Baldeo skips over the learning
Fogarty , Assistant Editor
hopefuls never quite grasp the nuances involved in staging a
campaign for public office. They refrain from elaborating on
specific community issues, sidestep around hot-button topics, or
fail to anticipate the inevitable onslaught of criticism and
background drills common within the not-always simpatico sphere of
Albert Baldeo is a
member of the other camp, the one whose members are prepared for the
hard blows, if only because he still has the callouses obtained from
running for office three times within the last five years. The
immigration lawyer and long-time community advocate is one of six
candidates running for the 38th District Assembly seat, vacated a
month ago by Anthony Seminerio. No stranger to politics, Baldeo, who
is the president of the United Communities Alliance, ran for the
28th District City Council seat in 2005, but was defeated by Tom
race, which will go down in the books as one marred by an exhaustive
series of scandals, affected Baldeo, as well. One of his opponents,
pediatrician Robby Mahadeo, accused him of pointing a gun at the
doctor and his wife. Baldeo denied the charges and countered with
accusations that Mahadeo stalked and harassed him, which his
opponent denied. The charges against Baldeo were ultimately dropped
and the Board of Elections removed Mahadeo from the ballot.
“Politics can be
vicious —people try to assassinate your character,” Baldeo
reflected. “I am not a professional politican. I am for the people.
I’m an advocate of people, a father, a neighbor. I’m doing this for
the common good of the community.”
experience didn’t keep Baldeo from running twice for the 15th state
Senate District against Republican incumbent Serphin Maltese. In
2006, Maltese defeated Baldeo by a sliver of a fraction and in 2008,
Baldeo stepped down to help then-Councilman Joe Addabbo Jr. defeat
Yet, even before the
2009 race heats up, City Hall News reported Tuesday that some Queens
Democrats oppose the election of Baldeo and are calling for Gov.
David Paterson to hold a special election in September, which would
give party leaders the power to choose a candidate. Some say an
earlier election would also prevent Baldeo from running because he
has not met the State Constitution’s one-year residency requirement,
an allegation he denies.
According to legal
documents the candidate sent to the Chronicle, Baldeo has resided at
the same Richmond
residence since 2006. He said he does not own another residence and
that the accusations are political in nature — an attempt to call
for a special election.
In a special
election, you take it out of the hands of voters and put it in the
hands of party district leaders,” he said. Baldeo said he
is most interested in focusing on the issues in his community. He
has been working on helping
Glendale get its own ZIP
code, which he calls “a matter of life and death” because so many
emergency response vehicles get lost and end up in
Flushing or Ridgewood.
The ZIP code would also ensure residents’ tax returns and important
documents are not lost in the mail, he said.
over, Baldeo has been trying to preserve the Ridgewood Reservoir.
“There are so many species of birds and animals there. It’s a jewel
in our district,” he said. “It could be made into a tourist
attraction and we should preserve it, not turn it into baseball
In Woodhaven, the
candidate cites several infrastructure problems that he said must be
addressed, including the possibly carcinogenic substance called
creosote that continues to drip down from the J train elevated
platform and the preservation and maintenance of bus routes.
Several schools in
possesses some of the most crowded elementary, middle and high
schools in the borough, are depriving students of the American dream
by forcing them to learn in off-site annexes, he said. Baldeo said
he would work to get more funding, computers, certified teachers,
libraries, afterschool programs and arts and science classes in
“We shouldn’t deprive
our children of the tools they need to be successful,” he said.
Other topics of concern include making healthcare affordable
for all residents, creating more jobs in the district and helping
homeowners who have either lost their homes to foreclosure or are in
danger of losing them. He has fought to protect Mitchell-Lama
affordable housing and views this as one way to help tenants avoid
supporting “greedy landlords” who create illegal and dangerous
apartments in the district.
have to educate people that it is illegal and unsafe for them to
live there,” he said. “They’re being exploited.” Overall, Baldeo said he would
make sure more funding goes to the district. “This district has been
neglected and people have become smug,” he said. “We have to answer