Conigliaro aims to be voice for all in City Council
by Michael Perlman
Dec 29, 2020 | 2185 views | 0 0 comments | 105 105 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Rego Park resident Michael Conigliaro hopes to fill the seat being vacated by Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz next year, bringing a hands-on and proactive approach built on transparency and communication to the office.

Conigliaro was raised in Kew Gardens and graduated from Richmond Hill High School.

“This is my home and where I grew up,” he said. “It’s culturally and demographically diverse, historical, aesthetically pleasing, and has mom-and-pop shops. District 29 is a perfect example of what Queens offers.”

Conigliaro, 51, is an attorney office manager at a successful real estate law firm, a lector at Our Lady of Mercy Church in Forest Hills, co-founder of the Forest Hills & Rego Park Graffiti Cleanup Initiative, and a member of Knights of Columbus Msgr. Sherman Council 5103 in Glendale.

He is running on the Republican line, but plans to work with everyone.

“I will be able to look past petty political differences and work with people across the aisle,” he said. “A person can pursue this only if they have respect and treat each other not as politicians, but as fellow Americans and New York City residents.”

Conigliaro’s values from early in life will influence his leadership.

“My father Sebastiano says ‘be a leader and not a follower, have compassion for others, and there’s always two sides to a story,’” he said.

One of his goals is to help the community cope with the pandemic and emerge stronger than before.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our district and their business is their livelihood,” Conigliaro said. “I would create legislation that would even the playing field with respect to moratoriums on commercial and residential evictions and a pause on real estate tax, water, and mortgage payments.”

Conigliaro said he will be a strong advocate for the NYPD and public safety. He does not support opening a new jail in Kew Gardens.

“Instead of bail reform and harsh budget cuts and cries for defunding, we should honor, respect, and work with our heroic members of the NYPD,” he said. “The current climate against them will not be tolerated if I am elected. I will do what it takes to support the 112th and 102nd Precincts and spread my sentiments citywide.”

Being a community watchdog and a good neighbor is essential, according to Conigliaro. In October, he took note of a sinkhole on 108th Street and alerted city agencies. Within days, it was repaired.

“Throughout the district, I noticed grave signs of neglect such as an increase of graffiti due to the mayor’s suspension of the Graffiti Free NYC program, which is why I co-founded the Forest Hills & Rego Park Graffiti Cleanup Initiative,” he said. “We recently had two very successful cleanups.”

Walking along Queens Boulevard, he notices weeds, trash, and empty tree pits.

“Queens Boulevard is unsightly and needs an aesthetic makeover,” Conigliaro said. “Let’s plant more trees and take suggestions from residents.”

Conigliaro opposes overdevelopment and supports historic preservation, and is active in an effort to restore the abandoned Tea Garden behind Jade Eatery

“Overdevelopment detracts from the character of our district by displacing small business, is not aesthetically pleasing, and often sacrifices historic buildings,” he said. “We will advocate for the creation of Community Advisement Landmarking Meetings and push for legislation to grant residents more control.”

Conigliaro wants to leave a lasting impression on his two daughters.

“When they get older, they can say that they were proud how their father worked day and night to enhance and maintain stability within our district and realize how I prevented people’s lives from being manipulated by a one-track, self-centered ideology of some other city officials and never looked for a proverbial pat on the back,” he said.

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