The Villager endorses Quinn for mayor on Sept. 10

Christine Quinn.

Christine Quinn.  Photo by Donna Aceto

After 12 years under Mayor Bloomberg, the city is set to elect a new mayor.

In the Sept. 10 Democratic primary, there are three frontrunners, Christine Quinn, Bill de Blasio and Bill Thompson. Each is qualified to run the city, though some more than others.

Two other candidates appear unelectable: Anthony Weiner due to his ongoing sexting scandals, and John Liu because of his fundraising illegalities and struggles.

Nevertheless, earlier in the race, Liu swept the endorsements of several leading local political clubs, Village Independent Democrats, Downtown Independent Democrats and Coalition for a District Alternative.

Sal Albanese will earn votes for forgoing real estate money and opposing N.Y.U.’s  2031 plan, but his principled candidacy is a long shot.

We have thought long and hard about who to endorse in this race. Reaching a decision, for various reasons, has not been easy.

De Blasio’s compassionate message of “two cities” has resonated with some voters. His idea of funding pre-K and afterschool programs by taxing the rich a bit more seems achievable.

We like that he’s now speaking out about saving the city’s struggling hospitals, yet, by all accounts, he was M.I.A. three years ago when it was crunch time for St. Vincent’s Hospital.

A larger charge against de Blasio, however — and a legitimate one, in our view — is that his four years as public advocate have been notably undistinguished. In short, we feel that we just don’t know enough about him.

In addition, he supports allowing churches to use public schools for Sunday worship services, saying they do good work in the community. But Quinn, in a view we share, is strongly opposed on constitutional grounds of separation of church and state.

Thompson would be a strong advocate for education, and he has some good ideas. He told us, for one, that he would modify the Housing Authority’s “infill” plan by making 50 percent of these new units affordable — that this ratio could still generate revenue for the authority. Yet, despite nearly upsetting Bloomberg last time, he seems to lack fire in the belly.

Our community papers cover Christine Quinn’s West Side Council district, and we’ve been reporting about her for years. She’s hard-working, smart, tough — and, if elected mayor, would hit the ground running.

She has helped run the city since 2006 as the city’s number-two official. She knows how to get things done, has gotten much done. She thoroughly understands the city’s budget process.

She would be a tough negotiator with the unions, which will be critically important for the next mayor.

She has “brought home the bacon” for many deserving organizations and projects in District 3, which stretches on the West Side from Canal St. to 55th St. For example, she notably helped secure a new school building at 75 Morton St. for a much-needed middle school. And she has always been there for residents in large affordable housing complexes, like Westbeth and West Village Houses.

In terms of constituent services, her staff consistently earns high marks for their responsiveness — which indicates a Quinn administration would be well run.

Yet, no question, Quinn has “baggage” — and some of it is extremely large and conspicuously right in her own Council district. Her supporters say, in her defense, that there are no perfect politicians, and no perfect people — that politics is about striking compromises, that one must look at her overall record and look at her as a person.

Regarding the extension of term limits in 2008, many New Yorkers opposed it, as did we. We did not accept that the two-term limit — which had been approved by two previous voter referenda — should be overturned legislatively. Quinn helped extend term limits, giving Mayor Bloomberg, herself and other councilmembers a chance at a third term, and positioning her well for this year’s mayor’s race. And despite his slams against Quinn now on term limits, de Blasio himself actually flip-floppped on the issue.

But Quinn said the real question is what she did with those four additional years: that she helped secure 75 Morton St.; prevented layoffs for 4,100 teachers; stopped a policy that would have required people to show ID at homeless shelters; blocked a requirement for fingerprinting to receive food stamps; helped create manufacturing and tech jobs around the city; and, ultimately, passed bills on the living wage and paid sick leave.

(Full disclosure: Despite our objections to overturning term limits four years ago, we did endorse Quinn for re-election, feeling she was the best candidate at that time versus Yetta Kurland and Maria Passannante-Derr.)

As for St. Vincent’s Hospital, which heartbreakingly closed in 2010, Quinn has come under fire for, according to her critics, not fighting hard enough to keep it alive, or to win a replacement, albeit smaller, full-service hospital at the site.

The main reason St. Vincent’s closed, however, is because it suffered from years of gross mismanagement. Plus, it had assumed the debt of the city’s other failing Catholic hospitals. St. Vincent’s also had negotiated terrible reimbursement plans.

In addition, St. Vincent’s was part of a larger epidemic of about a dozen hospital closings around the city in the past decade, so it can also been seen as part of a wider problem.

Quinn admirably did get Rudin Management (which is now building condos on the former hospital site) to put up $1 million each for local school programs and for preserving local affordable housing, and she got the city to commit to buy 75 Morton as part of the deal, and she got a commitment for a park and an AIDS memorial across from the former hospital. Yet none of these “gets” staunch the pain of the hospital’s loss.

Separate from the Rudin project, a $110 million, 24/7 emergency room and comprehensive-care center will open in June 2014, inside the former St. Vincent’s O’Toole building. This facility will be a great start and we’re sure it will get heavy use.

But people desperately want — and deserve — a full-service hospital on the Lower West Side. Of course, it won’t be easy.

Quinn has told us that while Bloomberg didn’t believe in saving struggling private hospitals, if elected, she would take a different approach, and would try to save them.

Taking a break from her campaigning this Wednesday, Quinn promised us, in a phone interview: “I’m going to commit to bringing back a full-service hospital to the Lower West Side. Period.”

And, on other issues, she vowed, “We’re going to expand landmarking in Lower Manhattan, including the Village. And we’re going to build affordable housing across the city. We’re going to expand Gifted and Talented classes across the city.”

As for the Council’s approval of New York University’s 2031 expansion plan on its South Village superblocks, Quinn, in this case, we feel, yes, definitely must shoulder some responsibility for this unpopular decision. However, she and her supporters say the onus rests on Councilmember Margaret Chin, in whose district the superblocks are located.

One Quinn ally fatalistically told us, “Big institutions get more of what they want.” But N.Y.U. got way too much. In the end, the City Council approved nearly 2 million square feet of development. The decision is being challenged in court, though, and the plan may yet be scaled back.

As for de Blasio, who is an N.Y.U. graduate, in the end, he enthusiastically approved the scaled-down, revised N.Y.U. plan, and urged the City Council to do so, too.

Quinn has also been criticized for the approval of the Chelsea Market rooftop expansion. Again, she helped win “gets” for the community, but many constituents were alienated.

In general, the rap against Quinn is that she hasn’t been enough of a foil to the mayor. But the city, over all, has run well thanks to her teamwork with Bloomberg. She’s differed with him, though, picking her moments, strategically.

We definitely saw this after Sandy, when Quinn aggressively called for a federal study of storm-surge barriers for New York Harbor, much to the chagrin of Bloomberg, who slammed the scheme as too costly.

We also saw it in her State of the City address earlier this year, when she pledged to fight to protect middle-class New Yorkers and create 40,000 units of affordable housing over 10 years.

As we said when we endorsed her four years ago: Christine Quinn is the complete package as a politician, she has all the skills, experience and know-how. She already intimately knows — right now — how to run the city, something none of the other candidates can claim.

She’ll continue the positive things that we’ve liked under Bloomberg — the health initiatives, bike lanes and so forth — and, as she promised in her State of the City address earlier this year, she’ll also turn the city in a different direction.

She evoked the name of former Mayor Ed Koch in that speech. Like Koch, she’s a liberal who has become more of a centrist — which Koch always told us, in his view, was necessary to run the city. Koch, before he died, told The Villager that Quinn solidly had his vote in this race.

When we asked Quinn on Wednesday about the criticism that she has been too close to the current mayor, she didn’t hesitate in her response.

“I am my own woman,” she said firmly.

Of course, Quinn’s candidacy is historic, in that, not only is she a woman, but the first openly gay person to run for mayor.

She’s definitely no billionaire, like Bloomberg. Rather, her roots are as a hard-working tenant activist.

We do have faith that Quinn will be her own woman when she becomes mayor. And we’re excited to see the things she’ll do once she is the one in the driver’s seat.

We support Christine Quinn for mayor in the Sept. 10 Democratic primary.

Originally published, August 28, 2013

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35 Responses to The Villager endorses Quinn for mayor on Sept. 10

  1. The Villager has hopelessly corrupted itself by endorsing Christine Quinn, who has BETRAYED the citizens of NYC over and over again. Just a few examples:

    • With blatant disregard of the will of those who voted TWICE for two-term limits for elected officials, Quinn illegally overturned the law, allowing Mayor Bloomberg to acquire an illegal THIRD term after he spent tens of millions of dollars to make it happen. The Villager fails to mention that Quinn's doing so conveniently paved the way for Quinn to get a third term for herself.

    • Quinn has had millions of dollars of public funds earmarked for organizations that do not exist. The scandal that erupted around this issue years ago was quickly silenced by the mainstream media.

    • Quinn allowed St. Vincent's Hospital to be shut down after accepting "contributions" from Rudin, the developer now building luxury "market rate" condos on the site of the hospital. Quinn later had the nerve to tout her non-existent efforts to "save" city hospitals.

    In short, Quinn is as slimy as any male politician. A vote for her is a continuation of Bloomberg's policies that have decimated affordable housing and small businesses in NYC and contributed to the cultural death of our city for the benefit of monied transients whose presence here has destroyed the unique quality of life here.

    We need a mayor of the people, by the people FOR the people, not slimy politicos and business as usual!! That would be Jimmy McMillan ("The Rent Is Too Damned High!") or activist Randy Credico or ANYONE but Christine Quinn!!

    [Perhaps The Villager would be more credible if it took the time and made the effort to present investigative reportage that exposed the misdeeds of corrupt politicians rather than accept their paid advertising!]

    • As a regular reader of the villager I have seen scant few political ads and none for Quinn. No newspaper on earth refuses ads from politicians, whether they endorse or not. The decision to endorse is usually based on the papers understanding of the issues they report on and which pol handled those issues best.

      Quinn has the cred

    • Christopher st.

      This is a regrettable comment because it does two things:
      1. Ignores the split between reporting and editorial functions at a newspaper.
      2. Exposes the fundamental risk that a newspaper editorial board takes with a controversial position. The newspaper stands to gain little commercially or politically by endorsing a candidate that is polling at almost half of the front-runner. Yet this editorial lays out well-reasoned points on its endorsement.

  2. I have no intention of voting for Quinn, so when you wrote: "She would be a tough negotiator with the unions, which will be critically important for the next mayor," it didn't affect my position about Quinn, but it certainly changed the way I view The Villager. Maybe I was wrong to think you were a less-sensational version of the New York Post. Now I know better.

  3. Wow. Once NYU demolishes the village, will this paper just be the Village Voice? Nothing but a pennysaver.

  4. Judith Chazen Walsh

    Chin – Quinn Doesn't matter who did what on NYU 2031 – they did it and did us in
    This endorsement in effect condones it
    Something went wrong here You forgot to read your own paper about what the Village needs now
    Just when we were thinking The Villager was going to really be our local paper comes this endorsement

    We guess you also didn't hear us on Quinn when you endorsed her

  5. I am not sure if the villager endorsed Bloomberg, but if you did then I understand this endorsement. If you didn't then you are making a huge error in judgement. Quinn is big real-estate's lackey who betrayed the [people of New York to gain a third term for her self and Lord Mayor Tiny pants. She is no progressive, she is barely liberal.

  6. Lifelong New Yorker

    The Villager 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.

    • Better for REAL ESTATE interests, not for the PEOPLE, who find it harder year after year to afford to live here….

      • aron pieman kay

        she is nothing but a stoolie for the real estate maggots trying to pick up where antonio pagan left off

  7. I'm a lifelong New Yorker and Westsider, and I say bravo to the Villager. Chris Quinn is an empathetic, yet strong leader who has delivered for over twenty years: for women, for LGBT and many other groups. She brings a culture of RESULTS. You can stand on the sidelines and lob spitballs, like Bill de Blasio and the Anybody But Quinn crowd, or you can actually get to work like Quinn has. Seems to me if you are interested in a strong economy for all, and a green, prosperous, peaceful five boroughs – plus, lets face it a chance to make history with the first woman mayor, vote Quinn. If you want to whine and complain after the fact – but be totally MIA when the work is being done, by all means vote de Blasio. One last thing – I think it's rich, that the de Blasio campaign is being driven by a bunch of rich, out of touch, entitled limousine liberals and Hollywood stars like Cynthia Nixon and Susan Sarandon. It seems to me like Quinn's is being powered by everyday New Yorkers, like Manny Diaz's mother who is on tv.

  8. The Villager is on point! Chris Quinn is the only candidate who actually accomplishes anything! She's the best choice for NYC!

  9. These attacks on Christine Quinn are baseless. She worked tirelessly to keep St. Vincent's open and has achieved a lot for her community as well as the city as a whole and I applaud the Villager for getting this endorsement right. Unlike the public advocate, she has a real, achievable vision for our city and has proven she can actually get things done instead of just making unfulfillable promises. We need a doer in City Hall. Not a sayer. Christine Quinn has proven time and time again she can make things happen.

    • Among the things that Quinn has made "happen" are violating the public's will by extending term limits for herself and her sponsor Bloombucks and taking money from real estate developer Rudin to allow St. Vincent's Hospital to die so that it could be handed over to Rudin for MORE luxury condos that adds to the hyper-gentrification in the West Village. Her "tireless" efforts were for HERSELF and her political future, the public be damned!!

  10. Quinn is blaming the NYU 2031 Plan's awful results on Chin – but who gave Chin marching orders to do whatever it took to get the Plan approved? Speaker Quinn. And who threw the community out of City Hall for a few boos at the vote? Again, Chris Quinn.

    Several councilmembers stated that they did not like the final form of the NYU Plan, but were forced to vote yes because Quinn or her personnel had called them personally. They said that discretionary funds that the Speaker doles out were at stake and they could not risk losing those funds to stand up for another community. When councilmembers have to hold their noses to vote, that's Speaker Quinn's fault.

    deBlasio, who now says he was for the NYU Plan to destroy Greenwich Village (yes, west-siders, it will affect you too!) is no better. It's just sad that such developer-friendly people are the frontrunners, bought and paid for by developer money.

  11. Well done, Villager. I really believe that Chris is the Mayor we need right now. There's a lot left to be done to move this city forward, and she has an actual record to run on (not a bunch of hyperbolic talking points). Looking forward to pulling the lever (or scanning my bubble sheet or whatever) for Chris in two weeks!

  12. LGBT New Yorker

    I am finally glad that someone brought up the truth about St. Vincent's.

    Also, I am surprised people are even considering De Blasio for mayor. He is the worst type of politician.

    With De Blasio, you really do not know where he stands on issues. He has no record that shows that he can get things accomplished. He also has a history of changing his positions on NYC taxi policy, affordable housing, and term limits. His priority seems to be focused on changing his positions in order to improve his chances of winning an election instead of leading by example to work on issues that affect every day new Yorkers.

    A De Blasio administration will probably mimic the problems we have in Washington. A lot of great speeches, blames a lot of groups for problems but no action in resolving problems. That is basically what he did as Public Advocate.

    Now, he is trying to Flip Flop his way to Gracie Mansion.

  13. uninvited guest

    John Liu won endorsements from the downtown progressive political clubs for a reason: he is deeply committed to the public good, and he puts in a full day's work for the public.

    The Villager is correct to admire the breath-of-fresh air of Sal Albanese's declining Real Estate contributions and speaking truth to power on NYU 2031.

    Also correct are the qualms about de Blasio's lack of accomplishment over four years. I personally went to the Public Advocate's office three times over the course of de Blasio's term, and it was an utter waste of time: my time, and the time of the friendly but incompetent staff who are apparently incapable of following through on anything, even something as simple as a promised follow-up phone call. De Blasio's good-natured, ever-ready smile does not inspire confidence that he will be able to manage this large and unwieldy ship.

    But the Villager completely fails in its endorsement of Christine Quinn. It is egregious that the Villager gives Quinn a free pass when she passes the buck to Chin on NYU 2031. I was one of a hundred ejected by Quinn from City Hall on July 25, 2012. Milling around outside, erstwhile Republican Councilmember Dan Halloran came over to speak with our cluster. He said he understood where we were coming from with respect to NYU 2031, and had been prepared to "abstain" in his vote on the project. Until he got a call from Chris Quinn.

    The proposal that Chris Quinn is a champion of the middle-class is a convenient, campaign-trail fiction.

    Sure, she gets things done. But what things?

    I understand the appeal of electing a first woman mayor and especially one for whom Marriage Equality has been a legislative as well as personal hallmark.

    But we must put that aside in order to vote for the best person for the job. It is the middle-class, working people, and people of color in this city who are hurting. We need a leader who understands and can respond effectively to those struggles. We need a mayor of real conscience, who is not swayed by the allure of big business and "politics."

    Vote your conscience on September 10th.

  14. Village Parent PS41

    Very thoughtful endorsement for the Villager. I've studied these candidates and am enthusiastic about Quinn. Where was De Blasio when St. Vincent's was closing?Quinn can work with people and accomplish something as Mayor and she gets my vote.

  15. aron pieman kay

    QUINN IS A STOOL PIGEON FOR THE REAL ESTATE MAGGOTS…I AM SUPPORTING RANDY CREDICO FOR MAYOR……

  16. Political Observer

    Good choice Villager! Glad to see that you can see the arguments that blame Quinn for things that she either wasn't the local councilmember on – like NYU – or St. Vincent's – which she tried in vain to save but just wasn't successful because it was deeply in debt, horribly mismanaged, PRIVATE, etc. She's been stalwart in her leadership on reproductive rights, LGBT rights, affordable housing and parks. And she's great at hammering out a compromise and getting things DONE, whether it's on budgets, union contracts, paid sick leave or living wage. So don't listen to the vitriol.

  17. Chris Quinn will be a good progressive mayor for New York. it will be good to have the political sysytem returned to the people instead of the Emperor of 5th Ave. Go Chris and her record of accomplishment.

  18. Rudolph Rassendyll

    Ah. A media group that has heard Quinn's favorite ditty: "Brown is the color of my true love's nose."

  19. Lawrence White

    So it has come to this. What a sad state of affairs.

  20. Margaret Chin is thrown under the bus for the NYU 2031 Plan. Alan Gerson takes the fall for term limits extensions.

    So when is Christine Quinn taken to task for her leading role in these and other miscarriages of democratic process?

  21. Village Twerker

    Term limits….Quinn cannot have subverted the democratic process if an election was held and she won the most votes. Term limits are stupid.

    De Blasio supported overturning term limits too even if he lies about it today.

    Good choice Villager.

  22. Ten years ago when my child attended PS 41, I hear rumors about the worst kept secret that St. Vincent's had financial problems. So how would I, a civilian, know more about St. Vincent's money woes than our elected city councilmember?

    There were no investigations, no problem solving, Chris Quinn conveniently ignored St. Vincent's problems until it was too late.

  23. Quinn is Bloomberg in a red wig and a pink blouse.

    Anybody But.

  24. It really doesn't matter who wins. All of these candidates use the same basic playbook: hate on Bloomberg, blame the rich, pander to unions.

    20 years from now, we will all look at this election as a turning point where the city's decline kicked into high gear. I hope I'm wrong.

  25. Amazes me that so many people will choose someone with NO TRACK RECORD JUST LOTS OF PROMISES like di Blasio.

    Also amazes me how few people understand what it takes to be an effetive politician..a lot of compromise.

    VILLAGER . You made the right choice in picking QUINN..

  26. Quinn is the only one that is a fights for the average New Yorkers. Look at her record – She hops on buses to fight for tenants in Albany, passes tenant legislation at the council and fights against problematic property owners to get needed repairs done.

    De Blasio's record? creates a naughty's list for terrible property owners, never used legislative powers to pass one tenant bill as public advocate, and supports segregating poor and rich tenants in affordable housing ( source: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/odd_developmen… )

  27. Haven't met anyone to this date that will vote for Quinn. She's a complete failure. No one to blame but herself. Bloomberg used her to advance his agenda and now she's feeling the wrath of NYC voters.

  28. long time villager

    You can not please everyone, but you covered all the bases. Quinn is an imperfect candidate, but the only one with a track record that assures me that she can actually run the city. I doubt that De Blasio can win the general, because he instills fear that we may return to Dinkins like incompetence. If he gets the nomination, the city may end up with Mayor Lhota. I, for one, would like a change from 20 years of big business Republican leadership and I hope the Dems do not screw it up.

  29. It makes perfect sense that a West Village newspaper would endorse the one candidate that is basically Mayor Bloomberg in drag. What about Quinn blocking the living wage bill for so many years, then unblocking it, and then when passes by a landslide, having the nerve to take credit for it?

    Anyone who dares to hold down wages in the most expensive city outside of Tokyo does not get to claim they care about the middle and working class. We who voted for Obama thinking a black president would be different from Bush were wrong on many front, and look how that is working out with the NSA, Guantanamo Bay, all the green jobs that never happened, and now his Syrian foreign policy disaster.

    I guess many people here think the same way about Quinn, but just because she would be the first gay female Mayor will not matter if she's just another Bloomberg in a skirt. If you vote for Quiin you might as well just cancel term limits and elect Bloomberg as Mayor for life. Your life, that is.

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