With Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) finishing up his term, Danielle De Stefano, running on the Independence line and one of several candidates for District 22, said she’s the right person to take over.
“I have lived here my whole life and I know what works and what doesn’t,” she said in an email. “As a volunteer in this community for over 20 years I have a strong connection with the people who live here. I have worked with many of them. My family is rooted in this neighborhood. I have a vested interest in it because I live here, my parents live here, my in-laws live here and I am raising my three children here.”
While many of the candidates have touted their hometown roots as a reason to vote for them, De Stefano said it is her involvement that provides insight into Astoria and surrounding neighborhoods.
“I have spent over 20 years dedicating my time to the youth of Astoria, LIC and Jackson Heights,” she wrote on her website. “I volunteer many hours every week, some weeks more than a full-time job would require. I have coached both girls and boys sports, including basketball, softball, cheerleading and, most notably, volleyball.”
But there is more to De Stefano than sports. The mother of three has served a school leadership team and said she is committed to improving public safety in Astoria.
“Our local precinct is in desperate need of patrol cars,” she said. “There has been an increase in afterschool violence, stealing of personal property, and complaints about vandalism from school-age children on private property. Increasing police presence during dismissal times will serve as a preventative measure against these acts as well as further protect our children during the hours they tend to travel without adult supervision.”
De Stefano is also vocal on the possibility of using private companies to collect garbage on city streets.
“I agree that there is a major issue regarding sanitation, but I do not feel that it is necessary to start using private companies to do the work that [Department of Sanitation] currently does,” she said. “If there is money to spend on private companies, why not use that money to add an extra pickup day for DSNY?”
De Stefano is concerned about plans for the recently approved Hunters Point development.
“Revitalizing an area that needs improvements and resources is typically a great idea. In this case I am concerned that it will have a negative impact on the residents of Astoria Houses. If the project makes good on the promises made to make public parks, create local jobs, build supermarkets and schools, it should prove to be a positive for the residents of the area.”
She said she is also more interested in adding a bus route as opposed to the proposed ferry service to the area.
“Buses are more reliable than ferry service and less expensive,” De Stefano said. “The waterfront will have less land for recreational use, and I believe putting a ferry service will increase traffic congestion on 27th Avenue and have a negative impact on the community because of such traffic and it will exacerbate the current parking issues.”
De Stefano is running against Democratic candidate and front-runner Costa Constantanides, Green Party candidate Lynne Serpe and Republican Daniel Peterson.