Have you felt lately like you were conked on the head and awakened inside a nightmare? Or maybe that your house had been picked up by a cyclone and touched down in the Land of Odd? That's kind of what Queens feels like these days. All the characters are here – the witch, the coward, the heartless, the one without a brain. You name the freak, we have it representing us. The cast of characters:
City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito as The Wicked Witch
How Melissa Mark-Viverito assumed power in NYC is a bit of a mystery. She is not shy about letting the world know that her main concerns are the affairs of Puerto Rico. She refuses to say the Pledge of Allegiance, has lobbied to get a Puerto Rican national involved with terrorists that murdered NYPD officers released from prison, and she wants to help people who committed crimes after illegally entering this country avoid deportation. The good news is that she'll fly off on her broom December 31, 2017 as she is term limited.
The City Council as Flying Monkeys
The Wicked Witch's minions won't dare disobey her. The Progressives in particular on the City Council will be the first to vote in favor of things that are not really progressive at all. For example, the Zoning for Affordability will help wealthy developers and hurt the people who actually need affordable housing, but there is little doubt that it will be passed into law with flying colors by the Flying Monkeys. Hurting less wealthy people in outer boroughs who rely on their cars due to poor transportation options is also a hallmark of this bunch.
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz as Dorothy Gale
When Borough President Melinda Katz was Chair of the City Council's Land Use committee, she rejected several attempts to landmark important Queens buildings. She has adopted a more preservation minded attitude in recent months by allocating money for improvements to the NYS Pavilion. This is a good start, but several historic Queens properties remain undesignated and possibly in the path of demolition. Katz could become the heroine of this story by taking up the mantle of protecting Old St. James Parish Hall in Elmhurst and becoming involved with the new St. Saviour's reconstruction plan. There's no place like home, Melinda, so please protect it
Council Member Elizabeth Crowley as The Scarecrow
Elizabeth Crowley might have been a very effective council member ‒ if she only had a brain. There are countless reasons why she plays the role of the scarecrow, the most recent being her promotion of a completely infeasible light rail plan that would inundate Glendale with cars and would dump commuters off in LIC ‒ where they still would have to take a train to get to Manhattan. This plan would also eradicate job-producing manufacturing zones, which Crowley claims are underutilized and would be better repurposed as housing. Originally, she claimed a homeless shelter in Glendale would never happen. Now she publicly says she is opposed to the shelter, but privately she has been disparaging the group trying to stop it. She also removed from the community board an activist who spoke out against it. These haven't been very smart moves, but this is what happens when your head is full of straw.
Congress Member Joe Crowley as The Tin Man
If Joe Crowley only had a heart, he'd stop foisting do-nothing representatives upon us. Crowley is the head of the Queens Democratic Machine, which has produced such luminaries as Assembly Member Marge Markey, Council Member Elizabeth Crowley and a legion of former representatives turned jailbirds, such as Shirley Huntley, Malcolm Smith and William Scarborough. Then there are the unopposed races for judicial seats, which see Crowley's handpicked candidates also run on other party lines, crowding out any and all competition. If he didn't have a tin ear (and didn't live in Virginia) perhaps he also would have done something about the unnecessary noise emanating from the concrete roadbed of the Long Island Expressway when he represented Elmhurst and Maspeth.
Mayor Bill DeBlasio as The Cowardly Lion
The accidental mayor could be king of our asphalt jungle ...if he only had the nerve. But I'm afraid there's no denyin' that he's just a dandylion. He jets off to other cities and foreign countries because he'd rather be talking about himself there than fulfilling his duties at home. Here is the mayor of the most diverse city in the world ‒ who invited a race baiter to his inner circle. He is not a leader, but a follower afraid to answer questions from the press as well as constituents at town hall meetings who haven't first been vetted. If he ever showed up at a JPCA meeting, he might very well run down the hallway and jump through a closed window after being posed the first question.
Al Sharpton as The Wizard
By far, the biggest phony in our Emerald City is Al Sharpton. Here is a self- proclaimed reverend that never attended divinity school and does nothing but fuel racial tensions instead of attempting to heal them. The man who orchestrated the Tawana Brawley circus decades ago is basically now the mayor's right hand man. Only in the Land of Odd could someone like this be influencing city policy. Bill de Blasio should pay no attention to the man behind the curtain and neither should the press.
Unfortunately, we voters can't click our heels together three times and be brought back to a better time. The Land of Odd is now our reality and our first chance at getting back over the rainbow won't come until Election Day, 2017. Until then, we'll continue our long slog down the yellow brick road with this unsavory cast of characters.
Having said all that, does anyone have a bucket of water?