I am a life-long resident of Astoria, New York. It was a place I used to be proud to tell people I was from. Under your control, however, this neighborhood has been converted into a dirty, crowded and unhealthy place to live.
As residents of this neighborhood, we now deal with the worst of the city. First there is the huge Con Edison factory down by Astoria Park. Next there is LaGuardia airport, which riddles the air with both air and noise pollution. Then there's Riker's Island and the constant flow of traffic that results from having to transport both inmates and workers to and from the island. Lastly, we are forced to live with a water treatment plant that spews sewage into the air we breathe, creating a feces smell that can last for hours.
But on top of all this, an enormous smokestack appears one day on 37th street and 19th avenue. Did you think that we weren't going to notice a random power plant showing up in our neighborhood? Did you think we wouldn't discover that it was built outside the country and quickly assembled here so that no one could have the time to argue its arrival? Did you think that we would not realize that it only emits toxic air on cloudy days so that no one notices? This means that, all day and night, we get the privilege of listening to the rumbling of a smokestack whose purpose is unknown.
On top of all this, you are now allowing residents to build up to 6 stories high on residential blocks. The beautiful brick row houses that defined the neighborhood are being replaced by makeshift apartment buildings. And while the rest of the neighborhood hopes that the power doesn't go out for another 6 days in the middle of the summer, you're allowing absentee landlords to build more apartments and further drain the energy supply.
Your family has been leading Astoria for years and I am ashamed to have you as a leader. A few weeks ago when the smokestack emitted a deafening noise for forty minutes on a Saturday, where were you? I bet you were in a neighborhood that doesn't have the garbage that you and your family have allowed into Astoria. You just sit in your office on filthy 31st street doing nothing except dodge numerous phone calls from life-long residents.
You ought to be ashamed of yourself and what you and your family have done to a once beautiful neighborhood. Any resident with a shred of common sense is moving out and I think you can see the shift if you would open your eyes. Ask yourself what the neighborhood will be left with once these people are gone? You are slowly turning the area into a ghetto. I am spreading the word in the hopes that you will not be reelected simply because you show up to do nothing every day. Congratulations Vallone; you have done a wonderful job keeping your belly fat at the expense of the neighborhood. At least you're keeping the tradition alive.
- Grant Brandeis
The good news is that Vallone can't be re-elected to the Council. The bad news is that he's running for borough president, and apparently hopes to do for the rest of the borough all that he's done for Astoria. (Oh yeah, and his bro is running for Tony Avella's seat.)