Every so often we spare at thought for Tony Avella, the Queens councilmember who fought the Bloomberg term limits scam as well as animal cruelty, and ran quixotically and contentiously for the Democratic mayoral nomination last year, saying things like, “I’m gonna say to the real estate industry, your days of controlling the agenda are up.” If he’d gotten the nod instead of Take-It-Easy Thompson, might his moxie have resonated with voters, despite the ceaseless jeering of the press?
When we talked to him on primary night, he said, “I hate politics. I absolutely do.” So we figured, since he was retiring from the council, maybe he’d join a think-thank or a public interest law firm or something.
But guess what? Avella’s back in the game. He’s going to challenge Frank Padavan for his state senate seat.
Avella says he learned on the council “how little power the city has and how much of the legislation I introduced was dependent on Albany,” and wants to go up there and make the proverbial difference. Also, “I want to make government more responsible and ethical.”
City Hall News portrays state senate candidate Avella as milder than the firebrand of yore, “the conciliatory and circumspect, the cautious and calculating politician,” but still gets people to suggest he’s loopy, including some understandably unidentified Queens Democrat who suggests Democrats are “a little afraid [Avella] could become Hiram Monserrate, without the girlfriend beating” — which is very odd, since Monserrate without the beating is a typical hack politician, which Avella hardly is.
Padavan, a senator since 1973, squeaked back into his seat in a tight 2008 election.