Tag Archives: Peter Vallone Sr.

City Council announces restoration of Peter Vallone Sr. namesake scholarship


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy office of Councilman Paul Vallone

“The original Dream Act” — as some call it — is alive.

Thousands of eligible high school students across the city will once again be able to enjoy the rewards of a college scholarship, regardless of immigration status.

Officials announced Tuesday the City Council Merit Based Scholarship, once named after former Speaker Peter Vallone Sr., was restored after it was voted into the budget of the City Council for $11.1 million.

The scholarship was originally slashed in 2011 by former Speaker Christine Quinn after reported political infighting with former Councilman Peter Vallone Jr.

The reinstated scholarship will help aid 13,500 students as early as this fall who maintain at least a B average and seek to attend a City University of New York (CUNY) institution. It offers about $400 per semester for each recipient.

“By restoring the City Council CUNY Merit Based Scholarship, we have once again issued a challenge to every student in New York City,” said Councilman Paul Vallone, son of the former speaker. “If you make the commitment to be the best student you can be, then we will stand with you as we open the doors to a college education together.”

 

 

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Costa Constantinides sworn in as District 22′s new councilmember


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Councilmember Costa Constantinides' Office

Councilmember Costa Constantinides is ready to work for his community.

The freshman legislator celebrated his inauguration Sunday at Long Island City High School as the new District 22 councilmember, representing Astoria, and parts of Long Island City, Woodside, East Elmhurst and Jackson Heights.

Constantinides was sworn in by former City Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr., and Councilmember James Gennaro was the emcee of the ceremony. Constantinides previously served as deputy chief of staff for Gennaro.

“Today marks not just a transfer in power, but an inauguration of a new era in our city, an era that will be defined by a revitalized sense of civic participation and engagement,” said Constantinides. “We will ensure that the levers of city government are once again working to lift up our homeowners, tenants, small business owners, and everyone struggling to get by.”

During his inaugural address, Constantinides spoke about his goals for the district, including cleaner and safer streets, better health care, more transportation options. The councilmember also shared his stories on growing up in Astoria, from playing basketball with State Senator Michael Gianaris, back in the day, to meeting his wife on Steinway Street.

The inauguration ceremony also featured the LIC High School JROTC Color Guard, the high school’s marching band, dance class, chamber choir and refreshments by the culinary class and greek restaurant Zenon Taverna. The Greek-Cypriot Dance Pancyprian Association Youth Dance Division also performed.

“All that I have I owe to the combined efforts and the sterling example of our community, without which the course of my life would have been profoundly different,” said Constantinides. “I know that we can accomplish great things when we come together because I have lived it my entire life.”

 

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Paul Vallone sworn into City Council during local inauguration


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Hundreds of residents packed into a school auditorium Saturday to watch Councilmember Paul Vallone get sworn into office.

The early afternoon ceremony at P.S. 169 in Bay Terrace was attended by a lengthy list of dignitaries, including State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Letitia James and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.

Vallone, 46, was installed by his father, former City Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr. He took his oath of office, swearing on the family’s Bible.

“I believe that what you’re doing today, by bringing Paul Vallone into this very diversified and complicated district … that you will be delivering to this Council district one of the best representatives in government that this country has ever produced,” Vallone Sr. said.

The freshman legislator continues the 40-year Vallone legacy in City Hall. His brother, Peter Vallone Jr., was term limited out of the City Council at the end of 2013.

Vallone, who represents District 19, was officially sworn into the City Council Dec. 10 by City Clerk Michael McSweeney.

He ended his inauguration by giving out his first proclamation to Kevin and Tina Lynch, who won ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight” last month and rocketed Whitestone to national stardom.

 

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Astoria celebrates Italian heritage at 36th Annual Christopher Columbus Day Parade


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr.

Astoria got together this past weekend to celebrate the 36th Annual Christopher Columbus Day Parade.

On Saturday, October 12, together with Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr., former Speaker Peter Vallone Sr., Assemblymember Aravella Simotas and other local officials, the procession marched from 34th Avenue down to Astoria Boulevard and 33rd Street.

The Grand Marshal of the parade, which is presented by the Federation of Italian American Organizations of Queens, Inc., was Minister Natalia Quintavalle, Italian Consul General of New York.

 

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City Council candidate Austin Shafran gains second union endorsement


| editorial@queenscourier.com

File photo

Austin Shafran has gained the endorsement of UFCW Local 1500 in his bid for City Council.

“This is a high-priority council race for our members, and we know that Austin is the candidate who will fight the hardest to strengthen and expand the middle class,” said Bruce Both, president of the state’s grocery workers union.

Shafran, the 32-year-old former mainstay in the Cuomo administration, is in a four-way Democratic primary race to unseat incumbent Republican Dan Halloran in the 19th District. He was the vice president of public affairs for the governor’s Empire State Development until he resigned to run for office.

“I am deeply humbled and honored to have the endorsement of a union whose members and leader have done so much for working families,” Shafran said. “Retail is one of the fastest-growing sectors of our local economy, and I plan to work closely with Local 1500 to improve the quality and quantity of retail jobs that are the backbone of a strong middle-class-first economy.”

Shafran also recently gained the support of the Teamsters Joint Council 16.

He will take on Democratic State Committee Chair Matthew Silverstein, former Assemblymember John Duane and attorney Paul Vallone — the son of former City Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr. and brother of Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr.

The district extends from College Point to the borders of Nassau County.

 

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One of the greatest mayors ever


| editorial@queenscourier.com


BY PETER VALLONE SR.

I served with Mayor Ed Koch for 12 years, the last four from 1986 through 1989, while I was the newly-elected head of the City Council, soon to be empowered as a truly independent legislative branch of government with the coming elimination of the unconstitutional Board of Estimate.

He and I became very close friends because the city was in deep trouble fiscally, there was a notable absence of cops, the subways were unsafe, and the city needed a cheerleader to lift its sagging spirits, as well as a government that worked and gave hope for the future.

Ed Koch was the right person. We worked together to fashion the most significant landmark legislation in any four year period in the history of the city. The first Clean Air Act in the country, preventing people from being forced to inhale smoke from others, dividing restaurants and all public places accordingly; the first Campaign Finance Law ensuring a level playing field to anyone aspiring to run for office; the first so-called Gay Rights Bill preventing discrimination by reason of sexual orientation; the first and biggest housing plan providing for hundreds of thousands of affordable units to be built over the next four years, and a homeless policy to break up homeless shelters and provide homes wherever possible, just to name a few.

The best way to remember Ed Koch is in his own words. I was present with him on many occasions when he told a large audience mad at something or other he said or did, he would say: “Look, if I were a baseball player and got a hit only three times out of every 10 I batted, I would be a pretty good player, wouldn’t I? So if you agree with me three out of 10 times, I’m doing pretty good as mayor, too. But if I got a hit 7seven of 10 times, I would be the greatest player ever, right? Now most of you here agree with me 7 out of 10 times, so I must be the greatest mayor ever! On the other hand, if you agree with me 10 out of 10, you must be crazy!”

Many still think Ed Koch was single. That’s not true. He was married to this city, and loved it with a passion and devotion from beginning to end. I told him many times he could be one of the greatest stand-up comedians if he chose to, as well as being one of the greatest mayors ever.

Perhaps the best tribute you could say about any person is that when you mention his name, a smile comes to your face, and that is how I will always remember my dear friend, Ed Koch. My only hope is that he will enjoy and love Heaven as much as he loved this city.

Peter F. Vallone is former Speaker of the NYC Council

 

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Cuomo administration mainstay resigns to run for Queens City Council seat


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Austin Shafran

A former mainstay in the Cuomo administration has officially announced his intent to run for City Council.

Austin Shafran, 32, resigned from his post as vice president of public affairs for Empire State Development (ESD) on January 18 to enter what is now a four-way Democratic primary race for the 19th District.

“I’ve played a leading role in Governor Cuomo’s efforts to make government work better, cost less and produce more for taxpayers,” Shafran said of his ESD job, “and now I want to put that same record of results to work for the communities I grew up in.”

He will take on Democratic State Committee Chair Matthew Silverstein, former Assemblymember John Duane and attorney Paul Vallone — the son of former City Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr. and brother of Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr.

The primary winner will likely face off with incumbent Councilmember Dan Halloran in the November election if no other Republican contenders surface.

Shafran is the Democratic leader in the 25th Assembly District. The ESD’s mouthpiece for nearly two years, he also served as senior advisor to the agency’s head, Kenneth Adams. Prior, he was a community liaison for former Congressmember Gary Ackerman and communications director for then-Councilmember David Weprin.

“Working with Congressman Ackerman and Governor Cuomo, I’ve developed the experience and the clear vision to deliver better schools and safer streets and an economy that works for middle class families,” Shafran said. “Those are things that we’ve been lacking in these communities for the past four years. We can do better.”

The district extends from College Point to the borders of Nassau County.

 

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