As a person involved with community and civic concerns, I know most of the candidates running for the 19th District City Council seat in Northeast Queens. I have worked with some of them on community issues, and I have respect for all of the candidates, because it is not easy to run for or hold political office.
The groups that I belong to and work with do not endorse specific candidates, however, as an individual citizen, I must speak out when I see a candidate running who has an exceptional record.
One of the most important issues facing us today is neighborhood preservation. It not only affects our quality of life, but also affects our property values and the future viability of our communities.
Urban planning specialist Paul Graziano, working together with civic organizations and elected leaders like Tony Avella, has been at the forefront over the past dozen years in rezoning almost all of the neighborhoods in the 19th District, making it less likely to have inappropriate development on our blocks.
I personally worked with Paul during the Bayside, North Flushing and Auburndale rezonings. I was impressed with his extensive knowledge of all of our neighborhoods and how the Department of City Planning agreed with most of his zoning assessments.
Paul has also worked to landmark worthy buildings and districts to ensure that their historical, architectural and cultural attributes are preserved for future generations. He has personally appeared at the Landmarks Preservation Commission advocating for the protection of many important sites throughout Queens and beyond.
Paul also knows about the problems that we continue to face, including the need to reform the Department of Buildings and the Board of Standards and Appeals, two agencies that are not always responsive or accountable to the people.
He also realizes that community facility regulations must be reviewed and tightened up so that those facilities are not a burden to adjacent residents. Other neighborhood issues facing us include the need to change the manufacturing zoning designation in the Station Road area to residential and to create a new zoning designation for single-family attached and semi-attached homes.
I believe that Paul will work to affect these and other needed changes, with the assistance of community and civic organizations.
Paul has also exhibited leadership on other important issues, including the problem of aircraft noise over our communities, education reform and protection of our environment. He believes that parkland should not be developed by private businesses and is one of the principals of the Save Flushing Meadows Corona Park group.
He is an activist and an advocate. He has also been endorsed by Senator Tony Avella.
For all of these reasons, I feel that Paul Graziano is the most qualified candidate running in the 19th Council District. I will be voting for him in the September 10th Democratic Primary, and I urge my fellow registered Democrats to consider doing so as well.