Paul Graziano marched with the College Point Civic & Taxpayers Association and the Greater Whitestone Taxpayers Civic Association in Memorial Day parades in College Point and Whitestone last weekend.
City Council Candidate Paul Graziano Exceeds Campaign Fundraising Goal for March-May 2013 Disclosure Period Without Holding Fundraiser
Paul Graziano, Democratic candidate for the 19th Council District, more than doubled his contributions from his first disclosure period - $8,760.00 - which ended on March 11th. The new total - $19,493.33 - includes $14,843.00, or 76.1% of the total raised that is eligible for matching public funds, which is less than $600 from the maximum allowed per election cycle. So far, the total amount raised, including public matching funds to be disbursed in June, is $108,552.33. All contributions have been raised without conducting an official fundraiser.
"I have focused on the needs of northeastern Queens for almost 20 years, including the groundbreaking downzonings of almost every neighborhood in the 19th Council District which I designed," Graziano stated. "Now the residents and members of civic and homeowners associations throughout the district are supporting my grassroots candidacy, which focuses intensely on the preservation of our neighborhoods, quality-of-life issues and maintaining high educational standards for our schools in the entirety of the 19th Council District."
As part of his commitment to protecting northeastern Queens neighborhoods and running a highly ethical political campaign for City Council, Graziano has taken very few contributions from any individuals in real estate, development, finance, law or lobbying and/or other special interests and specific industries (there are a few contributors who are in these specific fields; however, in every case, it is completely incidental as they are officers or members of various civic/homeowner associations or non-profit organizations). This sets Graziano apart from his opponents, who have taken the majority of their campaign contributions from those industries who are typically looking for access to city and state government.
"With the public crisis in confidence in our political process based on corruption and the pay-to-play culture that has dominated politics in the city and state government for decades," Graziano stated, "I believe that support for a high standard of ethics reform is mandatory, especially in light of the recent arrest of Councilmember Halloran on bribery and corruption charges that have seriously harmed our own Council District."
Importantly, of 137 Contributors to Graziano's campaign, 130, or 95.6%, gave donations of $175 or less. "Small donations make up the backbone of my campaign," Graziano said, "because they represent the actual people who live in the district and other civic association leaders in and around Queens, not those individuals who would like to exploit our beautiful neighborhoods for their own personal gain. These leaders and friends who have supported me have helped my campaign more than double my initial contribution total to just shy of $20,000, and almost max out on eligible matching public funds."
This also extends to the number of contributors from the 19th Council District to Graziano's campaign: 96 out of 137, or 69.3% (one contributor is listed as not being in the district, but this is for bookkeeping purposes only). Their monetary contributions were $10,850, or 55.7% of all contributions to the campaign.
As mentioned previously, Graziano's candidacy for City Council is based upon the support from residents of the 19th Council District and beyond who are deeply involved in their neighborhoods and representative civic and homeowner associations as well as other local non-profit organizations that advocate for their respective communities.
Below is a partial list of leaders of these communities who are personally supporting Graziano in his race for City Council (civic and homeowners associations and most other non-profit organizations as a general rule do not endorse candidates) as shown through their monetary contributions to his candidacy:
Joseph Amoroso, Zoning Chair, Kissena Park Civic Association/VP, Queens Civic Congress
Peter Brancazio, President, Northeast Flushing Civic Association
Ronnie Brancazio, Corresponding Secretary, Northeast Flushing Civic Association
James Cervino, Co-Founder, Coastal Preservation Network/Member CB7
Kathryn Cervino, Co-Founder, Coastal Preservation Network
Robert Coddington, President, Douglaston and Little Neck Historical Society
Marlene Cody, Vice President, Greater Whitestone Taxpayers Civic Association
James Colasante, President, Bayside Gables Homeowners Association
Alexandria Dunne, Trustee, Bayside Historical Society
Aline Euler, Education Director, Alley Pond Environmental Center/Trustee, Bayside Historical Society
Henry Euler, 1st Vice President, Auburndale Improvement Association/Secretary, Bayside Historical Society/Member CB11
Kim Francis*, President, Concerned Citizens of Laurelton*
Michael Gannon, Vice President, Douglaston and Little Neck Historical Society
David Goldstein, Zoning Chair, Bayside Hills Civic Association
Sunny Hahn, Flushing activist/formerly of the New York City Commission on Human Rights.
Richard Hellenbrecht, President, Queens Civic Congress/Past Chair/Zoning Chair for CB13
Theodore Hinz, Trustee, Bayside Historical Society
David Kulick, President, Flushing on the Hill Civic Association/VP Queens Civic Congress
Denise Johnson, Vice President for Education, Bayside Historical Society
Bright Limm, Queens-wide activist within the Korean-American community
Carol Marian, Past President and Current Treasurer, Bayside Historical Society
Maryann Marinello, Trustee, Bayside Historical Society
Janet McEneaney, Past President, Northwest Bayside Civic Assocation/Founder, Queens Quiet Skies/Member, CB11
Donald McLoughlin, Past President, Bayside Gables Homeowners Association
Alison McKay, Director, Bayside Historical Society
Thomas McNamara, Board Member, Northeast Flushing Civic Association
Michael O'Keeffe, President, Creedmoor Civic Association
Peg Riconda, Trustee, Bayside Historical Society
Ik Hwan Rim, President, Union Street Merchants Association
Gregory Ronan, President/Water Committee Chair for the Douglas Manor Association
Andrew Rothman, Co-Chair, Aviation Committee, CB11
Jerry Rotondi, President, Committee to Save the RKO Keith's Theatre of Flushing, Inc./Co-Founder, Fort Totten Conservancy
Bambi Schimmel, Board Member, Northeast Flushing Civic Association
George Schmidt, Shore Road Committee Chair for the Douglas Manor Association
Warren Schreiber, President, Bay Terrace Community Alliance/Member, Save Flushing Meadows-Corona Park/Member, CB7
Wilhelm Sievers, Trustee, Douglaston and Little Neck Historical Society
Frank Toner, President, Rocky Hill Civic Association
Christina Wilkinson*, President, Newtown Historical Society/Member, Save Flushing Meadows-Corona Park
Alexandra Parsons Wolfe, Preservation Director, Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities
Kevin Wolfe, Co-Founder and Past President, Douglaston and Little Neck Historical Society/Past VP, Historic Districts Council
All underlined names reside and are leaders within the 19th Council District.
* These supporters are also official volunteer staff for Graziano's campaign.
**These supporters are Presidents, Past-Presidents, Officers and/or Board Members of a homeowners association in the North Flushing area that explicitly prohibits endorsements of political candidates or reference to the association.
"As far as I'm concerned, Councilman Halloran's decision to not seek re-election is an appropriate end to an inappropriate career in politics. Unfortunately, many elected officials break promises and the public trust with their constituents; Councilman Halloran's bad behavior goes much, much deeper and has affected not only the ability of his Council office to function in responding to the 19th District's needs, but also the other actions that he has taken during his tenure in office that have frankly been hostile to our neighborhoods.
I can't say that I'm surprised or upset with Dan's decision, as both a resident of the 19th Council District as well as a candidate for City Council. This is clearly not the end of all of this insanity and there may be more collateral damage that will affect other potential candidates along the way." - Paul Graziano
Sunday, April 21st, Paul spoke at a rally sponsored by State Senator Tony Avella, NYC Park Advocates and Queens Civic Congress against the proposed expansion of the USTA National Tennis Center. Paul is a founding member of the Save Flushing Meadows-Corona Park Coalition, which is against commercial development inside the park. Read Paul's testimony against the project here:
Paul Graziano, Democratic candidate for New York City Council District 19, kicked off his grassroots campaign on Saturday, March 23rd at the edge of Bowne Park, surrounded by his parents, who were also celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary; his fiancé, Elzbieta, and her two children; lifelong neighborhood friends; and leaders and representatives from civic and homeowners associations from the 19th Council District and beyond.
The candidate invited local civic leaders to speak first, all of whom personally endorsed Paul in his quest for the 19th Council seat.
Local civic leader Mel Siegel said, “We’re here to support Paul in his race for the City Council. Nobody has done more to help preserve and protect this neighborhood than Paul and we’re delighted that he’s running and he has our full support.”
“One of the reasons why we support Paul is because what is most important to him is preserving our neighborhoods and making sure that builders don’t go ruining good houses and destroying the property around here,” said Peter Brancazio, President of the Northeast Flushing Civic Association. “He’s a community activist and that’s what we need in this position.”
Joe Amoroso, Zoning Chair of the Kissena Park Civic Association said, “I’m happy for the people that live in his district, but I’m not in his district and that makes me unhappy. He’s not just out for his own community; he’s trying to help everybody in all the communities in Queens. And as a City Council member, he’d be able to do that not just for here, but for everyone.”
Henry Euler, 1st Vice-President of the Auburndale Improvement Association stated, “I am endorsing Paul Graziano for the City Council in the Democratic Party. I know most of the other candidates running and it’s very clear to me that Paul is the one that has done the most for our community.“
Jim Colasante, President of the Bayside Gables Homeowners Association said, “I can say wholeheartedly that we’ve worked hand-in-hand with Paul on the front lines in court as well as within the community. He’s done a lot to help preserve what we have in our community. I, myself, and a lot of our homeowners definitely will support Paul come the Fall.”
Bob Nobile, representing the Little Neck Pines Civic Association said, “Paul has been very instrumental in getting us rezoned along with Douglaston. He is very hands-on. He would be perfect to be a City Councilman. He’s not part of the political machine. Paul is an activist. He’s one of us and that’s what we want. We want someone to represent us and not their personal agenda.”
Members of Korean-Americans for Political Advancement (KAPA), the Bayside Hills Civic Association, the Bayside Historical Society and the Douglaston-Little Neck Historical Society as well as other residents of the 19th Council District were also in attendance to support Paul’s candidacy. Civic leaders Warren Schreiber (Bay Terrace Community Alliance), Sunny Hahn (a well-known Flushing activist) and several others from across the 19th Council District could not be at the kickoff due to conflicting schedules but wanted to make it a matter of public record that they had planned to be in attendance.
Paul Graziano then addressed the crowd. “My campaign is very simple: Protect your neighborhood. Do no harm. And what that means very simply, and I’ve mentioned that to a number of people…it’s hard for me to think about theoretical and esoteric problems when we’ve got problems at hand in the community,” he said.
On overdevelopment, Paul stated, “Right now there’s a big fight in Douglaston going on. We had a press conference there last week, where a 150-year old farmhouse is threatened with demolition or severe alteration because an area that should have been landmarked almost 20 years ago with the rest of Douglas Manor, has not been landmarked. These sound like almost trivial discussions to some people, but this is the bones. This is what it’s all about. It’s about protecting your neighborhood...[In this area] we’ve, along with the [Broadway-Flushing] Homeowners Association, put the neighborhood on the National and State Registers of Historic Places, 1330 buildings. We rezoned this area with the strictest zoning in New York City – the R1-2A and R2A zonings, which I helped to co-author several years ago - and it’s still not enough. It’s still not enough.”
On education, Paul said the following: “Parents are pulling their kids out of certain schools – some of the best schools in the borough and the city – because they are very unhappy with the direction that the Department of Education has gone. I think that the Department of Education should essentially be abolished. I was not a huge fan of the Board of Education, but at least the Board of Education gave local communities and local areas more of a say in what they needed to happen instead of a top-down decision-making process that has not benefitted anybody.”
The speech then turned to parkland. “Twenty percent of this city – 1/5 of this city – is parkland, and yet we see our parkland being abused. Abused, compromised, sold out. There’s a model being presented that’s trying to corporatize our parks. Does anybody here actually know how much the city spends on parks of the budget? It’s 1/3 of 1% of the budget for the entire City of New York, which is deplorable. It is a lack of responsibility and accountability from those people who run this government.“
Then he mentioned, “We have 100 acres of undeveloped land in the 19th Council District: Flushing Airport, the remaining parcels in Udall’s Cove which are still privately owned and can still be developed.”
In closing, Paul said, “Everything is local, but everything is also citywide. It’s also really important to make sure that we have an agenda that focuses on the needs of this community as well as, really, things that are crossing the entire city in importance. When we’re in a situation where I think every neighborhood feels embattled by the kinds of things that are happening, we have to stand up and do something about it.”
For a copy of the full press conference and transcript, go to http://www.paulgraziano.com/latest-news.html.
Democratic candidate for 19th New York City Council District