kathleen Rice; and Gary Ackerman, among others. It was a large turnout to show support and well wishes to Joe.

Here’s one rumor you can put to rest. The rumor I am referring to is that Ackerman wasn’t going to run again because he wasn’t feeling well. Last Thursday night, he looked great and displayed his usual witty persona. At least that was his status at Crowley’s party.

Everyone who is, who was and who wants to be were out in full regalia to wish the birthday boy a happy birthday — big time! Republicans and Conservatives, do not be offended, but in my humble opinion the Democrats sure do know how to throw a party.

After Joe’s party, it was back home to Beechhurst to pack and drive the approximate 200 miles to Saratoga Springs to attend one of our annual rituals: the New York Press Association’s 2012 Spring Convention. We arrived at the Gideon Putnam Hotel at 3:30 a.m. Breakfast was at 8 and the first session was at 9.

The Friday luncheon speaker was Alex Jones, a host and executive editor of PBS’s “Media Matters.” His subject was “Why Newspapers Matter.” He proved to be a fascinating man with a great sense of humor, and it was a pleasure to have the opportunity to listen to him and learn from his great wealth of experiences.

At the seminar last year, the instructors said that due to state-of-the-art technology, we in our profession would find it easier if we acquired an iPad and an iPhone. It would make life so simple, it would be a breeze to get our jobs done.

Taking the instructors seriously, I bought myself an iPhone 4-S and an iPad 2 for Christmas. One of this year’s courses was “Mobile 101: Let’s Get Started.” I thought, “That’s great, I’ll finally get the maximum benefit from my new acquisitions.”

Wrong. They may have been instructing in Sanskrit. It was so over my head and out of my league it was much too techie for me. If I had had an electrical engineering degree, it would have helped. Obviously, my background knowledge was not at that level. I was much happier not knowing how much I didn’t know.

Apparently, there is so much to learn they even have a special vocabulary to go with that particular learning process. Maybe I should stick to pure, unadulterated gossip. Speaking of which, on Saturday afternoon, while driving down Saratoga Springs’ Main Street, there was a black SUV in front of me. I took a photo of the sign in the SUV’s rear window.

It said, “Do Big Corporations Own our Congressmen?” Looks like politics present the same problems all over.

I wrote this column April 1, my birthday, so happy birthday to me. I wonder who the April Fool’s joke was really on?

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