April 9, 2013
By Joe Maniscalco
New York, NY – “Anybody But Quinn” is not the political mantra powerful New York City Council Speaker and mayoral hopeful Christine Quinn wants ringing in the ears of voters going into the next election. But that’s precisely the chant that issued loudly from the steps of City Hall on Monday, as a small coalition of organized labor and animal rights activists announced a scathing new media campaign aimed at upsetting the Manhattan councilwoman’s run. (Watch Video)
“Christine Quinn’s decisions are swayed by campaign contributors – putting the ‘One-Percent’ ahead of her constituents,” said Arthur Cheliotes, president of Local 1180 and one of the founding members of the NYC is Not 4 Sale coalition.
The group, which also includes Hugo Neu Corporation CEO Wendy Kelman Neu, is seeking to portray Quinn as a self-aggrandizing political opportunist and tool of three-term Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
“She [Quinn] has colluded with the current mayor to make our city by and for the wealthiest New Yorkers – the top one-percent,” Cheliotes said. “We all agree, that the most egregious reason for our opposition is her pivotal role in overturning [mayoral] term limits. She ignored the will of voters and betrayed the public trust by cutting a back room deal with the mayor.”
Allie Feldman, spokesperson for New Yorkers for Clean Livable and Safe Streets [NYCLASS], said that after Bloomberg, the city now needs a truly progressive leader who is not beholden to the ‘One-Percent.’
“[Quinn] betrayed the voters in her overturn of popularly-supported term limits only at the behest of Mayor Bloomberg,” Feldman said. “She fought living wage. And it took her three years to come around on a watered-down piece of legislation on paid sick leave.”
Quinn was beaming on the steps of City Hall last week, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with progressives and members of organized labor after crafting a deal on a compromised paid sick days bill which the mayor promises to veto, but nevertheless enjoys a super-majority in the City Council.
Some took the congratulatory smiles as a clear indication that Quinn had just sown up widespread union support for her mayoral run, even though official endorsements are pending, and community groups pushing for paid sick days say they will continue to fight for a bill that covers all workers.
Democratic rival Bill de Blasio said that despite the deal on paid sick days, unions were “going to think about what happened here, and what it says about the kind of leadership that people exhibit and who’s side are they on.”
Cheliotes, and his group are attempting to elicit the support of other unions in their campaign against Quinn, but the Local 1180 president concedes that many are loath to cross the speaker.
“We’re discussing it with people,” Cheliotes told LaborPress. “But Quinn is a powerful person, and people are reluctant.”
According to Cheliotes, NYC is Not 4 Sale’s anti-Quinn message to other unions is simple: “Do we want four more years of Bloomberg?
“That’s the bottom line for us,” Cheliotes said.
Quinn’s camp, meanwhile , is charging that de Blasio is actually the driving force behind NYC is Not For Sale’s campaign.
The public advocate and mayoral candidate denies this.
“I resent Christine Quinn or her spokesperson making an allegation that is not true,” de Blasio said. “This is obviously an independent effort.”