Saying Goodbye to Another Successful Year and Ringing in 2016!
As we all welcome in the New Year with the hopes of what may come, leaving behind us the lessons learned from last year, it is with great pride that I look back at how much we have accomplished together in our first two years. Celebrating our community and our families has always been near and dear to my heart and looking at the growth and tremendous success of our second annual Children’s Holiday Parade fills me with joy.
The children, schools, sports and various organizations, along with the families that walked with us and the Bayside Village Bid surely lit the sky for Santa and every holiday to be celebrated. The parade, along with the overwhelming success of our Independence Day Fireworks at Fort Totten, our expanded movie nights under the stars and festivals throughout the community once again brought what is most important out to shine, our love of family and our neighborhoods.
This past June, the New York City Council announced the passing of another balanced and on time budget. This budget, which included almost $7 million for our district, is another clear victory for our communities and a second straight record amount. This funding, along with our successful participatory budget process, will result in new ball fields, capital projects for our schools, parks and libraries. Planning for our future, with our parents, local civics and community leaders is a partnership that we can be proud of.
As we come to the middle of another school year, it remains crystal clear that we continue to have the two best school districts in the city right here in District 19. A big thank you to our teachers, principals, CEC, PTAs, volunteers and super moms and dads for continuing to make our children our number one priority.
The following special edition of the Week in Review will highlight what I’ve accomplished this year as well as showcase some of the events and visits that make me proud to be your Council Member!
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, never hesitate to contact either myself or my staff at any time. Both my family and I wish everyone a happy, healthy and blessed New Year.
Fiscal Year 2016 Budget
Vallone Secures Second Straight Record Budget
On Friday, June 26th the New York City Council passed a budget of $78.5 billion for fiscal year 2016. Council Member Vallone has again secured a record amount of funding, nearly $7 million, for the residents of Northeast Queens for much needed capital and expense projects throughout the community. By working with City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, an additional $6.5 million was allocated to our district, bringing the total funding amount to a record near $14 million. In the first two years of Council Member Vallone’s tenure, his district has received nearly as much funding as it had in the previous six City budgets combined.
A very proud Council Member Vallone stated, “As promised, I’ve continued working hand in hand with my fellow elected officials and have been able to ensure that my constituents finally begin to receive their fair share of funding. This year’s budget is another clear victory for our communities and will go a long way to continue making our schools, parks, libraries and non-profits the best they can be. Our district can proudly stand tall in Northeast Queens as we continue to become a priority for New York City.”
Below are some highlights of the various funding allocations coming to Northeast Queens
- $850,000 each from Council Member Vallone & Queens Borough President Melinda Katz to Crocheron Park. The funds will go upgrade and revamp the little league baseball fields.
- $250,000 to establish pathway lighting at Little Bay Park. This project came close to winning during the participatory budgeting vote and the wide support it garnered spurred Council Member Vallone to pick up the funding himself.
- $250,000 each from Council Member Vallone & Queens Borough President Melinda Katz to purchase the Calendar Property in Udall’s Cove in order to preserve it and prevent it from being overdeveloped.
- $115,000 to Frank Golden Park in College Point to upgrade the playing fields.
- $100,000 to Harvey Park to upgrade the roller rink as well as the scoreboard
- A combined $765,000 from Council Member Vallone and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz for Douglaston Library. The funding will go to revamp the meeting room at the library as well as to fully upgrade their HVAC system and security cameras.
- A MINIMUM OF $50,000 to every school in Council Member Vallone’s district for technology upgrades.
- A combined $450,000 from Council Member Vallone and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz for auditorium and gym upgrades at P.S. 32
- $200,000 for auditorium upgrades at P.S. 29
- $200,000 for library upgrades at J.H.S. 194
- $90,000 for smartboards and laptops at P.S. 159
- $400,000 for auditorium upgrades at Bell Academy/P.S. 169
- $400,000 for a music studio at Bayside High School
- $200,000 for auditorium upgrades at P.S. 94
Non-Profits & Other Notable Allocations
- $400,000 to repair the Portico at the Bayside Historical Society’s Officers Club in Fort Totten.
- $105,000 to install NYPD security camera’s throughout Northeast Queens.
- $150,000 for DOT upgrades throughout the Bayside Village Business District
- $38,000 for a vehicle purchase for Transitional Services for NY
- $39,000 for a computer lab for QSAC in Whitestone (Quality Services for the Autism Community).
- $594,000 from Queens Borough President Melinda Katz for ventilator beds at St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children in Bayside.
Finally, to view the over 60 non-profits and organizations that received financial support from Council Member Vallone in the upcoming fiscal year, CLICK HERE and Ctrl+F “Vallone”.
Supporting Our Seniors
Council Member Vallone Secures Another Win for City’s Seniors
In July the City Council passed three bills that were the result of Council Member Paul A. Vallone’s six month long senior task force that was convened with the goal to protect seniors and reform Adult Protective Services (APS) in New York City. The task force also tackled the ever growing concern of elder abuse in our city, especially the financial predatory tactics often used against our vulnerable senior population. The bills and resolution passed by the City Council are the first step to expand our senior safety net and will do the following:
- Require the HRA to conduct biannual trainings for employees of the Department for the Aging (DFTA) and several other city agencies regarding the best practices in identifying individuals who may be eligible for APS services and how to properly make referrals to APS
- Call on the State Legislature to pass legislation that would require banking organizations to provide, at a minimum, the immediately preceding six months of financial documents following a request for such financial documents to help fight financial exploitation of older adults.
- Require the department of social services to provide semiannual reports to the council regarding referrals to adult protective services.
These new procedures, training and guidelines will enhance and support APS as they face overwhelming demand, overworked case managers and limited resources.
“After spending two decades as an attorney working hand in hand with the judicial system, hospitals, health care providers and clients for those in greatest need during guardianship proceedings, I was determined to address the growing crisis facing APS,” stated Council Member Paul Vallone, Chair of the Subcommittee on Senior Centers. “The additional training required by my bill, coupled with the improved data regarding referrals to APS we will receive, thanks to Council Member Levin’s bill, will go a long way towards protecting and assisting our seniors and those most vulnerable and in need. Also, our call on Albany to address elder abuse and financial exploitation was sorely needed as so many of our seniors are devastated by financial abuse. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to improve the social safety net for seniors who deserve the best from our City.”
Council Member Vallone Announces Bayside is Chosen for City Council’s Age-Friendly Neighborhoods Initiative
Council Member Vallone announced that Bayside will be joining neighborhoods from across the five boroughs in an innovative effort to make New York City a more accommodating place to grow old. The Age-friendly Neighborhoods Initiative, made possible by $400,000 in funding from the City Council in partnership with neighborhoods chosen by the New York Academy of Medicine, aims to bring forward the concerns and suggestions of older New Yorkers within particular communities in order to implement community-level changes in an effort to help ensure that these communities become more inclusive of the needs of older adults. For example, some of the programs that have arisen from this initiative include the CityBench Program, which has installed over 1000 sidewalk benches across the City; Senior Swim, which offers senior-only swim times at 16 public pools citywide; and the Age-friendly Local Business Initiative, which has engaged over 1000 small businesses in learning how to better attract and serve older customers.
There are currently over 1.4 million seniors living in New York City and this number is expected to grow significantly over the next decade. Soon 1 in every 5 New Yorkers will be an older adult. New York City is a city of neighborhoods and each community is as diverse as its residents, with different resources, strengths and needs, particularly as they relate to older adults. By cataloguing the suggestions of older adults in Bayside and leveraging these suggestions with the expertise of local non-profit, business, community and religious leaders, the City will be able to strategically improve the quality of life for seniors by increasing their access to services and local resources. Council Member Vallone was proud to host an Age-Friendly Neighborhood Town Hall Meeting on April 1st at the Clearview Selfhelp Senior Center.
“This initiative is an incredible opportunity for Bayside to build upon the rich experiences and knowledge of its seniors,” said Council Member Vallone. “By taking advantage of the very characteristic that makes this community unique, we will be able to maximize the social and economic participation of older residents. As the senior population continues to grow rapidly, I applaud the Council for taking steps to ensure that we are able to make New York City a great place for seniors to live.”
Enjoying the Summer of 2015
Council Member Paul Vallone Hosts Independence Day Fireworks Celebration at Fort Totten
Photo credit: Dominick Totino Photography. Last photo credit: Willy Airaldi.
Thousands gathered together on Wednesday, July 1st at Fort Totten to celebrate our independence at the first annual Independence Day Celebration. Our event was co-hosted by the Bayside Historical Society as a brand new community wide celebration was begun. Promoting community pride and family celebration was part of my vision for our district from day one.
Looking back at Wednesday night’s amazing event, I can’t thank everyone enough for joining me to see a dream come true. Thank you to the Bayside Historical Society, Vallo Transportation, the volunteers, my staff, MM Rock Camp, Phil Costa & Something Special Band, Julia Blenzig, Department of Parks & Recreation, Department of Transportation, NYPD Auxilary and EMS, the FDNY and the very best Police Dept in the world, the NYPD and our very own 109 Precinct and Dep. Inspector Tom Conforti & Detective Kevin O’Donnell……truly a night to remember. From my family to yours, have a happy 4th of July!
Council Member Vallone Hosts Family Fun Day
Photo credit: Dominick Totino Photography.
Council Member Paul Vallone hosted another successful Family Fun Day on Saturday, June 13th at Fort Totten in Bayside. In partnership with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation and Friends of Fort Totten Parks, over one thousand people gathered for a beautiful afternoon of activities, games and giveaways. The event is sponsored by funds from Council Member Vallone’s office and is organized by the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation and volunteers from Friends of Fort Totten Parks, the Bayside Historical Society and other community groups.
“I always look forward to Family Fun Day each year. It is such a pleasure to join the families of Northeast Queens on a day full of fun and excitement. Thank you to the Parks Department and Friends of Fort Totten for their collaboration,” Council Member Vallone said.
Summer Movie Nights
In conjunction with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, Council Member Paul Vallone was proud to host movie nights at our local parks. Hope everyone enjoyed it, and we are already looking forward to hosting again next summer! Below is a list of all this summer’s movie screenings:
Friday, June 5th – Lego Movie at Crocheron Park
Friday, June 12th – Frozen at MacNeil Park
Tuesday, August 11th – Big Hero 6 at Crocheron Park
Tuesday, August 18th – Dolphin Tale 2 at Crocheron Park
Tuesday, August 25th – Guardians of the Galaxy at Crocheron Park
Honoring Our Veterans
City Council Votes to Establish City Department of Veterans’ Services
Council Member Vallone co-sponsors historic legislation that answers long standing call from City’s veterans and abolishes the defunct Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs (MOVA)
Photo Credit: William Alatriste / New York City Council
In November, the New York City Council unanimously passed a historic piece of legislation, prime sponsored by Council Member Paul Vallone, effectively disbanding the Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs (MOVA) and establishing a new City Department of Veterans Services. For years, MOVA has been at the center of scrutiny regarding their efficiency and limited operational budget and scope. At an oversight hearing in June 2014, these concerns came to the forefront with advocates arguing that MOVA’s small budget and staff prevented the office from carrying out any large initiatives, made it difficult to plan for future issues and resulted in a failure to articulate concrete priorities and goals.
The newly created New York City Department of Veterans’ Services will provide significantly increased Council oversight and allow for direct allocations of funding supporting veterans. Increased oversight is critical in addressing the concerns that surrounded MOVA and will allow the Council to better monitor the City’s veterans’ services through preliminary and executive budget hearings that directly address the agency’s needs.
“As a member of the Committee on Veterans, it quickly became clear that MOVA lacked the budget and operational scope to truly provide the level of service that our city’s veterans need and deserve,” said Council Member Paul Vallone. “This legislation is a monumental and historic step towards fulfilling our commitment to the veterans who have sacrificed so much for our behalf. Now we can tell our city’s 200,000 veterans that they finally have an agency they can call their own and that we as Council Members and elected officials have stood together with them in this fight to make sure they had this day.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio Signs CM Vallone’s Veterans Reporting Bill Into Law
Photo Credit: Demetrius Freeman/Mayoral Photography Office
On Tuesday, March 8th, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed into law Council Member Paul Vallone’s bill, Intro 600, which requires the reporting from certain City Agencies of the number of veterans receiving their services. Now that the City will be receiving the necessary data on the number of veterans receiving these benefits, it will be better equipped to efficiently provide the resources and support system to serve these men and women returning from active duty.
“Now that Mayor de Blasio has signed my bill into law, we have taken a great stride towards ensuring that every veteran who returns to NYC is given every opportunity to prosper,” said Council Member Vallone. “The data we will now have will go a long way towards allowing the Council and Administration to make effective and fruitful efforts at ensuring that veterans are taking full advantage of the services offered to them. I am proud to have passed this legislation, and as a member of the Committee on Veterans, I look forward to continuing to fight for every veteran that calls NYC home.”
Launch of Veterans’ Designation on IDNYC Card
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the introduction of a veteran designation to the IDNYC card along with a series of exclusive benefits for veteran cardholders! The men and women who have made sacrifices for our nation have called for a practical way to identify themselves as veterans to receive access to their deserved benefits.
From day one, I have stood with our veterans in asking the City for a practical way for them to identify themselves and receive access to their deserved benefits. With the Mayor’s announcement of a veteran designation on the IDNYC card and the exclusive benefits that go along with it, that day has finally come. I am proud to have introduced the legislation that inspired this announcement and applaud Mayor de Blasio for moving on this issue and honoring the commitment we have made to support our brave men and women in uniform.
To learn how to obtain the veteran designation on the IDNYC card, please click here!
The second year of participatory budgeting in Northeast Queens has officially begun and Council Member Vallone is once again proud to allocate $1,000,000 in funding to projects that the community will determine and vote for. Deadline to submit a proposal is January 9th – click here to submit!
Council Member Vallone Announces Winning Projects of 2015 Participatory Budgeting Vote
In April, Council Member Vallone announced the results of the participatory budgeting vote. Constituents cast their ballots from April 11th until April 18th to decide how to spend up to $1,000,000 of Council Member Vallone’s discretionary funding on projects to improve North East Queens. A new record was set when over 2,300 votes were cast and the winning projects are:
- Bayside High School Music Studio – 1,430 votes: This project creates a state-of-the-art music studio for Bayside High School. The program currently has 350 students in the “Career & Technical Education” program for music production and performance. Price: $400,000.
- P.S. 169 Auditorium Upgrade – 1,041 votes: This project will replace lighting, curtains, sound system and seating for P.S. 169’s auditorium, which is currently shared with BELL Academy. The auditorium is used for after-school, summer and community programs. Price: $400,000.
- P.S. 159 Technology Upgrade – 934 votes: This upgrade will finance new SmartBoards for classrooms and laptops for school. These SmartBoards will enhance and grow the level of instruction to our students. Price: $90,000.
- NYPD Security Cameras – 880 votes: Funding will allow the NYPD to install three security cameras throughout the Council Member’s district that will be used for crime prevention, providing a sense of security and establish new surveillance locations. Price: $105,000.
Council Member Vallone said, “Participatory budgeting is a great way to get the pulse of the community on and see what everyone believes city dollars and resources should be spent. The results clearly show the district overwhelmingly supported the process, and we are proud to commit to participatory budgeting for every year I am privileged to represent this great district. This monumental, eight month task could not have been possible without the continuous dedication of our delegates, community liaisons, volunteers, staff and especially Vito Tautonico, our Director of Constituent Services, who spearheaded the process. I look forward to growing the process next year and once again seeing how our community spends $1,000,000.”
Second Annual Children’s Holiday Parade Rocks Bayside
Over a thousand marchers and spectators crowd Bell Boulevard to witness the holiday spectacle!
Photo Credit: Dominick Totino Photography
The Children’s Holiday Parade, sponsored by Council Member Paul Vallone and the Bayside Village BID, came back for a second year and was bigger and better than before. Over a thousand marchers and spectators filled Bell Boulevard from 36th Avenue to 41st Avenue as the parade came into full swing and concluded with words from local, state and federal Elected Officials, a performance from the Landrum School of Performing Arts, songs from the choirs of P.S. 31, St. Andrew Avellino School, P.S. 169 and Bell Academy, and a Christmas Tree and Menorah Lighting. At the end of the parade, The Bayside-Whitestone Lions Club, Council Member Vallone’s Student Ambassadors and other volunteers treated everyone to hot chocolate and baked goods, courtesy of Caffe Bene, Martha’s Country Bakery and the Teaspoon Bakeshop. The enormous turnout is a clear sign that this event, a tradition that unites Northeast Queens in celebration of the holidays, will continue to grow each year.
This year’s parade featured many special guests, with Mr. Met and Santa Claus on hand to greet the massive crowds. Also marching in the parade were Jimmy Maurer and Sebastian Guenzatti, who came to represent the New York Cosmos, 2015 North American Soccer League champions. Council Member Vallone presented them with a City Council citation recognizing the team’s achievement and was in turn presented with an honorary customized Cosmos jersey. The groups that marched in the parade included the NYPD Ceremonial Unit and Marching Band, the New York Cosmos, the Auburndale Soccer Club, P.S. 31, St. Kevin’s Girl Scouts, the Whitepoint Wolverines, the Bombers Lacrosse team, Sacred Heart School, P.S. 41, the Alley Pond Environmental Center, the World Journalism Preparatory School, H&R Block, and the 111th Precinct Community Council. Lastly, the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) came with their incredible 150thAnniversary Fire Truck to march with Santa Clause. Each of the marching groups was separated by a beautifully restored classic car which truly added a special quality to the parade.
“Sunday’s second annual Children’s Holiday Parade truly symbolized the spirit of every community, faith, holiday and beauty of this most wonderful time of the year!” stated Council Member Vallone. “The countless children, families, friends and neighbors who came out were a true testament to the power the holidays have to bring a community together in shared celebration. I look forward to seeing this parade continue to grow each year and I would like to send a personal thank you to every marcher, organization, school, performer and family that that helped make this event such a success. Seeing the smiles on every child’s face, family members embracing as we marched together and watching the great performers and community join together in song as we welcomed Santa and the Holidays will always be carried in my heart.”
Council Member Vallone was also proud to march in the following parades this year:
St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Greek Independence Day Parade
College Point Memorial Day Parade
Whitestone Memorial Day Parade
Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade
U.S. Women’s Soccer Ticker Tape Parade
Korean Day Parade
Columbus Day Parade
Veterans Day Parade
Council Member Paul A. Vallone Hosts Italian Heritage Celebration at City Hall
The New York City Council Italian Caucus Co-Chair, Council Member Paul Vallone, was proud to host the Annual Italian Heritage Celebration with Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito at City Hall Wednesday night. Nearly three hundred friends, families, guests and dignitaries joined in a celebration that filled the Council Chambers. This year’s celebration also commemorated the 100th birthday of Frank Sinatra.
Vallone was proud to present proclamations to Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY) Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro and Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, in honor of the late singer. Both honorees are distinguished figures of the Italian American community and examples of the extraordinary roles Italians and Italian Americans have played in shaping New York City and the world. The audience was privileged to hear renditions of the National Anthems of the United States and Italy by renowned vocalist Carlo Lauricella as well as a touching performance of “God Bless America” by the Council Member’s daughter, Catena Vallone. Guests were also treated to an original dancing performance from students of Frank Sinatra School and a performance from “Saturday Night Live” alumnus and comedian Joe Piscopo.
“The Italian Heritage Celebration at City Hall was a true testament of what the Italian American community is all about – family, faith, pride in our country and always celebrating our heritage, especially as we Italians are preparing to celebrate Columbus Day,” said Council Member Vallone. “This celebration would not have been complete without paying tribute to Frank Sinatra, one of the world’s greatest singers and entertainers, who played a symbolic role for millions of Italian-Americans and who looked to him as proof of the American Dream. It was truly an amazing night for all the family, friends and guests in attendance.”
Council Member Vallone’s Bill to Regulate Drones in NYC Heard in Public Safety Committee
Photo Credit: William Alatriste / New York City Council
The City Council’s Committee on Public Safety held a hearing on Council Member Vallone’s bill aimed at regulating the private use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, in New York City. The technology for UAVs, also known as drones, has rapidly advanced in the last few years allowing UAVs to be widely available and increasingly affordable for the average person, resulting in the rampant proliferation of drones in the city’s airspace. This unchecked growth has spurred significant security and privacy concerns, as well as resulted in many “close call” incidents with commercial and city air traffic.
Council Member Vallone’s bill, sponsored by 24 Council Members, will create violations and misdemeanors with fines for UAVs that are flown in the prohibited areas as well as those flown with the intent to cause harm or damage or destroy property. The bill also strives to maintain a balance with the recreational use of UAVs by requiring the Commissioner of the Department of Parks and Recreation to designate areas within City parks where they could be legally flown. Finally, there will also be restrictions on the times, locations and altitudes at which UAVs may be operated and prohibit the use of UAVs for conducting surveillance or that are equipped with weapons or dangerous instruments. This bill would not affect the operation of UAVs by City Agencies.
“Today’s hearing was an important part in starting a dialogue with our City as we seek to keep our skies safe. My bill finally gives our City the teeth to effectively regulate drones in our skies without waiting for the FAA to update federal regulations or for a tragedy to happen,” said Council Member Paul Vallone. “Our public safety, now more than ever, is a prime focus and this bill finally gives the NYPD the tools they need to protect our skies.”
City Council Passes Vallone Sponsored Bill to Fund School Safety Agents for Non-Public Schools
Earlier this month, the New York City Council passed a bill, sponsored by Council Member Paul Vallone that will create a program to reimburse non-public schools for the cost of security guard services. Until now, non-public schools have been required to pay for security guards out of their own pocket, leaving many schools unable to afford adequate security.
Council Member Vallone strongly supported this legislation and held a press conference on the subject in May at Holy Cross High School in Flushing. Under this new legislation, the City will reimburse non-public schools for expenses that include the cost of training and wages for security services performed during school hours, including school-related after school programs and athletic events. The number of security guards provided to each school will be based on the number of students. The bill will also task an administering agency, likely the Department of Education, with rulemaking related to reimbursement and providing reimbursement on a quarterly basis.
“The issue has always been clear-cut; ALL children have the right to learn and study in a safe environment. School security guards provide a critical measure and sense of security, and children in non-public schools should not have to go without this protection,” said Council Member Paul Vallone. “As a parent, there is no greater love than that for your child, and hand in hand with that is their safety. I applaud my brother for spearheading this bill during his time in the Council as this bill is long overdue and now every parent can take solace in the fact that today we stood to protect all children.”
“Parents who send their children to private schools also pay their taxes and have every right for their kids to learn in a safe environment,” said Father Walter Jenkins, President of Holy Cross High School. “Non-public schools have been an integral force in educating children for even longer than public schools and I thank Council Member Vallone for his support of this issue.”
Mayor de Blasio Signs Council Member Vallone’s Bill to Curb Illegal Truck Traffic Into Law
In June, Mayor de Blasio signed into law Council Member Vallone’s bill aimed at curbing the illegal truck traffic that plagues residential streets in his and many other districts. Trucks are not allowed to use non-designated routes but due to a Department Of Transportation (DOT) policy that does not allow negative signage to be placed in the City of New York, commercial trucks have flagrantly used residential streets to speed up their routes knowing that the New York Police Department (NYPD) will often not issue violations because of the lack of this “negative signage.”
Council Member Vallone’s legislation directly addresses this issue by mandating that the DOT conduct a study to determine the compliance of truck drivers in relation to their adherence to designated routes and implement immediate relief measures to remediate, correct and enforce where necessary to protect our residential streets. Taking into account areas identified by Council Members and community boards, the DOT will determine locations where large numbers of truck drivers routinely operate off designated routes and will institute measures designed to increase truck route compliance. These measures may include converting two-way streets to one-way streets, posting of signage regarding the allowed usage of certain routes by trucks and education and outreach to the trucking industry. The addition of signage will allow the NYPD to more strictly enforce illegal truck traffic. Combined with the additional measures taken by the DOT, this legislation will go a long way towards reducing the amount of illegal truck traffic on residential streets.
“How many times have we heard that residential streets are supposed to be residential? Unfortunately, as the DOT attempted to beautify neighborhoods by avoiding negative signage, we have ended up instead with trucks and tractor trailers barreling down our residential streets, polluting our communities with fumes and noise and endangering residents,” said Council Member Paul A. Vallone. “I am proud to have passed this legislation that is a huge win for the safety and quality of life of thousands and I trust that the measures taken as a result of my bill will go a long way to combat this issue. I applaud my fellow Council Members for unanimously voting to pass my bill and Mayor de Blasio for signing it into law today.”
City Council Passes Vallone’s Resolution Honoring Pope Francis
The New York City Council unanimously adopted Council Member Paul Vallone’s resolution praising Pope Francis for his lifelong pursuit of peace among all peoples and commending him on his upcoming historic visit to New York City. At a September Stated Meeting of the City Council Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, presented a moving invocation which was spread in full upon the record by Council Member Vallone. His Eminence’s presence was requested by Council Member Vallone in anticipation of Pope Francis’ upcoming visit, and was graciously accepted by the Cardinal. It was the first time in almost 25 years that an Archbishop of New York was present at City Hall and it proved to be a momentous occasion for all those present at the meeting.
“As we celebrate His Holiness’s historic visit, we recognize his influence not only on the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, but over many people all throughout world,” said Council Member Paul Vallone. “This resolution gives the keys to the city to the Archdiocese as we welcome Pope Francis to the greatest city in the world. I thank his Eminence, Timothy Cardinal Dolan, for his presence at this meeting and for his invocation which highlighted the importance of Pope Francis’ visit.”
Council Member Vallone’s Resolution to Combat Helicopter Noise Heard in Environmental Protection Committee
In November, the City Council’s Committee on Environmental Protection held a hearing on Council Member Paul Vallone’s resolution calling on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to make changes to the North Shore Helicopter Route which currently favors Long Island to the detriment of all residents in Northeast Queens. The North Shore Route was established after numerous noise complaints from communities in Long Island regarding helicopters traveling between Long Island and Manhattan. This route requires helicopter pilots to fly along the north shore of Long Island rather than directly over communities but unfortunately, this protection does not extend west of Long Island to the neighborhoods in Northeast Queens. The lack of this protective route has been directly responsible for bringing an onslaught of noise pollution over Northeast Queens and has raised serious environmental, health and quality of life concerns among those affected. In fact, according to data on 311 service requests, the second largest number of noise complaints about helicopters in Queens comes from Whitestone.
“The now infamous North Shore route must be reexamined to stop the assault on our quality of life for the benefit of the helicopter industry and their Hamptons commuters. I am tired of an industry that hides behind the FAA and Port Authority without offering any voluntary changes to a system that they can easily fix without legislation,” said Council Member Paul Vallone. “Today’s hearing is the critical next step for what we hope to be the eventual passage of this resolution that would finally address this serious issue and provide relief for the families of Northeast Queens. A united approach with our legislators, civic and community associations and residents will be key as we fight to protect our quality of life against the never ending attack of helicopter flights across our neighborhoods.”
Council Member Vallone is also pushing to have legislation drafted that would require the City Council to be notified of annual data relating to the location, routes, rules and regulations that exist pertaining to commercial and tourist helicopter routes. This data would allow the Council to better address issues regarding helicopter noise. Many groups who have worked on this issue for years spoke in favor of Council Member Vallone’s resolution at Thursday’s hearing.
Council Member Vallone’s Bill Mandating Full Service Aninal Shelters in Every Borough Heard in Health Committee
The focus of February’s hearing of the City Council’s Committee on Health was Council Member Vallone’s bill that would finally mandate full service animal shelters for every borough in the city. To date, both Queens and the Bronx do not have a full service animal shelter and Council Member Vallone’s bill would once and for all resolve this long standing problem. This issue goes back to 2000 when Speaker Peter F. Vallone passed a law which required the City to establish full service animal shelters in all five boroughs. Local Law 59, passed in 2011, eliminated the legal requirement to build these shelters in Queens and the Bronx, leaving them only with “receiving centers” which have failed on every level to meet the needs of these two boroughs.
“Now is the time to fight for full service animal shelters for every borough. We need the administration to provide the financial resources and fully commit to once and for all righting the wrongs of the past. In this day and age, to see the greatest city in the world still not have a fully operational shelter in every borough is unacceptable,” stated Council Member Vallone. “Every animal found in these two boroughs is now dropped off to a small receiving center where they are then transported to a full service shelter in the other boroughs. This places insurmountable pressure on the existing facilities which already operate at maximum capacity. If it were its own city, Queens alone would rank as the nation’s fourth largest and it is appalling that no animal shelter exists.”
Street Co-Naming Ceremonies and More Highlights from 2015!
Council Member Vallone Unveils Street Co-naming of 28th Avenue & College Point Boulevard as Ptl. Phillip Cardillo Way
Council Member Paul Vallone joined New York City Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner William Bratton in hosting a street co-naming ceremony in honor of Patrolman Phillip Cardillo who was tragically slain in the Harlem mosque incident on April 14th, 1972. On that day, Patrolman Cardillo and his partner Detective Vito Navarra were lured to a Harlem mosque with a false report of an officer in need of assistance. Upon entering the mosque, the officers were overwhelmed and attacked by a crowd inside. During the fray, Patrolman Cardillo was shot and killed with his own gun by a member of the Nation of Islam. In a decided break with tradition, neither Mayor John Lindsay nor NYPD Commissioner Patrick Murphy attended Patrolman Cardillo’s funeral. His death remains the only unsolved police killing in modern NYPD history.
For decades, many have fought for recognition for Patrolman Cardillo and his sacrifice, but previous efforts to dedicate a street in his honor have never moved forward. With Council Member Vallone’s legislation and unanimous support from Community Board 7, the NYC Council and the Mayor’s Administration, this long-awaited recognition has finally become a reality. At Monday’s ceremony, the co-naming of College Point Boulevard and 28th Avenue, outside of the new NYPD Academy, was officially unveiled as Ptl. Phillip Cardillo Way.
“Today our City has finally recognized Patrolman Cardillo’s sacrifice, co-naming 28th Avenue and College Point Boulevard, in front of the new Police Academy, in his honor,” said Council Member Paul Vallone. “Now, generations of new officers will look to the sign and know his story and legacy to the department. May this sign forever remind us of the sacrifices that the men and women of the NYPD are too often asked to selflessly make, as well as serve as a symbol that these sacrifices will never be forgotten. I am proud to have introduced the legislation for this co-naming as this recognition is long overdue. We have taken a big step towards righting the wrongs from 43 years ago.”
Council Member Vallone was also proud to host the following street co-naming ceremonies:
Robert Lohnes Way
145th Place (at 17th Avenue), Whitestone
In honor of Whitestone activist and resident Robert Lohnes
Northern Boulevard and Marathon Parkway, Little Neck
In honor of the branch of the Algonquin Nation who once lived in villages where Flushing, Pomonok, College Point, Whitestone, Bayside, Douglaston, Little Neck are now located.
More Highlights from 2015!
Vallone Brings Victory to Bayside
Following conversations and a letter written from Council Member Paul Vallone to Lorraine Grillo, President of the School Construction Authority (SCA), the SCA has officially withdrawn their proposal for a new high school at the site of the Bayside Jewish Center.
“Our office is proud to announce that we have received confirmation from the SCA that, as a result of our unified opposition, they are withdrawing their application for the proposed new High School in Bayside. My fellow Council Members stood with me in their opposition which left the SCA with no alternative course of action but to withdraw from their proposal,” said Council Member Paul Vallone. “Our office stands ready to discuss future educational opportunities for our children and a site selection process that is open to the community from day one.”
Let’s Go Mets!
Rally at P.S. 31!
We proudly celebrated our National League Champions, the New York Mets! We kicked off the celebration at PS 31 in Bayside as we rooted for our team. Thank you to the Mets for the t-shirts and congrats on an amazin’ season! LET’S GO METS! #MetsFriday
Little Bay Parking Lot Finally Opens
The parking lot at Ft. Totten is officially open! Proud to stand with my colleagues in government and the community who worked tirelessly to make this happen.
Speaker Mark-Viverito Joins Council Member Vallone for Tour of St. Mary’s Hospital for Children
City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito joined Council Member Paul Vallone for a tour of St. Mary’s Hospital for Children. Speaker Mark-Viverito has annually funded St. Mary’s, including $580K this last year to refurbish their fourth floor. Dr. Edwin F. Simpser, President and CEO of St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children, led the tour of the Hospital providing an opportunity for Speaker Mark-Viverito to see firsthand the work that the hospital does every day.
Following the tour, Speaker Mark-Viverito and Council Member Vallone met with a large group of community, business and not-for-profit leaders from the Korean-American community to discuss important issues and concerns that face them. Among the groups present were the Korean-American Business Leader’s Council of NY, the Korean American Family Service Center, the MinKwon Center, the Korean American Association of Queens and the Korean American Youth Foundation.
Council Member Vallone Joins Shannon Gaels for Ground Breaking Ceremony at Frank Golden Park
In November, Council Member Vallone joined the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation and the Shannon Gaels Gaelic Athletic Association at a ground breaking ceremony for their future home grounds at Frank Golden Park in College Point. Council Member Vallone worked with Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the Council’s Queens Delegation to secure over $1.2 million in funding for this project.
“I was happy to join the Shannon Gaels Gaelic Athletic Association today as we broke ground on their future home fields in Frank Golden Park. I’m proud to have secured the funding necessary to make this field of dreams a reality,” said Council Member Vallone. “This long awaited revamping of Frank Golden Park will be great, not just for the Shannon Gaels, but for everyone in the community that wants green space to enjoy for years to come.”
Council Member Vallone Announces Supplemental Street Cleaning Routes by Doe Fund in Whitestone
At a press conference in May, Council Member Vallone stood with the Doe Fund, merchants, neighbors and community leaders, and announced new supplemental street cleaning routes in Whitestone. Last year, Council Member Vallone allocated $70,000 through the City Council’s NYC Cleanup Initiative for the Doe Fund to clean streets in Bayside and College Point. After community input and requests from Whitestone, Council Member Vallone was able to work with the Doe Fund to allow for these supplemental street cleaning routes in Whitestone.
The new routes in Whitestone include 14th Avenue from 149th Street to Clintonville Street, 150th Street between the Cross Island Service Road and 12th Avenue and Clintonville Street between 14th Road and 12th Road. The cleanup along these new routes has already begun and will continue through until July 1st. Council Member Vallone plans to work with the City Council and advocate for this initiative to be funded again in the FY16 Budget.
“I’m proud to have been able to work with the Doe Fund to bring this cleanup initiative to Whitestone,” stated Council Member Vallone. “Clean sidewalks and litter free streets will go a long way towards beautifying and revitalizing the Whitestone Village. I’m happy to have already received many phone calls to my office proving that the Doe Fund’s work is having a great positive effect on the community.”
Graduation Season 2015
No better way to start my summer than to attend graduations at schools all over the district! Hope all the grads have successful academic careers, and I wish them all the best in their endeavors.
Bayside High School
World Journalism Preparatory School
Council Member Vallone Stands with Civic and Community Leaders In Opposition to Zoning for Quality and Affordability Proposal
In November, Council Member Vallone held a press conference and stood with civic and community leaders from throughout Northeast Queens in opposition to the Department of City Planning’s Zoning for Quality and Affordability (ZQA) text amendment proposal. This proposal would amend zoning regulations to encourage bigger building developments and increase the floor to area ratio for certain housing developments. It has been met with strong opposition from community boards and civic organizations throughout the city who cite many concerns about the consequences of the plan. Community Board 11 has already unanimously voted against the proposal, and Community Board 7’s zoning subcommittee also voted against the ZQA.
At the press conference, Council Member Vallone outlined some of the major concerns. “These sweeping changes to zoning regulations would effectively erase many of the protections that our civic organizations and community boards have fought for years to obtain,” said Council Member Vallone. “This plan will undoubtedly result in taller, larger and bulkier buildings that are out of character with our neighborhoods and many others throughout the city. Also, the proposed changes to parking requirements will further burden our community and increase congestion.”
Several corridors along Northern Boulevard and Crocheron Avenue, as well as areas in College Point, Bay Terrace and Flushing would be directly affected. “If any developer wants to build outside of our current zoning regulations, they need to apply for a variance which will gauge the merits of any development and directly engage the community board, stakeholders and my office,” said Council Member Vallone. “This is a process that should be maintained, not circumvented by simply allowing larger developments. Doing so would send a message to developers that may encourage them to seek even larger variances and set us down a slippery slope towards increased out of character overdevelopment.”
Touring Broadway-Flushing Neighborhood with Landmarks Preservation Commission Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan
In September, Council Member Paul Vallone joined Maria Becce, Second Vice President of the Broadway-Flushing Homeowners Association and the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) Chair, Meenakshi Srinivasan, on a walkthrough of the Broadway-Flushing neighborhood. Chair Srinivasan agreed to personally tour the Broadway-Flushing area after earlier meetings and conversations the Council Member had with the LPC to reopen the previously denied application for landmark status of this area. According to the LPC, the previous denial in 2009 was based on a lack of architecturally worthy homes due to the number of inappropriate new buildings in the area and numerous alterations made to homes. However, the LPC agreed to revisit the application pursuant to the Council Member’s request on behalf of the Broadway-Flushing Homeowners Association.
“No one can deny the unique and historical qualities of the homes that have been meticulously maintained and preserved by the proud homeowners in Broadway-Flushing,” said Council Member Vallone. “As a homeowner myself for twenty years within this neighborhood, I am proud to work with the Broadway-Flushing Homeowners Association as we reopen the previously denied application. We are hoping that this tour will open the LPC’s eyes as to urgency of the protections needed to preserve what remains of this proud and beautiful neighborhood. As we continue to call for this designation, I thank Chair Srinivasan for her personal attention to our concerns. Anyone who walks our streets is immediately touched by the serenity, beauty and historical perspective our neighborhood provides which have created the highest quality of life we all fight to preserve.”
Photo Right to Left – Council Member Paul Vallone, LPC Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan, Broadway-Flushing Homeowners Association 2nd Vice President Maria Becce
The Quest for a Limit on Property Taxes and Relief for Co-op & Condo Owners
From Habitat Magazine:
For years, many co-ops and condos and the organizations representing them have rallied around a common cry: “Taxes are unfair!” And they’ve had a point: for years, single-family homeowners have been the chosen ones, at least as far as the politicians go. While the assessed valuation — a key part of the financial equation that determines how much a building pays in property taxes — on co-op and condotaxes increased, those on single-family homes had a cap on how high they could go. That changed slightly over the years, when co-ops and condos with 11 units or less got their own cap: no more than 8 percent per year and no more than 30 percent over five years. It was still higher than the assessment for single-family homeowners; that cap is no more than 6 percent per year and no more than 25 percent over five years. But it was a start.
Because of his support on the issue, City Councilman Paul Vallone recently asked the city’s Department of Finance (DOF) for projected information on the impact. According to the councilman’s office, the department indicated to his office that revenues would rise in the first year after a cap, but they would fall $44 million by the fifth year. (A spokesperson for the city’s DOF declined to comment on the information provided by Vallone’s office, and has not taken a position on the proposal to extend property tax caps to all co-ops and condos.) Vallone says his office is awaiting a final analysis from the DOF and will consider this data and all the issues. He pointed to DOF tentative assessment roll projections for 2016, released in mid-January, that estimate a 6.6 percent hike in the total amount of assessed property value for all co-ops citywide and a 14.2 percent increase in assessed value for all condos. That boils down to an average tax hike of $448 for co-op dwellers, and an increase of $838 for condo owners. Single-family homeowners squeaked by with just a $228 hike. To enact the cap, the change must be made at the state legislature, but lawmakers in Albany will only act with the city’s blessing. Bills with the cap were introduced but died in last year’s session. Sponsoring lawmakers say they will reintroduce them again.
Visit Habitat Magazine for complete article.
“This tax cap will finally bring relief to a large part of the over half million families residing in Class 2 properties, many of whom are in my district,” stated Council Member Vallone. “Those hit hardest by the uncapped property tax raises are our middle class and seniors who have no other affordable housing options. I urge the State and Governor Cuomo to act on this legislation so that all co-ops and condos stop seeing dramatic increases in their property taxes from year to year.”
Council Member Vallone Joins Colleagues in Calling for Pension Equality in FDNY
Photo Credit: UFA
I stand with our brave men and women in the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) and support the Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York’s call for equal pay.
Council Member Vallone and Student Ambassadors Distribute Toys at St. Mary’s Hospital for Children
On Monday, December 21st, Council Member Vallone and his Student Ambassadors joined the Auburndale Soccer Club and Dwarf-Giraffe Athletic Association as they distributed hundreds of toys, collected through December, to the kids at St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children.
“If there was any event this week that truly embodied the spirit of Christmas, it was this one. With the help of the Auburndale Soccer Club, the Dwarf-Giraffe Athletic League and my student ambassadors, we were able to collect hundreds of unwrapped toys for our toy drive for St. Mary’s,” said Council Member Vallone. “Thank you to everyone who donated a toy and helped out! I would also like to personally thank my student ambassadors Abbas Husain, Hongju Choi, Kean Gibbons, Jennifer Kim, Erika Donis, Rawlanda Hinds, Daniel Bosko and Josh Santis for their hard work and dedication to this toy drive. Our combined efforts truly helped make this a very special holiday for all of the wonderful kids at St. Mary’s!”
Happy New Year!
It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as your Council Member and it is hard to believe my second year in office has come to a close! We have accomplished so much, and I am excited for what we will continue to get done for Northeast Queens and New York City.
As we welcome in 2016, may all of us share in a healthy, happy and blessed New Year!
Thanks for reading! As always, if you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact my office.
Hon. Paul A. Vallone
New York City Council, District 19
42-40 Bell Boulevard, Suite 507
Bayside, New York 11361