By Kenneth Kowald
Anthony Weiner is out. We really never thought, given the last few polls, that he was in, but one never knows. Since he served a part of Queens in the U.S. House of Representatives, I guess we have to remember him, but let us get over it quickly. Anthony will capitalize on his return to public life — note I did not write “public service”). In any event, he is living in Manhattan and, if we are lucky, he will not be in Queens anytime soon.
Eliot Spitzer is out, for now. It looked for most of this campaign that, with his money and chutzpah, he would run roughshod over Scott Stringer. But he will have to seek his redemption elsewhere. I am sure he will manage. The family fortune, as far as I know, is still intact. I am sure Eliot has several places where he can sit and lick his wounds, but I think none are in Queens.
Vito Lopez is out. This disgraced politician, whom even his pals in the state Legislature rejected — and that is saying something — lost his bid to be a city councilman, with most of the district in Brooklyn and a small part in Ridgewood. I do not know whether Vito is seeking redemption, like Anthony and Eliot, but I he continues to live in Brooklyn, so we are spared his presence.
In any event, I do not intend to start or give money to any group trying to help Anthony, Eliot or Vito.. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they just went away — far away?
As for Queens, I hope whoever is the next borough president will take some lessons from Marty Markowitz, the outgoing Brooklyn borough president. I know many people in Brooklyn who could not stand Marty. He was too brash, maybe too “Brooklyn.” But he was a great advocate for his borough and, if you look back over his years in office — which I do from a distance — he did a great job. He helped put Brooklyn on the map.
I hope whoever succeeds him will not take down the “Leaving Brooklyn? Fuhgeddaboudit” sign on the Belt Parkway at the Queens border. It is priceless. Just change the names of the mayor and Brooklyn borough president.
What I think we need in Queens is a version of Marty which pushes Queens to the forefront of the city. We are the most diverse county in the United States. We have problems, of course, but we need a cheerleader, loud and clear. We need Council members and community boards to work together with the borough president to help fix problems, wherever and in whatever language they may be. We need good education, good jobs and safe schools, homes and streets. We need open spaces. We need affordable housing. We need a plan to protect our city against the effects of climate change.
Above all, we need courtesy in public discourse, which will help all people regardless of any differences we may have. Aren’t we all tired of the screamers and smearers? How about a little tenderness?
We are no longer the Forgotten Borough of my Elmhurst childhood. We are Queens!
And we are great, or we can be!
It needs work and, above all, is needs putting aside ego and useless rhetoric.
Read my blog No Holds Barred at timesledger.com.