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Vallone retains City Council seat

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City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) fended off Green Party candidate Lynne Serpe and Populist Jerry Kann Tuesday to retain his seat for a third term.

Vallone, the son of former Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr., took a total of 74 percent of the vote, while Serpe garnered 23 percent and Kann took 2 percent.

“I’m very honored and privileged to have another four years,” Vallone said. “I’ll continue to focus on making our streets safer and cleaner while continuing to improve the schools in our community.”

In addition, Democrat Jimmy Van Bramer defeated Republican Angelo Maragos, a 24-year-old analyst at Credit Suisse, in the race to replace Councilman Eric Gioia (D-Sunnyside). Van Bramer took 70 percent of the vote, while Maragos received 23 percent and Deirdre Feerick, a Democrat who ran on the Independent line, took 5 percent.

Vallone was first elected to the Council in 2001 and had planned to run this year in the borough president’s race. But he decided to seek a third term rather challenge Borough President Helen Marshall after the Council voted to extend term limits.

During his campaign and his past eight years in office, Vallone has emphasized reducing crime rates and battling graffiti as well as improving district schools and environmental issues. The councilman, who acts as the Council Public Safety Committee chairman, has been a staunch opponent of graffiti in western Queens, passing laws that ban etching acid and increasing penalties against vandals.

Serpe, a community liaison for Long Island City nonprofit Community Environmental Center, put environmental issues at the forefront of her campaign, such as fighting the construction of power plants in Astoria and extending bicycle paths through the district.

But she also called for more affordable housing in the planned rezoning of Astoria and said the borough should have seven-day library service.

Kann, who challenged Vallone in 2001 and 2005 on the Green Party line but ran as a Populist this year, focused much of his third campaign on a proposal to raise income taxes on city residents earning more than $500,000 per year to pay for city services that have been neglected during the economic downturn. But he also called for additional youth centers in western Queens and proposed the creation of a teacher’s commission that would make decisions on city education.

The district covers Astoria and Rikers Island as well as sections of Long Island City and Jackson Heights.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at nduke@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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