Tony the Tiger
Democratic State Senator Tony Avella is not ready to back his party’s nominee for the City Council seat he once held.
After a corruption scandal felled GOP Councilman Dan Halloran’s political career, Paul Vallone eked out a victory in his eastern Queens district’s Democratic primary contest last month. But Mr. Avella, who had endorsed another Democrat in the race, has mixed feelings about the matter.
exiting stage right
In a surprise move, State Senator Tony Avella announced this afternoon he will drop out of the Queens borough president’s race, setting up a two-way slugfest between former Councilwoman Melinda Katz and Councilman Peter Vallone Jr.
“After much thought and consideration, I have decided to withdraw from the Queens Borough President race,” Mr. Avella said in a statement. “This was certainly not an easy decision and I am eternally grateful for the overwhelming amount of support I received from people throughout Queens.”
king of queens
The candidates for Queens borough president faced off in their first major televised debate earlier tonight on NY1, discussing the future of Willets Point, stop-and-frisk and the lasting controversy over term limits.
But the most heated moments came as the participants were invited to ask questions of one another near the end of the debate.
king of queens
State Senator Tony Avella is accusing Councilman Peter Vallone Jr., a rival in the race for Queens borough president, of repeatedly “bullying” and “threatening” him in a push to get him to drop his bid.
“Personally, I think he’s a bully and a coward and afraid of having me on the ballot,” Mr. Avella told Politicker today, claiming Mr. Vallone has tried several times over the course of the election to get him to leave the race. “Let the chips fall where they may.”
Councilman Leroy Comrie, once considered a front-runner in the Queens borough presidents race, is “looking at every option,” he told Politicker this morning when asked if he’s planning to drop his bid.
“I’m not prepared to put that out publicly yet, I’m still working on it,” he said during the Memorial Day Parade in the Laurelton neighborhood of Queens.
If you’re a gambling man, you might try guessing which New York politician will be arrested for corruption next.
So wrote State Senator Rubén Díaz in his latest “What You Should Know” missive, where he claims bets are being placed on who in Albany will be the next to be indicted. As corruption charges rock Albany, Mr. Díaz says the state capital is now an “ambulatory casino.”
king of queens
State Senator Tony Avella, an outspoken Queens pol who has been mulling a run for borough president for some time, is ready to pull the trigger and announce his campaign. And he’s not holding back criticism against the term-limited incumbent, Helen Marshall, and her handling of post-Hurricane Sandy efforts.
“I thought we should have had a much more active borough president and much more of a coordinating effort from the office of the borough president,” Mr. Avella told the Times Ledger. “That convinced me Queens needs a voice.”
Frack and Forth
The debate over whether to allow hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, in the State of New York continues to heat up.
State Senator Tony Avella held a public forum this week aiming to dissuade the public from supporting the controversial natural gas drilling procedure. Mr. Avella’s event followed a statement from Governor Andrew Cuomo that he is considering permitting it in five counties near the Pennsylvania border: Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Steuben and Tioga.
For the uninitiated, hydraulic fracturing involves injecting a cocktail of water, sand and chemicals into the ground to crack open rock formations, which contain gas. It has been going on since 1947, but many environmentalists are in a seemingly sudden, even apocalyptic panic mode over the issue, especially in New York. They raise concerns fracking could cause air pollution and contaminate critical groundwater supplies by releasing methane gas and toxic chemicals. One attendee at Mr. Avella’s event even claimed that, if fracking isn’t stopped, we are facing a situation similar to that in the film The Day After Tomorrow.
State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, who was drawn into the same district as her colleague Tony Avella, shall forgo the potentially contentious incumbent-on-incumbent primary and instead will seek reelection in a new Asian-majority district created in Queens, according to an announcement email sent to her supporters earlier this evening.
Ms. Stavisky had previously indicated she was unsure of her plans, and while she said she was definitely running for reelection, the possibility of a messy primary against Mr. Avella was a looming problem for the Senate Democrats after the Republicans controlling the chamber released the new district boundaries. Since most of her old district is in the new Asian-majority seat, however, her announcement isn’t exactly shocking.
Queens State Senator Tony Avella, often known to speak his mind, wrote a letter to the editor of his local Patch publication highly critical of the “new fad we are witnessing is the multitude of ‘State of the State’ and ‘State of the City’ addresses.”
“I am writing to voice my disdain with what I see as a new fad being used as a self-promotional tool amongst politicians who, quite often, are seeking higher office throughout this city and state,” Mr. Avella began, explaining while he has “no problem with the governor, mayors and heads of municipalities” giving addresses, he is concerned with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Comptroller John Liu, and the various Borough Presidents all needing to give speeches of their own.