Four contenders line up to take Vallone’s seat

Costa Constantinides (clockwise from top l.), Danielle De Stephano, Daniel Peterson and Lynne Serpe are all running for the seat currently occupied by Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. Photos courtesy candidate campaigns
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Most City Council incumbents in western Queens are running unopposed, but four hopefuls are vying for the seat of term-limited Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria).

The contenders include Democratic District Leader Costa Constantinides and Monsignor McClancy High School volleyball Coach Danielle De Stefano. who is a registered Independent Party member. Former New York Young Republican Club President Daniel Peterson is competing for the spot on the Republican ticket, while environmental activist Lynne Serpe is running as the Green Party candidate.

Constantinides lives in Astoria and is currently the deputy chief of staff to City Councilman James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows). The former president of the Queens Young Democrats hopes to reduce class sizes in public schools, increase teachers, police and firefighter ranks and expand health-care options in Astoria. He has raised nearly $120,000 for his run, according to the city Campaign Finance Board, and boasts endorsements from several large unions.

The Working Families Party, the New York Hotel & Motel Trades Council, 32BJ and the Communication Workers of America have all backed Constantinides.

De Stefano is a fourth-generation Astoria resident and mother of three who also sits on the Student Leadership Team Board of PS 234.

She is concerned about providing senior housing, public safety and reining in real estate taxes for middle class homeowners. She has raised $2,666, according to the board, meaning she has not yet qualified for the matching funds program.

For every dollar donated by a New York City resident, up to $175 per donor, the board chips in $6 in an effort to even the playing field and keep well-financed special interests from having a monetary influence in elections.

But candidates have to reach a minimum threshold to unlock the funds, and for Council candidates this year they must raise at least $5,000 from at least 75 contributors who live in the district, which covers Astoria and portions of Jackson Heights and East Elmhurst.

Peterson is a commercial lease administrator at a real estate company called Time Equities. So far the GOPer has raised about $2,700, making him currently ineligible for matching funds.

Peterson has nabbed several endorsements. The Queens County Republican Party, the Frank Kenna Republican Club of Astoria and the New York Young Republican Club have all backed his candidacy.

Peterson has said public safety would be a priority if he were elected, and that he would like to add some balance to the overwhelmingly Democratic makeup of the Council.

Serpe is the project consultant for the Greening Libraries Initiative at Queens Library and has worked as a community organizer for numerous nonprofit organizations. She hopes to discuss more open space, green jobs, and affordable housing on the campaign trail. She has raised only about $135, most of that a loan from her to the campaign, also making her ineligible for matching funds.

Council members Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights), Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst) and Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) are running unopposed.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4566.

Updated 9:56 am, June 4, 2013
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Reader feedback

E. Carter from Astoria says:
What this article fails to mention is that Serpe ran last time against Vallone and earned 24% of the vote. That is an amazing result for a first time candidate and a minor party candidate. She accomplished that against a well oiled Democratic Party machine. I think it is time for Astoria to finally say NO to the DP party bosses and support an independent voice in the city. After all, will it make much of a difference to have yet another Democrat on the City Council??
Costa is a great guy, but he will be reined in by the too powerful party bosses who have had too much control in New York politics. Let's show Astorias independence and support a real candidate that will speak for Astoria. I am supporting Serpe this time.
June 3, 2013, 8:49 am
Shafran from Bayside, NY says:
But Lynne Serpe is an idiot. Daniel Peterson is a great guy who actually cares about the community.
June 3, 2013, 11:30 am
E. Carter from Astoria says:
Lynne Serpe an idiot?? I am afraid Ms. Shafran you haven't a clue as to what you are talking about. I have heard her speak and she is quite brilliant, she does her research, and she is always active in the community. She has demonstrated through the years her commitment to Astoria.
You should stop name-calling other candidates as it makes your candidate loose credibility. Unless, that is how Peterson operates. If that is the case, he will NOT be a good representative for Astoria.
June 3, 2013, 12:48 pm
Patrick Langhenry from Sunnyside says:
Lynne Serpe, a graduate of Dartmouth and a sharp sense of politics, as well as what makes New York City work, is the perfect reformer. I envy your neighborhood, as Lynne will champion your community while bringing about smart city reforms.
June 3, 2013, 2:36 pm
Shafran from Bayside, NY says:
E Carter how do you know if I am a Mr or Ms what makes you assume that. Maybe you might be an idiot for making assumptions about my gender. Patrick someone who graduates Dartmouth does not imply that they will be a good politician. People who know and understand the community and needs of this community do not need to graduate Dartmouth. Your comment reminds me of people who are book smart but are not street smart and I feel this way of Lynne Serpe.
June 4, 2013, 4:39 am
Aaron from Astoria says:
Anyone who wants to make up their own mind about the difference between Serpe and Peterson simply has to go compare the ideas they chose to put on their own websited.

Serpe's site is here:
Peterson's is here:

Now, Shafran, who's ideas are idiotic? Oh, wait, Peterson doesn't HAVE any ideas.

Aug. 20, 2013, 2:52 pm

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