|The Press, Moms Day,
Follow The Dots and
A Proud Newspaper Dad
By MICHAEL SCHENKLER
THE PRESS: It is with great humility
and sense of obligation and pride that we embark upon this, our latest publishing venture.
The company that has published the
boroughs largest community newspaper, the Queens Tribune, for
30 years intends to fulfill our boroughwide mandate. This week, the PRESS of
Southeast Queens takes its first breath, committed to serving the dynamic
southeast Queens neighborhoods of St. Albans, Jamaica, Springfield Gardens, Cambria
Heights, Laurelton, Hollis, South Ozone Park and others. The PRESS shall
offer to the predominantly black population of the area, a similar brand of advocacy and
investigative journalism, community information, and serve as a local sounding board just
as the award-winning Tribune has championed in the rest of the borough.
Of all the publishing challenges Ive
faced, this venture we are embark upon, I expect, will be the most rewarding since first
becoming Trib publisher in 1979.
This column is now appearing in two
newspapers. It continues to run in the Tribune, for which Ive written
political and personal commentary on and off since the early 1980s. For those new to
"Not4Publication," there will be some political commentary and reflections, some
personal observations and perhaps a smattering of newspaper sharing between the Trib
and PRESS. I hope it proves to be enlightening, educational and
enjoyable to readers of both papers. Please come along for a weekly ride.
I am proud to participate in the inaugural
edition of the PRESS. This all-new paper will be molded and produced by its
own staff with the assistance and guidance of our talented Tribune team.
Leading, the PRESS of Southeast Queens effort is Marcia Moxam Comrie,
a 20-plus-year resident of southeast Queens. A former SE Queens neighborhood development
executive director, Marcia studied journalism at York College. She lives in St. Albans
with her two young children, Liana and Benjamin, and her husband Leroy, who is district
manager for Councilman Archie Spigner and President of suspended School Board 29 a
story Im certain that will make the pages of this publication.
Marcia, a transplant from the island of
Jamaica, will face the challenge of guiding a publication that will serve a readership
equally divided between African Americans and Caribbean Americans. With a team of two
full-time reporters and freelancers who are being recruited locally supplemented by the
extensive Tribune network, the PRESS promises journalistic
Local columnists will contribute their
unique perspectives on the area. Weekly thought-provoking commentary by former
congressman, Rev. Floyd H. Flake and NY1s Gary Anthony Ramsay will add to the PRESS
efforts to provide the best a community newspaper can offer.
Hundreds of distribution stops including
free street boxes will bring the weekly into the hands of southeast Queens
residents. An initial press run of 25,000 copies will be increased as need demands. If
your local bank or supermarket doesnt have the Press and would like to
provide it as a free service to their customers, have them call and request it.
This is indeed an exciting time for all of
us. It re-energizes the ink that runs through our veins.
This is your the readers
chance to participate in community journalism. We have positions available for an
editor and a reporter as well as freelancers and volunteers. Interested in joining our
effort? Contact Marcia Comrie at (718) 357-7400 or by email at: Moxcom@QueensPress.com.
Advertising opportunities abound, as do
employment opportunities we seek writers, telemarketers and outside salespeople.
Most of all, we seek the news. We extend to
the community an open invitation to submit copy, ideas, events, photos, letters and
thoughts. Send them to the PRESS, 174-15 Horace Harding Expressway, Fresh
Meadows, NY 11365. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I welcome and encourage reader feedback. I
can, as always, be reached at: MSchenkler@QueensTribune.com.
See you here next week.
HAPPY MOTHERS DAY: Although my
heart is in Florida with mom, my consciousness is in Washington, DC and across this nation
where a million moms will be marching to demand common sense gun control.
A nonpartisan gang of grandmothers, mothers
and aunts will descend on the nations Capitol with their sisters marching in major
cities across the United States to put Congress on notice that common sense gun policy
specifically licensing and registration is the will of the people.
Regulating guns to preserve the lives of
our children is the most fitting tribute we can pay to our nations moms.
Cars and drivers are licensed and
registered. Cars have both door and ignition locks. Cars are made to transport. Guns are
made to kill. The NRA be damned! Congress must act now.
To follow the movement or to get involved,
log onto: www.millionmommarch.com; call toll free: 888-989-MOMS; email:
FOLLOW THE DOTS: With the launch of the
PRESS, the past week has been hectic to say the least. I have not had time
to make the calls to nail down the political theory I am about to share. However, it
represents the type of follow-the-dots thinking that turns on us political junkies.
Allow me to play out loud. Recognize
nothing here is verified and no harm is intended to anyone.
A political insider, a friend who has
played at the higher levels of consultancy, informed me late last week that Joe Crowley
has retained a media consultant to defend his Congressional seat against the challenge by
City Councilman Walter McCaffrey.
For those new to this space, the former
Congressman, Dem County Leader Tom Manton, timed his withdrawal from the race so that he
controlled the process and was able to name Crowley as his replacement without a Primary
Election. This angered Western Queens Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan, Councilmen John Sabini
and Walter McCaffrey. And after lots of unpleasantness, the threesome is backing McCaffrey
against incumbent Crowley and Mantons Democratic organization.
Now, stay with me.
Queens County has two viable candidates for
Mayor in 2001 council Speaker Peter Vallone and Comptroller Alan Hevesi. It could
have been three, but former congressman Reverend Floyd Flake is not a candidate since he
has opted to fill his plate with other things at the moment.
Also of significance in this scenario is
the fact that Manton, the Queens Dem Leader, has more often than not been at odds with
Hevesi and allies with Vallone. Observers have always expected when push came to shove
Manton would back his Western Queens ally Pete Vallone over Alan Hevesi with whom Manton
has, for the moment, a tenuous peace.
Now how does Crowleys election, which
is where we started, impact upon the Mayoral analysis?
Crowleys political rabbi or godfather
(depending upon which pew you sit in) or mentor (if you dont pew often) is Queens
Dem Chair Manton. Manton, who has been perceived as a Vallone backer, is in reality in
control of (or greatly influences) the Crowley political operation.
Crowley has just retained the service of
political guru Hank Morris. Although Morris might be known to you as the guiding operative
behind the election of Chuck Schumer, he has a candidate that is even more important to
him than NYs Jr. Senator. Morris future is invested in none other than
Queens Alan Hevesi.
Hank Morris is not likely to help
Mantons handpicked guy (Crowley) if there is not some sort of understanding about
Follow the dots: the deal has therefore
been struck and if our supposition is accurate and all players hold true, expect to see
the (Tom Manton) Queens organization backing Alan Hevesi for Mayor in 2001 and a new judge
Then again, there could be an incumbent
Mayor Mark Green or we might have missed one of the dots.
IT AINT HEAVY: The picture below
is borrowed from last weeks issue of The Equinox, the newspaper of Keene
State College, New Hampshire. It ran with the following caption:
"Self-portrait of Lee Katzman. Lee is
the new editor of the Equinox, and feels as if he has the weight of the whole world on his
Lee with the world on his shoulders
is my 21-year-old son raised in a home with high ideals and lots of newsprint and
ink who took the picture and was recently elected to his new position by the
papers editorial board. He just put out his first issue which arrived at our house
this week Ive been showing it off to everyone in the office.
I can share with Lee, the burden of running
a news organization and the awesome responsibility of putting out a quality journalistic
product weekly, on deadline. Yes, Lee it does feel like the weight of the Unisphere on
I expect, throughout the next year, to be
giving Lee a couple of tips on getting the publishing job done. To start with Lee, it
takes a good team like the one we are building here at the PRESS.
Then, real hard work, discipline, imagination, integrity and a dogged desire to serve the
community in a manner that our founding fathers knew and understood was as precious as any
of our freedoms.
Lee, as we in Queens embark on our new
newspaper, I share with you the anxiety and anticipation of the new publishing task, but
assure you that at the end of the journey, the weight on your shoulders is eased and you
discover a wonderful new and rewarding world.
Best of luck from a proud father.
Michael Schenkler can be reached at: MSchenkler@queenspress.com