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Learn more about this district in Searchlight 2002
x-Tony Avella, Dem 16,222 - 49 percent
Dennis J. Saffran, GOP 15,865 - 48 percent
Jerry M. Iannece, Lib 644 - 2 percent
Arthur N. Cheliotes, WF 506 - 2 percent
Tony Avella 3,536
John Frank 2,897
Arthur N. Cheliotes 2,444
Jerry M. Iannece 2,109
Joyce P. Shepard 933
(Official Vote Count from the Board of Elections)
Incumbent: Michael J. Abel (can't
run in 2001)
General Election Update
Contributors to these candidates, according to the Campaign
to Tony Avella
to Arthur Cheliotes
to John Frank
to Jerry Iannece
to Dennis Saffran
to Joyce Shepard
Official Primary Election Voter Guide for Residents of District
Too Good For Its Own Good?
District 19, which borders Nassau County and several beautiful
bays, has had it good for a long time, with two of the best school
districts in the city, low crime, and high employment..
But good times have not made for happy voters.
That is because this area, which includes College Point and Bayside
in upper Queens, has attracted more and more people to the district,
which has led to overcrowding in the schools, a scarcity of police
in the streets, and a push for more development.
These are the issues of concern to the residents and therefore
to the five candidates who are running for the seat held by the
current city council member, Republican Michael Abel.
"Our reading and math scores are high but there are not enough
schools; that's a problem," said Joyce Shepard, a community activist
and psychiatric social worker. "Teachers are not getting enough
money, and many teachers are opting to go to Long Island," said
Other candidates have voiced similar concerns over the rising
problems with overcrowding.
"Educators and members of the council need to sit down and work
together to design a new funding formula that is equitable to
New York City students," said Tony Avella, chief of staff to State
Senator Toby Stavisky. "I won't be satisfied until every student
is in a new building, until they have new desks, books, and computers."
Education is not the only area in which overcrowding and scarcity
of resources has led to problems.
"Crime has gone down," admitted Jerry Iannece, the head of the
Bayside Civic Association and a former district attorney. But
not every crime: the district is number on e in the city in auto
thefts, and among the top ten in burglaries. "There are 20 to
30 fewer officers now than in the past. We need more officers
out there. I think it's time for the creation of new precincts."
Another platform that the candidates all seem to agree on is
a need to change the current zoning, which allows for what the
residents fear will become uncontrolled development. What this
means, in the four relatively affluent neighborhoods of College
Point, Beechhurst, Whitestone and Bayside -- and unlike most neighborhoods
in New York City -- are houses for three or four families, rather
than for just one or two.
"Neighborhoods are changing rapidly," said John Frank, community
activist and current treasurer to Assemblywoman Ann Margaret Carrozza.
"Multiple dwellings are being developed and people are concerned
about that. I want to protect and preserve the character of our
neighborhood." Frank plans to advocate a greater percent of the
area to be rezoned for one and two family homes, as opposed to
zoning that causes three or four family dwellings.
Arthur Cheliotes, president of Communications Workers of America,
also expressed his concern with "zoning and how the character
of the community is changing" and feels people should be given
more power on land-use issues. Cheliotes is concerned as well
with good jobs . "I want to make sure people are able to sustain
a standard of living and be paid a reasonable wage." Even the
people doing well in upper Queens wouldn't mind doing better.
Two Republican candidates Greg Miley and Christopher Butler have dropped out of the race for district 19, leaving Dennis Saffran as the party1s last chance to hold on to one of the few Republican seats in City Council.
Greg Miley decided not to run because he did not want to give up his current job. Butler told a local paper that he withdrew because "it wasn1t the right time to pursue the opportunity."
The Queens County Republican Party, which had previously endorsed Miley, is now endorsing Saffran. Saffran has also received endorsements from the county conservative party, State Senator Frank Padavan, and the outgoing Councilmember Michael Abel.
Saffran, a former head of the Center for the Community Interest, a group concerned with quality of life and anti-crime initiatives, said he wants to make sure the city continues the progress made during the Giuliani era. "I am running as a supporter of continuing what the mayor has done to reduce the crime rate and make our neighborhoods a safer and more pleasant place to raise our children," said Saffran. Saffran said he would try to maintain the controversial Street Crimes Unit, which he says has confiscated hundreds of guns and saved countless lives. "We should not abandon aggressive policing policies."
Saffran also sees education as a top priority, and he supports mayoral control of the central Board of Education. "School overcrowding is a concern," said Saffran. "We have to make sure we have schools that enforce standards and discipline and educate our children and give them the basic skills they need to succeed in the new economy."
Although most of the district 19 voters are registered as Democrats, the area has a history of supporting Republicans. The area has elected a Republican as city council representative for the last 10 years and as state senator for the last 28 years. Rick Lazio carried the district in last year1s U.S. senatorial election.
Dennis Saffran believes his chances of winning are "about fifty-fifty. It1s going to be a tough, uphill battle to hold this seat," said Saffran. The Democratic candidates are competing for endorsements.
Tony Avella has been endorsed by Congressmen Gary Ackerman and Joseph Crowley, Assembly members Ann Margaret Carrozza, Nettie Meyersohn, and Mark Weprin, State Senator Toby Stavisky, Borough President Claire Shulman, and the Queens Democratic Organization.
Arthur Cheliotes, the first candidate in the district to raise the maximum amount of money allowable under campaign finance laws, has been endorsed by a several unions, including the United Federation of Teachers, Communication Workers of America, the Service Employees International Union, and the Building Maintenance Service and Railroad Workers. He has also been endorsed by the Central Labor Council, and the Working Families Party, which means he will appear on the ballot in November even if he loses the Democratic primary.
Jerry Iannece, who is also the Liberal Party candidate, has been endorsed by the Italian-American Federation of Queens County, Councilmember Julia Harrison, and other civic leaders in northeast Queens. He has also been endorsed by television personalities, Judge Judy and Judge Jerry Shiendlin. Joyce Shepard has been endorsed by Operating Engineers Local 15 ABC, the Building and Construction Trade Council, the Living Wages Project, and Artists, Inc.
John Frank has not received any endorsements, but said he has strong voter support for his candidacy within the district. (See the Campaign Trail for more details.)
Tony Avella is a civic activist in northeast Queens. He now works for State Senator Toby Stavisky as her chief of staff and is also president of the College Point Sports Association, where he oversees an organization that supports five local sports groups and serves over 1,000 children a year. He served as Mayor Ed Koch1s Queen1s Coordinator.
Arthur Cheliotes was born and raised in Jamaica. He is founder and president of the Greek-American Labor Committee and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Queens College. He has been president of Communications Workers of America Local 1180 for the last 21 years. He is married and has three children.
Jerry Iannece is a former Astoria resident who is now serving as president of the Bayside Hills Civic Association and as Zoning Chairman of Community Board 11. He graduated with honors from New York University in three years with a Double Major Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1981. He also attended St. John's Law School and maintains a law practice. He is married and has two children.
John Frank is a community activist who grew up in Bayside, attended Columbia and Harvard, and spent time in the Peace Corps, before becoming a public school teacher of Spanish and history. He is currently treasurer to Assemblywoman Ann Margaret Carrozza.
Dennis Saffran is the former head of Center for the Community Interest, a political group that focuses on anti-crime and quality-of-life initiatives. He was also a chief lawyer at the State Division of Housing under Governor Mario Cuomo and an assistant to former New York State Attorney General Robert Abrams.
Joyce Shepard is a native New Yorker. After receiving her GED at 35, Joyce went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree from Queens College in Psychology and Sociology and a Masters Degree from Adelphi University's School of Social Work. She is now a community activist and psychiatric social worker practicing in Bayside.
Newsday announces its endorsements in a number of Queens City Council races.
District 19: Jerry Iannece's "legal experience and community activism make him qualified. Each of his opponents - particularly Arthur Cheliotes, president of Communications Workers of America Local 1180, and the party-backed Tony Avella. . . is a credible candidate. But Iannece has the most innovative ideas for addressing the district's needs."
District 20. "John Liu, the party designee, could have avoided some last-minute controversy had he used better judgment. As a member of Community Board 7 in Flushing, he voted last year with the majority to approve a variance for a development company whose partners include a campaign contributor. Liu, an actuary, should have recused himself. . . . We hope he has learned something about appearances. Still, his energy and impressive command of the issues make up for his lack of political acumen. And while his civic service isn't as long as that of opponent Ethel Chen, he seems better suited to alleviate the tensions between old-time residents and new immigrants.
District 21. "Despite the ethnic conflict dividing various Latino communities in the district, the four candidates - all Latinos - are evenly matched. . . .Luis Rosero is the most appealing. . . .His background gives him intimate knowledge of government and politics. His contacts at the federal level wouldn't hurt, either. He also understands the common concerns of a diverse population."
District 22. "As a member of Queens School Board 30, John Ciafone has worked diligently on behalf of school kids. . . . But Ciafone made a mistake that we cannot overlook: His ads in a local weekly newspaper boasted of endorsements by mayoral candidates Fernando Ferrer and Mark Green. Such endorsements never existed. Ciafone says the ads should have read "supported," not "endorsed" - a stretch, to say the least. . . . That leaves Peter Vallone Jr., the party's designee. Voters get more than a name with Vallone. He helped found a community group to fight power plants in western Queens. And he has learned something from watching his father's success as Council speaker. Newsday endorses Vallone."
District 23. "David Weprin is a Democratic district leader, his brother is a state assemblyman, and their late father was Assembly speaker. By contrast, Jairam Thakral immigrated from India 30 years ago, got an MBA from St. John's and recently retired as chief financial officer of the State Veterans Home on Long Island. Thakral emphasizes his financial experience in dealing with city, state and federal governments. . . . He contrasts his "diversity" with Weprin's "dynasty." Weprin, a lawyer, was the state's deputy superintendent of banks. . . . Thakral radiates eagerness to improve the city's quality of life, but Weprin has more experience and a deeper knowledge of the district. We endorse Weprin.
District 24. "The three candidates are already on the public payroll. Barry Grodenchik is Borough President Claire Shulman's chief administrative officer. He emphasizes the downside of the 2012 Olympics, which he says could freeze development in western Queens and shut down much of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park for years. James Gennaro has been a policy analyst for the City Council since 1990, specializing in environmental issues. He's positive on the 2012 Olympics but negative on destroying Flushing Meadows wetlands to create a rowing course for the games. David Reich, chief of staff to a state senator from Brooklyn, cites his experience drafting bills in Albany . Gennaro offers greater familiarity with the council and broader concern for the environment. We endorse Gennaro."
District 25. "The organization person in this multi-candidate race is Helen Sears, a longtime district leader and community affairs director at Elmhurst Hospital Center. . . . Louisa Chan, a nurse and three-term secretary of School Board 24, wants community school boards to have more power and the central board to be elected. Magdalena Schultheis, vice president of an international hospitality consulting firm, would like to cut back bureaucracy to produce more affordable housing. James Van Bramer, community affairs manager for the Queensborough Public Library, has been an activist for campaign finance reform as well as gay and lesbian rights. . . .Finally, Rudolph Greco is a lawyer, civic enthusiast and author of a children's history of Jackson Heights. Along with a dedicated tax to provide higher teacher pay and smaller classes, he would encourage corporate partnerships to improve schools. Greco is a convivial, seasoned, one-of-a-kind candidate with a shrewd grasp of the district's needs and possibilities. Newsday endorses Greco. (Newsday)
The New York Times today endorsed a candidate in this race.
District 19 (Northeast Queens): In this district, which borders
on Nassau County, Arthur Cheliotes, president of the Communications
Workers of America Local 1180, is running against Tony Avella,
the former chief of staff for State Senator Toby Stavisky. Mr.
Cheliotes has the longer record of service and has shown the more
sophisticated understanding of the city's needs. One concern is
his plan to keep his union job in order to build up seniority
toward his pension, although he promises to work for $1 a year
and devote most of his time to the Council. Mr. Avella is far
from a totally independent politician himself; his friends in
the Queens Democratic Party worked to bump others from the ballot
in this district. Our endorsement for the primary goes to Arthur
The race to replace outgoing Republican Mike Abel in district 19 in Queens
pits a former nightclub singer, a union leader, a party insider, an
ex-prosecutor and a former Peace Corps worker against one another. They
agree on most issues - more cops, more schools, more senior service - but
there is little love lost among them.The former prosecutor, Jerry Iannece,
relishes attacking the party candidate Tony Avella, who will be battling him
for a strong Italian-American vote.The singer, gadfly Joyce Shepard, vows to
move if union official Arthur Cheliotis is elected. (Daily News)
City Council candidate Joyce Shepard has sued her former campaign manager,
Jack Ballinger. The district 19 contender alleges that Ballinger created a
campaign website for her and then lied about her on it.
Community leader Tony Avella takes action against graffiti in Whitestone.
Arthur Cheliotes, president of Communications Workers of America Local 1180,
explains the terms of his union1s new labor deal.
District 19 candidate Tony Avella announces a traffic plan that he says will
give people a greater say in how their neighborhood traffic problems are
The New York City Central Labor Council, a labor group with 1.5 million
members in some 450 local unions, gave its backing to 10 of 16 incumbents,
skipping an endorsement in six races where the incumbent can run again, but
not backing any insurgents against a sitting council member. Among its
endorsements in races in which there are no incumbents: John Liu in Flushing
(district 20), Bernice Siegal in Hollis (district 23), Melinda Katz in
Forest Hills (district 29), Leroy Comrie in St. Albans (district 27) and
Arthur Cheliotes in Bayside (district 19). The choice of Cheliotes is not
very surprising since he is president of Local 1180 of the Communications
Workers of America.
Greg Miley and Chris Butler have decided not to run for City Council,
leaving lawyer Dennis Saffran as the leading Republican contender for the
seat from the 19th District. Five Democrats remain in the race.
As head of the city1s Central Labor Council, it would seem Brian
McLaughlin1s decision of who to back in the district 19 race would be an
easy one. But tell that to Arthur Cheliotes.
An article on EPA's decision with Malathion spraying, with comments from
candidate Joyce Shepard. (Polkonline)
Campaign Finance Board records indicate Queens Democratic leader Thomas
Manton last year gave $250 to activist Tony Avella in a Bayside district
where union big Arthur Cheliotes leads the money chase, with Jerry Iannece
and Joyce Shepard also running.
Abel's successors announce campaign. (Queens Gazette)
District 19 candidate Jerry Iannece responds to hate propaganda distributed
in Bayside. (Queens Gazette)
Read a bit of history on Labor Leader Arthur Cheliotes, and where he stands
in the race for a City Council seat in district 19. (Queens Gazette)
Read how Joyce Shepard is part of a coalition demanding a federal
investigation on EPA Reversal of Malathion. The spraying of Malathion last
year made many children ill. EPA's refusal to accept Malathion as a toxic is
being challenged even though Health Commissioner Neal Cohen declared
otherwise. (Pick Your News)