A tough choice for mayor

Christine Quinn

Christine Quinn

After 12 years under Mayor Bloomberg — the last four of those only thanks to a controversial, legislative extension of term limits — the city is set to elect a new mayor.

The Sept. 10 Democratic primary field has two candidates who seem most qualified to run the city — Christine Quinn and Bill de Blasio.
We have thought long about this, and reaching a decision has not been easy. To be completely honest, we have gone back and forth on the question.

We’ve known Quinn since she was then-Councilmember Tom Duane’s chief of staff, going on to head the Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project and then to win Duane’s seat in a special election in 1999 after he moved up to the state Senate. Her ascent to power has been dazzling and swift. She’s hard-working, smart, tough, and she would hit the ground running, no question.

De Blasio’s commitment to education, particularly pre-K and afterschool programs, is admirable and we think is realistic, despite the naysayers.
New York City’s income tax is essentially flat so taxing the rich a little more to pay for education should be a heavy, but doable lift in Albany.

His compassionate message of “two cities” has resonated with us and many voters. And having a mayor with a child in the public school system would send a powerful message to parents.

We’ve also had our criticisms of Quinn over the years. She has not been enough of a foil to the mayor. In some ways that has been good for the city, but in others, it represented a sorely absent check on executive powers.

She did not look hard enough for an alternative site to limit the oversized garbage truck garage in Hudson Square.

She has been too cozy with developers at the South Street Seaport, too onboard with the Bloomberg administration’s overzealous development and may not have worked hard enough to scale back N.Y.U.’s expansion.

Her criticisms of excessive stop-and-frisks are difficult to square with her full-throated support for Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, who has an impressive anti-crime record despite this program, we think, not because of it.

Her support for the term limit extension five years ago of course benefitted Bloomberg, but it also helped her. She is much better positioned to be mayor now than she would have been four years ago.

Although the term limit vote has always troubled us, we made it clear four years ago that it was not a “mortal sin” politically, and that she and others should be considered if they were legally on the ballot.

We do love de Blasio’s approach and thoughtfulness, and think he is much more grounded in the real world than his critics believe him to be. But for us, the bottom line is we don’t see a strong enough record of achievement.

As for Quinn, we are confident she can run the city, as she has helped do since 2006 as the city’s number-two official. She knows how to get things done.

She also understands the city’s budget process, and is an experienced hand who can run the difficult labor negotiations to come. Figuring out how to pay for retroactive raises, health care costs and pension benefits are issues to consume the next mayor.

Quinn’s candidacy is historic, in that, not only is she a woman, but she is the first openly gay person to make a serious run for mayor. Those are not the reasons to support her, but they are inspiring and noteworthy nonetheless.

She also has a local record of achievement, for instance, helping secure a new school building at 75 Morton St. for a much-needed middle school.
Downtown Express endorses Christine Quinn in the Democratic primary for mayor.

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22 Responses to A tough choice for mayor

  1. ugh!!!! What's wrong with you Downtown Express? Quinn is an extension of Bloomberg and should not be rewarded for usurping the will of the people and overturning term limits so her benefactor Bloomberg could stay in control of the city and suspiciously earn more billions while the rest of us are losing our jobs and can't find an affordable place to live. You made the wrong choice Downtown Express and should be ashamed of yourselves! I hope that no matter how many papers endorse Quinn, the people will vote for anyone but her. We are on to you Downtown Express… what is your agenda?

    • Allison Drew Klein

      you have made the wise choice downtown express. quinn continues to impress and to grow. she knows and loves the city and what it needs. she is for our children & better education, infrastructure improvements and jobs, quality of life issues and safe streets. she is an accomplished negotiator and yes, a politician. that is what it takes – compromise, discussion and listening skills – then the ability to implement them. chris quinn is clearly the most qualified candidate to be the next mayor of nyc and i proudly support this hard-working, civil rights advocate. it’s time all democrats unite to return a democratic mayor to new york.

      allison drew klein

    • The wail of "usurping the will of the people" is tired and wrong. The will of the people was expressed in the majority of New Yorkers who reelected Bloomberg. Chris's facilitation of that election, whether you like it or not and whether you like Bloomberg or not, was legal; the mechanisms used were permitted by relevant election law. If the electorate wanted to turn down Bloomberg's third term, it could have done so, and it didn't. Will was not usurped; will was manifested, and you were in the minority, apparently. Get over it.

    • uninvited guest

      plus one +, thumb's up: apologies to VoteNoQuinn for having mistakenly hit the thumb's down button; term limits were the beginning of an anti-democratic agenda that led to Quinn ordering out of City Hall on July 25, 2012 a hundred peaceful opponents of NYU 2031, one of Quinn's many valentines to Bloomberg and big developers: enough; it's time for change.

  2. Vernon Hendrix

    She's definitely the one for the job.

  3. Catharine Hough

    As a business owner, Quinn for sure! I am a liberal and appreciate de Blasio's positions, but most important at this economic time, is that we need someone who can and will keep this city progressing towards a realistic and sound fiscal future. Besides which, Quinn is hardly the conservative, right of center. Rather, her position is always "What is Best for New York!" Hats off to Quinn for all she already has done for this city, and hopefully for what she will continue to do as the new Mayor.

  4. Christine Quinn is unfit to serve as mayor of New York. She is too willing to sacrifice the clear wishes and obvious needs of her constituents to her personal agenda for political advancement.

    There are two glaring examples each of which would be in itself reason to disqualify her, The first is her turnaround on the issue of the third term for Bloomberg. The electorate repeatedly said they did not want the mayor to have a third term, and Ms. Quinn agreed. Then, facing the possibility of an embarrassing investigation into campaign finances, she changed her mind, and agreed to Bloomberg's third term, giving the investigation time to go away.

    The second and by far more egregious example, is her failure to assume leadership in preventing the loss of St. Vincent's Hospital. She has repeatedly tried to shift the blame elsewhere, saying on multiple occasions "St. Vincent's cut it's own throat by closing residency programs." The assertion is patently untrue. The residency programs could have been saved as part of a deal with Mount Sinai, if the state has been willing to raise reimbursement rates for St. Vincent's to the same level they pay every other major teaching hospital in the city. An indifferent Quinn and Bloomberg turned their backs, and the only hospital on the lower West Side was destroyed, leaving for many an emotional void comparable to 9/11, to be replaced by yet more ultraluxury apartments. (The price for the least expensive is now $2 million, and the number of units in the complex has dropped from the original 450 to 250.) Bloomberg took a huge step in his master plan to turn Manhattan into a gated community for the super wealthy, Quinn got a huge contribution to her campaign fund from the developers, while the residents of the West Village, Chelsea, and the rest of lower Manhattan lost their only hospital, and for many, their only access to primary care. In return, residents are getting the "renovation" of what must be the ugliest and most inefficient building in the Village into a doc-in-the- box; no serious plan is being advanced to return a full-service hospital to the area.

    Quinn has repeatedly asserted that the fact that she is a gay woman should not be a deciding factor in the race. As a gay man, I take her at her word. The inescapable negative in the race for mayor, however, is her repeatedly demonstrated willingness to sacrifice the needs and wishes of her constituents for her own gain.

    A first term for Quinn would be a fourth term for Bloomberg. Neither is deserved.

  5. Go Chris! You couldn't find a more worthy candidate for this endorsement.

  6. Lifelong New Yorker

    Downtown Express is right on point: Christine Quinn is the only one with a record. When you compare the last 4 years between DeBlasio and Thompson: she is the only one that got ANYTHING done.

    DeBlasio? Didn't actually use the majority of his powers as PA. He wasn't there for St Vincent's (even though he could've been) and he never brought legislation to the floor (even though he complained about Paid Sick – though as his power as PA, he could've done it himself).

    Thompson? He went to Jersey for 4 years to work at a private firm making millions.

    Quinn is the only one that continued to use every ounce of her office to make New York City a better place.

  7. Downtown Express excellent pick! Quinn is NYC best choice for Mayor! She truly looks out for the middle class and real New Yorkers and she gets results!!

  8. Thank you Downtown Express for understanding that results are more important than unfulfillable promises. Quinn has the experience, the vision, and the drive to get things done for people across New York and in Lower Manhattan. From protecting small businesses, to giving tenants more rights, to pushing for marriage equality, she has made things HAPPEN for New Yorkers everywhere. Someone name one thing Bill DeBlasio has done to help our city? Sure is hard to think of much.. Quinn is the BEST choice for Mayor of NYC. No question.

  9. Brooklyn Voter

    I think this is the right pick. She has a progressive legislative record, as well as the experience of being a leader in the city legislature – two necessary ingredients for being a successful Mayor, in my mind. And while the other contenders may be decent people, I just don't think they've used their offices as effectively as Quinn has to move this city forward.

  10. Quinn is the right and wisest choice for Mayor! You said it best, she has by far the most extensive experience and record of accomplishments to take on the complexity of running NYC, a national platform, but also because of history as the first gay woman in such a visible powerful position.

    The mayor of this town should be gutsy, loud, willing to make tough unpopular choices where necessary, honest, and really smart. Quinn is all of these things. At least you know who she is which is a lot more than what you can say about De Blasio who is touting himself as anti this and that when not too long ago he was for and on board all those things he now opposes.

    Furthermore, De Blasio has showed himself in his campaign to be not a negotiator or coalition builder, except for his connections to so called progressive Hollywood celebrities who sometimes reside in NYC and some of whom are not even registered voters, but rather a separatist and idealist. We need a realist and someone who has shown over and over again that they can produce results in every arena with all kinds of people for all of New Yorkers.

    All around, Quinn is the best candidate. If the other candidates put an app together of their record and their ideas for New York, would it stand up against Quinn's? I think not. Leave your sexism or homophobia behind, join the winner!

  11. Chris Quinn is definitely more prepared to run this city. While one might not agree with every position she has taken, that is the very basis of democracy- and what is needed in a leader. She understands this city better than any of the candidates and will be a strong Mayor. Way to go Downtown Express for making a smart endorsement!

  12. Political Observer

    Bravo Downtown Express – Quinn's a real worker who has delivered for our community and being unfairly maligned by people who think she's at fault for everything bad that's ever happened.

    • Quinn claims to be against Fracking in Pennsylvania, but what has she said about the massive gas pipeline that is being laid across the Hudson and coming up on the Gansevoort Peninsula and up through her district, compliments of Spectra?

      She's been silent. So Quinn has delivered a massive pipeline to the community. But beyond that, not much (unless you're looking for a luxury condo).

      I wonder where Quinn would go if she had a medical emergency at her home in Chelsea? She sure as heck won't find a hospital in her own district. Thanks for that failure, Chris Quinn.

      Anybody But.

  13. Vote for Chris Quinn for a progressive vision of New York. It will be wonderful to have a mayor that cares about people and not corporations. She will be a good counterpoint to the oppressive forces of commerce that Bloomberg has promoted.

  14. Melissa: It's no secret that Quinn's vision mirrors Bloomberg's vision, which is all development all the time, forget the local residents. What Quinn seems to forget, doesn't understand or just doesn't care, is that an infrastructure to serve the residents must be built while all that other stuff goes up. Quinn isn't Bloomberg's counterpoint; she is his echo, his continuation, his fourth term.

    Quinn is not the answer. Anybody But.

  15. " . . . and may not have worked hard enough to scale back N.Y.U.’s expansion."

    "May not have" is patently false.
    On the one hand, she did absolutely nothing. She refused to meet with members of the community – not once but repeatedly. Scott Stringer's plan was that if he took something off the table (i.e., reduced the size of the plan NYU was presenting), then Quinn and Chin would be forced to get in the act and do the same. Chin did something, but Quinn absolutely refused to enter into negotiations with NYU at all. I have copies of many of the emails requesting a meeting with Quinn.
    On the other hand, there were two reasons the City Council vote on the NYU ULURP went the way it did.
    (1) For a very stupid undemocratic reason, everyone tends to vote the way the local council member votes. That is because when there is an issue concerning their own district, they expect everyone else to return the favor. And Chin, for reasons of her own which had nothing to do with backing the interests of her constituents, decided to go with NYU.
    (2) But possibly more important than Chin's role was Quinn's, because Chin may have been following th elead of Quinn. Everyone in the City Council understood that Quinn was in favor of approving the ULURP for NYU. And as everyone in the City Council also understood that the Speaker controls to which districts money goes in the city, and appreciating that they had obligations to their own constituents in getting funding, they voted the way she favored.
    So the question comes down to why Quinn was so adamantly in favor of the NYU plan, why she of all the relevant elected city officials both refused to meet with the community and also refused to negotiate with NYU.

  16. Christine Quinn is a bully and a dictator. Quinn used her position as Speaker and City Council discretionary money to pressure council members to vote her (and Bloomberg's) way.

    It's illogical that one commenter criticize de Blasio for not speaking out against the St. Vincent's closure but no criticism for Christine Quinn who actively destroyed St. Vincent's.

    Quinn's current spin that she's against the NYU 2031 Expansion Plan is unbelievable when in fact she was the main muscle twisting arms in the City Council to pass this devastating Plan.

    And why is the Quinn's slush fund scandal not an issue in this campaign?

  17. No doubt that mayor was on tough decision maker. Whatever he did for education is amazing. It just needs lots of concentration.

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