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Learn more about this district in Searchlight 2002
x-Peter F. Vallone Jr., Dem 11,311 - 54 percent
Sandra Vassos, Rep 6,849 - 33 percent
John J. Ciafone, Lib 1,854 - 9 percent
Gerald F. Kann, Grn 576 - 3 percent
Michael A. Mascitti, Ind 261 - 1 percent
Peter F. Vallone Jr. 5,446
John J. Ciafone 3,310
Mike Zapiti 1,031
(Official Vote Count from the Board of Elections)
Incumbent: Peter Vallone, Sr (can't
run in 2001)
For contributors to these candidates, according to the Campaign Finance Board:
to John Ciafone
to Gerald F. Kann
to Michael Mascitti
to Peter Vallone Jr.
to Sandra Vassos
to Mike Zapiti
Official Primary Election Voter Guide for Residents of District
District 22 candidates' statements on the issues, at Savvyvoter.org
If the ruling by the Board of Elections stands, George Poulos, Sandra Vassos
and Mike Mascitti will not appear on the Democratic line in the September 11
primary. Poulos is still considering whether to appeal the ruling. Vassos is
appealing a challenge by Peter Vallone, Jr. and the Queens Democratic Party.
(See the Campaign Update for more details.)
Astoria's Bid for Power
For years, Astoria, Queens has had the most powerful person
in City Council representing its interests. Since Peter Vallone
was elected Speaker in 1986, virtually nothing has happened
in City Council without his approval. And his leadership has
produced for his district.
Recently, Vallone has been successful in securing $2.5 million
for the expansion
of the Kaufman Astoria Studios, which hopes to make the area
a top location to produce movies and television shows. He also
plans for the construction of the N train to La Guardia Airport
that would have created construction in his district, and he
proposals to build more electricity plants in Queens. There
are already three major power plants in the Astoria, two of
which are rated among the dirtiest in the state, and proposals
for four more plants alongside them.
Now with the Speaker's departure, Astoria is losing its favored
status and fears becoming just another council district. If
Vallone is successful in his bid to be mayor, on the other hand,
they may stop worrying.
Though there are seven candidates vying to succeed him, many
with strong roots in local politics, and though as a mayoral
candidate Vallone cannot afford to alienate anybody in his home
base, the Speaker has nevertheless come out with an early and
"My mother would be very upset with him if he didn't endorse
his own son," explains Peter Vallone, Jr., a 39-year-old lawyer
who has worked as a Manhattan Assistant District Attorney. Vallone,
Jr. says he aims to begin where his father left off by stopping
new electrical power plant construction.
"The New York Power Authority is making Queens the ashtray
for the entire state," says Vallone, Jr., who is also pro bono
counsel for C.H.O.K.E. (Coalition Helping Organize a Kleaner
But Vallone is not necessarily a shoo-in. For one, there have
been some questions raised in the press about where he actually
lives -- about whether he is using an address in the district
just for the election.
Then there are other candidates who have name recognition,
though of a different sort. One is Mike Zapiti, owner of the
Zapiti Driving School and host of "The Zapiti TV Show," a show
featuring politicians on a local cable station. Zapiti campaigns
as one who can rectify the failures of the educational system
in Queens and keep Astoria safe and clean.
George Delis has been district manager for Community Board
1 in Astoria for 24 years and has been a public voice on local
issues like outdoor billboards, job creation, and economic development.
But Delis says he is not yet running full-throttle for the seat.
For one thing, he has supported two of the other candidates
in the race when they ran for other offices, Kimon Thermos and
Other candidates include Reverend Marvin Bentley, pastor of
a Baptist church.
Ultimately, whoever wins in District 22 will be representing
a different neighborhood than the one that first elected Vallone
In Astoria, the Latino population has grown while the Greek
and Italian populations have shrunk. The area also has the highest
influx of immigrants from Bangladesh and Egypt of any district
in the city. And a migration of young professionals leaving
Manhattan and Brooklyn for affordable rents have brought clubs,
restaurants, and art galleries to the area.
The new council member will represent this "new" Astoria.
Candidates in district 22 are being challenged, knocked off the ballot, and appealing the decisions.
"Petition challenges are part of the electoral process," said Evan Stavisky a political consultant for the Vallone, Jr. campaign, who has filed challenges.
George Poulos, who has been knocked off the ballot, is debating whether to appeal the decision. Poulos even wrote a letter to the editor of the Queens Courier pleading with the candidates in district 22 not to contest each other1s petitions. "It is unfair to knock off a person off the ballot on minor technicalities," said Poulos.
"We should be encouraging voters to participate in the process, not using excuses to exclude them because of the ways they signed their names," said John Bougiamas, campaign manager for Sandra Vassos. Vassos is currently fighting a petition challenge from Vallone, Jr. One type of petition challenge Vassos faces has to do with a voter who writes a first name as a nickname. She points out that a name like Costantino can be shortened to Costas or even Gus. "As a Greek American it hurts me that my family1s heritage is questioned based on names, nicknames, and nomenclature," said Vassos.
Vassos, who had planned to run on both the Democratic and Republican party lines, came up short by thirty-nine signatures on her petitions for the Democratic party, but she will still be on the ballot in November as a Republican.
Even as Vassos fights the legal challenges on her petitions she is continuing her campaign. She feels the elected position of a city council member provides a unique ability to understand the needs of the community and plans to advocate for more public hearings on issues like the proposed expansion of the N train to LaGuardia Airport.
Michael Mascitti, who survived on the Independence line, but will not be on the Democratic party line, wants to focus on fixing the schools and abolishing the Board of Education. "All the people who want to fix the (educational) problem are the lawyers or the people that screwed it up in the first place," said Mascitti.
One of the reasons Mascitti decided to run was that he does not want Vallone, Jr. to just assume he can fill his father1s seat. "I think it is a mockery of everything America stands for that many politicians just assume their children can take their position," he said.
One of John Ciafone1s focuses is quality of life issues for students. As a leader in School Board 30, he fought for doors to be placed on bathroom stalls, school uniforms and increased police presence in and outside schools.
John Ciafone has been the vice president of School Board 30 for the last five years. Ciafone holds a degree in political science from New York University and a law degree from St. John1s University. He currently owns his own law practice. Ciafone has also worked in the legal division at City Council and has been elected judicial delegate for the 11th judicial district.
Jerry Kann has been a writer and a teacher. He is a member of the National
Writers Union and has been a political activist for the Green
party for the last six years. He has been an opponent of the New
York Power Authority and the plan to construct power plants in
Long Island City. He is a graduate of Cleveland State University
and has lived in Astoria since 1995.
Michael Mascitti has worked as a teacher at I.S. 10 since 1995 and as also worked as a lighting board operator at NBC Sports for six years. Mascitti holds a BA from Hunter College in History and Religion and a minor in Classical Studies. In 1995, Mascitti earned a masters degree in Science in Teaching from New School University.
George Poulos has been an attorney for 15 years.
Peter Vallone, Jr. is a managing partner at Vallone & Vallone Law firm. He was an Assistant District Attorney for six years, and is counsel for a local environmental group and the Roman Catholic Dioceses of Brooklyn.
Sandra Vassos is the executive director of Athens College, a K-12 American school based in Europe. Vassos holds a BA and a Masters of Public Administration from New York University. She has also worked at Urban Public Relations.
Mike Zapiti is the owner of a driving school, a real estate and insurance agent, and a pilot.
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)
George Delis was prepared to run to succeed Peter Vallone in the district 22
Astoria seat of the City Council, until Peter Vallone Jr. entered the race,
and received the Queens Democratic Party organization endorsement. Delis
dropped out, afraid to continue running because his current job is a
political appointment. "Term limits did not go far enough," he said. "Is it
fair that a son should move in and the party hands him the seat?" As many as
11 of the 35 open seats are being sought by relatives of the departing
representatives. (NY Times)
Peter Vallone Jr. spoke at the Aldos Democratic Club, which is not
officially recognized by the Queens Democratic Party. The county only
recognizes one club called Taminent Regular Democratic Club, of which both
Vallone Sr. and Jr. are members. Unofficially, the Taminent faction will
probably endorse Vallone Jr. and the Aldos will endorse Ciafone.
Candidates vying for the seat vacated by Vallone Sr. are not worried about
competing with the son of the Speaker at City Council. (AstoriaTimes.com)
In Astoria: Mayoral candidate and Council Speaker Peter Vallone's son, Peter
Vallone Jr., far outpaces his Democratic opponents in endorsements and
money, with $75,000. His nearest rival lists $200. (Daily News)
Peter Vallone Jr. used his father's connections to raise $75,495 in his bid
to keep the Astoria Council seat in the family, according to Campaign
Finance Board records. Lobbyist Martin McLaughlin, political consultant
Norman Adler and Council lawyer Richard Weinberg are among those linked to
the father who helped the son. Tena Vallone - senior's wife and junior's
mother - chipped in with a $2,500 check to her son. (Daily News)
A feature article on George Delis (Queens Gazette)
Surveying the field of potential city council candidates for District 22.
Feature article on candidate Mike Zapiti. (Queens Gazette)
The Astoria Line by Jarret Murphy. This article sheds some more light on
Vallone Jr. and his relationship with his father. (City Limits)