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MY PET PROJECT AS VICE PRESIDENT

As part of my campaign for the Vice Presidency, I actually did a small bit of work looking into what it is they actually do and to my relief it is just as I suspected: damned little. My kind of job, sort of like those no-show jobs where mobsters extort a construction company to get paychecks for some of their "associates" in exchange for not killing anybody involved in the construction project, only this one is legit. Not that the job of VP commands much more respect than Paulie Walnuts, but who cares about that? The Vice Presidency a desirable plum that comes with a mansion, a jet, bodyguards, a large staff, a great salary and a sweet pension for life for a job where you do next to nothing. What's not to love?

The Vice President's only meaningful duty is to be of President Pro-Tem of The Senate. It sounds important and like it's a real chore but it's not. He shows up for the opening session and maybe once in a blue thereafter to cast the deciding vote on issues where there is a 50-50 tie in the Senators' voting. Even that seemingly important task is a no-brainer since the VP casts the vote the way his boss, the actual President, wants him to. This way there's no tedious investment on the part of the Vice President in learning the issues and weighing the benefit or detriment to the nation of the piece of legislation in question. Busier minds than his have already made that decision, thank the lord.

But a lot of Vice presidents seem to have had a pet project they wanted to get done, more to give them something to do than anything else. It usually involves some money-wasting boondoggle that puts up a statue of Davey Crocket or the Wright Brothers in the main square of their home town even though those guys didn't come from that town, projects having nothing to do with running the country but giving them something to show for their four years of anonymity. Well, I didn't have any such project in mind, figuring I'll be content to explore the world on Uncle Sam's tab in Air force 2, but I wracked my brain anyway for something that would benefit only the people of my home town and would cost a whole lot of money for the people of the rest of the nation. That's the American way, you see.

We've got plenty enough statues here in Brooklyn and there's a whole lot of construction projects going on that need no help at all from any Vice President so I'm kind of stumped. Then I'm driving in gridlock traffic one day on our only highway and it hits me. Build another highway in Brooklyn! There's 3 million people here and what seems like 4 million cars but only one highway that skirts around the edge of Brooklyn. But in the spirit of the Vice Presidency, I don't want to initiate any major projects that would take anything resembling a monumental effort. Very unseemly for man in an honorary position who's already booked up visiting the French Riviera to study the impact of topless bathing on society, inspecting our nation's bourbon distilleries and judging beauty contests in Brazil. Then the ideal location strikes me, one that is already in existence and would require no tearing up of neighborhoods like all highway projects seem to do. It's practically
controversy-free,very Vice Presidential.

There's an abandoned railroad cutting through Brooklyn the runs from the Canarsie Wholesale Markets to our once-busy waterfront. It used to haul a ton of produce back and forth but has not been used in a couple of decades. Why not make it a highway? The location is ideal since the end that's on the waterfront could easily hook up with the Belt Parkway where where it becomes the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and also to the approaches to the Verazano Bridge. Bingo! That makes it an Interstate Roadway, all monies for its construction and maintenance to be provided by Uncle Sam. No property need be condemned, no neighborhoods ripped apart and the beauty of it all is that railroads come under the jurisdiction of the Federal Government, where I'll just happen to be the #2 man, even if only on paper. Even a low-level federal bureaucrat gets to waste a few billion on useless nonsense, so the VP probably has a huge budget for boondoggles.

I figure that with all the billions and billions of taxpayer dollars already being wasted by the President and Congress at a feverish clip, what's a couple of bil to humor the Vice President? They'll be happy to give me a project that will further keep me out of their hair so they can proceed with the serious business of flushing billions of your dollars down the drain. And Brooklyn will get another highway out of the deal instead of a statue of Davey Crocket. And another beauty of the deal is that I won't have to do any actual work to make it happen, the mayor and state officials will move heaven and earth to get their lunch hooks on more Federal dollars, having already blown through their own huge budgets of State and Municipal taxes. All I need do is lend my name to the project, then stand back and get out of the way of the stampede for federal subsidies.

Odds are they'll name the highway after yours truly. It won't take all that long, either. The land's already cleared and graded for the defunct railroad, they'll just have to build the exit and entrance ramps, rip up the rails and pave the old railway bed with asphalt. Instant highway! With any luck I'll be able to cut the ribbon as a sitting Vice President, making a rare public appearance for the sake of my grateful hometown supporters who will be glad to have a new road rather than another statue of somebody from someplace else. And just maybe the gridlock on the parkway will be reduced the next time I'm headed to Coney Island for Nathan's hot dogs.

I know what you're saying, that this project is a vanity pork barrel project designed to benefit only me in my quest to get around Brooklyn faster. Well, you think I'm the only one who gets an itch for Nathan's hot dogs or a spin on the Wonder Wheel? Hardly. And what else would you expect from a man who has a do-nothing job, The Hoover Dam? The Lincoln Tunnel? Just be glad to get this dinky 6-mile stretch of highway and be grateful I didn't insist on a statue of Daniel Boone in Grand Army Plaza. I could do less, you know, just like the great majority of our Vice Presidents. Vote for Bob Crespo for #2 in '08. My motto? Less means less!

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