Both are quality leaders with a proven track record of getting things done in elected office, have a real love and admiration for the borough of Queens and deep roots in public service.
Some people believe that ever since the Board of Estimate was eliminated in 1990 and the borough presidents lost the power to control hundreds of jobs, budgets and land use, that the office is a neutered post and a waste of taxpayer money.
But look at the job that Marty Markowitz has done in Brooklyn with his enthusiasm for the borough and his tireless promotion and message that Brooklyn isn't just an outer borough, it's the best borough. Over the years, the status of Brooklyn in the eyes of the rest of the nation and the world has risen immeasurably, and that is due in no small part to the work of Markowitz.
And the borough president does still get 5 percent of the annual budget to dole out as they see fit, so it's not necessarily as defunct an office as its reputation would have you believe.
Both Katz and Vallone have a unique set of skills and qualities that would make them excellent borough presidents. Katz has served in Borough Hall before under Claire Shulman, and her past experience as chair of the Land Use Committee in the City Council would serve her well in dealing with what is still one of the borough president's greatest responsibilities, and that involves working behind the scenes to bring about compromise.
Vallone, on the other hand, has been outspoken to say the least during his 12 years in the City Council. He's made issues like fighting graffiti and advocating for the police force - the type of quality-of-life issues that matter so much to the residents of Queens – a cornerstone of his political career. His priority has always been a safer Queens and a safer city.
He gets criticized for being too conservative on a number of issues, but you always know where he stands. If elected borough president, we have no doubt that Vallone will be that loud voice always advocating for the needs of the residents of Queens.
That is going to be essential with a new administration headed into City Hall. There are going to be new commissioners who might not understand the needs of Queens, as well as new budget priorities. Queens is going to need a vocal leader, and we think the best person for the job is Peter Vallone, Jr.
We weren't always sure that Vallone was completely sold on being the next borough president, but after several candid conversations with him, we believe that his heart is fully into this.
So on September 10, we say vote for Vallone.