Paul Vallone, (right), pictured with his brother,
Peter Vallone Jr., and father, Peter Vallone Sr..
Following in the tradition of public service and community involvement displayed by his father and brother, Paul Vallone has announced that he plans to run for the City Council in 2009.
Surprisingly, however, the 40-year-old attorney will seek the 19th District seat covering Eastern Queens presently held by Tony Avella, rather than the Astoria-Long Island City seat now held by his brother, Peter Vallone Jr. and before him, his father, former Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr.
Vallone Jr. and Avella will be vacating their posts at the end of 2009 because of term limits laws. They and many others in the council must leave because they have served the maximum two four-year terms.
Paul Vallone said he decided to run for the Bayside/Whitestone/College Point seat because he has resided in the North Flushing part of the district with his wife, Anna Marie, since their marriage in 1994. They have three children, the two oldest of whom, Calena, 8 and Lea Bella, 7 attend the St. Andrew Avellino Church and parish school. They also have a son, Charles, born seven weeks ago.
Paul, who is part of the Vallone family law firm in Astoria with his dad and brother, is active in his church and parish affairs and other community organizations.
Explaining his decision to seek the 19th District seat, Paul Vallone said the district is faced with some of the largest expansion projects and developments in the entire city and he hopes to become its representative in the council so he can be "the community's voice in guiding those developments in the right paths so that the quality of life in our communities is not sacrificed".
Vallone stated, "The coexistence between residential life and commercial expansion has put our neighborhood on the brink of losing the community core values we have fought so hard to achieve.
"The need for oversight of our zoning and redevelopment within our neighborhoods, the plague of cell phone towers and can over expanded power grid that has been neglected by Con Edison, and the ever-present need to expand our police presence and public school system are just some of the issues facing our district."
He said he plans over the next two years leading up to the 2009 election to "reach out to everyone in the district to listen to the concerns, desires and issues that every resident here faces on a daily basis".
As for the citywide aspects of the councilmember job, Vallone said he has been a member of the city's Board of Correction, consisting of nine appointees who receive no remuneration.
The board is charged with evaluating the performance of the Department of Correction and with ensuring compliance with minimum health standards and standards for confinement in all city correctional facilities. It also reviews inmate and employee grievances and engages in correctional planning.
Since being appointed to the board, Vallone and others have been engaged in the first review in 25 years of the many antiquated prison practices and conditions at Rikers Island, including prisoner rights and health conditions, as well as the upgrade of the facility's security.
Vallone, as a member of the business community in Astoria, has served on Community Board 1 and has been active also in the Astoria Civic Association, founded by his grandfather, the late Judge Charles Vallone, whose community involvement and public service experiences set the standard for the Vallone family.
In seeking a city council seat, Paul will be following in the footsteps of his father Peter Sr., who served in the council for 27 years, from 1974 to 2001, and led the council in making the historic change to create the office of Speaker, which he held from 1989 to 2001, when he was forced to retire when the term limits law was initiated.
Upon his retirement, Peter Sr. was succeeded as councilmember by the eldest of his three sons, Peter Vallone Jr., the third of Peter and Tena Vallone's sons Perry, 43, also an attorney like his two brothers and father, resides and practices in New Jersey.
The incumbent councilmember, Peter Jr., now completing his sixth year as a lawmaker, chairs the council Public Safety Committee and has authored several criminal law changes and strengthened driving while intoxicated statutes and anti-graffiti laws.