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.