Peter Vallone Jr., the frontrunner in the Queens Borough President’s race this fall, met last week with the editorial board of The Jewish Press at the newspaper’s Boro Park office. Vallone, a city councilman representing Astoria, Queens, touted his strong backgrounds in both public safety and running a small business, as well as his being a longtime supporter of Israel and of more funding and benefits for private schools.
Vallone worked at the Manhattan District Attorney’s office and ran his family’s law firm before becoming a city councilman in 2002.
During the meeting, Vallone stated how he has chaired the City Council’s Public Safety Committee for the past 11 years. “Public safety is my number one priority,” he said. “Without safe streets, we can’t have anything else we want to have in New York. I’ve worked closely with Ray Kelly. And I’m the only candidate with safety experience.”
He also said that he’s been one of the few councilmen supporting stop and frisk. “I have stood up for stop and frisk. We must do it to keep the city safe, but we must reform it,” he said. “Do it legally, courteously, but aggressively.”
He said that he has done more to reform the practice than most. One example he cited is helping to end the practice of the city holding on to the record of every stop and frisk. He’s also pushing for officers to explain to individuals why they’re being stopped, which he feels would help ease the tensions around stop and frisk.
“We have the best-trained police force in the world. We have a majority minority police force – probably the only one in the country.”
As public safety chair he’s also written laws against profiling and in favor of a waiting period for guns – outlawing the purchase of more than one gun in 90 days.
“I am a conservative Democrat, one of the few left in the city.”
He also said that his faith as a devout Catholic gives him a personal awareness of faith issues for people of all faiths.
“I’ve been working for five years to pass a bill for public funds for security for private schools and I support charter shools and tuition credits.”
He added, “I am also a big supporter of Israel. I take a back seat to nobody in my support of Israel. I’ve been to Israel three times.”