Tag Archives: Costa Constantinides

City Planning holds public hearing on Astoria Cove


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy of STUDIO V Architecture

More affordable housing in the Astoria Cove project was once again front and center with critics, this time at a City Planning public hearing on the project.

Members of coalitions and residents testified on Wednesday that the 2.2 million-square-foot project should include at least 50 percent affordable housing, while developers are proposing just 345 units or 20 percent of the 1,723 dwellings.

“Soon they will take over the whole place and they will chase us out. Twenty percent of affordable housing is not enough for Queens,” a representative of New York Communities for Change testified at the meeting in Manhattan.

Jaron Benjamin, the executive director of the Metropolitan Council on Housing, said it would hurt progress to cure the city’s housing crisis.

“If Astoria Cove becomes just another glitzy playground for the wealthy elite, it will be a huge step backward — the opposite of progress,” he said.

Howard Weiss of the law firm Davidoff Hutcher & Citron, which represents developers Alma Realty, defended the project, calling it “the crown jewel in the reclamation of the Queens waterfront.”

In their recommendations to deny the project, both Community Board 1 and Borough President Melinda Katz suggested that the developers increase the units for affordable housing.

The City Planning Commission queried about the breakdown of the mix of housing in the plan, but it could not be provided yet.

“In looking at this project over a 10-year phasing plan, one has to keep in mind that market conditions can change,” Weiss said. “At present, it’s really too early to determine what mix will be.”

The commission also asked about main concerns the community and Katz had, including building the new elementary school in an earlier phase, and transportation options.

Prior to the public hearing, Weiss said developers are making public transportation commitments to ease community traffic concerns for the incoming residents in the area, which Katz called “insufficient” in terms of transportation options.

The plans include adding a shuttle bus to and from nearby subway stations, and there will be a spot for a ferry terminal, in case the city decides to add ferry service to the area.

Astoria Cove is expected to consist of five buildings, three on the waterfront ranging from 26 to 32 stories and two on the upland portion of the site, including a six-story residential building.

The project, which is expected to take more than 10 years to complete in four different phases, will also include about 84,000 square feet of publicly accessible open space.

At the public hearing, residents and union members from 32BJ SEIU asked that local jobs be set aside for local workers.

The City Planning Commission will issue its recommendations after its 60-day review. The proposal will then go to the City Council for a vote.

Councilman Costa Constantinides said he may not support it.

“Both Community Board 1 and Borough President Katz have voted against the Astoria Cove development with recommendations,” he said. “If the development is not integrated into our neighborhood in a way that benefits the community, I will be unable to support it.”

 

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Doe Fund to help Astoria clean up the trash


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Councilman Costa Constantinides' Office

After numerous complaints about trash from residents, the streets of Astoria are getting a much needed cleaning.

The Doe Fund has been brought to the western Queens neighborhood to help keep the sidewalks clean and clear the corner trash cans, Councilman Costa Constantinides announced Friday.

The nonprofit organization, which employs recently homeless or incarcerated people as part of its Ready, Willing, and Able transitional work program, started cleaning Astoria Tuesday, beginning at 31st Street, 30th Avenue and Broadway.

“[The Doe Fund] will help make our streets cleaner and more navigable to residents and visitors,” Constantinides said. “This was one of the major issues that I campaigned on last year during the election and I am happy to be able to deliver on my promise to bring cleaner streets to my constituents.”

Once a day the Department of Sanitation collects garbage from the corner trash cans, however, littered streets have caused problems in the neighborhood, such as sidewalk accessibility and shopping issues.

“Bringing the Doe Fund to our neighborhood is a big step forward in keeping Astoria’s streets clean,” State Sen. Michael Gianaris said. “There is plenty more to do and we will keep the pressure on the Department of Sanitation until we no longer have a trash problem, but today we celebrate a substantial step in the right direction.

 

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Op-ed: Make traffic safety a priority


| oped@queenscourier.com

COUNCILMEMBER COSTA CONSTANTINIDES

The 21st Street corridor between Queens Plaza and 20th Avenue has always been notorious for pedestrian fatalities.  It serves as a conduit between the Queensboro and Robert F. Kennedy Bridges, resulting in cars, trucks, and other heavy vehicles using the street to move quickly between these two points.

21st Street is also home to major senior and youth developments, such as I.S. 126, Long Island City High School, Bishop Iakovos Senior Housing, Vallone Family Senior Residence, Variety Boys & Girls Club, Queensview and North Queensview.  The increase in youth and senior populations, combined with increased commercial and cycling traffic, brings a need for improvement of traffic flow and an awareness of pedestrian safety.

According to data analyzed from the New York State Department of Transportation, New York State Department of Motor Vehicles and the New York Police Department, traffic on this stretch of 21st Street caused seven deaths and left 102 people with injuries from 2002 to 2011.

And these statistics have not improved since then. That data also showed that Queens had the highest incidents of fatalities due to traffic accidents in the city in 2013.

It’s easy to see why these deaths and injuries are occurring.

Some intersections along 21st Street have no crosswalks or countdown clocks at all. Many pedestrian crosswalks are bumpy, obscured with gravel or cracked asphalt, or otherwise impossible to cross if you’re in a wheelchair or pushing a stroller.  Some crosswalks are impossible to cross because the lights are non-existent or don’t allow for enough time to make it to the other side of the street.

This is an issue that plagues our entire city.  According to a Daily News analysis of NYPD reports, pedestrian deaths from vehicles, especially the number of children, are increasing and we are on pace to outnumber 2013 deaths in 2014.  So far, there have been 11 pedestrian deaths in 2014 across the city.

We clearly need a solution.

Earlier this month, we held a press conference on 21st Street, calling on the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) for action. State Senator Michael Gianaris, Assemblymember Aravella Simotas, Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, local advocacy group Transportation Alternatives, Community Board 1,  parents from local schools, neighborhood community groups and senior centers, and other local activists joined. They agreed that real change is required to make 21st Street safer for everyone.

I therefore ask that the DOT conduct a traffic study of the 21st Street corridor, with the goal of creating a more safe and accessible street for all.

We need calming measures, such as countdown clocks and traffic lights for pedestrians, as well as well-maintained flattened crosswalks with no physical impediments for pedestrians with disabilities or children in strollers.

Our growth in population and small businesses is a boon to our local economy, but we need to make sure our infrastructure keeps up with increases in traffic. There is no excuse for us not to reduce the number of pedestrian fatalities by vehicles to zero.

Costa Constantinides represents the New York City Council’s 22nd District, which includes his native Astoria along with parts of Long Island City, Woodside, East Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights. He serves as the chair the City Council’s Sub-Committee on Libraries and sits on seven standing committees: Civil Service & Labor, Contracts, Cultural Affairs, Environmental Protection, Oversight & Investigations, Sanitation, and Transportation.

 

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Star of Queens: Richard Khuzami, Community Board 1, chair, Parks and Culture Committee


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

RICHARD KHUZAMI 2

COMMUNITY  SERVICE:  Richard Khuzami has served on Community Board 1 for the past 11 years. He is currently Chair of the Parks and Culture Committee. He is also a member of Borough President Helen Marshall’s Queens General Assembly, and  has  served as a panelist for the awarding of grants for the Queens Council on the Arts.

BACKGROUND:  Khuzami is Lebanese-American, and while he was born in Bayside, he was raised in Rochester. His parents were both professional dancers, which led to his interest in music from the age of 10.

“I have kept this interest alive over the years, and today I specialize in the music of the Middle East, eastern Mediterranean and Northern Africa,” said Khuzami.

He also spent many years in the international shipping business in freight forwarding sales.

“This afforded me the opportunity to travel throughout the world for many years. I still love traveling to many cultures, but today I only have to go around Astoria, one of the most ethnically diverse municipalities in the world,” he said.

FAVORITE MEMORY: Khuzami enjoys having the privilege of working with many dedicated community board and General Assembly members, who donate so much of themselves to making their neighborhood and borough the best it can be.

“My favorite accomplishment is in helping to facilitate the conversion of Astoria Park’s diving pool from a mosquito infested eyesore to the potential of becoming one of the most important performance venues in the United States,” said Khuzami.  “Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr.’s foresight has made this space a reality, and I look forward to working with our new councilmember, Costa Constantinides, to secure the funding to complete the second phase of the construction, creating an unparalleled venue for 2,500 patrons.”

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: “Probably my biggest challenge is to have patience and understanding to realize that everything, especially when dealing with the public sector, takes time. But with perseverance, progress can be made,” said Khuzami.

INSPIRATION:  “My father was a big proponent of public service, and taught us all to respect government and politics, and not shy away from making our opinions known or getting involved,” said Khuzami.  “As my free time increased, it was natural that I try and give back to a community I love, Astoria.”

 

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Community demands end to disruptive subway noise by Astoria school


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

Local elected officials and the P.S. 85 community in Astoria want to put a screeching halt to subway noise.

State Senator Michael Gianaris, Assemblymember Aravella Simotas, Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. and Councilmember-elect Costa Constantinides joined community leaders, parents, teachers and students from P.S. 85 at a rally Tuesday to demand the MTA and Department of Education (DOE) alleviate noise problems created by the N and Q elevated subway line.

During the rally, speakers were constantly interrupted by a total of 16 trains that passed by in front of the school. Students, teachers and elected officials put up two fingers, a gesture used daily to pause school lectures, every time a train car passed.

“It is an unacceptable learning environment,” said Gianaris. “It’s been going on for decades and it’s something that shouldn’t be so difficult to fix as it apparently seems to be in the hands of the DOE and the MTA.”

Gianaris and Simotas sent a letter to both the MTA and DOE calling for the agencies to come up with noise reduction ideas, including installing soundproof windows, acoustic sound-absorbing tiles, rubber wheels on the trains, cushioning the rails with rubber pads, and putting up a sound barrier between the outdoor subways platform and the school.

“It’s hard enough to grab a child’s attention, but to have to do it over and over again is too much to ask. My father had acoustic tiles put in years ago, but times and technology have changed and more needs to be done,” said Vallone.

Vallone recently announced the MTA will be implementing a new technology on every train car on the N and Q subways lines, which will help reduce the noise of the air brakes at the lines’ last stop at the Astoria-Ditmars Boulevard station.

According to students and teachers, during rush hour trains pass by every two minutes and during normal hours, every five minutes.

“It’s not fair to take any time away from their education,” said Farhan Mahin, a fifth grader and P.S. 85 student council president. “We want quiet now. This is our cause and we will not stand for anything else.”

According to Rebecca M. Bratspies, professor of law and director of The City University of New York School of Law Center for Urban Environmental Reform, a recent study revealed the sound noise in the P.S. 85 classrooms was close to 90 decibels, almost double the normal standard.

“The noise outside P.S. 85 is unfair to our children and does not supply them with a conducive learning environment,” said Constantinides, whose son attends P.S. 85. “We owe them better than the distracting environment they currently inhabit at PS 85.”

According to DOE spokesperson Marge Feinberg, P.S. 85 is a high-performance school which received an A on its recent Progress Report and some classrooms already have acoustic tiles.

“Instruction is not being disrupted,” said Feinberg. “Some classrooms have acoustic tiles. The 1st floor has five rooms with acoustic tile facing the front of the building. The 2nd floor has three rooms plus the auditorium facing the front of the building. The 3rd floor has two rooms facing the front of the building. They are all facing the side of the building exposed to the train.”

Terminal switches for the Ditmars Boulevard subway station are located right by the school making the noise problem at the site hard to fix, according to MTA spokesperson Kevin Ortiz.

“These switches are scheduled for replacement in the next capital plan (2015-2019).  In the meantime, we have dispatched crews to tighten any loose bolts or joints that may contribute to noise,” Ortiz said.

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Costa Constantinides sworn into City Council


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy Costa Constantinides' Facebook

Councilmember Costa Constantinides was officially sworn into the City Council Tuesday by City Clerk Michael McSweeney. He will begin his term Jan. 1

Constantinides, who represents District 22, was joined by Councilmember James Gennaro.

The date for his inauguration ceremony in Astoria is still to be determined.

 

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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.”

Costa Constantinides eyeing Vallone’s seat in 22nd Council District


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

File photo

After winning the Democratic primary last month, Costa Constantinides is ready to head into the General Election to fill departing Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr.’s seat in the 22nd Council District.

“I think Astoria has always been a great place to live, I had a wonderful childhood growing up here,” he said. “It’s a wonderful place and I just want to help continue to foster that same atmosphere.”

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

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

Some of the main areas Constantinides hopes to address if elected 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, with introducing better technology and dealing with overcrowding.

Constantinides also plans to clean up the streets by prioritizing garbage pickups, funding a street sweeping program like the Doe Fund, and making sure there are enough enforcement agents to make sure the community stays clean.

“All these things are sort of interconnected with one another and I think when we deal with each individual problem we’re going to help our community move itself forward,” said Constantinides.

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

“This is a real opportunity to vote for the mayor. It’s going to decide our city government,” he said. “It’s important to make sure your voice is heard. So I really encourage every constituent to come out and be part of the process, whether they’re voting for me or not.”

 

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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


| editorial@queenscourier.com

22

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.

 

MORE PRIMARY GUIDES

CB 1 member, business owner Prentzas joins 22nd Council District race


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Longtime Community Board 1 member and small business owner Constantinos “Gus” Prentzas is looking to fill departing Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr.’s seat in the 22nd Council District.

“Northwestern Queens has grown and flourished over the last 12 years,” he said. “I believe I have the right balance of private and public sector experience to continue that progress and look forward to engaging and serving the community in the City Council.”

Prentzas will run as a Democrat. He believes that through his years of experience on the community board and local school boards, he will be able to bring Astoria the leadership it needs.

“I have been proud to serve the community for more than a decade in many different capacities, both elected and unelected,” said Prentzas. “With the seat being vacated by Councilmember Peter Vallone, who is seeking the office of

Borough President, many in the community have been urging me to run to replace him to continue the progress of our community and build on his successful record.”

Prentzas faces attorney John Ciafone, Democratic District Leader Costa Constantinides, Independence Party member and Monsignor McClancy High School volleyball Coach Danielle De Stefano, Republican and former New York Young Republican Club president Daniel Peterson, and Green Party candidate Lynne Serpe.

 

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Council District 22 candidate Tony Meloni drops out of race


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Tony Meloni

Tony Meloni, one of the first candidates to enter the Democratic race for Peter Vallone Jr.’s City Council seat, announced he is dropping out.

Meloni confirmed he is ending his campaign to represent District 22 in Astoria so he can focus on his family and work in the community.

“It was a really hard decision,” Meloni said. “I have gone back and forth so many times. I absolutely love this community, but a person has to know their limitations and I decided to re-focus and reevaluate.”

His positions in the community include chair of Community Board 1’s public safety committee, vice-president of the Astoria Civic Association, founder of New York Anti-Crime and executive director of the Immigration Advocacy Services, an outreach center in Astoria.

Even though he is dropping out of the race, Meloni said he will remain highly active in the community to make sure focus is not lost on important issues. In regard to a future City Council run, he said he does not rule anything out, but wants to take it a step at a time.

Current candidates for District 22 are Democrats Costa Constantinides and attorney John Ciafone, Republican Daniel Peterson, Green Party candidate Lynn Serpe and Independent candidate Danielle De Stefano.

 

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Astoria lawyer John Ciafone enters 22nd Council District race


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

John J. Ciafone has announced he will be running to fill Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr.’s spot in the 22nd Council District.

“I’m running for Council in the 22nd District because our community is facing serious problems,” said Ciafone. “Until we change these issues, our community will continue to suffer and we will lose our friends, businesses, neighbors and families to other cities.”

Ciafone has been a lawyer based on Steinway Street for the past two decades. The Astoria native was the former president and treasurer of Community School Board 30. He currently serves as the executive officer of the Aldo’s Democratic Club and is counsel to the New York State Fraternal Order of Police Big Apple Lodge.

Ciafone will run against Democrats Tony Meloni, the founder and executive director of the New York Anti-Crime Agency and Costa Constantinides, deputy chief of staff for Councilmember James Gennaro.

 

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Endorsements rolling in for city candidates


| 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.

 

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