2013-04-04 / View From the Middle

View From The Middle

Quinn’s Making The Mayoral Race Tough For Herself
By Charles Rogers

Democrat mayoral candidate and Speaker of the City Council Christine Quinn finally has a couple of topics with which she differs from Mayor Bloomberg: The proposed appointment of an inspector general for the NYPD and the paid sick-leave bill that’s about to pass the Council.

Good.

For a while there I thought she was going to be a rubber stamp for Hizzoner (not that that would be such a bad thing nowadays).

Right now, Quinn continues to go overboard on many topics of importance and, admittedly, she says she agrees with, maybe, 60 percent of Bloomberg’s priorities. That’s a lot, especially considering Bloomberg is not a Democrat (he left that party — and the GOP — a long time ago). No getting around it; he’s a billionaire; he doesn’t have to be beholden to any party affiliation.

Quinn, however — tough cookie that she is — still must play her politics, whether she’ll admit to it or not. And it’s refreshing to see her go nose-to-nose with Bloomberg.

Now that she has a few political contenders on her back — and giving her reasonable opposition — she has begun to speak up on those topics.

The paid sick leave bill would require businesses to provide five days of paid sick time to their employees. If passed, it would go into affect a year from now. Bloomberg says when the bill arrives on his desk, he’ll veto it, but Quinn says the Council can, and will, override that veto. Bloomberg, then, just shrugs and says it will take the city’s business economics in the wrong direction. Small business owners, meanwhile, say they may not be able to afford it. We’ll see…

Then there’s the Inspector General of the NYPD dilemma. Haven’t we been through this before? Seems to me this whole idea went through the wringer last autumn, at which time Bloomberg sided with Police Commissioner Ray Kelly in saying the proposal wouldn’t work. And now that we have a new Chief of Police, Philip Banks, they both have more fodder for a fight. First of all, Banks says he’s FOR the stop and frisk tactic, noting that, yes, it’s keeping crime in the city down — lower, statistically, than it’s ever been. You can’t argue with those numbers! Banks, who is black, even said that in his youth he was stopped “a few times,” noting that he didn’t like it, but at least he understood it. His thoughts are that, if it’s done properly “and with respect” it can still be an effective tool in fighting crime — before it starts. He also thinks the inspector general appointment would be just a duplication of efforts and would, in the long run, be counterproductive.

Meanwhile, Quinn is running into the same kind of opposition from other political forces, such as Republican candidates Joe Lhota, former chairman of the MTA, perhaps John Catsimatidis, who used to head the Gristedes supermarket chain, and George McDonald an advocate for the homeless. They oppose the inspector general proposal and could make that one of the planks they would use to counter Quinn. While all three are Republican, the state’s Liberal Party is starting to make noises and they’re thinking of backing either Lhota, Catsimatidis or former Bronx borough president Adolfo Carrion. It’s still unclear where Carrion and McDonald stand on the inspector general issue. Just so I don’t leave anybody out (yet), Quinn still has Democrats Public Advocate Bill deBlasio, Controller John Liu, former Councilman Sal Albanese and former Controller Bill Thompson vying for the nomination.

And now Quinn, who at one time apparently had the candidacy sewed up, seems to be coming up against a few forces she hadn’t counted on. Right now, she’s still well ahead of the others, but, if they’re smart enough to NOT let a few issues die off, she will have a tighter race on her hands, and she could wind up being her own worst enemy.

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