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Vallone commits to 19th District work

Bay Terrace’s PS 169 was the location of Paul Vallone’s inauguration ceremony as councilman for the 19th District on Saturday, which drew a crowd of more than 500 people.

Warren Schreiber, president of the Bay Terrace Community Alliance, was master of ceremonies. Participants included the Francis Lewis High School Junior ROTC color guard and William Liao, a fourth-grader from PS 203, who recited Emma Lazarus’ famous poem “The New Colossus.”

Giving brief remarks were notables from the Democratic Party including state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Letitia James, Congress members Steve Israel, Grace Meng and Carolyn Maloney and Borough President Melinda Katz.

Dancers from Nadia’s Performing Arts Centre then entertained the crowd.

The big event saw Vallone being sworn in by his father, the former City Council Speaker Peter Vallone.

“Today’s celebration is an overwhelming affirmation of my commitment to bring every federal, state and local leader to our district,” Vallone said in his speech, “and to unite our cultural, ethnic, civic and neighborhood groups as one proud community for the whole city to see.”

Throughout the campaign, Vallone said his priorities are public safety, reduction of air traffic and equitable co-op and condo property tax assessments.

The district includes Auburndale, Bayside, College Point, Douglaston, Little Neck and Whitestone. Vallone replaces Republican Dan Halloran, who did not seek re-election. The former councilman was arrested last year on federal bribery charges and awaits a court date.

On hand to witness the swearing in were Vallone’s mother, Tena; his wife, Anna-Marie, and his three children, Catena, Lea and Charlie.

Vallone’s win carries on a family tradition at City Hall. His father served there from 1974 until 2001 and his brother, Peter Vallone Jr., served from 2002 until he was recently term-limited out.

The new councilman’s victory included a close win over fellow Democrat Austin Shafran in the September primary. During the campaign, he was dogged by complaints from his four fellow Democratic opponents, who blamed him for what they called false and derogatory statements made about them in fliers mailed by a real estate group that supported Vallone.

Later, one of them threw his support to the Republican candidate, while two others refused to endorse Vallone.