Elizabeth Crowley: Lost in the City Council - JuniperCivic.com
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Originally published in the September 2013 Juniper Berry Magazine

Elizabeth Crowley: Lost in the City Council

If you want to check up on your City Council representative, look no further than the City Council's website. It will tell you all you need to know, if you are familiar with how to ‒ as Elizabeth Crowley's adviser, PBA President Pat Lynch, might say ‒ use it as a tool.

Let's use it to analyze the record of Ms. Crowley. A search of the council's site reveals that during the 5 years that she has been a member of the Council, 3 of her legislative introductions where she was the first primary sponsor (author of the bill) have been enacted into law. Let's review:

Intro 0947 is a local law introduced and enacted in 2009 that amended the administrative code in relation to unattended vehicles. The fine for leaving one's keys in the ignition of an idling vehicle was raised from $5 to $250. Unfortunately, this is only enforceable after the vehicle has been idling for a minimum of 3 minutes and it takes only seconds for a vehicle to be stolen and possibly used to commit a crime. The law is more symbolism than substance, since we don't have enough cops to ride around looking for idling vehicles.

Intro 0210 is a local law that was introduced and enacted in 2010. This law requires that anyone serving probation for any crime under Article 31 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law pay an administrative fee of 30 dollars per month to the New York City Department of Probation. Additionally, it levies a fee of between $50 and $500 from scrutinized parties to cover the costs of court-ordered investigations. The law provides for waivers of both fees based on financial circumstances.

Taking a closer look, we see that the law was introduced by Crowley by request of the Mayor which means that Mr. Bloomberg wanted the law passed, so Crowley introduced it under her name on his behalf, and didn't actually author it herself.

The final piece of adopted legislation written by Crowley was Intro 0498. This local law was introduced and enacted in 2011. The law requires that the commissioner of the Office of Emergency Management promulgate rules detailing the circumstances that will lead the office to consider requesting mutual aid assistance from the State and other jurisdictions during an emergency and details requirements that the commissioner must abide by to report aid requests to the Council and the Mayor.

Crowley has not introduced, as primary sponsor, any legislation that has become law since 2011.

She has only introduced, as primary sponsor, one piece of legislation during 2013.

To recap, she has had a grand total of 2 of her personally authored bills passed since she was elected 5 years ago, and has only introduced one piece of legislation this year.

What has she been doing for the past 5 years?

Well, let's see. One of Crowley's first actions was to pretend to be opposed to the construction of the Maspeth High School based on the fact that local children would not get enrollment priority. Since Crowley counts on the UFT to help her get elected, she couldn't actually oppose a new school outright, even though her constituents were not only concerned with enrollment issues, but also about increased traffic congestion, decreased road safety and the fact that the site would remain contaminated. So she made a deal with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn to go on record opposing the school, while Quinn encouraged the rest of the council members to vote in favor of it. When the Maspeth H.S. finally opened, students with excellent grades living blocks away received rejection letters, and kids from outside our community began to trek here on our overburdened bus lines.

Failed us on St. Saviour's and a park

Then, of course, there was the St. Saviour's debacle. That's a long sordid story which has been chronicled in past editions of the Juniper Berry, but the bottom line is that Crowley pulled a bait-and-switch on the Maspeth community by stating she was confident that the St. Saviour's site would become a park, then tried to substitute a much smaller plot of land owned by Martin Luther High School, whom she claimed was a willing seller. The school balked and refused to sell, and now Maspeth doesn't have a new park to boast of anywhere.

Failed congressional run

And let's not forget the item that took up most of Crowley's time: her failed run for Congress. Where does a political neophyte with no real record to stand on get the idea that she has what it takes to represent hundreds of thousands of Queens residents down in Washington? (Actually, I think I know where she got the inspiration...his name is Joe and he lives in Virginia.)

Angered her own party's leadershipso they took it out on the community

The result of this was alienation by Speaker of the City Council Christine Quinn ‒ who promptly cut Crowley's discretionary funding allocation even further than it had been previously cut, which hurt no one but the organizations that were counting on the funding and the people they serve. While it is reprehensible that there are unwritten rules that allow the Speaker to punish council members and their constituents in the form of withholding funding, the fact of the matter is that Crowley knowingly risked her funding not because she took a principled stand during a hearing on the floor of the City Council, but because she wanted to further her political career.

Protecting our neighborhood?

And finally, there's the proposed Cooper Avenue homeless shelter. Crowley knew about this a year ago. While she was busy collecting signatures against it, the proposal continued to move forward. A year has passed since the issue was first raised. During that time, a talented representative would have been able to broker an acceptable solution that protects the community. Instead, the owner of the site has reportedly refused to talk with her, probably because he knows that she has rendered herself persona non grata with the decision makers at City Hall.

8 more years of lame representation?

Despite all this, Crowley is still considered to be the favorite heading into the November election, due to the size of her campaign war chest, her union backing and the advantage of her incumbency. The scary thing is that if she does emerge victorious on Election Day, we could be subject to 8 more years of lame representation, because she is eligible to run for a 3rd term.

She was given 5 years to show us what she's made of and her job performance has failed to meet even the lowest of expectations. Therefore, she must be dismissed. On November 5th, let's prove to the world that the people of District 30 are neither brain dead nor gluttons for punishment. The future of our neighborhood depends upon it.

September 2013 Juniper Berry Magazine

September 2013 Table of Contents