By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Lots of people have to-do lists. It’s a way of organizing tasks into manageable chunks. There’s also a sense of accomplishment as each task is completed, turning a to-do item into a done deal.
John Quaglione has a to-do list, but his isn’t filled with jobs like taking out the trash or painting the kitchen.
Quaglione, the Republican-Conservative candidate for City Council in the 43rd District (Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst), has written a to-do list containing 39 ways to improve the quality of life in the district.
“These are issues we believe have not been addressed,” Quaglione, 34, told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle during an interview at his campaign headquarters on 13th Avenue in Dyker Heights on Oct.17. Compiling the list “is a way to roll up our sleeves and get to work from day one,” Quaglione said.
Quaglione, a Republican-Conservative, is running against Democratic Vincent Gentile, who has served as the councilman for 10 years. Quaglione, who is state Sen. Marty Golden’s deputy chief of staff, is a first time candidate.
Given the power of incumbency, as well as the fact that Gentile, 54, enjoys enormous name recognition in the district, Quaglione is facing an uphill battle, according to most political observers in Brooklyn.
His to-do list is part of his attempt to think outside the box stand out against his better financed opponent.
The list includes getting the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to bring back weekend service on the X28 express bus service between Bensonhurst and midtown Manhattan, conducting graffiti removal events on a regular basis, getting a traffic light installed on Fort Hamilton Parkway and 100th Street (outside the Fort Hamilton Senior Citizens Center), replacing the “Welcome to Bay Ridge” sign on Third Avenue and 67th Street, installing “no Honking” signs on 14th Avenue and 86th Street, posting crossing guards outside middle schools (only elementary schools have them), improving the deteriorating conditions in the dog runs in Dyker Park and Owl’s Head Park and posting “clean up after your dog” signs.
“Restoring a graffiti removal program is important. We used to have one. We don’t anymore,” Quaglione said. “It affects the quality of life. People get a different feeling about the community they live in. When criminals see they can get away with things like graffiti, before you know it you have drug dealing on the corner and car break-ins. We need to get this community back under control,” he said.
He feels passionately about every item on the list, he said. “The seniors at the Fort Hamilton Center have been asking for a traffic light for a long time,” Quaglione said. “Restoring the Bay Ridge sign on 67th Street is a good way of creating pride in the community. The sign disappeared and no one said anything,” he said.
Quaglione said the to-do list was created with input from voters. “I came up with most of them myself. But people have been emailing me with suggestions,’ he said.
“John has a great list of ideas and initiatives,” said Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-C-Bay Ridge-Staten Island), who has endorsed him in the council race.
“The council is the most local form of government you have. It’s getting trash picked up, getting street lights, and getting stop signs. John cares about this community. He is focused on the needs of the district. He is running for the right reasons. He has a baby girl who is going to grow up in this community,” she said. Quaglione and his wife Kerry, assistant principal at PS 127 in Bay Ridge, have a two-year-old daughter Natalie.
“He’s offering fresh ideas and a new perspective. He will bring fresh ideas to the council,” Malliotakis said.