Christine Quinn: Learn the Facts
 2012
 
Protest against Christine Quinn

Pictures from the protests

 


Christine Quinn: Behind the Smile
Christine Quinn: Behind the Smile
 


Quinn's city-owned SUV that chauffeurs her to campaign events

Your tax dollars 

at work

 

 

 

In 2011, NYers working on the campaign to educate the public about Christine Quinn's record had a busy year, with more than 20 protests at her public appearances and 2013 campaign fundraisers.   

 

Occasionally, people ask us why we don't campaign for a Mayoral candidate instead of working against one. Before the 2009 City Council election, a lot of people in her district told us they were planning to vote for Quinn because she was gay and/or a woman.  Once they looked beyond her identity to her actual record, many were just as dismayed as we were and wanted to learn about the other candidates.   

 

These voters who paid closer attention are part of the reason why Quinn struggled to win re-election in her own district, where, as the incumbent, she was expected to win by a landslide. We believe that our campaign made a difference in her district in 2009, and we intend to have a more profound impact in the 2013 city-wide election for Mayor.  

 

Almost 250 people have signed up to volunteer with us, and Quinn continues to give new people from various communities reasons to join the movement against her.   

 

Quinn receives second to lowest score in 
City Council on Human Rights
 

On December 2nd, the Human Rights Project at the Urban Justice Center released its annual NYC Council Human Rights Report Card.  Christine Quinn received a D+, the second to lowest score in the City Council. In addition to voting against human rights bills, Quinn used her power as Speaker to kill bills that had a veto-proof majority of supporters.  From the report: 

 

"Both the political power of the Speaker and the reticence of the Council Members to challenge it are inhibiting the advancement of human rights in NYC.  The Speaker has delayed hearings, stalled votes and restricted the passage of legislations."   

 

"Without the Speaker's support, it is unlikely for human rights bills - or any bills - to gain passage, even if there is a veto-proof majority of the City Council in support."

 

 Christine Quinn's report card

 

As the NY Times reported in October,  "A year ago City Council members tried to push through a living wage in the Bronx and to mandate a few sick days for workers. Christine Quinn ensured each effort ended up baled, tied and set by the BQE for early sanitation pickup."

 
Christine Quinn received D+ on Human Rights Report Card
Human Rights Activists Protest Quinn at her campaign fundraiser

 

 

Quinn's Abuse of Discretionary Funds has stripped the City Council of the 
Democratic Process 

The Speaker position, which was created in 1986, concentrates an extraordinary amount of power in the hands on one person.  As Speaker for the past five years, Christine Quinn has abused that power to advance her political career at the expense of the democratic process and the public she alleges to serve.

One of the most powerful weapons in Quinn's arsenal as Speaker is the discretionary funds -- tens of millions of dollars that Quinn  1) doles out to reward campaign donors and loyal Council Members or 2) withholds from Council members who challenge her political or legislative agenda.  

Because Council Members rely on discretionary funds to pay for projects in their districts, few are willing to challenge Speaker Quinn.   When they do, they - and their constituents - pay a hefty price.  As the NY Post stated in a recent editorial, "The judicious application of pork fat is a fail-safe tool for keeping lawmakers in line."

In a NY Magazine interview after the slush fund scandal, Quinn reluctantly admitted that she uses these taxpayer funds for political purposes:  "Did I think that, as a Speaker, having the money to give out through the year might give me political leverage?  Of course I did. I'm not going to lie to people that I didn't think that."   In fact, Quinn did lie (1:55) about that when the slush fund scandal broke. 

Quinn leverages these discretionary funds, along with her power to distribute bonuses and assign committee chair positions, to exert absolute control over the city's legislative process.    

According to an editorial in the Guardian in December,  "Quinn is not only the most powerful legislator in the city; she's pretty much the only legislator in the city, and from her perch she has nearly unilateral control over lawmaking. She decides what comes to the floor - including, notoriously, the 2008 bill that scrapped mayoral term limits at Bloomberg's behest - and her caucus votes for it, or she makes them pay."

A Post editorial in December conveyed a similar sentiment:   "Not only is the parceling out of taxpayer-funded bribes to lawmakers as a control device corrosive of democracy itself, the pork gives incumbent legislators near-insuperable advantages over electoral challengers." 

 

The fact that Quinn uses her power as Speaker to repay her campaign donors with our tax dollars might explain why she has already raised the maximum amount of contributions allowable 1.5 years before the 2013 primary.     

 

Back Room Deal:  

A Bridge in Exchange for an Endorsement 

 

Quinn & Koch: back room deal 

 

In March, Christine Quinn strong-armed the City Council members to vote in favor of renaming the Queensboro bridge for former NYC Mayor Ed Koch. Several months later, Mayor Ed Koch endorsed her for Mayor -- two years before the election. 

 

How could Quinn, who leverages her sexual orientation whenever it's politically expedient, name a bridge a former Mayor who turned his back on the gay community when AIDS struck NYC in the early 80s out of fear of calling attention to his own homosexuality?   

 

A majority of NYers (64%) were opposed to the renaming the bridge after Ed Koch. As one City Council Member stated, "This is against the will of the people. Every group that has taken a position on this is opposed to it. Every Queens newspaper, every poll, and more importantly, virtually every person in Queens."  As we learned when she overturned term limits, Quinn puts her political ambition ahead of the will of NYers.   

 

To put this political stunt in historical context, the Triboro Bridge wasn't renamed for Robert F. Kennedy until 40 years after his assassination.  

Term Limits:  An Assault on Democracy that Could Impact the 2013 Election 

 

In October, the NY Times stated that Russia's Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, who is "known for strong-arm tactics, was more scrupulous about observing the niceties of term limits than were New York's political leaders: Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and his Medvedev equivalent, Christine C. Quinn."

 

"You will recall that Mr. Bloomberg and Ms. Quinn could not bother themselves with observing the letter, let alone the spirit, of a voter-imposed city law limiting them to two terms. With the help of complaisant council members, they simply changed the law to reward themselves with third terms. Generally speaking, it's not a good idea to look less faithful to democratic formalities than Vladimir Putin."

 

Quinn and Bloomberg
By behaving like a Deputy Mayor to curry favor with Bloomberg, Quinn has virtually abandoned the City's system of checks & balances, further stripping the City Council of the democratic process
  
After the 2008 slush fund fiasco destroyed her chances of becoming Mayor in 2009, Quinn strong-armed the City Council into extending term limits so that she would have four years to improve her image and distance herself from the scandal.  As it turns out, her role in overturning term limits has been far more damaging to her politically than the slush fund scandal.  

Quinn Puts the Health and Safety of Her Constituents at Risk to 
Repay Real Estate Donors

In an acknowledgement of the undue influence of real estate executives in NYC politics, Christine Quinn stated publicly during an early campaign that she had not and would not accept any money from them.  

 

Since then, she has accepted millions from them.   In fact, the vast majority of Quinn's donors who have made the maximum legal contribution ($4,950) are real estate executives, as are almost all of the campaign bundlers who have raised more than $20,000 for her campaign.    

 

The millions in campaign contributions may explain why she advocates tirelessly for real estate developers at the expense of her constituents.  Recently, Quinn jeopardized the health and safety of her constituents to repay the Rudins, who donated $30,000 as of about a year ago. 

 

Rudin donations to Quinn

Rudin Management is planning to build 450 luxury condos on the site of St. Vincent's, a hospital that served hundreds of thousands of West Siders and was a lifeline to the community.  Not only did Quinn refuse to tap into millions of dollars in available reserve funds that have saved other hospitals, but she also refused to support a resolution to keep the St. Vincent's site zoned for community use.   As stated in the following campaign ad, "The cynical back room deal that led to the closing of St. Vincent's Hospital demonstrates clearly how much NYers have riding on who we elect as our next Mayor."

Quinn abandons constituentsTrue to form, Quinn publicly stated on several occasions that the West Side needs a full service hospital while helping her donors erect a condo in its place. 


The Protests    

Quinn protest

Quinn must be humiliated by the unrelenting protests because, in order to avoid us, she has navigated through piles of garbage bags, entered buildings through basements and used her security detail and handlers to divert our attention so that she could scurry past us without being noticed.  
At our protests throughout the year, NYers thanked, criticized, joined and engaged us to learn more.  Several people told us that they would like to join us but are afraid of retribution.  At one protest, we were honored to be joined by Honey LaBronx, NY's ninth favorite drag queen.   

Outside of a campaign fundraiser in July, Quinn's Director of Community Outreach told a group of protesters to "tell Donny Moss to go fuck himself." The Daily News ran a story about the incident, in which they reported, "The City Council speaker's office has issued an apology after Simone reached out to protesters outside a Quinn fund-raiser last Monday by lobbing a few F-bombs their way."  

How much campaigning are Quinn's "Director of Community Outreach" and other City Council staffers doing compliments of NYC taxpayers?  In the last election, it was quite a bit, according to this exposť in the Village Voice entitled "Quinn Pads Campaign Staff with City Council Staffers."

Quinn has a vast amount of taxpayer-funded city resources at her disposal for her campaign - discretionary funds with which to make deals, a team of City Council staffers, a chauffeured SUV, etc.   She also has the Mayor inviting her to speak at high profile events, thereby increasing the tremendous exposure that she already has as Speaker.  But perhaps that's not a bad thing because, in speaking to NYC voters, the more they are exposed to her, the less they like her

Protest Against Quinn
Drag Queen Honey LaBronx joins the protest against Quinn

Quinn Misleads the Public 

According to the NYC League of Humane Voters last report card, the "biggest obstacle to more humane laws in NYC is the inexplicable opposition by City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who has attacked virtually every effort in the Council to make life better for animals, despite claiming in letters to concerned citizens that she cares about animal welfare." 

If Christine Quinn hadn't killed the bill to take horse-drawn carriages out of midtown Manhattan, then perhaps NYers and tourists would have been spared the sight of seven carriage horses collapsing, tripping, spooking and dying in midtown over the past several months.  

Until now, protecting the horse-drawn carriage trade has been more politically expedient for Quinn than taking these horses out of harm's way or protecting the safety of pedestrians. But what will Quinn say when a child dies after being trampled by a spooked carriage horse, especially after having been informed about the the dangers of spooked horses and all of the accidents to date? 

The NYC carriage horses have it bad enough, dodging taxis and ambulances in the congested streets of midtown and sleeping in multi-story buildings in Hell's Kitchen.  But Christine Quinn rubbed salt in their wounds in 2010 by fast-tracking a "reform" bill that deceived the public into thinking that conditions for the horses would be improved when the real purpose of the bill was to give carriage operators a rate hike.

Quinn kills bill to ban horse-drawn carriages
Charlie, a carriage horse who collapsed and
died on W. 54th St. in October
 
Quinn pulled a similarly misleading stunt in September 2011 when, as a favor to the Mayor, she fast-tracked a bill through the City Council that overturned the law mandating a city-funded animal shelter in every borough.  Shelters are desperately needed in The Bronx and Queens.

Instead of being transparent about the purpose of the bill, Quinn sent a letter to constituents suggesting that the bill, which is a major set back, is a positive step for NYC's homeless animals. 

One dissenter in the City Council, who had little to lose by speaking out because Quinn had already cut his discretionary funds by $600,000, stated that the bill was passed "rapidly and in a cynical spirit in order to prevent a damaging lawsuit" filed by a rescue organization who was suing the City to fulfill it's legal obligation to open shelters. 

Quinn kills bill to ban horse-drawn carriage
Carriage horse who collapsed on 59th & 5th in December

In September, Christine Quinn forced a Council Member to cancel a press conference on the steps of City Hall in which she was planning to announce a bill that would prevent spent carriage horses from being sold for slaughter.   So much for free speech.

Mayoral?  

Several months ago, Christine Quinn shared a rare glimpse of her true colors when she chewed out a reporter who called her "ma'am" instead of "Madam Speaker." Here's another chewing incident worth watching, in case you missed it.  Click the link and scroll down to the video: 

 

Quinn chewing gum  

 


Did Quinn and Bloomberg Get Engaged?

At the annual holiday party of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, Allen Roskoff, the club's president and the co-author of nation's first gay rights bill, parodied Christine Quinn.  His (her) performance was covered in the Daily News:  

Allen Roskoff as Christine QuinnJim Owles party in the news
Christine Quinn: Behind the Smile  

This exposť on Quinn reached 10,000 viewers in October, but we have a long way to go.  Please share the link with your friends who vote in NYC.


Christine Quinn: Behind the Smile

Looking Ahead

Quinn has the support of Bloomberg, his paid consultant Ed Koch, the Democratic Establishment and the LGBT community.  She also has a bully pulpit as Speaker, a team of City Council staffers campaigning for her, the real estate money and millions of dollars in taxpayer funds with which to make deals and repay donors.
 
On our side, we have the truth about Quinn's record and her character; a public who is growing more and more suspicious of her; several other viable candidates determined to become Mayor; and the will to restore some ethics, fairness, democracy and humanity to NYC government.
    
See you in the streets. 
 
Christine Quinn protest
Protesting at a fundraiser
 
 
Protest against Christine Quinn
A NYC resident questions a protester about Quinn