By Paul Graziano
On Sept. 5th, 2017, a letter was released to the press and “signed” by 34 supporters of City Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) describing his opponent’s “hate-ridden mail that contained hostile words, repugnant lies and shameful attacks” against him. It also conveyed their opposition to “negative politicking that has poisoned us nationally and now tries to permeate the fabric of our local communities…we stand united against those who want to divide us with outlandish smears, heinous hate and ludicrous lies.”
Apparently, they are talking about several of my recent mailers which were sent to Democratic voters throughout our Council district. These self-described “community leaders” are either total hypocrites or have a remarkably short memory.
In 2013, Paul Vallone’s campaign was supported by the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), which represents the biggest developers and landlords in New York City. Under the “Jobs for New York” Political Action Committee (PAC), they spent more money on Vallone’s campaign – over $300,000 – than any other Council candidate, including vile and disgusting advertisements targeting myself and fellow candidates Austin Shafran and Chrissy Voskerichian with personal and untruthful attacks. In fact, it was so notable that it made the front page of the New York Times before Primary Day in 2013.
During that time, state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) hosted an extraordinary press conference with the four other candidates. This quote, in a TimesLedger article from Aug. 29, 2013, which covered the press conference, says it all: “People should run on their record. There is a line between attacking an opponent’s record and real negative mudslinging,” said Avella, who endorsed Graziano for the Council spot earlier this year. “This is one of the worst mudslinging campaigns I have seen in a long time.”
Vallone, who was asked by the senator to disavow and condemn the ads, instead doubled-down, stating “by law, candidates have no control over outside spending nor can they coordinate with expenditure efforts. … Those opponents of Paul Vallone who repeatedly lie about these facts continue to demonstrate they lack the honesty and integrity to represent northeast Queens in the City Council.”
This is what cowards do: Refuse to take responsibility for their actions or the bad behavior of their supporters and financial backers.
Paul Vallone is the originator of the “poison” and negative politicking in our Council District. It’s a valuable lesson that I learned in 2013, one which I made sure to remember this time around. And, these “community leaders” who signed this letter — where were they in 2013? They were mostly silent, with one Warren Schreiber — stating that I shouldn’t take it personally, as “it’s just politics.”
I not only take responsibility for the information that I have sent out to the public, I’m proud of it. I don’t need proxies and I’m not afraid to tell the truth — something which is long overdue in our Council District. Contrary to the ideas of certain politicians — including my opponent — we live in a fact-based world. All statements that I have made, both about myself and my opponent, are backed up with actual facts and references, plain and simple.
I am running for City Council on my 20-plus-year record of protecting our neighborhoods of northeast Queens from overdevelopment — including stopping Paul Vallone’s own actions against our community — among many other issues.
I invite the public to visit www.scrib
Finally, I look forward to seeing the voters of our Council District on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017, and beyond.
Democratic Candidate for City Council – 19th District