We’ve been posting for quite some time about the sham candidacy of Austin Shafran, a candidate who has never been seen or heard from in District 19. For those of you who took it all with a grain of salt, things are finally getting real. We knew it was only a matter of time before community leaders like Ali Fadil would come forward. In his letter Fadil discusses an encounter with Austin Shafran regarding a critical district issue. Fadil was astonished with the lack of knowledge and dismissive attitude showed by the candidate, which is not surprising given his pedigree of tweeder jobs and absenteeism from community life.
Meanwhile, the New York Post exposed Shafran’s philandering, Queens-Politics highlighted his past as chief excuse maker for corrupt politicians and a dysfunctional government, and now the cat is out of the bag. These points are not really disputed by anyone in the district. Read his letter below:
I am Ali Fadil, a community organizer based in Northeast Queens and I am writing this letter to put my two cents in on how I feel about the Democratic primary race in the 19th council district, a Northeast Queens based district.
Austin Shafran is a candidate who I think feels that because of his connections; he can talk down to our community and not have to care about our community. I have experienced this from Shafran first hand when I approached him to discuss issues that face our express bus riders and made him aware of the various problems that we have with our express bus routes. The response that I received from Shafran was that transit priorities in the district should be focused on the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) because LIRR stations have parking lots where people can park their cars; not considering that parking can be difficult at the LIRR stations in the district that have parking lots available such as Bayside or Broadway and there are other LIRR stations such as Auburndale that do not have parking available. This is not considering the fact that the LIRR only goes to Penn Station and does not offer free transfers to buses and Subways once in Manhattan and one has to pay for parking at some of the LIRR stations in our area in addition to an LIRR ticket. Express buses have the benefit of offering more direct service to areas in Manhattan and Queens when compared to the LIRR and are also cheaper and offer transfers to the Subway, and local and express buses. Residents of neighborhoods in the 19th council district such as College Point want direct express bus service. When I tried to explain to him that his stance towards transit in the district is not necessarily the best one for this district, Shafran immediately excused himself from the conversation that I was having with him. This shows how Shafran is out of touch with the residents of the 19th council district as he is unable to relate to the needs of this district. Other civic leaders have also stated that he is someone who also has not been seen in the community until his candidacy and as a member of the Jefferson Democratic Club in Northeast Queens, I have not seen him attend meetings until his candidacy for the 19th council district.
Other candidates such as Paul Vallone have been very supportive to the needs of our community and our express bus riders. One of the issues with our express bus service that I have championed in the district is to get a Lower Manhattan express bus from Bayside, Whitestone, and North Flushing and Vallone has supported me on that issue from the very beginning and is very receptive to the needs of the community and the needs of this district’s express bus riders and unlike Shafran does not seem to be someone who would shaft his constituents as I have had his support on that issue before he declared his run for the City Council as a civic leader. Overall, I think that Vallone would be the best person to win the Democratic primary for the 19th council district because unlike candidates such as Shafran who feels that it is unnecessary to care about the community, Vallone is a civic leader who is in touch with our community and the needs of the community and would do his best to support the needs of our community and I feel that the Democratic Organization of Queens County made the right choice to endorse Vallone instead of Shafran (who was rumored to get County’s endorsement) for the 19th city council district Democratic Primary.