CITY ISLAND CIVIC MEETING

News

Two Republican candidates for NYC Mayor appeared before a sparsely crowd of City Islanders on Tuesday night. In fact there were more flies in the room than there were people in the audience. At least two politicians present made fun of the fly infestation inside the community center. Catsimatidis even went as far as telling the group to get air conditioning for his next visit. I guess he will not want to visit The City Island Nautical Museum upstairs either until a decision is made to invest on a needed air conditioning system.

GOP mayoral candidates Joe Lhota spoke first and then John Catsimatidis followed. The former MTA chief and the billionaire businessman both outlined their individual visions for NYC and then took questions from the leadership as well as some audience members. They group spoke about education, crime, the firehouse, the bridge and other issues.

Joe Lhota was born on October 7, 1954 and is the son of a retired lieutenant in the NYPD. One grandfather was a FDNY firefighter and another was a New York City taxi driver. Lhota is married and has one daughter. The first member of his family to attend college, Lhota graduated with honors from Georgetown University in 1976. He also received an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1980.

Upon graduating from Harvard, he began a fourteen year career as an investment banker at First Boston and Paine Webber. He specialized in public finance, serving state and local governments throughout the United States.

In 1994, Lhota started working for Mayor Rudy Giuliani, where he held several positions over Giuliani's two terms. First as chief of staff to the deputy mayor for finance and economic development and was quickly was promoted to New York City finance commissioner. In 1995, he was selected as director of the office of management and budget. In 1998, Giuliani appointed Lhota to deputy mayor for operations.

John Catsimatidis was born on September 7, 1948. He is a Greek-born American businessman and the owner of the Red Apple Group and Gristedes Foods. He is also the chairman of United Refining Company.

The Red Apple Group also has holdings in aviation and real estate interests in New York, Florida, and the U.S Virgin Islands. He owns and operates the Hellenic Times newspaper. John Catsimatidis has also received an Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

Catsimatidis grew up in New York City after coming to the United States as an infant with his parents from the island of Nisyros, Greece. He graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School in 1966.

While pursuing a BS in electrical engineering at NYU, Catsimatidis worked for an uncle in a small supermarket on 137th Street. Catsimatidis ultimately dropped out of college, and in 1971, convinced he could make money in the grocery business; he opened his first store on Manhattan's Upper West Side at 99th Street and Broadway under the name "Seven Eleven". Soon afterwards, he opened a Red Apple supermarket on 87th street just west of Broadway.

Democrat Bill Thompson could not make it, so he sent NYC Council-member Jimmy Vacca to speak on his behalf. Vacca took the opportunity to outline his support for Thompson as a man who will improve NYC schools. He also announced his support for other candidates running for NYC Comptroller and NYC Public Advocate, a position he admits may no longer be necessary.

William Colridge Thompson, Jr. was born on July 10, 1953. Bill was the 42nd Comptroller of New York City. Sworn into office on January 1, 2002, he was reelected to serve a second term that began on January 1, 2006. He left office on December 31, 2009, having been succeeded by John Liu. Thompson was the nominee of the Democratic and Working Families parties in the 2009 election for Mayor of New York.

Thompson was born and raised in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. He is the son of Elaine Thompson, a New York City public-school teacher, and William C. Thompson, Sr., formerly a prominent Brooklyn Democratic Party leader, City Councilman, State Senator and judge on New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division. His grandparents immigrated to New York City from St. Kitts in the Caribbean. Thompson attended Midwood High School, a public school in Brooklyn, and graduated from Tufts University in 1974.

Thompson has gone through two divorces and is currently married to Elsie McCabe Thompson, President of the Museum for African Art, whom he married in September 2008. A lifelong Brooklyn resident, Thompson moved to Harlem in September 2008 following his most recent marriage. In April 2010, Mr. Thompson joined the investment banking firm of Siebert Brandford Shank, a lead underwriter of municipal bonds.

The CICA president was absent, so the second VP delivered the news about their so far failed attempts to stop the construction of a new City Island Bridge. The group leaders say they plan to pursue all avenues, including legal, to delay this project until a new and more receptive mayoral administration takes office in January. Good luck on that one because City Island Images has learned of a planned field meeting, which is scheduled in a few days to discuss groundbreaking for the $100 million dollar project.

This same civic association leader was actually able to convince the group to spend 20% of their available funds to pay for legal fees, just to continue their fight against The Italian Hospital Society’s plans to build at 222 City Island Avenue.