2013 ELECTIONS: District 19

Vallone, Saffran Differ On Zoning, Development

With a seat left open by embattled Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone), the race for Council District 19 is a competitive battle between two community members.

(L-R) Paul Vallone and Dennis Saffran

(L-R) Paul Vallone and Dennis Saffran

Democrat Paul Vallone and Republican Dennis Saffran are battling for the seat, with barbs being traded at debates and through the press. While the two candidates do agree on some policies, such as their support for Stop and Frisk and further funding for district schools, there are many differences in their viewpoints as well.

In terms of development, Vallone, the managing partner of his family law firm, believes that new structures must conform to the district’s low-density character. Vallone stood with community members against the School Construction Authority’s proposal to build a school at 150th Street and 5th Avenue.

He stands against over-regulation of businesses, particularly in terms of fines, and supports creating resources for small businesses, such as loan and start-up programs.

Vallone has been endorsed by the United Federation of Teachers, the Small Business Coalition, the Flushing Chinese Business Association, the Korean American Business Council and several police and firefighter unions.

Saffran has gained much experience as the Chief of the Appeals Bureau in the Office of Nassau County Attorney. He previously founded the New York office of the Center for the Community Interest, a public interest, anti-crime group.

Saffran supports downzoning and is against large commercial and residential properties. He protested a School Construction Authority proposal to build a school at 150th Street and 5th Avenue. He also plans to put forward legislation to ban sex offenders from living near schools, playgrounds or their own victims.

He would work to reduce corruption in government, wanting elected officials and candidates to disclose the actual amounts of their financial assets and interests. Democrat Paul Graziano, who in the Primary for the Council seat, crossed party lines to endorse Saffran over Vallone. He has also been endorsed by former State Sen. Frank Padavan.

- Joe Marvilli