Queens Sen. Tony Avella is running for mayor again, eight years after falling short in the 2009 primary against eventual Democratic nominee Bill Thompson. Back then, with Mike Bloomberg as the almost-sure-to-be-reelected incumbent, Avella aimed to give voice to a broad discontent with how the city was approaching housing and development. There’s a different mayor and a different housing plan now, but Avella’s critique is very much the same: communities need more consultation and existing neighborhood context needs more respect in the process.
Then as now, those propositions aren’t as simple as they sound. And Avella’s claim that there’s no discernible difference in how Bloomberg and Bill de Blasio approach these issues might be painting those mayors with a broad brush. But as as with our first guest on Stand Up Desk, the Bronx’s Fitzroy Christian, Avella reflects a major vein of concern about the city’s growth: that of low-density, suburban neighborhoods.