Dishing with Dee: Bloomberg visits Whitestone to make Vallone endorsement

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The big Queens political news this week was the visit of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, complete with his entourage, to Francis Louis Boulevard and 25th Avenue in Whitestone. The reason for the mayor’s Friday visit was to stop by Paul Vallone’s campaign headquarters.

First, they all dropped in at PC Pizza Classica, a few doors away from Paul’s campaign office, as it was lunchtime and everyone was hungry. The mayor told the restaurant’s owners, Leo and Dennis, the pizza was great and the mayor ought to know, having been provided with pizza all over the city for the past eight years.

Despite the fact it was around noon on a Friday, a regular workday, the attendance was quite impressive.

After the pizza stop, everyone moved down the street to Paul’s office for a press conference. The reason for the conference, of course, was Mayor Mike’s official endorsement of Paul as his candidate of choice for City Councilman Tony Avella’s seat, which covers Bayside, College Point, Auburndale, Beechhurst, Whitestone, Bay Terrace, Robinwood and parts of Flushing, Douglaston and Little Neck.

The Friends of Paul Vallone volunteers garnered more than 5,000 signatures on the petition drive to get Paul’s name on the ballot for the Sept. 15 Democratic primary. Vallone and crew are proud of the overwhelming community support for him. It does seem to be a heads-up for him, as there are also six other candidates all with their own following running in the same race.

How does this turn of events affect the race itselfi This endorsement certainly puts Vallone several furlongs ahead of the pack in the race, but remember, this is only the morning line. Will Vallone be able to sustain to the finish linei

In April, I knew something was up at the GOP’s gala at the Reception House in Flushing. While I was photographing the event, I asked Mayor Mike if I could take a picture of him with Dan Halloran, the Queens GOP candidate for Avella’s seat. The mayor graciously acquiesced, after which I commented that Halloran was one of my favorite candidates for Avella’s seat.

After that statement, the mayor stopped dead in his tracks, his eyebrows flew up in the air and he stopped talking in the middle of a sentence. The mayor should not consider playing high-stakes poker. His facial expressions are a dead giveaway. For me, that was an “uh-oh” moment. The indication was a decision had already been made or was close to being made and the GOP’s choice was not it.

If you think about it, it makes perfect sense, as the Queens GOP was the last in line to come on board to support the mayor’s bid for a third term, and as everyone interested in politics knows, payback is a bitch. It was logical to assume, since the Republicans made it possible for the mayor to run for a third term on the Republican line, he in turn would support their candidate. But in this case, it’s just not so.

The mayor gave as his reason for the endorsement of Vallone that it’s his belief Paul will carry on his family’s three generations of community service. His grandfather, Charles, was a judge — in fact, an Astoria school is named after him. His father, Peter Sr., was the former Council speaker for many years and his brother, Peter Jr., has been a councilman for the past eight years, representing the Astoria area. The mayor believes that together, he and Paul can continue to work to make the safest big city in America even safer.

Politics is such a fascinating game. It’s like hanging out with a bunch of master chess players and keeps you speculating on what their next moves will be. In any event, it’s a long time between now and November so anything can happen, either good or bad. At the moment, however, it would seem Vallone would be the majority of the handicapper’s choice.

That’s it for this week.

I look forward to hearing from you with information on people, parties and politics or gossip.

I like to receive your voice mails at 718-767-6484, faxes at 718-746-0066 and e-mails at deerrichard@aol.com.

Don’t forget to check out the Focus on Queens page.

Till next week, Dee.

Posted 6:35 pm, October 10, 2011
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