Sunday, August 30, 2009

Vote for Tony Avella on September 15!

Tony Avella works tirelessly for all New Yorkers. Do your neighbors know this? Do the small businesses in your area? The primary is fast approaching. Help us spread the word!

Viewing tip: To optimize your viewing experience, double-click on the video and view it in a larger format on YouTube.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Mayoral Candidate Tony Avella Fights to Release Warehoused Apartments

Councilmember Tony Avella, a Queens Democrat who is running for mayor of New York City, is working on a bill aimed at stopping landlords from keeping vacant property off the market. Read all about it.
Housing advocates and East Harlem residents rallied outside a vacant building on Madison Avenue to bring attention to warehoused property that could be used for housing.
Landlords "want to warehouse to [assemble] whole blocks for development," said Avella, a frequent critic of the real estate industry. "They don't want to be regulated. But they have to be, because if we're ever going to change the housing situation in this city, we have to regulate the real estate industry."

The legislation proposed by Avella would empower the the Department of Housing Preservation and Development to fine owners who keep buildings empty and would create a fund to "provide capital for the rehabilitation of distressed vacant units." Half of the rental homes that come on the market as a result of this legislation would be set aside for homeless people.

In 2006, Picture the Homeless together with Manhattan Borough Presient Scott Stringer conducted a survey of vacant propery in Manhattan. They found that 24,000 apartments could come out of the vacant buildings and lots that they canvassed, and this only covered Manhattan. The report noted that "highly visible clusters of boarded-up buildings in neighborhoods exist throughout the five boroughs." Picture the Homeless said that vacant property could house the entire homeless population of New York City.

Councilman Avella's bill has not yet been introduced in the City Council; it has encountered potential legal problems, according to Avella's legal staff. However, Avella plans to continue to work on the legislation and to introduce it as soon as possible to move the discussion forward.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Spin, baby, spin!

Or maybe that should be, "spend, baby, spend!" Michael Bloomberg's desperate attempt to become mayor-for-life has his staff on the defensive, defending his record-breaking campaign spending. He's burned through nearly $37 million to date this year, breaking all records for a city campaign and unprecedented even for Bloomberg. This is the guy who told us recently that an election can't be bought. He would do well to remember this in the race against Tony Avella and William Thompson.

Aides to Bloomberg are said to be worried that the sour economy could turn voters against him. A New York Times story on Bloomberg's campaign spending quotes Bloomberg aide Jill Hazelbaker as saying polls consistently have shown that voters are not concerned about his campaign spending, which already is four times more than he had spent at this point in 2001. Another Times story characterized as "a chink in the armor" Bloomberg's failure to win a recent sought-after endorsement. (We hear the mayor is stressed-out about this, but doesn't he know that money can't buy you love?) Ms. Hazelbaker also noted that Thompson had taken more than $100,000 in what she called “special interest money.”

Good news is that candidate Tony Avella is beholden to no special interest groups. This is a tenet of his campaign, and it is the way he has always served in his role as a City Councilman. He's a fighter for the people, our schools, our neighborhoods, and small businesses. It's about people, not money.

The AP's Sara Kugler reminds us of Bloomberg's own recent remark that "you can't buy an election" because the public is "much too smart for that." And word is that behind the scenes in the Bloomberg campaign, there is some hand-wringing about the way things are going (although the damage control experts spin things a little differently.) Not only is Bloomberg's spending obscene, but his advertising is exposed by blogger JD2718 as shameful--don't miss this one!

Bottom line on Bloomberg: the obscene spending is offensive. Even the Times now reports weekly that garish excess is out, thrift is in.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


from Tony Avella for Mayor 2009: "On July 2, the Working Families Party hosted a Mayoral Forum. When asked if his huge campaign spending was turning the election into an "uneven contest," Mayor Bloomberg responded by saying, "You can't have a totally 'fair,' 'equal' election." His implication was clear."

Click here to see the YouTube Video.

Bloomberg Watch is a new organization set up to challenge Bloomberg's attempt to buy New Yorkers' votes. Bloomberg is reported as having already spent almost $40,000,000.

Check out their new video on You Tube -

Mayor Bloomberg's Arrogance at Press Conference.

Donate to the Tony Avella for Mayor 2009 campaign. Please give Tony a fair chance. Click Here.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


At the Working Family Parties Forum for mayoral candidates on July 2, Councilmember Tony Avella was asked this question: "What is your plan to turnaround failing schools?"

Avella: “I am absolutely not a fan of charter schools and I never have been. The whole reason they came about is because the regular public schools were failing . . . Why did we come up with another system, why not fix the schools that are failing?"

Avella hit the nail on the head with this statement!

I am a teacher in the South Bronx. My school, Adlai E. Stevenson High School, which opened in 1970, closed on June 26, 2009. We were told four years ago that it would close. The last four years have been dreadful for everyone connected with "Stevo." We watched with horror as the beautiful, four-story school was systematically gutted and EIGHT "small" schools were installed, each with its own mission and theme. Shouldn't there be one mission for NYC's public school students? Now we have literally 100's of "missions" all over New York. These small schools also have their own administrative and teaching staffs, guidance counselors, secretaries, equipment, etc, even their own even colors and decor.

How are these schools doing? I haven't examined the statistics; I have only heard Bloomberg throwing them around and touting his success. But from what we teachers observed over the last four years, these "little" schools are not doing so well. I watched our outstanding and highly recognized English Department of almost 40 teachers dwindle as colleagues were hired by these eight schools, retired, or became ATR's (another topic).

I know one or more former Stevenson English teachers in most of the new small schools. NOT ONE of them believes that the education is better in the small school of which he or she is a staff member. There is MUCH MUCH more to be said on this topic.

Let it suffice for now to say that Tony Avella is smart enough to realize that with each large school we gut and replace with many small schools, at mind-boggling cost, we are throwing the baby out with the bath, and things are NOT better, despite all the statistics that Bloomberg throws at you, or whatever Chancellor Joel Klein says.

See Tony Avella speaking out about NYC's education system.

Friday, July 3, 2009

New Yorkers and Tony Avella Speak Out Against the Dangers of Hydraulic Fracturing

Concerned New Yorkers rallied on the steps of City Hall Wednesday calling attention to the dangers of hydraulic fracturing, the mining method proposed by several natural gas companies to extract underground natural gas deposits in Chenango, Tioga, and Chemung counties. With hydraulic fracturing, water, sand, and chemicals are pumped into horizontal well holes at a pressure 300 times greater than a garden hose. Gas seeps into the well when the surrounding rock cracks under the pressure. "Hydraulic fracturing injects toxic chemicals underground,” warned rally sponsors, Safe Water Movement (SwiM) in a press release. “Scientists examining the fluids have determined that they universally include extremely dangerous chemicals, some of which can cause severe health problems and irreversibly contaminate ground and surface water.” New York City mayoral candidate Tony Avella attended the rally and said he is introducing a resolution to the City Council that would ban hydrofracking because the current risks outweigh the gains. “Let’s come up with a better way to do this,” he said.


Check out the article in today's Daily News about the Working Party's forum for Mayor Bloomberg, Councilman Tony Avella, and Comptroller Bill Thompson entitled "Mayor Bloomberg Defends Massive Campaign Spending."

Bloomberg protested, "I made every dime that I have," to boos and hisses from the audience. This was Avella's first opportunity to launch a much-needed attack in Bloomberg's presence on the mayor's record and policies, avowing a huge change in City Hall tactics should he be elected mayor.

Avella avowed that Bloomberg allows big developers to trounce neighborhoods without listening to the very people who live there. " . . . it is all about money."

Avella said. "Money should not be moving the system. It should be the people of the city."