Today’s news:

Avella’s Last Hurrah - Maybe

On Dec. 31, City Councilman Tony Avella served his last day on the Council. Unlike his colleagues, he opted not to run for a third term. He would have won re-election, but was strongly opposed to the bill passed in early 2009 that allowed the mayor and other city officials to run for a third term.

Avella decided to run for mayor in the Democratic primary, where he was defeated by then-city Comptroller Bill Thompson.

Although we have had our differences with Avella, he has been a friend to TimesLedger Newspapers. We respect his integrity and commitment to the people he represented in northeast Queens.

It is difficult to imagine Avella not involved in city politics. His career began more than 20 years ago when he served as an aide to former Mayors Ed Koch and David Dinkins. He also served as chief of staff first to the late state Sen. Evan Stavisky and later to his wife, Sen. Toby Stavisky, before being elected to the Council.

Avella stood up for Queens’ residents who were offended by signs on Flushing businesses written only in Chinese characters. He also fought to prevent the destruction of city landmarks.

We doubt there are many, if any, Council members who worked harder or got more involved with issues important to Queens. We wish Avella well in what comes next. We suspect we have not heard the last of him.

Horse Poop

With the coming of the new year, new rules proposed by the city Health Department went into effect that are intended to protect city carriage horses.

One of these new rules requires that every horse get five weeks of vacation each year

What do horses do on vacation? Some two-legged workers do not get any vacation. In addition, there will be a no-smoking rule for drivers and passengers. Drivers will not be allowed to use cell phones, cameras or music players. And horses will not be allowed to work past 3 a.m. or when the temperature goes over 90 degrees or under 18 degrees.

Hopefully, drivers will still be allowed to provide commentary as they guide carriages through Central Park. Tourists will still be able to enjoy this only-in-New York experience. The bleeding hearts who sought to shut this industry down failed.

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