Press Finally Notices Tony Avella, Portrays Him as Madman


Councilmember and mayoral candidate Tony Avella is finally getting some press attention, albeit of the dismissive look-at-this-nut variety. “Mr. Avella knows where he wants to take the city,” says the Times, “and that place is back in time.” Ha! Look at the funny man, not marching bravely into our spaceship future! Get this: “He believes that the city has been sold off to developers, neighborhood by neighborhood.” Yeah, it’s a wonder they haven’t locked him up.

Some council colleagues call Avella “crazy” because “he is apparently the only one who has returned his parking placard,” which is totally nuts; also, “he often acts, they say, as if he is the smartest person in the room,” which, if you’ve looked at the city council, actually seems a reasonable assumption.

Colleague Simcha Felder tells the Times Avella “doesn’t seem to be able to distinguish when the idealism stops and the practical begins,” a problem Felder certainly doesn’t have. Spokespeople for the presumed winner of the Democratic nomination, Bill Thompson, merely say that they have lots of endorsements.

Even the more sympathetic Gotham Gazette says “Avella’s campaign headquarters is fitting” because it’s in a poor neighborhood and doesn’t have champagne fountains like Mayor Bloomberg’s. Like the Times, they get his fellow councilmembers to talk smack about him, and note that he was dissed by hipsters leaving the Bedford Avenue subway station, who “seemed far more interested in getting to the local watering hole than shaking Avella’s hand.” He does better among the Italians at the nearby Festa del Giglio, giving a political consultant a chance to say that “Avella might be able to win the votes of New Yorkers who, whether they want to admit it or not, would not vote for a black candidate, like Thompson.”

So it doesn’t matter that Avella has raised 5 percent of what Thompson’s raised and .007 percent of what Bloomberg has on hand — he’s got the power of the press behind him.