Over the years, I taught a few students who were undocumented and couldn't get any financial aid other than the Vallone scholarship.
It was the difference between being able to pay for college or not being able to pay for it.
In the beginning, it was quite a generous award, although it got whittled down over the years.
And then Christine Quinn, pissed off at Peter Vallone Jr. for an alleged slight, killed the scholarship completely:
Queens City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr., three mayoral hopefuls and a host of council members banded together to slam Speaker Christine Quinn for cutting a scholarship named for Vallone's father in what they charge was an act of political retaliation.
The $6 million-a-year Vallone scholarship, which went to CUNY students who graduated from a public city high school, regardless of immigration status, was eliminated in 2011 -- the same year Vallone’s member item funding got slashed by 40% after he angered Quinn by speaking out against renaming the Queensboro Bridge for ex-Mayor Ed Koch.
The scholarship honored former Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr.; the current elected officials and candidates want it restored.
“It was a promise to our kids... that promise was then broken by the mayor and the speaker when they eliminated the scholarship,” the younger Vallone said. “If you don't believe this was retribution, then I have another bridge to sell you which you can rename."
The dispute over the scholarship provided an opportunity for Quinn’s rivals to pile on her for what they call her heavy-handed management of the Council, where political allies are rewarded and foes punished via the meting out of taxpayer cash.
“It isn’t about political disagreements; this is about providing for the future of our young people regardless of immigration status. The fact that this money was taken out, by and large by the speaker, in what was viewed as an act of political retaliation, is just wrong,” said former City Comptroller Bill Thompson.
"It is the misuse of office, the misuse of authority and it just should not be allowed. … Punishing our young people, punishing communities, taking money away from them because somebody didn’t toe the line, is wrong.”
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio said: “It’s classic Christine Quinn. She had a disagreement with a councilmember so she cut the funding, and didn’t think for a moment about what it meant for the young people involved. When I was in the Council, what we always felt about the Vallone scholarship was it was reaching a lot of young people who wouldn’t get a higher education without it...It needs to be honored and supported, not cut for political reasons.”
Lesser-known Democratic mayoral candidate Erick Salgado, five Council members, and a group of CUNY students also joined Vallone in calling for the funding to be restored.
Just another example of why Christine Quinn is unfit to be mayor.