Tag Archives: Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr.

Pol introduces bill to keep Astoria clean


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Assemblymember Aravella Simotas

Residents and local officials want to take out the trash in Astoria.

“We all want a clean living environment for our growing community and to help our small businesses thrive,” said Assemblymember Aravella Simotas at a rally on September 24 at the corner of 31st Street and Ditmars Boulevard.

Her office has heard from an increasing number of residents in the recent months about how dirty the streets have become, she said.

“Working together and with the support of our friends and neighbors, I am confident we can keep Astoria beautiful,” she said.

In order to bring some ease to the problem of overflowing trash cans and large amounts of litter on the streets, Simotas will introduce a bill in the state legislature that will offer tax incentives to carting garbage removal companies who can work together with local business and business improvement districts in order to keep the neighborhood clean.

“It is an outrage that the streets of Astoria and the outer boroughs have been trashed by the city,” said Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr., who has worked on the problem in the City Council. “While the population has increased, trash can pickups have decreased, which has resulted in overflowing cans and garbage on our streets. The city needs to immediately return to two pickups per week.”

Along with Vallone, Simotas will also receive support from State Senator Michael Gianaris who will lead the push for the bill in the State Senate.

“I have lived in western Queens my entire life and I have always taken pride in the beauty of our neighborhood,” said Gianaris. “As our community continues to grow it is vital that we preserve our quality of life, and the Astoria I know and love does not have streets covered with litter and overflowing garbage cans on every corner. As more and more people live and raise their families here, we need to work together to keep our community beautiful.”

 

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City Council passes condo, co-op resolution


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo via Facebook

The City Council has unanimously passed a resolution calling for Congress to make co-op and condos eligible for federal storm recovery grants.

“Condo and co-op owners are homeowners too,” said Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. who brought forth the measure. “Yet, right now, the federal government is denying them Sandy relief. That needs to change.”

The resolution, introduced September 12, comes after many citywide co-op and condo owners found they could not receive FEMA grants for Sandy-inflicted damages.

The measure sailed through the City Council less than two weeks later on September 24. The Council’s Committee on Housing and Buildings moved the resolution forward earlier that morning.

It would push the passage of an already proposed federal law that aims to fix a glitch keeping co-op and condo owners from disaster aid.

The Stafford Act, which governs how FEMA responds to major disasters, does not include the word “co-op” in the law, officials said.

However, there is no statute that bans co-op owners from being eligible for grants, a privilege given to homeowners.

Co-op and condos are also categorized as “business associations,” which makes them eligible for federal loans but not grants. It also means they cannot get funds to fix shared spaces like lobbies and roofs.

Congressmember Steve Israel introduced a law in August that would better define co-ops in the Stafford Act, allow co-op and condo owners to apply for FEMA grants, and call for a new cap on FEMA’s Individual and Households Program.

The proposed legislation currently sits in a subcommittee on the House’s Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

Warren Schreiber of the Presidents Co-op & Condo Council said the resolution would be used as a bully pulpit to boost federal efforts.

“They can send that on to the congressional delegation,” he said. “That would make a big difference.”

Some Queens co-ops, like Glen Oaks Village, sustained more than $250,000 in damage to infrastructure, according to the co-op’s president Bob Friedrich.

Councilmember Eric Ulrich, who represents some of the most Sandy-devastated areas, said co-op and condo communities in the Rockaways are facing “astronomical” renovation costs that exceed $250,000.

Ulrich was the sponsor of another resolution passed by the City Council this week that calls for Congress to amend a federal act to minimize the burden of flood insurance premium rate increases on homeowners.

Vallone will now urge Congress, in a letter, to enact the federal bill.

 

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Resolution calls for co-op, condo storm recovery grants


| mchan@queenscourier.com

A Queens lawmaker introduced a resolution in the City Council last week calling for Congress to make co-op and condos eligible for federal storm recovery grants.

The measure, brought forth by Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr., comes after many citywide co-op and condo owners found they could not receive FEMA grants for Sandy-inflicted damages.

It would push the passage of an already proposed federal law that aims to fix a glitch keeping co-op and condo owners from disaster aid.

The Stafford Act, which governs how FEMA responds to major disasters, does not include the word “co-op” in the law, officials said. However, there is no statute that bans co-op owners from being eligible for grants, a privilege given to homeowners.

Co-op and condos are also categorized as “business associations,” which makes them eligible for federal loans but not grants. It also means they cannot get funds to fix shared spaces like lobbies and roofs.

“Co-ops and condos are not corporations — they are people’s homes,” Vallone said. “They deserve the same assistance as other homeowners.”

Congressmember Steve Israel introduced a law in August that would better define co-ops in the Stafford Act and allow co-op and condo owners to apply for FEMA grants.

It would also call for a new cap on FEMA’s Individual and Households Program.

A spokesperson for Israel said the bipartisan bill has 14 cosponsors so far, including Republican Congressmember Peter King, who represents parts of Long Island.

The proposed legislation currently sits in a subcommittee on the House’s Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

While a resolution is only a formal position statement, Vallone said he hopes it will “show that the city speaks with one voice for fairness” for co-op and condo owners.

The disaster aid is needed in Queens, local leaders said, where co-op and condo communities are digging into reserves to fund fixes.

Some Queens co-ops, like Glen Oaks Village, sustained more than $250,000 in damage to infrastructure, according to the co-op’s president Bob Friedrich.

Councilmember Eric Ulrich, who represents some of the most Sandy-devastated areas, said co-op and condo communities in the Rockaways are facing “astronomical” renovation costs.

Repairs to buildings destroyed by the storm could easily exceed $250,000, he said.

“Nearly a year after Superstorm Sandy, co-ops and condos are still struggling to rebuild,” Ulrich said. “Congress must act now and provide relief before it’s too late.”

The City Council resolution, introduced on September 12, sits in the Council’s Committee on Housing and Buildings.

Committee Chair Erik Dilan said several Sandy-related bills that await the committee’s ruling are being “actively considered.”

“We as a committee and council are active in moving things that will help the city recover or prevent disaster from another hurricane, including the co-op resolution,” Dilan said.

If the measure moves out of committee and then passes the City Council, Vallone would then urge Congress, in a letter, to enact the federal bill.

Warren Schreiber of the Presidents Co-op & Condo Council said advocates could use the City Council’s support as a bully pulpit to boost federal efforts.

“Anything that can be done to put pressure on the federal government and educate other people is absolutely welcome,” Schreiber said. “Hopefully, it sails through the City Council.”

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.

 

Spike in crime sparks push for park safety


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

The city may continue to report decreasing crime rates, but its park safety is up for question.

Crime in city parks this spring was 44 percent higher compared to the same period last year, according to NYPD data.

From April 1 to June 30, 128 crimes were reported in the 31 city parks for which the police department reports stats.

During the same time in 2012 there were 89.

It’s the largest jump since 2006, when a law was passed requiring the NYPD to provide the City Council with park crime statistics, said Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr., chair of the Council’s Public Safety Committee.

“[These stats] are obviously cause for alarm,” he said.

Flushing Meadows-Corona Park reported the most crimes of Queens parks, with 27 complaints, 12 more than the same time last year. These included 22 grand larcenies, two robberies, two felony assaults and one grand larceny/assault.

It was the second most crime-ridden park in the city, following Central Park, which had 37 complaints.

Six crimes were reported in Alley Pond Park and two in Forest Park during the same period.

In the wake of the crime jump and a rape in Forest Park last week, the second time a female jogger was tasered and then sexually assaulted there this year, there have been calls for Forest and Flushing Meadows to have their own precincts.

Central Park is the only city green space to have a dedicated NYPD precinct. Flushing Meadows, the fourth largest park in the city, at 898 acres, is slightly bigger than Central. Forest Park, the third largest green space in the borough after Alley Pond, is 544 acres.

“These are public spaces and people should feel safe,” said Geoffrey Croft, president of NYC Park Advocates.

The jump in crime, he said, is no doubt a result of the lack of dedicated officers assigned to the parks.

The NYPD did not comment as of press time, but Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has reportedly stated that park crime has been consistently low and only accounts for a small percentage of overall city crime.

Vallone wants to require the department to extend the crime reporting beyond 31 parks to every city park over one acre.

He said the NYPD says it’s only providing data for so few parks because they don’t have to submit the information if they don’t have the technology to do so.

“It’s now been seven years since the law was passed and it’s ridiculous to think that they haven’t been able to come up with this technology.”

 

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Mayor Bloomberg files suit to stop law making it easier to sue city over profiling


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

From the City Council to the courts.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg filed a lawsuit in Manhattan Supreme Court on Tuesday against the City Council to challenge a law that would make it easier for people to sue the city in discrimination cases.

The mayor’s latest move in the battle over the controversial Community Safety Act only targets the profiling measure and doesn’t include the law that creates an inspector general.

The profiling law will expand biased-based protection from ethnicity, religion and national origin to age, gender, sexual orientation and other categories. It allows individuals to sue in state courts and seek declaratory or injunctive relief, such as asking a judge change the city’s practices, instead of monetary damages.

Bloomberg said in the lawsuit the profiling law “exceeds the bounds of permissible legislation in the Council,” because changing criminal procedure law is restricted for the state legislature.

“There’s an important principle at stake here,” Corporation Counsel Michael Cardozo said in a statement. “Local legislative bodies should not be passing laws affecting the regulation of law enforcement activity in this way.”

The Community Safety Act was originally passed on June 26, following strong support from minority groups, who said they were being unfairly targeted by the Police Department. Statistics show cops stop-and-frisk minorities with about a 9:1 ratio to whites.

U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin recently ruled stop-and-frisk was being used unconstitutionally, but Bloomberg said the policy has resulted in lowering crime and gun possession and has filed to appeal the decision.

Opponents of the Community Safety Act believe the profiling bill will tie up the Police Department in court.

Last week a Queens black man was the first person to file a lawsuit against the city over alleged illegal stop-and-frisk, following Scheindlin’s ruling.

Allen Moye, 55, of Jamaica, was stopped three years ago and arrested, but charges were dropped, according to reports.

Queens opponents of the new laws are supporting Bloomberg’s lawsuit.

“I am hopeful that it will be successful in overturning the most dangerous bill ever enacted and removing the handcuffs the City Council has placed on our police officers,” said Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr., “All this legislation does is hand over control of the NYPD to the courts and control of our streets to violent criminals.”

The City Council now has 20 days to file a response.

 

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Katz outlines plan to ‘Green Queens’ if elected borough president


| mchan@queenscourier.com

One thousand new trees would grow in Queens and government rooftops would be painted an energy-saving white should Melinda Katz win her bid to lead the borough.

The former legislator outlined her “Plan for a Green Queens” on Tuesday, September 3 with her newest supporter, the New York League of Conservation Voters.

“With a total absence of federal legislation on environmental issues, there is a real need for local leaders to step in and fill the vacuum,” Katz said.

The candidate said she would use her borough presidency to allocate more park space, make Queens government buildings more energy efficient and lead regular electronic waste drives.

“These are simple steps we can take locally that will improve our environment globally,” Katz said. “That’s the innovative approach our borough needs as we fight to create green jobs and expand the green-collar industry in Queens.”

She would also dedicate indoor and street recycling bins — a spin on a different initiative her Democratic opponent proposed last month.

Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr., who is facing off with Katz in a tight primary, said in August he would fund and install placards on trash cans given through the city’s volunteer “Adopt-A-Basket” program.

He also joined the White Roof Project in June to paint low-income and nonprofit roofs in Astoria with solar-reflective white coating.

 

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Glendale rallies against proposed homeless shelter


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

A senior center, a school, maybe even a park is fine, but residents in Glendale want to shut the door on a proposed homeless shelter.

Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. led a protest on Friday in front a defunct factory at 78-16 Cooper Avenue, which nonprofit Samaritan Village plans to transform into transitional housing if its proposal is approved by the city’s Department of Homeless Services (DHS).

“We are against a 125-unit homeless shelter that the city is planning to ram down this community’s throat,” said Vallone, who is running to be the next borough president. “This is the wrong location and it’s the wrong size.”

The community has been against this proposal since last year when rumors started. But recently Samaritan Village negotiated with Michael Wilner, the owner of the property, and submitted a proposal to the DHS. The nonprofit also sent a letter to Community Board 5 and local leaders to officially notify them of the plans.

Wilner could not be reached for comment as of press time. And when The Courier contacted Samaritan Village, which operates multiple shelters around the city, the group said that it would not comment as the proposal is still being reviewed.

The nonprofit said it plans to insert 125 families in the building and it will have security.

Community members are worried that adding that number of people in the neighborhood would inundate already overcrowded schools.

Residents also believe that Glendale isn’t a good fit for the shelter, because transportation is limited since there are no subway lines.

The factory, which used to manufacture plane parts, is contaminated, according to multiple sources, and the building would need millions in tax dollars to repair.

So instead of a homeless shelter, residents said they would prefer to see a school, a park for local kids or a senior center for the many elderly in the area.

“Right now I’m looking for someplace for my mother,” said Bob Holden, president of the Juniper Park Civic Association.

“I’m looking for something that I’d feel is appropriate, but I have to look upstate. So we need something in our neighborhood.”

They aren’t completely sure what the site should become, but there is a unified belief that a homeless shelter will damage the community so they don’t want it.

“It’s ridiculous,” said Augie Trinchese. “I’ve lived here for 41 years and I don’t want to see my property value go down.”

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Queens streets co-named for female trailblazers


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr.

The name of and story behind a beloved local activist, resident and first female Queens County Clerk will never be forgotten.

On Tuesday, August 27, family, friends and elected officials gathered to honor the life of Gloria D’Amico by co-naming Shore Boulevard and 21st Drive in Astoria as “The Honorable Gloria D’Amico Place.” The street was chosen because it was where D’Amico lived.

“I was lucky enough to have two mentors – my father, who taught me public service and how to serve people with honest and integrity, and Gloria, who showed me how to get in a position to help people,” said Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr.

“She was a trailblazer for women throughout Queens, and I am honored to have been her friend.”

D’Amico served as the first female Queens County Clerk for 19 years under which she helped guide the borough to become the first county in the city to implement a jury duty call-in system.

The longtime Astoria resident also served as a board member of the Salah M. Hassanein Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens and was on the board of directors of Shareing and Careing, an agency supporting women with breast cancer. D’Amico passed away in 2010.

“This is a wonderful and special honor for a wonderful and special woman, who deserved not only this type of praise, but more,” said the D’Amico family.

Celebrating the life of another woman who made an impact on the borough, on Sunday, August 25, 73rd Street and 34th Avenue in Jackson Heights was co-named “Mary Sarro Way,” after a former Community Board 3 (CB3) District Manager and community activist.

Sarro served as the CB 3 district manager for almost 20 years. She helped make way for the borough’s first LGBT parade in 1993 and served as Sergeant at Arms for the 115th Precinct Community Council. She also played a large role in creating the 82nd Street Business Improvement District.

 

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VIDEO: Vallone releases first campaign commercial in BP race


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Video via Vimeo

Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr., who is in a tight race with Melinda Katz for Queens borough president, has released his first campaign commercial. He is also the first borough president candidate to come out with a television ad.

Peter F. Vallone Jr. for Queens Borough President from Roberts Horowitz Creative on Vimeo.

 

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City Council overrides Bloomberg’s Community Safety Act veto


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo via Twitter / @MarkWeprin

The New York City Council voted to override Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s veto of the controversial Community Safety Act.

The act contains two bills, one that will create an inspector general to oversee the activities of the police department and have subpoena power, while the other bill will make it easier for people to sue the NYPD over racial profiling.

The racial profiling bill override passed 34-15 on Thursday and the inspector general bill override passed 39-10. The profiling measure will go into effect 90 days after the vote and the inspector general will be appointed by the new mayor in January.

Bloomberg expressed his disagreement with the override in a statement after the City Council meeting and vowed to fight the bills before they go in effect.

“Make no mistake; the communities that will feel the most negative impacts of these bills will be minority communities across our city, which have been the greatest beneficiaries of New York City’s historic crime reductions,” Bloomberg said. “It is a dangerous piece of legislation and we will ask the courts to step in before innocent people are harmed.”

Opponents of the bills believe that the NYPD doesn’t need to have another monitor and that the racial profiling bill will cause officers and the police department to be tied up in court, instead of fighting crime.

“The role to have permanent oversight of the police department belongs to the police commissioner, belongs to the City Council members who serve on the Public Safety Committee, which refused to pass these laws to begin with,” Councilmember Eric Ulrich said. “This is not going to lower crime; the only thing it’s going to lower is the moral of the police department.”

Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr., who was against the bills, missed the vote to move his daughters into the University of Notre Dame. “The city just became less safe,” Vallone tweeted.

Supporters of the bills believe that minorities were unfairly targeted by the stop-and-frisk policy and the bills were necessary to stop racial profiling.

“This vote for me is a very easy one,” Councilmember Mark Weprin said. “I have no choice but to vote what I believe in my heart. And I feel very strongly that this is a problem that needs to be addressed. This is a policy that needs to be reformed.”

Supporters also believe that the bill will improve relations between the cops and minorities.

“By reforming this policy, these residents will be less likely to second guess a police officer’s intentions and be more willing to help them in their investigation,” said Councilmember Leroy Comrie. “I am proud to vote with my colleagues in overturning the mayor’s veto and would like to thank them for helping to make this city a safer place to live.”

 

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NY pols want to create publicly available gun offender registry


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Peter Vallone Jr.

New York politicians are shooting for an open statewide gun offender registry.

Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. announced legislation Wednesday to make the city’s gun offender registry publicly available online and create a similar statewide registry.

Vallone will introduce the bill tomorrow in a City Council meeting. State Senator Jeffrey Klein and Assemblymember Carl Heastie will introduce bills in the Senate and Assembly to create a statewide registry.

Vallone, who is the chair of the Council’s Public Safety Committee, helped create the city’s gun offender registry in 2006. It is currently only available to the NYPD and doesn’t include law-abiding firearm owners.

Diaz and Vallone want the state to follow suit.

“New York City’s gun offender registry has kept the spotlight of the law on the most dangerous criminals among us—and it is time for the entire state to follow in our footsteps and utilize this effective crime-fighting tool, which helped the NYPD and Commissioner Raymond Kelly make New York the safest big city in America,” Vallone said.

The proposal comes at a time when Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other city officials are up in arms against guns following several tragedies around the country.

Also, on August 19 Bloomberg and Kelly announced the largest seizure of illegal guns in city history as cops recovered 254 firearms and indicted 19 people.

Bloomberg and Kelly touted the controversial stop-and-frisk policy as a reason that selling illegal weapons in the city was more difficult, because one of the men arrested was heard saying he couldn’t bring the weapons to Brownsville, Brooklyn because of the practice.

New York stats show criminals convicted of gun possessions are more likely to be rearrested when compared to other felonies, according to Vallone. There were 595 eligible gun offenders in New York City as of December 2012 and 302 of them are back in jail.

“We cannot allow these violent offenders to slip through the cracks upon their release from prison, and these bills will keep residents and law enforcement officers across the state well aware of their locations,” Vallone said.

 

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Judge rules NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy unconstitutional


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Liam La Guerre

Score another win for opponents of the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy.

U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled Monday that the police department’s use of the policy is unconstitutional and suggested the appointment of a monitor to reform it.

“I find that the city is liable for violating plaintiffs’ Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights,” Scheindlin wrote. “The city acted with deliberate indifference toward the NYPD’s practice of making unconstitutional stops and conducting unconstitutional frisks.”

The ruling comes months after the City Council approved the Community Safety Act, which contained a bill to easy it easier to take the NYPD to court over discrimination cases. Mayor Michael Bloomberg vetoed the Community Safety Act a few weeks ago and criticized Scheindlin’s decision.

“Throughout the trail that just concluded the judge made it clear that she was not at all interested in the crime reductions here (in the city) or how we achieved them,” Bloomberg said at a press conference today.

He later added, “Through the case we didn’t believe that we were getting a fair trial and this decision confirms that suspicion.”

Minorities groups have been fighting the policy, saying that stop-and-frisk is unfairly used against black and Hispanics. Scheindlin confirmed this belief with her judgment.

“In practice, the policy encourages the targeting of young black and Hispanic men based on their prevalence in local crime complaints,” Scheindlin wrote. “This is a form of racial profiling.”

Scheindlin didn’t rule to dispatch the policy completely, but just to reform it.

“The opinion does not call for the NYPD to abandon proactive policing and return to an era of less effective police practices,” Scheindlin said.

Proponents of stop-and-frisk disagreed with Scheindlin’s ruling and called the decision to add a monitor to the program unnecessary.

“The NYPD does not need an additional monitor,” said Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr, although he did agree though that the policy should be reformed. “We can agree on that and move forward to continue reform stop-and-risk but make sure that continues to happen so that we save young lives.”

Opponents of the stop-and-frisk policy are embracing the ruling whole-heartedly.

“The ruling issued by Judge Scheindlin only confirms what so many New Yorkers already know, that the way stop, question, and frisk has been implemented is a violation of people’s constitutional rights,” said Councilmember Leroy Comrie. “The public wants the police to keep them safe, and the reforms mandated by this ruling will help hold the NYPD accountable, while also forcing changes to policies that will build a stronger relationship between precincts and the communities they are trying to protect.”

Bloomberg said they city will appeal the decision.

 

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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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Astoria VFW post renamed for WWII veteran


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr.

Rocco Moretto, a decorated World War II veteran who fought in the conflict from the beginning of the US’ engagement in Europe until the end, received a recognition that will live on for years to come.

On Thursday, June 6, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2348 in Astoria was renamed after Moretto. He was one of two soldiers from his entire infantry company to fight from the Allied landing in Normandy, France until the end of the war, when Moretto was in the former Czechoslovakia. He received several decorations from the Army for bravery.

“We are honoring one of our lifetime members to honor all World War II vets so they see how much we appreciate them,” said Michael Mehltretter, Post 2348 commander.

During the renaming, Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. presented Moretto with a City Council Citation. He also handed a $5,000 check to Post 2348 in honor of Moretto and on behalf of Tommy Vasilis, the owner of Strand Smokehouse.

“Rocco’s generation has been called the greatest ever, and he is living proof that is true,” said Vallone. “No one is more deserving of this honor, and I am proud to call Rocco my friend and role model.”

After coming home from serving in the war, Moretto dedicated himself to community service. In 1966, he earned a Certificate for Outstanding Community Service from the New York City Housing Administration at City Hall.

 

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