John Quaglione is regular face around southern Brooklyn. As an aide to Councilman and later state Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge), Quaglione has heard — and tried to answer — the concerns and complaints of hundreds of thousands of constituents for over 15 years. And as a Bay Ridge native, he says his home neighborhood — along with Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, and Bath Beach — deserves better representation in City Hall than Councilman Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge). Quaglione talked to us about why Gentile has to go, and why he’s the man to give the two-term councilman the boot.
Will Bredderman: So why shouldn’t Councilman Gentile be re-elected?
John Quaglione: Well, he voted against extending term limits, so how can he justify running for a third term? But the overriding issue is quality of life. The garbage pails are always full on the commercial avenues, the avenues are filthy, and that’s unfriendly to business. These stores are hanging on by their fingernails. And you can’t even pull over without the possibility of getting a ticket in this neighborhood. People go to the bagel store on Sunday mornings and they’re fighting with the traffic agents. And that’s bad for business. Nobody wants a $115 bagel. I got an example where a hearse got a ticket because they were in a No Standing zone in front of a funeral home.
WB: Sure, but how is that Gentile’s fault?
JQ: That’s the job of the councilman, to be that most local level of representation. You have to be out there with the regular people. When was the last time he held a town hall meeting? It was a couple years ago, at Our Lady of Angels, I was at it. You’ve got to get the small business commissioner in here to talk to the small business owners. You have to bring in the traffic commander of the neighborhood and take him on a tour, show him where the schools are, show where there needs to be a little leniency. The residential garbage that people put in those garbage pails is illegal, has there been a campaign to eliminate that? No. Has he mobilized people to go to city hall and go and protest the water bills going up? No. The buses along Third Avenue were cut, the R train is slow, so let’s get people organized and go protest in front of the Metropolitan Transit Authority. Elected officials do that all over the city, but not here. Senator Golden, when he was in the council, he funded an afternoon garbage pick-up. That’s gone. There used to be park clean-ups, there used to be bus stop paintings and fire hydrant paintings. That builds community character, pride in where you live. And legislatively, the councilman is weak. He goes to bat for 59 community board chairs and their parking permits, when there’s so many other issues. It’s outlandish.
WB: So why are you the man for the job? Why not your Tea Party opponent, Andy Sullivan?
JQ: I know Andy Sullivan, and I’ve recently learned where he stands on the issues. But I believe that I have a good read of what the real issues are in the neighborhood. And I put my garbage out, I change diapers, I go food shopping. I have a house here and a kid. I’m an average person. And that’s what people are looking for.