Christine Quinn for Mayor

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Council Speaker Christine Quinn in her City Hall office. | DONNA ACETO
Council Speaker Christine Quinn in her City Hall office. | DONNA ACETO

GAY CITY NEWS ENDORSEMENT | Though it’s been nearly 20 years since New York’s last Democratic mayor left office, the party’s September 10 primary and a runoff likely to follow on October 1 could well decide who leads the city over the next four years. The stakes couldn’t be higher. Over the past two decades New York has seen extraordinary reductions in crime, but the city wrestles with fundamental questions about how policing is carried out as well as critical challenges regarding affordable housing, schools, healthcare access, and public employee union contracts.

In choosing a Democratic mayor who can provide the leadership their administration and the city need to succeed, voters must look beyond the campaign’s easy sound bites and simplistic assumptions about who each candidate is and is not.

It is always tempting to settle on the candidate who can help us imagine a world in which the policy choices are consistently unambiguous and doing the right thing is the option right in front of us. Progressive voters, however, must not forget the overriding importance of finding a leader with whom they can do business, one who can translate lofty ambitions into workable solutions. From a field that includes several candidates who are intelligent, progressive, and impassioned about making a difference, we won’t pretend the choice is easy — but that is what elections are all about.

Our choice is Christine Quinn.

Throughout the campaign, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Comptroller John Liu have made the most explicit arguments for electing a mayor who offers a sharp point of departure from the 12-year incumbent, Michael Bloomberg. Those two as well as former Comptroller Bill Thompson and former Congressman Anthony Weiner make a related point as well — that the City Council should never have altered term limits in 2009 to allow Bloomberg to seek a third term in the first place. At forum after forum, this has been central to the case against Quinn, who as Council speaker could have halted the mayor’s third term bid dead in its tracks.

But in an election likely to provide the city with a marked political reset, these five Democrats share broad philosophical agreement on critical issues — including civil rights, economic justice, healthcare, education, and police-community relations. There is also consensus on issues of specific concern to LGBT voters among the five, who are all advocates for gay rights and marriage equality.

Each has endorsed refocusing public health efforts on HIV prevention and sex education in the schools and providing long stalled rental assistance relief to low income New Yorkers living with AIDS. All the Democrats support eased requirements for transgender New Yorkers in changing the gender designation on their birth certificates, have spoken out against criminalizing LGBT youth and transgender women by using condom possession as evidence in prostitution arrests, and have marched in response to recent episodes of hate-motivated violence.

On all these issues, the Democratic field offers clear alternatives to the worldview that Bloomberg and his predecessor, Rudy Giuliani, brought to their administrations. Four years ago, when endorsing Quinn’s reelection to the Council, we voiced disagreement with the decision to alter term limits. That said, the very best term limits are elections. We did not support Bloomberg four years ago, but the voters did.

Much of the other criticism Quinn faces from her opponents is based, in one way or another, on a factor for which she ought not be penalized — her role as the second most powerful elected official in the city, which involved responsibilities and risks far greater than those faced by any other candidate in the mix.

Critics and her rivals have revived discussion about the closing three years ago of St. Vincent’s Hospital, where the state health department was the final arbiter and mismanagement and lack of transparency on the part of the hospital had fatal consequences. What’s lost in the St. Vincent’s debate is any acknowledgement that hospitals have been closing all over the city in recent years. More helpful than election year protests outside imperiled institutions would be an honest discussion about a plan to reengineer the city’s health care system.

Quinn has also come under fire on two issues on which she did in fact deliver. She is faulted because the living wage law she negotiated — which sets minimum compensation levels for those employed by businesses receiving city subsidies or tax breaks — didn’t go far enough. But Stuart Appelbaum, the labor leader who sat across the table from her in hashing out the measure, recalls that those who criticize her were AWOL at the time.

Similarly, Quinn catches flak for moving slowly on paid sick leave legislation, which guarantees time off with pay for employees of any business with more than 20 — and eventually 15 — employees. Critics say she wouldn’t have moved at all but for the skilled efforts of advocates who made inaction politically unpalatable. But that’s the case with any important social or economic reform.

The City Council in recent budgets has been stalwart in protecting funding for LGBT homeless youth. That’s to their — and Quinn’s — credit, but no one should pretend that determined advocacy from outside government wasn’t the driver. Quinn’s leadership came in working with those advocates, something she did as a Council staffer early in the Giuliani years to save AIDS services and a decade later in the effort to win nondiscrimination policies from contractors doing business with the city. In this campaign, she’s the only candidate putting forward new proposals on LGBT concerns — regarding both homeless youth and housing for seniors.

On police-community relations, Quinn demonstrates calibrated finesse. A critic of the NYPD’s excessive use of stop and frisk, she lent her voice to last year’s massive protest and will likely oversee the Council’s override of Bloomberg’s veto of an important package of reforms. Still, as speaker, she had day to day responsibility for working with the police, and even as she faulted Commissioner Ray Kelly on stop and frisk, the two crafted historic revisions in the department’s procedures for handling transgender suspects in NYPD custody.

Many, no doubt, will characterize our endorsement as a straight-up matter of identity politics. Baloney. This newspaper has never shrunk from holding the speaker accountable. Indeed, few public officials have been subjected to the scrutiny we’ve applied to Quinn.

That’s not to say we don’t feel a good measure of pride in endorsing a candidate who would become New York’s first woman and first openly LGBT mayor. It was Harvey Milk who led the fight 35 years ago to beat back a draconian proposal to fire all gay schoolteachers in California. It’s no accident that marriage equality won its first victory in the New York State Legislature under out gay Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell’s leadership. And, in Texas, it is a woman, Democratic State Senator Wendy Davis, who has indelibly articulated what is at risk from that state’s assault on the right to choose and to healthcare access.

We gave great expectations that Quinn can bring unique and disciplined skills to the job of mayor, and we also hope all New Yorkers are prepared to hold her to that promise.

Updated 5:17 pm, July 20, 2018
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Reader feedback

Perley J. Thibodeau says:
Aug. 21, 2013, 3:37 pm
William Stribling says:
You've made your point. The editorial page of Gay City News is dumping its progressive creds with this support for Christine Quinn for mayor. Quinn is not a progressive, she offers more of the same which New York City, including its GLTB population, desperately does not need or deserve. On real estate deals, animal rights and political under the table activity her negatives are very high. Her campaign for mayor has been one of avoiding community meetings and forums in fear of opposition. She's a looser and Gay City News is going to end up on a short end of the stick with this nonsense endorsement. . A big promoter of your often fine journalism, I am ashamed of you now..
Aug. 21, 2013, 5:10 pm
Fruitcake says:
It would have been honest to admit that this endorsement was a foregone conclusion. The overwhelmingly bourgeois-white LGBT establishment of the West Village (and this paper) unfortunately can't look beyond its cozy and reassuring relationship with one of its own. This endorsement preposterously claims that in her stance " on police-community relations, Quinn demonstrates calibrated finesse." Go and tell that to the queers of color in in Brownsville or the South Bronx who have grown up being stopped and frisked and disdained by a police department whose boss Quinn, absurdly, wants to retain. Go and tell that to the men who have been ruthlessly chased and sieged by the same department while cruising in Prospect Park. I don't like to use internet lingo but all I can say is: SMH
Aug. 21, 2013, 5:13 pm
ABQ says:
Aug. 21, 2013, 5:54 pm
Carol D'Amicis says:
With this endorsment, I see that the Gay City News cares little about the Gay community and knows nothing about Quinn.
Aug. 21, 2013, 7:25 pm
@ManifestRefuge says:
I am sickened by this endorsement, which could seriously harm working class people all over NYC - many of whom are gay - if this monster becomes elected. A Quinn regime would mean a continuation of Bloomberg's failed stop-and-frisk policies that unfairly target people of color and trans people. It would mean more hospital closures, less affordable housing, more income inequality, and a free pass for commissioner Ray Kelly to run amok with his unchecked police force. For the first time in my life, I am feeling ashamed to be gay. Then again, this endorsement does not speak for me, and it does not speak for any of the other NYC gays I know.
Aug. 21, 2013, 8:58 pm
@ManifestRefuge says:
This article actually credits Quinn for supporting paid sick leave legislation and criticizing stop and frisk! Both of those positions are ones she took very late in the game, and only after intense pressure. Gay City News doesn't speak for me or any of the NYC gays I know.
Aug. 21, 2013, 9:15 pm
Christopher London says:
' USEFUL IDIOTS FOR QUINN' because values, character and integrity don't matter anymore, if the candidate is gay.
Aug. 21, 2013, 10:35 pm
Christopher London says:
'USEFUL IDIOTS FOR QUINN' because values, character & integrity don't matter anymore, to some folks, as long as the candidate is GAY and a WOMAN. REAL New Yorkers know otherwise.
Aug. 21, 2013, 10:43 pm
@ManifestRefuge says:
I am sickened by this endorsement, which could seriously harm working class people all over NYC - many of whom are gay - if this monster becomes elected. A Quinn regime would mean a continuation of Bloomberg's failed stop-and-frisk policies that unfairly target people of color and trans people. It would mean more hospital closures, less affordable housing, more income inequality, and a free pass for commissioner Ray Kelly to run amok with his unchecked police force. This article actually credits Quinn for supporting paid sick leave legislation and criticizing stop and frisk. Both of those positions are ones she took very late in the game, and only after intense pressure. For the first time in my life, I am feeling ashamed to be gay. Then again, this endorsement does not speak for me, and it does not speak for any of the other NYC gays I know.
Aug. 22, 2013, 7:09 am
Simon says:
The GayCityNews has settled for the least common denominator and this editorial reads accordingly -- anemic.
Aug. 22, 2013, 10:02 am
Littlebearnyc says:
Just have to agree with my fellow posters- Gay City News chooses Identity Politics and - how knows- personal connections to Ms. Quinn- ahead of the needs of most of the citizens of this city- gay and straight. But not surprising considering how the Monied interests have taken over the LGBT movement - why should the "Movement" care about poor or minorities LGBT- you guys are too busy with your celebrity galas and giving awards to each other for your wonderful service. UGH. I miss the days when being an LGBT activist was scorned by the Gay Professional Class..
Aug. 22, 2013, 11:31 am
Simon says:
Also, Quinn opposes -- and will today vote against -- the Community Safety Act which would explicitly prohibit the NYPD to profile LGBTQ people. I would like to know how the GayCityNews can uphold, and explain, its endorsement of her campaign. Conveniently, the paper is mute on this specific aspect of the Community Safety Act. I wonder whether I can take this paper seriously anymore...
Aug. 22, 2013, 3:38 pm
slush funds says:
Eliiest self serving Quinn who sold out on term limits, affordable housing, equality for all to serve herself and her little circle of friends, Mostly white nasty elitist men.
Aug. 22, 2013, 4:53 pm
hereinNYC says:
A paper that has proven itself hot-headed on multiple occasions finally takes a reasonable, principled stance. (And reminds us LGBTs that it's perfectly ok to have pride in one of our own.) Brava!
Aug. 23, 2013, 12:24 pm
Lifelong New Yorker says:
The FACTS: Quinn is the only person who has successfully done ANYTHING in 4 years. De Blasio? He had the power to do a lot.. he did a lot of nothing. Same with John Liu. Weiner? He ran scared between his legs, and now all of a sudden wants us to elect him to office? Thompson? He worked in Jersey for 4 years - again, doing nothing in that time for real New Yorkers. Quinn is my choice because she has proven herself time and again - by bringing REAL results to REAL New Yorkers.
Aug. 23, 2013, 5:23 pm
chelsea123 says:
Great choice, Gay City News! Chris is the best candidate for all of NYC, especially the LGBT community.
Aug. 23, 2013, 5:25 pm
Maria says:
Quinn is the right choice and I proudly support her. Thank you Gay City News.
Aug. 23, 2013, 5:29 pm
Luis says:
Quinn = results for the LGBT community. I personally love how she fought hard for marriage equality with Tom Duane. I will never forget!
Aug. 23, 2013, 5:31 pm
Melissa says:
All the Democrats running for mayor are good progessive Democrats. The only difference with Chris Quinn is her expereince with helping to run NYC. It is easy to say anything when your voice is not involved. Only Chris has the experience in budgeting and negotiatin on this scale. Except for Bill Thompson, the others are amateurs.
Aug. 23, 2013, 5:31 pm
Joe Hagelmann says:
With the exception of a handful of Log Cabin Republicans, few of Gay City News’ readers would disagree that twenty years of GOP-elected Mayors disserving New York City has been twenty years too many. On September 10, it is imperative that we elect the Democratic candidate who can defeat anyone of the three inexperienced and unqualified gentlemen seeking to be the GOP candidate on November 5. Almost all of the Democratic Primary candidates are progressive, and they are mostly in agreement on critical issues such as civil rights, economic justice, healthcare, and education. However to effectively serve as Mayor, it is equally critical to understand how the city works, how the bills are paid, and how balance is necessary. As Speaker of the New York City Council, Christine Quinn passed eight on-time, balanced budgets, and passed legislation which created thousands of new jobs, built thousands of new units of affordable housing, and kept our neighborhoods safe. Christine Quinn possesses the most sufficient executive experience and proven pragmatic political skills that are needed to serve as New York City’s next Mayor.
Aug. 23, 2013, 7:48 pm
Guest says:
I wish someone would explain how De Blasio intends to pay for all of these programs he's proposing. I mean, I'd love to see all the kiddies in kindergarten, but I'm paying 10% of my income in state/city taxes, plus hidden taxes in cable bill, utility bill, taxi rides, mobile bill ... I'm not a Tea Party type by any stretch but I'm tapped out!
Aug. 24, 2013, 12:04 am
Who? says:
Paul and Troy must have been high on varnish fumes after this was written. WTF?
Aug. 25, 2013, 1:51 pm
Carol Hedley says:
Who? Who? Who? Sounds like an owl. One trained to say "Billy, Billy, Billy."
Aug. 25, 2013, 8:09 pm
Simon says:
Please no campaign talking points masked as spontaneous comments.
Aug. 26, 2013, 1:21 pm
Simon says:
Don't be ridiculous. If you make half a million of more you are more than able to pay a measly thousand bucks of additional taxes in order for our kids to have universal pre-K and after-school programs. Funny that you would bring up the Tea Party in a sort of preemptive self-defense -- you surely sound like Sarah Palin on taxes.
Aug. 26, 2013, 1:24 pm
Donna Cartwright says:
Your attempt to square your endorsement of Quinn with GCN's progressive image just doesn't make sense. You say the living wage legislation "doesn't go far enough"? Sounds like a euphemism to me -- if I recall correctly, Quinn was in charge as the law's coverage was whittled down to a few hundred people. She also failed to pass the leadership test on paid sick leave, and continues to waffle on stop and frisk. The reality is that Quinn, like unfortunately so many before her, has chosen to climb the latter by abandoning any principles she once may have had in order to become a reliable lackey of big money interests and the local security establishment.
Aug. 27, 2013, 9:51 am
NoToQuinn says:
I will vote for ANYONE BUT Quinn. She's a sell-out! And she's in the pocket of Bloomsnob and the real estate industry. Gay City... shame on you for endorsing her!
Aug. 28, 2013, 3:44 pm
Robert Pinter says:
"Over the course of their careers Christine Quinn, Bill De Blasio, and Michael Bloomberg have ALL advocated on BOTH sides of the term limit debate. Ultimately, it was the voters of New York City that gave Bloomberg a third term. If this issue so enraged New Yorkers, why did so few even show up to vote? Of the 26% that even bothered, it took only 13% or 557,059 out of the 4.1 million registered voters to re-elect Bloomberg to the despised third term. The 2009 general election saw the lowest voter turnout in NYC since 1969. This shameful fact about our local elections is something that we must all work to overcome. VOTE ON TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 10th!" --- excerpted from "The Choice is Clear: Christine Quinn for Mayor. Her record on Stop and Frisk and public safety" read the entire piece here: To read the ent
Sept. 8, 2013, 5:47 pm
sam esposito says:
I am proud to say that as Gay Democrats we are proud to have joined "Anybody but Quinn" and "NYC not for Sale" To help get rid of Quinn forever., She not only is not right for this city she went against the vote of the people including our votes to over turn term limits when it was in her best interest and I take exception to someone that considers my vote not important enough to uphold., Quinn has compromised the voters of NYC.. She has reigned over one of the most corrupt coty councils since the days of Boos Tweed. She has sold NYC for her own political gains and instead of solving the problems of NYC she added to them. I am proud to say that she is going to lose the primary and she will be sent packing on her way back to her house in Chelsea.
Sept. 9, 2013, 4:07 am
alfredo says:
I am swearing off this rag. Quinn betrayed her district. She allowed Sain Vincent's to be closed and sold out the Village to NYU. Being gay does not make you right, But I guess gays are just as brainwashed as the rest of the hapless Amerikans. Elect Bloomberg's toilet paper.
Sept. 10, 2013, 4:33 pm
Mark says:
People may take any position they want . It was Bloomberg and Quinn who rode roughshod over the will of the electorate and engineered the repeal of term limits in 2008. Low voter turnout is often due to people feeling that their vote won't make a difference. In repealing term limits prior to the 2008 election, Bloomberg and Quinn provided concrete evidence to the electorate that their vote meant nothing. It was a cynical move and though legal, a perversion of the democratic process.
Sept. 11, 2013, 4:24 am
eggmaster says:
Feel lucky that i found this site! Will share with my friends!
April 1, 2014, 9:11 pm

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