Tag Archives: 2013 nyc elections

Primary guide: City Council District 22

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


As the clock ticks closer to city primaries on Tuesday, September 10, The Courier would like to provide you, the reader and the voter, with a fair, detailed guide of who is running. Here is a list of the candidates in City Council District 22 (Astoria, Long Island City and parts of Jackson Heights), who they are, what they stand for and what they want to continue to do if they go on to the general election in November. 

Name: John J. Ciafone

Party: Democrat

Current Occupation:  Attorney

Personal Info: John Ciafone is the only candidate born, raised and who continues to live and work in the community. He attended public schools in the Astoria neighborhood like P.S. 85, J.H.S. 141, and Long Island City High School. He is now an attorney practicing for almost 20 years and maintains an office on Steinway Street. He is married with three children.  He attended NYU and St. John’s University, School of Law graduating with honors. He served as an intern for Governor Mario Cuomo and was an intern in the NYC Council’s Legal Division, where he helped draft and write law. He was also an intern to Supreme Court Justice Frederick Schmidt and was appointed a Referee in several foreclosure actions by Justices Joseph Golia and Schmidt and was appointed Administrator and Referee by Surrogate Robert Nahman.

Issues/Platform: Ciafone was elected twice to Community School Board 30 serving the greater community of Astoria, Long Island City, Jackson Heights, Sunnyside, Woodside, Corona, and East Elmhurst. There, he fought for and obtained funding for more new schools and increased seats for the children in the district.  According to Ciafone the community is in a lot of trouble.  There are no jobs for our children who graduate from schools. There is no affordable housing and no adequate senior housing.  Senior centers, libraries, and parks are being axed.  Small businesses are under attack by the city looking to generate revenue by increasing costs, fees, fines and taxes.  Small homeowners can’t afford the increased taxes, water and sewer charges.  He believes there is a need to hire more police and the weakening of Stop, Question, and Frisk will only increase crime in our community. There is a shortage of pre-K classes, beacon programs, and after school programs, he says.  Ciafone believes the people need to elect a true independent fighter not connected with the special interests and political bosses.

Name: Costa Constantinides

Party: Democrat

Current Occupation: Democratic District Leader (36 AD Part A), former Deputy Chief of Staff for Councilmember James F. Gennaro

Personal Info: Costa Constantinides is a grassroots community organizer and progressive political leader who has lived in Astoria his whole life. In 2009, Constantinides was elected to serve as the Democratic District Leader for the 36th Assembly District, Part A.  Constantinides also serves as a board member of the United Community Civic Association and the Asgata Association. He served as Legislative Director and Deputy Chief of Staff to Councilmember James F. Gennaro where he assisted on key legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to protect our wetlands, improve the water quality of our drinking supply, and on other important environmental measures.

Issues/Platform: Constantinides’ plan for better environmental protection includes dismantling the Poletti Power Plant and cleaning up other dirty plants, reducing traffic congestion, investing in clean energy, expanding open spaces and protecting drinking water. Hurricane protection, mitigation tactics and smart building codes are central to his plan to expand open spaces.  Constantinides will work to see that Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s resiliency plan is implemented. Constantinides’ plan for clean streets calls for doubling trash pick-ups, hiring street crews for litter  removal, improving park maintenance, graffiti deterrence and better removal and doubling fines for illegal dumping. He supports INT-0774, which would increase fines for depositing household garbage in public litter bins meant for pass-by litter.  He also plans to hire professional graffiti removal companies and deter graffiti with better after-school programs and security cameras in chronically-graffiti areas. Constantinides believes we need to invest more in our district schools and will work to put a stop to recent school closures.

Name: Constantinos “Gus” Prentzas

Party: Democrat

Current Occupation: Community Board 1 Co-Chair of Department of Consumer Affairs

Personal Info: Gus Prentzas is a lifelong resident of Astoria. In 1991, he was elected to School Board 30 covering Astoria. He served as Vice President of School Board 30 for seven years. During that time, he proposed the adoption of Megan’s Law within the School Board. The Board accepted the proposal making Astoria’s 30th School Board the first in the city and state to enforce the law that protects students from sexual predators. Prentzas was appointed by Councilmember Peter Vallone Sr. to supervise the cleaning process of Astoria’s schools when it became obvious asbestos levels in old school buildings could be a hazard to children. Prentzas continues his tenure of 10 years on Community Board 1 serving Astoria. He is currently the co-chair of the community board’s Department of Consumer Affairs. He is also a member of the Astoria Kiwanis Club and has been honored with the award of Community Person of the Year.

Issues/Platform: According to Prentzas, public safety is “the foundation of a prosperous community.” He hopes to work with the deputy inspector of the 114th Precinct to provide all resources needed to maintain the neighborhood’s level of safety. Prentzas will be a strong advocate of keeping the character of the communities. He believes tenants deserve the best care and renovation services from their landlords. He hopes to “take the delinquent NYCHA to task.” According to Prentzas, education is a right, not a privilege. He will fight to create new schools and help “free the teachers and students of the obstructions the bureaucracy has created.” Also, as a lifelong business owner Prentzas would provide a “common sense approach to the regulation of businesses” to help small businesses succeed.

Editor’s Note: Requests for information from the candidate’s campaign were not received as of press time, therefore this information was retrieved from the candidate’s campaign website.



Endorsement roundup

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


The Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club of Queens and the National Latino Officers Association endorsed Comptroller John Liu.

The Uniformed Firefighters Association and Livery Base Owners Association endorsed Bill Thompson.

Councilmembers Stephen Levin, Michael Nelson, Mark Weprin and James Gennaro endorsed City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.



Cathy Guerriero recently secured backing from Local 1106 of the Communications Workers of America; Ironworkers Local 40 NYC; and the Stone Derrickmen and Riggers Ironworkers Local 197 of the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers Union, AFL-CIO.

The Livery Base Owners Association endorsed Tish James.

Congressmemebers Joe Crowley, Greg Meeks; Councilmembers Julissa Ferreras, Karen Koslowitz, Mark Weprin, Jim Gennaro, ; and Assemblymembers Francisco MoyaDavid, Weprin, Andrew Hevesi, Mike Simanowitz, Mike DenDekker, Bill Scarborough endorsed Reshma Saujani.



The Captains Endowment Association endorsed Paul Vallone for District 19.

The National Latino Officers Association endorsed John Ciafone for District 22.



Congressmember Grace Meng endorsed Melinda Katz.

Endorsement roundup

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


Former governor of Vermont and 2004 Presidential Candidate Howard Dean and a coalition of leaders from Brooklyn’s Caribbean clergy community endorsed Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.

The Metropolitan Region CSEA Local 1000 endorsed Comptroller John Liu.

New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council endorsed City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

Transport Workers Union Local 100, the New York City Uniform Traffic and Sanitation Enforcement Agents, State Senator Adriano Espaillat, Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez and Assemblymember Gabriela Rosa endorsed Bill Thompson.



State Senator Jose Peralta, Assemblymembers Steven Cymbrowitz and Mark Gjonaj and Councilmember Margaret Chin endorsed Daniel Squadron.

Congressmember Grace Meng, Councilmember Peter Koo and Assemblymember Ron Kim endorsed Reshma Saujani.

CWA Local 1182 and DC 37 endorsed Councilmember Letitia James.



The Flushing Letter Carriers Association Branch 294 endorsed State Senator Tony Avella.

Former Mayor David Dinkins and DC 37 endorsed Councilmember Leroy Comrie.



Doctors Council SEIU endorsed Paul Vallone for District 19.

Former Governor David Paterson endorsed Joan Flowers for District 27.

DC 37 endorsed John Duane for City Council District 19, Councilmember Peter Koo for District 20, Costa Costantinides for District 22 and Rory Lancman for District 24.

Endorsement roundup

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


United Federation of Teachers, The Council of School Supervisors and Administrators endorsed Bill Thompson.

Assemblymembers Edward Braunstein, Michael DenDekker, Aravella Simotas, Catherine Nolan, Margeret Markey, David Weprin, Michael Simanowitz, Andrew Hevesi and Francisco Moya endorsed Christine Quinn.

Teamsters Joint Council 16 endorsed Christine Quinn.



The Working Families Party endorsed Melinda Katz.

Organization of Staff Analysts endorsed Councilmember Leroy Comrie.



Senator Charles Schumer endorsed State Senator Daniel Squadron.



Congressmember Grace Meng and Assemblymember Ron Kim endorsed Paul Vallone for District 19.

Former Public Advocate Mark Green endorsed Austin Shafran for District 19.

Endorsement roundup

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


The United Federation of Teachers endorsed the following candidates:

District 20: Peter Koo

District 21: Julissa Ferreras

District 22: Costa Constantinides

District 23: Mark Weprin

District 24: Rory Lancman

District 25: Daniel Dromm

District 26: Jimmy Van Bramer

District 27: Daneek Miller

District 30: Elizabeth Crowley

District 31: Donovan Richards

District 32: Eric Ulrich

Paul Vallone was endorsed by Assemblymember Ron Kim, the New York City Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association, Lieutenants Benevolent Association and Fire Marshals Benevolent Association for his District 19 run.

1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East endorsed Austin Shafran for District 19.

State Senator Tony Avella endorsed Paul Graziano for District 19.

District Council 37 and the Transit Workers Union endorsed Councilmember Donovan Richards.



Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. was endorsed by State Senator Michael Gianaris.

Melinda Katz was endorsed by Councilmembers Jimmy Van Bramer and Daniel Dromm and the Stonewall Democratic Club.



The Conservative Party endorsed Joe Lhota.

Councilmember Melissa Mark-Viverito, representing East Harlem and the Bronx, endorsed Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.

The New York Metropolitan Area Joint Board of Workers United/SEIU, District Council 37, the Organization of Staff Analysts, Assemblymember William Colton and the United Progressive Democratic Club endorsed John Liu.



Brooklyn-Queens National Organization of Women endorsed Reshma Saujani.

Def Jam Records co-founder, entrepreneur and activist Russell Simmons endorsed Reshma Saujani.

State Senators Joseph Addabbo, Michael Gianaris, Assemblymembers Phillip Goldfeder and Nily Rozic endorsed Daniel Squadron.


The United Federation of Teachers endorsed Scott Stringer.

Endorsement roundup

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


Assemblymember Aravella Simotis endorsed Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. for Borough President.


The Queens Democratic Party endorsed the following Candidates for City Council:

District 19: Paul Vallone

District 20: Councilmember
Peter Koo

District 22: Costa Constantinides

District 23: Councilmember
Mark Weprin

District 24: former Assemblymember
Rory Lancman

District 25: Councilmember
Daniel Dromm

District 26: Councilmember
Jimmy Van Bramer

District 28: Councilmember
Donovan Richards

District 29: Councilmember
Karen Koslowitz

District 30: Councilmember
Elizabeth Crowley

District 32: Lew Simon

The New York Hotel Trades Council endorsed Austin Shafran for District 19.


Congressmember Gregory Meeks endorsed former City Comptroller Bill Thompson.

Union 1199 SEIU endorsed Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.

Brooklyn politicians: Assemblywoman Inez Barron, City Council candidate Ari Kagan and Democratic district leaders Melba Brown, Betty Ann Canizio, Jeanette Givant, Christopher Olechowski, Chris Owens, Corey Provost and Charles Ragusa endorsed City Comptroller John Liu.