Queens may be the most multifarious county in the world, but Auburndale attorney Dan Halloran would like to diversify the borough’s City Council delegation by becoming its second Republican.
Halloran, the only Republican in this fall’s race to replace Councilman Tony Avella (D−Bayside), said he decided to make his first run for public office when the Democrats won a majority in both of the state’s legislative bodies last fall.
“Our society was founded on the notion of a two−party system and democracy dictates that we hear from both sides,” he said. “I think I can honestly bring a voice of fiscal responsibility and integrity. I’m not a career politician — that is a big part of the equation. I’m not looking to be a permanent fixture on the political landscape or amass a war chest. I’m not part of the political machine and I think, in this day and age, that’s something to be proud of.”
Halloran is a partner at the Long Island law firm of Palmieri, Castiglione & Halloran and is chairman of the New York State Republican Liberty Caucus, which focuses on issues such as property rights and taxation.
His Democratic opponents in the race include Jerry Iannece, Debra Markell, Paul Vallone, Steve Behar and Tom Cooke. The seat covers Bayside, Auburndale, Little Neck, Douglaston, Whitestone, Oakland Gardens, College Point, Malba and East Flushing.
Avella, first elected in 2001, does not intend to seek a third term in the Council and is currently running in this fall’s mayoral race.
Halloran said the key issues on which his campaign would concentrate include lowering city taxes, rezoning communities to ensure that new developments stay in character with the neighborhoods in which they are built and improvements to district schools.
He said he was concerned that residents in the district might be forced to move to Long Island if city taxes continue to rise.
“Northeast Queens is one of the largest contributors to city taxes with its one− and two−family homes, small and large businesses and civil servants who commute to the city,” he said. “Small business owners are getting crushed with taxes. The city is going to choke the heart and soul of small businesses and drive them out of the city. The consequences are dire.”
Halloran, a member of the East Flushing and Bowne Park civic associations, said he also puts a high priority on zoning for the district that would not only protect communities from overdevelopment, but also be easier for borough residents to comprehend.
“We continue to make things more complicated and difficult for the common man to understand,” he said. “We have to make sure the community’s landscape looks the same, but we also need to simplify and streamline it.”
He has also proposed forcing city developers to post bonds on construction projects to compel them to comply with zoning laws.
“It would only cost developers if they cheated the system,” he said. “There are a number of multi−family dwellings and McMansions that are being built in the district without proper permits.”
Halloran has also proposed the creation of schools for immigrant students that would focus on English as a Second Language courses. New immigrants would attend the schools for a few years and then transfer to local schools under his proposal.
“We’ve had a huge influx of immigrants in Queens that has strained schools to provide education in multiple languages,” he said. “We have one of the best school districts in the city, but our resources are getting drained.”
Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e−mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 156.
©2009 Community News Group
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