Jan. 20, 2021 By Christina Santucci
Former Council Member Elizabeth Crowley said Tuesday that she is thinking about making another bid for Queens Borough President.
“I feel like I have a lot to offer the borough in terms of what we have to do to get back on our feet,” she said. “I haven’t made the final decision yet, but it is something that I am strongly considering.”
Crowley, who represented Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Richmond Hill, Ridgewood, parts of Woodside and Woodhaven in the City Council from 2009 to 2017, lost to Queens Borough President Donovan Richards in a June 2020 Democratic primary for the seat.
She came in second in the five-person primary.
Richards then defeated Republican Joann Ariola in the November general election, to fill the remainder of former BP Melinda Katz’s term, which ends Dec. 31.
Crowley said that she would make a decision as to whether she would run prior to Feb. 23, when candidates are able to start collecting signatures to be on the ballot.
“We had a very dark year last year. Our city saw great divisions. We saw sickness, death, unemployment rates like never before,” she said. “Now there is so much more opportunity to move forward and out of this dark time.”
Crowley pointed to several pressing issues in the borough that are weighing on her decision.
“We have to put a plan together that is going to rebuild our economy, strengthen our schools and give good quality health care,” she said. “Those reasons are going into my thoughts right now. I want to make sure that we have our borough moving in the right direction.”
Crowley also cited confusion over the cancellation of a planned March special election for the borough presidency because of the pandemic and problems with absentee voting in June. Citywide, more than 81,000 votes were invalidated due to issues like ballots arriving late and not having a voter’s signature.
Crowley first spoke to the Queens Eagle early Tuesday about the race, hours after Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer announced his candidacy with a Youtube video.
“You get better candidates when you have more of a discussion about the issues. If there was no challenge, you won’t have people engaged,” she said.
The June primary for the borough president will be the first election for the seat using ranked choice voting, after it passed through a 2019 ballot measure.
Through this system, voters can rank up to five choices in order of preference. If no candidate earns more than 50 percent of voters’ first choice, then the person with the least amount of votes is eliminated, and that candidate’s tallies are redistributed to voters’ second choices. This process continues until one candidate earns at least 50 percent of the vote.
In June, Richards beat out other candidates with 36 percent of the vote – Crowley received 29 percent, Council Member Costa Constantinides got 18 percent, Anthony Miranda earned 12.5 percent and just under 5 percent went to Dao Yin, according to the New York City Board of Elections.
Some people just don’t want to face reality. It has been three years since the final report was released in December 2017 regarding the reintroduction of service on the old Long Island Rail road Lower Montauk branch. The project was always her number one transportation priority. This line ran from Jamaica to Long Island City with intermediate stops at Richmond Hill, Glendale, Fresh Pond, Haberman and Penny Bridge until 1998. Only former NYC Council member and once again Queens Borough President wanna-be Elizabeth Crowley refused to acknowledge that the cost for introduction of light rail on that corridor was the last stop for this project. The study results indicated that the anticipated cost grew by 2100% from $100 million to $2.2 billion! Support from public officials, transit agencies, transit advocates, commuters and taxpayers subsequently disappeared. Three years later, no one from City Hall, Albany or the MTA has offered any support or financial assistance to advance this project. Ditto for former Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and current Borough President Donovan Richards along with any member of the NYC Council, State Assembly, State Senate, Congress and United States Senate. Crowley promised several years ago that the line would “be completed quickly” and “Albany would approve the project” along with coming up with $2.2 billion. It was always wishful thinking. One wonders if Crowley continues to make promises which will never be fulfilled in our life time, what kind of Borough President she would make. Voters looking for realistic transportation improvements need to consider looking elsewhere for a better advocate as the next Queens Borough President. Having served as a NYC Councilmember from 2009 to 2017, perhaps she is just another career politician looking to get back on the public payroll..
(Larry Penner is a transportation advocate, historian and writer who previously worked for the Federal Transit Administration Region 2 New York Office. This included the development, review, approval and oversight for billions in capital projects and programs for the MTA, NYC Transit, Long Island and Metro North Rail Roads, MTA Bus, NYC Department of Transportation along with 30 other transit agencies in NY & NJ)..