Queens took it on the chin in 2012, but the future looks bright in 2013.
The first challenge is to rebuild the areas devastated by Hurricane Sandy. Some experts say it will take years to rebuild the Rockaways. In the meantime, Queens leaders must make certain that families who lost homes and people who lost businesses are not forgotten. Work has only begun.
That could be good. Queens has staggering unemployment and the rebuilding should create thousands of jobs. Young people will be given the chance to learn a trade as helpers for plumbers, electricians and carpenters and hopefully gain entry into unions. If federal aid comes through, Sandy could be a long-term boost to the borough economy.
This is also the year the city will elect a new mayor. For three terms Michael Bloomberg has applied his financial expertise and no nonsense approach to running the city. The billionaire went a bit far with his nanny state campaigns, but overall Queens and the other boroughs have thrived under his leadership in most areas.
We look forward to a new mayor who will keep Queens’ priorities near the top of the city’s to-do list. Already a half-dozen potential candidates have emerged. If nothing else, the campaign will be exciting.
Queens will also elect a new borough president, replacing Helen Marshall. The list of potential candidates includes state Sens. Tony Avella and Jose Peralta, Councilmen Leroy Comrie and Peter Vallone, former Councilwoman Melinda Katz and Deputy Borough President Barry Grodenchik.
The new Queens leadership should work with the new administration to reclaim the borough’s public schools. If schools have problems, work respectfully with teachers, principals and the union to fix them.
City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott is a son of Queens who cares about the city’s schools and its students. We’d like to see what he would do under a different mayor.
Our challenge and privilege for the coming year as your community newspaper is to continue to bring you news overlooked by the city’s dailies and give you the opportunity to express your opinions in letters.
We’re looking forward to the coming year.