Old Fashioned Hot Dogs & Beer Party For Vallone
A crowd of well wishers and supporters of City Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. turned out yesterday at Bohemian Hall in Astoria to toast the young lawmaker as he considers his options and mulls over future career choices.
Heading the guest list at the fundraiser staged as an Octoberfest event were state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and former City Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr., father of the guest of honor, his mother, Tena, and brother Paul.
Other dignitaries in the audience of about 300 guests were District Attorney Richard A. Brown and Borough President Helen Marshall, who Vallone Jr. would succeed if he decides to run for that office, state Senator George Onorato, Assemblymember Michael Gianaris and many Taminent Democratic Club members. Many of Vallone's council colleagues and local business and community leaders also attended.
In introducing his son, the former Council Speaker highlighted the lawmaker's accomplishments over the past five and a half years, including passing several tough-on-crime laws, his spirited anti-graffiti campaign and legislation placing cameras in school classrooms, and shutting down the old Poletti power plant.
Topping off the review of the councilmembers' record, Vallone Sr. referred to a story soon to be published in the Gotham Gazette, a publication of the good-government group, Citizen's Union, which reviewed the record of all current councilmembers and found that Vallone Jr. had introduced the most bills (54) of which 14 were passed and became law. (He was followed closely by his Queens colleagues, David Weprin and James Gennaro).
Wrapping up the review of young Vallone's council record, his dad quipped, "If he can do all that in just a few years, just think of what he'll be able to do representing all of Queens!"
Young Vallone, looking ahead to 2009 when his term in the council will expire due to term limits, said he's considering running for Queens Borough President at that time. No official announcement about the possibility has been made.
Speaking of the borough president's office which will be vacated by incumbent Helen Marshall in 2009, also because of term limits, Vallone said, "It's a job that presents a lot of challenges and I think I can make a difference there."
Coming from a family that has a long tradition of public service established by his grandfather, Judge Charles Vallone and continued by his father and himself, the councilmember said, "I really love doing this and I hope to have the honor of continuing representing the people as part of the government in the future."
Since beginning his career in the city council in 2002, where he was appointed chairman of the key Public Safety Committee, Vallone has done a very effective job, concentrating on pertinent issues such as crime, law enforcement, anti-terror preparation and curbing graffiti activities.
Since he started considering the possibility of seeking the borough president's job, and also set up a campaign contribution account, Vallone for New York, the councilmember has held some small fundraisers locally.
One sponsored by Community Board 1 District Manager George Delis at the Zodiac Restaurant, drew an "impressive crowd", according to Delis. He said two others are planned.
Delis described Vallone as a hard working lawmaker who has made his mark in his council career.
Presently, two other public officials have announced their intention to run for Queens borough president, Councilmember Leroy Comrie (D- Jamaica) and Assemblymember Audrey Pheffer (D- Rockaways).
WEINER TO BUSH: 'SIGN CHILD INSURANCE BILL': Congressmember Anthony Weiner has appealed to President George W. Bush to sign a bill passed by Congress extending the Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Bush is threatening to veto the measure, saying it's too costly and would cover families who can afford to buy the insurance.
"The president should do the right thing and sign the bill to expand healthcare coverage for 70,000 uninsured children in New York," Weiner (D- Queens/Brooklyn) said. "This bipartisan legislation gives states the tools needed to provide health insurance for the middle class and those struggling to make it."
The legislation extends CHIP for five years and invests an additional $35 billion over that period to strengthen the program's financing and increase its health coverage for low-income kids, Weiner said, and added that the latest census figures show the number of uninsured children now stands at 8.7 million nationwide.
Meanwhile, in another response to the president's veto threat, Governor Eliot Spitzer said on Monday that if Bush follows through with the threat, New York and seven other states will file suit challenging the Bush administration's stricter rules governing who is eligible for the child health insurance coverage. Previously, Spitzer had asked the administration to withdraw the new rules that were issued barring some children from being covered. The legislation which both houses passed and which the president is threatening to veto, would also circumvent the more restrictive regulations concerning child health insurance.
SUPREME COURT JUDGE NOMINATIONS: The Democratic and Republican organizations in Queens held their judicial conventions last week. Each nominated three judges for the state Supreme Court.
The Democrats' choices, all sitting Civil Court judges, were Denis J. Butler, the son of former Astoria-Long Island City Assemblymember; Kenneth C. Holder of Rosedale, formerly with the District Attorney's office; and Steven W. Paynter, the senior Civil Court judge in the borough.
The Republican Party picks were Theodore Stamas of Whitestone; Kerry John Katsorhis, an attorney from Astoria, and Joseph Kasper of Ozone Park. All three also have the Queens Conservative Party nominations.
RAGUSA FIRMS UP GOP LEADERSHIP: In the party elections held on Primary Day last month, nominees for the Queens Republican Party state committee backed by party chairman Philip Ragusa all won their elections. In doing so, they gave Ragusa a stronger hold on his party leader position.
Among the 12 successful candidates, (six men and six women), the closest race involved veteran Glendale leader Marge Adams in the 28th Assembly District. Adams defeated Virginia Donnelly of Forest Hills.