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Bayside’s Behar to run for Avella seat

The Brooklyn-born Behar, who has lived in Bayside since he was 6 years old, said his campaign is focused on core community issues, including good schools, secure jobs and a clean environment."If a community can provide good jobs and schools and a clean and safe environment, that takes care of 90 percent of the issues right there," said the candidate, who has so far raised $4,110 in funds, according to Campaign Finance Board filings.Behar, who filed for the City Council position in March, touts his experience as a lawyer, having served at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C., and as a senior attorney at a large Wall Street firm. He now operates a small Manhattan practice advising companies in corporate law.A graduate of PS 46, IS 74 and Cardozo High School, he also holds a bachelor's degree in economics and political science from SUNY-Albany, an MBA and law degree from Tulane University and a Master of Laws degree from Georgetown University.Like fellow Democratic candidate Jerry Iannece, Behar aimed considerable criticism at another party contender, Paul Vallone, who he said would undo Avella's efforts to check development in the district, which includes Bayside, Whitestone, College Point and Aurburndale and parts of Douglaston and Little Neck."The bulk of his money is coming from real estate developers and related interests," Behar said. He further asserted that Vallone "has no real ties to the area" and called the idea of a "Vallone empire" -- language used by the New York Observer to describe that candidacy - as "kind of frightening."Paul Vallone's brother, Peter Vallone Jr., is the sitting councilman for Astoria, and their father, Peter Vallone Sr., served as councilman there from 1974 to 2001.Behar, co-founder of Democracy for America and president of the Democrats for New Politics, both progressive Democratic groups with a local presence, said he has been endorsed by Avella, whose own mayoral candidacy he has worked on.Avella Monday confirmed the endorsement, although he expressed some surprise that Behar had gone public with it at this stage in the race.Along with development and schools, policing ranks as a top concern for the candidate. "We need more of a physical presence, more beat cops" in Bayside, he said, adding, "We don't have any kind of community relationship with the 111th Precinct."He also said the creation of a substation in Bay Terrace, if not another precinct altogether, should be looked into given the large land mass the Flushing-based 109th Precinct presides over.Behar said his roots in the area, combined with his experience as an attorney and small businessman, "have given me an understanding of how to get things done."Reach reporter M. Junaid Alam by e-mail at malam@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300 Ext 174.

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