Saturday, January 20, 2007

An Excellent Question!

From the Times Ledger:

What exactly do our Queens elected officials do?

After nearly a decade of living in Queens, first in Woodside, then in Astoria, I'm still unable to answer a basic question that is as much a moral one as it is political: What do Queens elected officials actually do?

When I first moved here in 1997, my name was removed from a civil service list because the city agency to which I had applied sent an important notice to an old address. I went to my Council member's office for help and got only a form letter. Nothing happened. I ended up losing the job opportunity. I also discovered that when it comes to public transportation, the "N" is continually rated as the worst in the city. Living here means an unbelievably long commute and it is clear that Queens's politicians have presided over this situation from time immemorial.

And then there was the blackout. For eight miserable days in the heat of summer, I and thousands of my fellow Queens residents went without power. Our elected officials jumped up and down and stamped their feet, but were unable to pressure the mayor to get Con Ed "on it" in time to save us the incredible hardship we all endured.

I am willing to accept that because the borough is the most diverse in the world, it's hard to get people united, or even to have an informed constituency. By implication, we may have to accept our relative powerlessness.

What I find so objectionable is that we are paying people to do nothing.

John Borrillo


Anonymous said...

Most City Councilmembers are lawyers and that occupation is already highly suspect! Their "city-jobs" as council members require them showing up only "part time". This leaves them more than ample time to work for developers , often as "secret lobbyists", helping to "grease through" their oversized projects. So, after a "hard day's work", how much time you think they've got left for the "little guy"? Just grab that jar of Vaseline and take your place in line! That's what you're gonna get from them! I hope you don't expect more.

Anonymous said...

If you think the N is bad. Just try a trip on the E anytime after midnight. You'll be on that train forever. And I do mean forever. If the LIRR can run on some sort of a timetable, why can't the subway? I already know the answer.

Anonymous said...

Well, I think that one of the reasons the machine likes a transient immigrant community is that immigrants are often not around long enough to put down roots (and vote), their diversity often a blessing, can also keep the community from getting together a consensus, and as a group struggling to get a hold in America, are often disengaged from public life (unless its a program 'put together' by a politician to 'tweed' them for support)

Anonymous said...

At this point, most people are aware that the explosive growth in illegal conversions in Astoria (perhaps the only place in the city where this is all but officially encouraged) was a significant factor, if not the primary factor, for contributing to the power emergency last summer.

What was even worse was the complete breakdown of the community leadership to respond to this emergency. With no feedback from the community board and any elected official Con Ed weas reduced to driving up and down the streets seeing who had juice and who did not.

For days, I remember on the radio hearing that only a few thousand had no power when walking down a street you could see that number on two or three blocks.

Are we to believe that the politicians (who seemed to find the radio mike to complain about Con Ed well into the crisis) could not provide a single shred of information to the authorities as it unfolded?

If true, then this is pathetic. This is criminal. But we are likely to never know this, will we?

Perhaps they were hiding out in a spider hole trying to think of the proper spin to put on their ineptness.

In this, they succeeded. Temporarily.

But you can’t stop people from exchanging notes with each other.

Anonymous said...

The odor of serious concerns for public safety in emergencies are beginning to drift over the neighborhood, unnoticed by the politicians for they are gleefully adding more the power grid by approving development.

The important thing in public life is to satisfy and redeem those IOUs from campaign contributors.

Of course, the public might have other ideas. Not to worry. The press, sweet on real estate ad revenue, will keep them in the harness.


Anonymous said...

Electrically speaking.........AS ASTORIA GETS MORE USE, THERE'S BOUND TO BE LESS JUICE!....... Keep those "illegal conversions" coming! Life's good for a rent-gouging small-time landlord! He sits in a coffee shop, maybe smoking a cigar while he's counting his loot. Hey,don't forget to declare your earnings to the IRS when that poor illegal immigrant renter pays you in cash at the end of the month because he can't open a checking account!