"Wish You Were Here...?"
http://gaycitynews.com/two-gay-men-explain-their-beef-with-quinn/BY DUNCAN OSBORNE | City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is facing opposition from a surprising quarter as she seeks the mayor’s office — gay men who charge the out lesbian has abandoned her progressive roots for political deal-making that advances her career and harms New York City.“She has turned her back on everything she stood for,” said Louis Flores, who blogs on christine-quinn-sold-out.blogspot.com and has joined protests at Quinn fundraisers and appearances.Quinn, who represents Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen, and the West Village, was first elected to the Council in 1999 and was elected speaker in 2006. Prior to joining the Council, Quinn was the executive director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP) and chief of staff for Thomas Duane, an openly gay man who represented the same Council district for two terms.At AVP and in her earlier work as a housing activist, Quinn was more aggressive, more devoted to a single cause, and less likely to compromise to achieve success.As speaker, Quinn has heralded the annual city budgets she has brokered with Mayor Michael Bloomberg. She has supported the police department and made deals with real estate interests. But where Quinn sees reasonable compromises that maintain city services, create jobs, or keep taxpayers safe, others see betrayal of core principles. Louis Flores, Donny Moss charge City Council speaker has sold out her progressive roots“It’s her consistent record of violating the public trust,” said Donny Moss, who runs votequinnout.com and the “Defeat Christine Quinn” Facebook page. “She doesn’t listen to her constituents.”Moss points to Quinn’s support for the expansion of Chelsea Market and New York University, the conversion of St. Vincent’s Hospital to condos, and the creation of a large Department of Sanitation waste transfer facility in the West Village as examples of Quinn running roughshod over her district.
Part 2 Quinn has riled other gay activists by supporting ID scanners for city nightclubs and bars and backing a police department regulation that requires a permit for assemblies of 50 people or more. Housing Works, an AIDS group, locked horns with Quinn over a city bill that would have given people with HIV, even those without an AIDS diagnosis, access to city housing benefits.Quinn’s 2008 support for altering the city term limits law to allow the mayor, City Council members, and other elected officials to serve three four-year terms instead of two had queer politicos who usually praise the speaker chastising her.The scope of any anti-Quinn feelings among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender voters today is unknown. Moss and Flores may be the tip of an iceberg. In a surprisingly weak performance in her 2009 Democratic primary, Quinn faced Yetta Kurland, a lesbian, and Maria Passannante-Derr. Quinn’s opponents combined to win 47 percent of the vote.The two gay men could also be a “fringe” element, as Quinn surrogates have called them in press reports.Moss, who has “several hundred” people on an email list and nearly 1,100 likes on his Facebook page, does voter outreach at subway stops and Quinn events about three times a week and Flores sometimes attends. They get a “mixed reaction” from the public. They have been insulted or called “homophobes,” and they have been thanked by passersby. They attribute the negative reactions to voters not knowing Quinn’s record.“That’s why we’re getting that mixed reaction because some of those voters are not informed,” Flores said.Some gay voters are more interested in solidarity and making “judgments based on [Quinn’s] identity,” Moss said. He also hears from voters who cannot or do not wish to publicly oppose Quinn.“One of the challenges we face is that people who are most affected by her are afraid to speak out,” Moss said.Both men have been roughed up by police during their Quinn protests and put videos of that on YouTube.“That’s why we have to ask which side is Christine Quinn on?” Flores said during a joint interview. Moss quickly added, “The police are on her side… She should be supporting free speech.”Flores contrasted Quinn’s time at AVP to her time as speaker. Queer youth of color are among those who endure stop and frisk, a tactic that the police say aids in keeping crime down. Quinn has said she backs the continued use of the tactic, but with changes and more supervision. Proposals to codify such changes have not yet received Council action.“If Christine Quinn was the head of AVP today, she would be fighting that,” Flores said. In his view, Quinn has become what the city’s reform movement once fought.“Her strategy is to reward the district leaders and the county leaders all around this city,” Flores said. “She has become a political boss, which violates everything progressives stand for… We’re trying to fight for something better, a better government.”The Quinn campaign declined to comment.
In the heart of Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s Chelsea base, the boisterous Democratic club named for late gay rights activist Jim Owles met last night for their first meeting of the year where they reiterated their current mission: ensuring Ms. Quinn, who could become the first lesbian to lead New York City, never, ever, ever leads New York City.“The harshest dictatorship I’ve ever seen has been under Christine Quinn,” said Allen Roskoff, a notorious antagonist of Ms. Quinn’s and president of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club. “One of the two bills that Christine Quinn has sponsored herself … is to name the Queensboro Bridge after Ed Koch, who people here know in the gay community is considered an AIDS criminal and know what he’s done as far as right-wing people he’s supported for office. … It is so unusual to name anything after someone who is alive, it’s like, unheard of. And so, very good friends of the LGBT community, and members of the LGBT community and even people who said they were not going to vote for it voted to name the bridge and when I asked them why,” he paused for dramatic effect, “because Quinn demanded it.”The anti-Quinn tirade was par for the course for Mr. Roskoff, a noted gay-rights activist who leads the well-connected club. Indeed, three of Ms. Quinn’s Democratic opponents–Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Comptroller John Liu and former Comptroller Bill Thompson–sit on the group’s board of governors.Atop the Caledonia, a tony Chelsea apartment building where a black-clad doorman is solely employed to nudge a revolving door forward, the members of the Jim Owles club also grilled Harlem Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito, a candidate to succeed the term-limited Quinn as speaker. Their questions focused on why she and her fellow progressives have not ensured a bill that would mandate paid sick leave for city workers becomes law. Critics have accused Ms. Quinn of effectively killing the Paid Sick Days legislation by keeping it from a vote on the Council floor.“Could you address why the progressive caucus hasn’t forced hearings and a vote on paid sick leave?” Mr. Roskoff asked Ms. Mark-Viverito.“We’ve had conversations. We’re actually having a meeting this week,” Ms. Mark-Viverito replied, explaining that the legislation has “many different pieces to it” and that discussion about the bill is ongoing but incomplete. “We’ve been having conversations and there is some serious consideration about what next step we might want to take. We do talk about it every time, we do meet, and it’s something we are concerned about, and you know, it’s an election year and everything that’s happening right now is being seen through that lens and that’s the reality.”Ms. Mark-Viverito did not quite give the answer the anti-Quinn audience was hoping to hear: progressives are stalling because Ms. Quinn wants it that way. At one point in the meeting, Mr. Roskoff said that a council member, whom he only identified by gender, told him that she would not move to make the paid sick leave bill law because she was afraid Ms. Quinn would punish her by cutting funding for a crucial community program in her district. Ms. Quinn has argued the legislation would hurt small businesses in the current weak economic climate.One member of the club, Scott Caplan, went on to assail Ms. Mark-Viverito’s Progressive Caucus for having members “who don’t even support LGBT issues.” However, by the end of the meeting, Ms. Mark-Viverito was easily able to win over the crowd.“At this point, I’ve already publicly stated I will not endorse Christine Quinn,” she said, trying to speak through a hearty round of applause.Follow Ross Barkan on Twitter or via RSS. email@example.com://politicker.com/2013/01/a-democratic-club-in-chelsea-continues-its-war-on-christine-quinn/
Anybody But QuinnWritten by Stephen Witt on January 28, 2013. Posted in Campaigns/Elections.More Sharing Services Share on email Share on printIt’s the evening rush hour on the Upper West Side, and while a street corner saxophonist blows a familiar melody across the street, about 20 protesters are handing out “Anybody but Christine Quinn for Mayor” fliers to straphangers streaming out of the 72nd Street subway station.The anti-Quinn contingent is led by animal rights activist Donny Moss, who first clashed with the Council speaker as early as 2007, when she did not support then Councilman Tony Avella’s proposal to ban carriage horses. Since then, Moss’ one-man crusade to stop Quinn’s mayoral bid has been picking up steam, drawing several dozen protestors to some Quinn campaign events or to informational demonstrations at such places as the voter-rich Upper West Side.“She pumps her fists in the air at rallies and gives the impression that she’s this reformer and running this transparent government, when people that follow politics know everything happens behind closed doors,” Moss said.Quinn spokesperson Josh Isay said everyone has a right to their own opinion and to protest, but the facts of Quinn’s record don’t back up the protesters’ words.“She has an exceptional record on issues ranging from job creation to education to making our city a more affordable place to live,” Isay said. “In the process of getting results, you can’t make everyone happy all the time. All you can do is make the right decisions based on the merits, and that’s what Chris Quinn does.”The fliers Moss and others distribute question Quinn’s role in taking campaign contributions from several big real estate developers, the 2008 City Council slush fund scandal and her key role in overturning term limits three years ago. And that’s just for starters.“Christine Quinn as the speaker could have stood up to make sure the residents of the West Side had a hospital,” said protester Diane Nichols, who lives in Quinn’s Chelsea district. “At this point a million people from 57th Street to Battery Park have no full-service trauma hospital.”Upper East Side resident Mickey Kramer said the main problem he has with Quinn is how she runs the City Council.“There have been so many bills that the majority of the City Council wanted that she doesn’t put up for votes,” said Kramer, citing paid sick leave and establishing a living wage, the latter of which was eventually passed in a much watered-down version.
Part 2: Led by activist Donny Moss, a group of protesters rallied last month against Council Speaker Christine Quinn.Despite the ongoing protests, political insiders say the movement probably won’t gain enough traction to affect the November mayoral primary.“There’s always unusual things that occur in every mayoral election, and this is the first unusual thing that’s occurring here,” said Democratic Party political consultant Hank Sheinkopf, who added that he thinks most of the protesters’ arguments are bogus.“The speaker makes deals,” he said. “That’s the nature of legislative government. Her job is to make deals.”Sheinkopf, who is serving as an advisor to mayoral candidate Bill Thompson, also downplayed Quinn’s status as the Democratic front-runner. A recent poll has her far ahead of the pack, with 35 percent of likely voters pulling the lever for her as compared with 11 percent for Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and 10 percent for Thompson.“The last front-runner to win the mayoral race was Bob Wagner in 1954, and he was the first and last one to ever do it,” Sheinkopf said.Moss, who is gay, also thinks Quinn is taking the LGBT vote for granted, despite being the first openly lesbian candidate. He alleges that Quinn attempted to silence protesters when middle-aged gay men were entrapped and falsely arrested for prostitution in the city’s effort to shut down adult video stores.But several gay political activists called Quinn’s support in the LGBT community rock-solid. Earlier this month she was endorsed by the statewide Empire State Pride Agenda, a key LGBT group.“In terms of the LGTB vote in New York City, I have no doubt that Chris Quinn will get a sizable proportion—in excess of 50 percent of the vote,” said Matthew McMorrow, co-president of the Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn.Ultimately the decision on Quinn’s future is in the hands of the voters. On the blustery night of the Upper West Side protest, most straphangers seemed to be undecided.“I know who Christine Quinn is, and I think I like her,” said one resident who identified herself only as “Kate.” “But I’m not going to rush to decide who I will vote for.”http://www.cityandstateny.com/anybody-but-quinn/?fb_action_ids=10151237098097327&fb_action_types=og.recommends&fb_ref=.UQiO35F2QKM.like&fb_source=aggregation&fb_aggregation_id=288381481237582
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