Vallone, Kann Debate 22nd Council District Issues
City Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. debated his opponent, Green Party Candidate Jerry Kann at Riccardo's by the Bridge in Astoria this past Monday, October 25. Vallone, incumbent representative of the 22nd Council District, has the endorsement of the Democratic, Republican and Conservative Parties. The one-hour debate, moderated by Gazette Publisher Tony Barsamian, highlighted the major differences between the rivals for the council seat before an audience of more than 150 people, even though it took place on an evening of torrential rains driven by a northeaster storm that struck the metropolitan area shortly before the debate began.
The council candidates responded to questions submitted by the audience and Gazette staff. Questions included:
1. What are the differences between you and your opponent?
2. What are your greatest accomplishments for the Astoria community?
3. What have you done or will you do to improve education?
4. How will you combat graffiti?
5. Can we replace the police officers of the 114th Precinct who have been lost to attrition?
6. How can you help reduce noise pollution?
7. What can be done to alleviate the problem of the alleged illegal aliens congregating at certain corners waiting for work?
8. Will we ever get the classroom trailers out of our schoolyard?
9. What are your views on taxes and the budget?
10. How can we develop more space for ball fields and recreational areas for our youth?
The differences between the two candidates were clear almost from the start of the debate.
Vallone highlighted his many accomplishments and his record in the district during his term in the council. Within the framework of the debate, he cited his funding of many local groups and his responsiveness to community concerns. Vallone said he would not support tax increases and added that he feels taxes should be lower.
Kann argued for more open forums and town hall-type meetings. He seeks to raise $8 billion in taxes thorough a one-quarter to one-half cent tax surcharge on all stock trades. Kann defined his proposed tax increase as a necessity to fund the programs needed for the district.