I usually write parody for the NYC Parent Blog, but this is not parody. I usually don’t make political endorsements on the blog, but this is a political endorsement. Why? Because so much hangs in the balance in NY State Senate District 11 (Northeast Queens), and Tony Avella warrants the support of parents, teachers, and anyone else who values public education in NY State.
Tony’s positions on education are long standing and unequivocal. He has been a fierce critic of Chancellor Klein’s and Mayor Bloomberg’s dictatorial control. He has called for the firing of the Chancellor, the hiring of a real educator for the position, and for the re-establishment true parent involvement in the schools.
Tony’s opponent, incumbent Senator Frank Padavan, was instrumental in the renewal of Mayoral control. And lest anyone wonder about Padavan’s relationship with the Mayor and Chancellor, during a hotly contested 2008 race, the DOE renamed the Glen Oaks school campus for Mr. Padavan – jumping the gun by a good number of years, judging by the Senator’s apparent good health, given that one is supposed to be deceased to have a school named after him.
I have dealt with Tony Avella, through my work, since he was elected to the City Council in 2001. I have had a number of conversations with him over the years about education, and have found him to be consistent and sincere in his support for parents and children, with a keen grasp of the issues.
But beyond that, I have found him to be that rare creature, an honest politician. One example: He declined to serve on the advisory board of the program I direct – not because there was anything wrong with doing so (other politicians serve on such boards), but because, since he obtained discretionary Council funding for the program, he wanted to avoid even the slightest hint of conflict of interest.
Tony is also that rare politician who actually takes the time to listen, and would never run out from our events after just a speech and a few minutes of shaking hands. I’ll never forget our annual barbecue, or our program’s gala anniversary dinner last year, when he and his wife hung out, schmoozing, enjoying the company and the entertainment, and comfortably fitting in like the members of the community that they are.
I urge everyone in Senate District 11 to get out and vote for Tony Avella on November 2. He will be a true friend in Albany.