Video: Tony Avella Talks Housing, Homelessness and His Bid for Mayor


NYS Senate

Sen. Tony Avella

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.

2 thoughts on “Video: Tony Avella Talks Housing, Homelessness and His Bid for Mayor

  1. Avella is questionable. Not hopeless, but definitely questionable.

    His caucusing with the NY State Republicans is an example of this.

    I understand it is strategic for some Democrats to do this, forming the IDC. Personally I believe that Senator Peralta’s heart was in the right place when he moved into the IDC. But Senator Avella seems far to comfortable on the other side of the aisle. And his stance on immigration is murky at best. When asked about immigration and NYC as a “sanctuary city,” his comment was:

    “Define for me what ‘sanctuary city’ means. I don’t think anybody knows what that definition is,” said Avella, referring to the popular phrase for cities that do not comply with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “When we have immigrants come to New York City, we welcome them. There’s no question that we love them. But we also have to recognize that we have a new president. Let’s see what he wants to do, and let’s see if we can work together. Because New York City cannot survive without federal and state funding. So we’ll—let’s wait and see what the new president decides to do.”


    Avella seems far too concerned with himself and not his constituents, which are far more diverse than he seems to recall. He often acts like the northern queens neighborhoods of Bayside and Whitestone are all that he represents, forgetting he only got his position because of a changed district which includes portions of southern queens in Jamaica. He needs to stop worrying about a self-serving, pointless run for mayor and figure out how to connect with his base before the Democrats run someone in the primaries against him.

    Avella is not a completely lost cause – but he is a guy who needs to be shook up and reminded who he actually represents.

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