2009-07-22 / Front Page

Bloomberg Endorses Vallone

BY JOHN TOSCANO

Photo Vinny DuPre As his wife, Anna Marie, and his two daughters, Catena Ani and Lea Bella Vallone (all l. of podium) look on, Paul Vallone, candidate for the 19th City Council District seat, accepts Mayor Michael Bloomberg's endorsement. Photo Vinny DuPre As his wife, Anna Marie, and his two daughters, Catena Ani and Lea Bella Vallone (all l. of podium) look on, Paul Vallone, candidate for the 19th City Council District seat, accepts Mayor Michael Bloomberg's endorsement. Citing the type of service delivered by his father and his brother, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in an unusual move, endorsed Paul Vallone in Northeast Queens' 19th City Council District race last Friday.

Surrounded by the candidate's family, including his father, former Council Speaker Peter Vallone and his brother, Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. (D- Astoria), as well as supporters at his Flushing campaign headquarters, the mayor announced: "I'm endorsing Paul Vallone because, just like his father and his brother, Paul will deliver the kind of government taxpayers want and deserve, government that is pragmatic, common sense and effective.

"Paul is pledging to ensure the quality of life in our neighborhoods, expand the economy and create jobs in Queens and across all five boroughs. Together, Paul Vallone and our administration will work to make the safest big city in America even safer."

Accepting the endorsement, Vallone stated:

"The strong leadership the mayor has provided during this decade of crisis, for our safety and now for our economy, has been the shining light to preserve our city. By standing together, the mayor has once again brought back good government rather than politics as usual.

"It is a very powerful statement to our community that our mayor stands with our campaign and for the future of our district and our city, and I am thankful to the mayor for that commitment."

Vallone, a Bayside homeowner and attorney, later was asked if he thought the mayor's endorsement would help get the votes in the September primary needed to become the Democratic candidate and then in the general election in November against a Republican opponent.

Vallone responded that the mayor, who is running for a third term, "is going to win and will be the mayor again, so it's great for me to have a good relationship with him because it will help me to get benefits for the people in our district".

Vallone is expected to be opposed in the Democratic primary by Jerry Iannece, a Bayside attorney and community activist; Debra Markell, Steve Behar, Tom Cook and Kevin Kim. All have collected signatures on nominating petitions. If those petitions are found by the Board of Elections to have sufficient valid signatures, the prospective candidates will be placed on the primary ballot in September.

The Republicans in the district have designated Dan Halloran to be their candidate. The Auburndale attorney also will have the Conservative and Independence Party lines. The district includes Bayside, College Point, Whitestone, Douglaston and Little Neck.

In endorsing Paul Vallone in the race, the mayor, who's the Republican Party candidate, bypassed Halloran. The 37-year-old attorney was asked why he thought that might have happened. He responded, "The mayor has a longstanding relationship with the Vallones and my under- standing is that's the reason he endorsed Paul Vallone over the other Democrats running in the primary."

Halloran said he also believed that the mayor's endorsement of Vallone covered only the Democratic primary and, he added, "I don't know what position he'll take after that."

However, the mayor's prepared statement when he made the Vallone endorsement did not distinguish between the primary, in which only registered Democrats can vote, and the general election, in which any registered voter can vote for any candidate.

Halloran also said the mayor had attended several Republican events with him in the district, including petition signing events. "The mayor spoke in support of me at those events," Halloran said.

Queens Republican Chairman Phil Ragusa was said to be on vacation when his reaction to the Republican mayoral candidate endorsing a Democratic candidate in the local election was sought. Ragusa had withheld the party's endorsement of Bloomberg because he didn't give out many patronage jobs to party members who helped in his election campaigns, but subsequently endorsed the mayor.

Telephone calls to Iannece, who's expected to be one of the stronger candidates in the Democratic grouping, were not returned.

Iannece, who is active in local community organizations, has received several significant endorsements, including one from District Council 37, the 125,000-member municipal labor union that is the largest in the city.

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