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Long-time Astoria Resident Runs for City Council, Aims to Unseat Constantinides

Kathleen Springer, running for City Council (Source: Kathleen Springer)

Nov. 1, 2017 By Tara Law

An independent candidate who has advocated for the restoration of the historic diving pool in Astoria Park is taking on incumbent Costa Constantinides to represent the 22nd Council District.

Kathleen Springer, 58, said that she decided to run in order to give Astoria residents a greater voice in City Hall. She said that she would make sure that city officials heard the concerns of her potential constituents and would be willing to push back against various city agencies.

Springer, who has lived in the neighborhood since 1963, said that she became disillusioned with the political status quo after failing to get the City to restore the diving pool at Astoria Park. She said that she was frustrated when city officials refused to speak with her to discuss the concept.

Springer said city officials must prioritize reaching out to the community and listening to their concerns.

For instance, she said that the Parks Dept. did a poor job in notifying the public that a meeting was being held to discuss the $30 million overhaul planned for Astoria Park. She said that signs should have been put up in the surrounding area notifying residents that the Parks Dept. sought feedback.

Although Springer is registered to vote as a Democrat, she decided to run as an independent candidate because she believes that the major political parties are unable or unwilling to listen to their constituents.

“I think right now politicians are paying more attention to their lobbyists and their donors than regular people,” Springer said. “I would like to have more access to my local politicians whether or not I vote for them.”

Springer, who has been a local real estate agent for 30 years, disagrees with the city’s recent alterations of Astoria’s streets. She also believes that before the city institutes changes, such as the installation of Citibike racks, there should be more time allocated to communicating with the community and getting its feedback.

For instance, she is concerned new bike lanes have increased congestion on certain streets.

She adds that the city needs to invest more in parking to keep up with the construction of new apartment buildings.

Springer also criticizes the City’s decision to make Shore Boulevard one way. She said that she is concerned the change has made it more difficult for first responders to access the street, and that the change will lengthen emergency response times.

Springer noted that council members need to “stand up” for the community more when the City makes decisions that affect their constituents. For instance, she believes council members should have done more to prevent the closure of Riker’s Island and the opening of new prisons in Queens.

“It’s more like spreading the disease than reforming it,” said Springer.

Similarly, Springer said that the MTA’s $150 million overhaul of four Astoria subway stations should accomplish more than what she describes as “cosmetic” improvements.

Instead, the MTA should have listened to residents and included changes like installing elevators, Springer said. She adds that the MTA should have provided a free shuttle service for the duration of the project.

Springer said that she was frustrated that MTA arrived at neighborhood council meetings with completed plans and did not seem interested in adjusting the plan based on the community’s feedback.

“You have to step up,” she said of local politicians. “It was being rubber stamped.”

The election is scheduled to take place on Nov. 7.

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60 Comments

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There isn’t any only solution but lots of options – like I stated in the
start, there’s no hard and quick manual that states to the purpose methods into all of your issues.
Now in case you introduce a particular problem into your
panel of experts, then you are guaranteed to get
many diverse comments and answers in return. This can turn out to become
vexing.

Reply
NSW

So we can all agree that this woman is either illiterate or smashed at 8am – because there really is no other excuse for such sloppy use of the English language (on an iPhone X as she feels compelled to point out).

I really hope you all take the time to vote today. This kind of dilettante behavior is fine for an individual in the privacy of their own home – but not for anyone with any kind of actual responsibility. I have never voted in an odd election year before, but just left the polling station because this woman is terrifying.

Btw – notice my ability to form coherent sentences on a humble iPhone 7.

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Donna C

So pleased this was the huge blowout that I­t­ should have been.

Bring on the future, Astoria. No need for us to live in the past that people like Ms. Springer so desperately cling to.

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Kathleen K Springer

Obviously you are a troll. Yes am a terrible typist but ran a successful business for decades and have a lot of respect from my peers. And I don’t hide behind anonymous disparaging sarchasm. How much are you paid for this?

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Andrea

You must understand that your typos and defensive posturing online is not what we’d want in a city council person. If elected, you’d be our representative to the greater city – and you’d likely have to type quite a bit to communicate. Your behavior in this comment section is troubling, as was your behavior on Astoriacentric earlier this week.

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Anonymous

I can assure you I am not a troll nor paid to be posting comments here. Simply a resident/constituent making my observations. Who do you honestly think restoring the diving pool resonates with? That is a rhetorical question.

It’s not just the typos alone, a few misspelled words can be overlooked. It’s your inability to communicate effectively. Which I would think to be important as a politician. This is evident when the recurring message from you is that everyone else interpreted your message the wrong way.

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Anonymous

Why the obsession with the diving pool?
If the Kathleen S. posting on here is the actual candidate, in typical realtor fashion, her posts are filled with typos. Not a good representation.

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Kathleen Springer

before you judge me YOU try typing comments on an iPhone X while you’re holding 2 terriers

Reply
Astoria Resident

The posts she’s making here in the comments look similar to posts she made on an Astoria FB group earlier this week. Riddled with typos and very defensive to criticism.

If she’s not able to clearly and respectfully correspond with potential constituents, I’m not optimistic that she’d be able to work with the rest of the city council to improve our community. This city council seat is someone who represents us to the city at large – from what I see here in the comments, this isn’t the representation I’d like.

20
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Linda M.

“Although Springer is registered to vote as a Democrat, she decided to run as an independent candidate because she believes that the major political parties are unable or unwilling to listen to their constituents.”

She told me in August that she would have run as a Democrat but missed the July deadline. She should get her story straight.

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Kathleen K Springer

I actually said thst It was a good thing I missed the deadline because I was running against the Democratic machine and would have lost in the primary but better off just running in the general. Wow people here really like to twist things without leaving full or possibly real names. Makes ya wonder.

Reply
Andrea

No one’s out to get you here… everyone just wants their councilperson to be organized, professional and act appropriately as a baseline. Your comments here show that’s not what we’d be getting from you.

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Kathleen K Springer

Parties listen to special interest groups and lobbyist who donate to their campaign. Im for ending citizens united. That’s true.

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Donna C

You should have seen her not so thinly veiled racism this week at the Chappetto Square meeting- when she was rudely and audibly commenting/groaning while a member of the Latino volleyball playing community dared to speak. I­t­ was a gross display.

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Astoria Resident

That was HER?! I heard about it, but didn’t realize it was her…! Astoria Post should be covering THAT!

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Kathleen K Springer

It wasn’t me snd I didnt hear any racist comments. The only critusm I heard was from a himeowner living across the street who thought volly ball dominated the yard and shed like mire recration for the smaller children. Would have to be really dumb whike Im running for NYC Council to aleinate anyone, especially from the latino community ehile I soeak fluent spanish and my best friend is from Columbia and and would probably want to tell a few people off in this hostile thread of comments from some of you.

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Andrea

For the most part, these aren’t hostile comments towards you – and, if elected, you’d represent all of us, including the people your friend would like to “tell off”. You need to work on adjusting your tone to be inclusive instead of exclusive.

In addition, simply “having Latino friends” doesn’t make you “non-racist”. https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Friend_argument

Past this, I’m embarrassed by your typos here and behavior online. If elected, you’d be my voice on the city council – I’m not convinced you’re taking this seriously or are a professional at all.

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Astoria Voter

You can speak fluent Spanish but not fluent English? Did you seriously go with the “I can’t be racist, I have a latinaa friend” defense?

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Jarret Lazar

I was there at this meeting, a few seats down. Your comment is completely false. This did happen. Let’s move on – next.

Kathleen

l grew up in the Marine Terrace. Calling me racist shows that you have no idea what that means and are not native and ignorant to the true native Astoria history and culture. If you think Im stupid for having typos, what must you think of Einstein and JFK who were lousy spellers?
Bet than none if you who, obviously seem to be part of a clique, have ever looked at the Facebook page Save and Restore Astoria Diving Pool to learn a little about landmarks and local treasures. You all have your mind made up and will distort or make up stuff which speaks volumes about your character.
So if you’re satisfied don’t vote for me. If I win, Ill still listen to the concerns of my constituents weather they voted for me or not but your comments are not genuine at all. So Im done with this Thanks for sharing.
May the best women win!

Kathleen K Springer

That’s an outright lie. Ask The Chairwomen of the Community Board I sat next to along with Richard Khuzamu, good friends of my opponent who I don’t think even he would lie. Also had several aquaintences there along with Martha Gelpin head if Astoria Park Alliance who witnessed the hole meeting. The only comment I made was to agree that they would need a bathroom because its too dangerous to cross the heavily trafficked street.
I could sue you for slander to actually lie on a public forum shows your character. Show your full name.

Reply
Andrea

For some reason, there’s no option to reply to your comment about growing up in Marine Terrace and likening yourself with Einstein and JFK, so I’ll reply here.

Growing up in Marine Terrace alone doesn’t absolve you of being a racist in the same way that having friends who are people of color doesn’t.

I don’t know anyone else in the comment thread here and am not a pat of a clique – I’m simply an Astoria resident and voter and I’m worried that you have even a slim chance of representing me. I have no problem with spelling/grammatical errors, but your’s are now at the point where it’s stopping you from effectively communicating. We live in 2017, spell check and auto-correct should be helping to bridge the gap for you, and I’m not sure why they’re not…?

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Mary T Finn

I’ve been a neighbor of Kathleen and her mom for nearly 30 years. In that time, I never saw any instance of abusive or scurrilous behavior exhibited by anyone in that family towards anyone of any race, religion or ethnicity. Likely, the “racism” was simple impatience or exasperation.

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Martha

Lol – Her caring about first responders. More like fear of anything that might effect her childhood nostalgia. #PaveThePool

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Kathleen

It was at 3 recent civic meetings with fire department heads addressing safety, one on September 26 with old astoria assoc, one at st Francis of assis, one at Ricardos Oct 3 where Fire Commissioner Negron stated that bike lanes weer hazerdous on certain streets and trucks could not make turns with no coordinateion from DOT — seemed like DOT ameture hour and was shicking, and a number of other things that are publuc info wjen the minutes of meetings are published. Better yet go straight to the hirses mouth and calk Commoner Negron.

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jenastoriat

Springer positions seem to point towards reversing several progressive and sensible changes in Astoria. Does her candidacy intend to revert Astoria to 1963?

From the above, I take it that Springer seeks to:

–reverse transit/climate change initiatives (the bike share program)
–reverse traffic plans that protect Astoria pedestrians from death by car (Shore Blvd, curb alterations, etc.)
–push (again) for a dangerous and expensive pool alteration that (1) few people would want or use, (2), would cost a lot (our tax dollars); and (3) would require insanely expensive liability insurance (again, our tax dollars) if the city could even get insurance for that;
–reopen a prison facility that is inhumane and outdated, and which has led to lawsuits ($ damages = our tax dollars again);

and I have great concerns that her agenda could also include
–altering zoning or rent rules to the detriment of most of us, but to benefit realtors (rental fees, sale revenue of larger blogs).

The only reasonable position is about elevators in the stations, but you know, Constantinides and other local reps have been on that already. Not much to offer so far.

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Kathleen

30 years of renting snd selling homes here. I helped create this grat place aling with several other top realtors thst made it so desirable to live in. Matchmaking. The overbuilding with lack if infrastructure and integrity of the areas character is destroying the quality of our lives here in so many ways. Poor planning strret planning without coordinateing with EMS and fire department was a shocking revelation.

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Anonymous

Go Kathleen ..! We need a change all around in city Govt. Let’s get rid of people ” sitting” on fences and go for local concerns! people from Astoria representing Astoria !

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Richie V J Hts

Talk talk talk ….

On the Community Board ?

Voting record ?

A volunteer ?

Active in past campaigns ?

Started your own activist group ?

What exactly, other than varied opinions
and positions does a candidate as such
bring to the table ?

I professional realtor ?
…. a Red Flag ?

I like a Record

Reply
NSW

The last thing that Astoria needs is more apartments. She is a real estate agent who is simultaneously complaining about congestion and asking for more housing? As a (comparatively) more recent resident of Astoria (9 years), I’ve seen the neighborhood change as people like her push to capitalize on every square inch.

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NSW

The article highlights your two points back to Back
“For instance, she is concerned new bike lanes have increased congestion on certain streets.

She adds that the city needs to invest more in parking to keep up with the construction of new apartment buildings.”

So – you are complaining that bike racks are adding to street conjestion but don’t see how adding significant amounts of new, high occupancy housing will make the issue worse? I know that the Astoria subways have gotten increasingly more crowded (craps shoot on finding a seat when getting on at astoria Blvd at 9am) and parking has gotten much worse. None of this was caused by the few bike lanes and bike racks that have recently emerged. It is a function of too many people living in an area that just wasn’t built for this density.

Explain away.

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Tony

Some people have no comprehension what she saying is that nothing was done to alleviate parking because of all the new congestion coming in from all the development. I happen to agree with her on that issue

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NSW

Ms. Springer –

As you have decided to engage in this platform, I am asking you to respond. How do you reconcile your conflicting desires to reduce congestion while increase housing? If you are asking to represent us, I would hope that you might have some response beyond articulating the need to differentiate between realtors and developers.

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Kathleen

Marine Terrace Apartments just tore down 120 garages from a 500 unit garden apartment complex to build 100 units more of affordable housing. They should never have been allowed to build without replacement of those garages and an addition 30 parking spaces should be added for new development. How did they get a waiver, was it a campaign donation. I would have found a way to fight this.
2nd there are ateas in NYC that are run down and vacant and bosrded up. That already have electricity and olumbing lines. Tehab these gir affordable housing without adding new buildings
3rd. Any new construction should follow the existing rule of a minimum of 30 percent for off street parking.
4th i have a futuristic plan that I will soon reveal.

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Andrea

“Tehab these gir affordable housing without adding new buildings”

I can’t even figure out what this is supposed to mean. Imagine you were communicating this idea to others on city coucil via email – how would action be taken? You don’t even have spellcheck or autocorrect working on your behalf…?

Mary T Finn

She sells existing houses. She’s not a builder. Kathleen Springer has a strong knowledge of, and interest in, the historic houses of Old Astoria village. She and her family have lived and done business in Astoria for many, many years.

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Jon

I wish her well.

But, I don’t think we need to fix and reopen a diving pool. The liability insurance alone would kill the budget.

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Kathleen Springer

The park is self insured and trainers and professional coaches for championship duving and scuba diving get there own insurance with no problems as they do at the other outdoor diving pools in NYC and and LI and rhe indoor diving pool at Flushing Meadows that they renovated for milllions.

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Jon

Are you saying the the general public would be able to use an outdoor diving pool when the pool is open and the “self insured” park’s insurance would not increase if a diving pool is opened? If the risk increases the insurance increases.

What do you mean by the park is “self insured”?

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your neighbor

Self insured just means that there is no insurance company involved. If someone sues the Parks Department and wins, the Parks Department (NYC taxpayers) pay the bill.

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Kathleen K Springer

Yes thats true except for the diving coaches and scuba instructors who get their own insurance easily as diving is one of the least injurious sports when a lifeguard on duty. No one ever died ir got injured in 5 decades the diving pool was open. There ate several public diving pools in nyc still active.

Jon

Ok, thank you. That is what I thought she was saying.

I was not aware the NYC parks don’t use a third party insurance company.

Although, it seems like the the cost and risk problems are the same. I guess if the city under funds its insurance they can raise taxes to cover the cost.

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