By Mark Hallum
Queens-based political organization Korean Americans for Political Advancement endorsed City Council candidate Paul Graziano Saturday in front of the Korean Community Center, formerly the Bayside Jewish Center.
The Democrat faces City Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) in the Sept. 12 primary for the second time. He was chosen for endorsement by KAPA after the group met with candidates within its coverage area and found Graziano preferable to his opponent for his expertise in land use laws and fighting against over-development.
“Paul Graziano is the clear choice to represent the people of the 19th Council District,” KAPA President Bright Limm said. “No one is more knowledgeable about the politics and policies that affect the people of this district, and no one has been a stronger champion for preserving what makes these communities so special. Graziano has consistently fought against voracious developers on behalf of small businesses, local churches, and community organizations providing essential services to our children and seniors, including Korean Community Services, Manna Presbyterian Church, and the Union Street business district. As a member of the Council, Graziano would bring his passion and his urban planning expertise to bear for the people of District 19 to oppose the moneyed special interests that are all-too-often empowered to marginalize community interests.”
Graziano, a northeast Queens native, land use expert and civic activist, is known for fighting against over-development by working with elected officials such as state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) to adjust zoning laws. Graziano is also responsible for having the Broadway-Flushing neighborhood — 1,330 buildings in total — added to the National Register of Historic Places.
“I want to thank KAPA for their endorsement of my candidacy for City Council in the 19th District,” Graziano said. “As the only Korean American organization in New York City that endorses candidates for elective office, it is an honor to have your support and stand with you today. I look forward to working with you during the next few weeks until primary day on Sept. 12 and the general election in November.”
Graziano went up against Vallone in 2013 during a five-way primary with no incumbent after Councilman Dan Halloran decided against running for re-election due to a corruption indictment.
KAPA specializes in finding political candidates whose agenda is in the best interests of the Asian communities in Queens. It offers endorsements, financial assistance to campaigns and influence over a network of registered voters.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall