Tag Archives: City Council District 22 race

Costa Constantinides wins City Council District 22 race

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

Costa Constantinides is making history and will now serve the community he has called home his whole life.

The lifelong Astoria resident has been elected to fill Peter Vallone Jr.’s seat in City Council District 22 and represent Astoria, Long Island City and parts of Jackson Heights. With 100 percent of the precincts reporting, he won the race with 66 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results.

“The voters have spoken,” said Constantinides. “I feel very humbled about the weight of what this means and the faith the people of this district have put in me.”

His win marks the first time since 1974 that a member of the Vallone family does not hold the seat in District 22. Before current Councilmember and term-limited Peter Vallone Jr. was elected to represent the district, his father, former Speaker Peter Vallone Sr. held the seat.

Constantinides celebrated his victory together with his wife, four-year old son, family, friends and supporters as the Democratic winner in the general election on November 5 at Raven’s Head Public House in Astoria. He was also joined by State Senator Michael Gianaris, Assemblymember Aravella Simotas and Michael DenDekker.

“I’m looking forward to representing each and every one of the 160,000 constituents of this district and making sure that government works for them and that they have a voice in City Hall that is going to fight for them every single day,” he said. “That’s why I decided to run for City Council.”

According to Constantinides, he is the first Greek American to be elected into the City Council.

In September, Constantinides took the win against attorney John Ciafone and longtime Community Board 1 member Constantinos “Gus” Prentzas in the democratic primary.

In 2009, he was elected to serve as the Democratic District Leader for the 36th Assembly District, Part A. He also served as Legislative Director and Deputy Chief of Staff to Councilmember James F. Gennaro where he assisted on key legislation.

Some of the main areas Constantinides hopes to address when taking the seat in January are better environmental protection including reducing traffic congestion, expanding open space and investing in clean energy. He also hopes to improve schools for the children in his district and plans to clean up the streets, by prioritizing the increase of corner garbage pickups and funding a street sweeping program like the Doe Fund.

“The things that we talked about resonated in this campaign and I feel we have a mandate now to get those things accomplished,” he said.

Constantinides was running against Republican Daniel Peterson, Green Party candidate Lynne Serpe, Independent Danielle De Stefano and Populist Party candidate Gerald Kann.

“I’m looking forward to fighting for the people in this district,” said Constantinides. “The next step is to go out there and start fighting.”

Green Party candidate Lynne Serpe has ‘22 Ideas for District 22’

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy Lynne Serpe

One candidate is ready to turn Astoria green.

In June, Lynne Serpe announced she would be running to fill departing Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr.’s seat in the 22nd Council District, serving Astoria, Long Island City and parts of Jackson Heights.

Serpe ran against Vallone for City Council in 2009. She is currently the project consultant for the Greening Libraries Initiative at Queens Library and an independent election administrator. She is also an active member of Two Coves Community Garden and the co-founder of Triple R Events: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

Some of the ideas Serpe hopes to bring to Astoria if she gets elected are affordable housing and sustainable development, healthy schools and neighborhoods, clean energy and a green economy, and fair elections. Serpe has created a list called “22 Ideas for District 22” which can be found on her website at serpeforcouncil.org/22ideas.

“Clean air, clean water, clean energy and clean streets are not partisan issues – they affect the quality of life for all of us,” said Serpe.

Serpe will run against Democrat Costa Constantinides, Independent Party candidate Danielle De Stefano, Republican Daniel Peterson and Populist Party candidate Gerald Kann.



Costa Constantinides wins 22nd Council District primary race

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos By Angy Altamirano

After months of campaigning, Costa Constantinides is one step closer to filling Peter Vallone Jr.’s seat in City Council District 22 and representing Astoria, Long Island City and parts of Jackson Heights.

Together with his wife, 4-year old son, mother, family, friends and supporters Constantinides celebrated his victory as the Democratic candidate in the Primary elections on September 10 at Raven’s Head Public House in Astoria. He won the race with 4,295 votes, holding onto 55.8 percent of the votes.

“I’m humbled by the faith people in this district have put in me,” said Constantinides. “I look forward to having a discussion about the issues that matter to people in the general election, but tonight I’m still celebrating and so proud of the people I worked with, our campaign team.”

The lifelong Astoria resident was joined by Assemblymember Aravella Simotas, State Senator Michael Gianaris and District 24 Councilmember James F. Gennaro during his celebration.

“I’m excited, but at the same time I understand the faith and the gravity of what they’ve [the people] asked me to do,” said Constantinides. “They’ve asked me to represent them in city government, to stand up for them, to make sure they have a voice and I’m looking forward to being that voice for them and making my case in the general election on why I have the best vision to move our district forward.”

Before running for City Council, Constantinides was elected as the Democratic District Leader for the 36th Assembly District, Part A in 2009. He was also Deputy Chief of Staff for Gennaro.

“Costa is all heart, this is what he is, this is what he’s about,” said Gennaro. “He’s all love, love for his family, love for his community, love for his work, he’s passionate about it.”

Some of the main issues on Constantinides’ campaign include improving education, healthcare, public safety and improving Astoria.

In the primary race Constantinides was running against long time community board 1 member Constantinos “Gus” Prentzas and attorney John Ciafone, who ran against Vallone in 2001.

“In a three month period that we had, I think we ran an extremely well campaign,” said Prentzas, who took in 1,701 votes. “We were able to put out the message that we are very concerns about Astoria. I wish Costa the best and I’m to continue being a voice and more active, more now to make sure the people that supported me have their concerns heard.”

Constantinides will now run against Republican Daniel Peterson, Green Party candidate Lynne Serpe and Independent Danielle De Stefano in the general election on November 5.

Whoever wins the seat for District 22 in November, will mark the first time since 1974 that a member of the Vallone family does not hold the position. Before current Councilmember and term-limited Peter Vallone Jr. was elected to represent the district, his father, former Speaker Peter Vallone Sr. held the seat.


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.



Endorsements rolling in for city candidates

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

The following candidates have received backings . . .

New York City Mayor

Former Councilmember Sal Albanese was endorsed by the Transport Workers Union Local 101 in the Democratic mayoral primary, while his opponent City Council Speaker Christine Quinn landed support from the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.

New York City Comptroller

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer gained the backing of Teamsters Joint Council 16.

City Council District 19

Republican incumbent Dan Halloran bagged an endorsement from the NYPD Captains Endowment Association. Austin Shafran, one of four candidates in the race’s Democratic primary, rolled out boosts from UFCW Local 1500.

City Council District 22

Costa Constantinides got a leg up from Communications Workers of America Local 1180.