Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Advocate, NYC Council Speaker Quinn are both wrong regarding Queens politics

In the March 14, 2006 cover-date issue of The Advocate which hit my mailbox today, Sean Kennedy asks newly annointed New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn a few questions including:
Q: Much of your support came from Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx. Those are not exactly progressive hotbeds compared with Manhattan's West Side.

Christine responds: They may not be the West side of Manhattan, but as I had the honor and fun of traveling around the city for the past couple of years running for speaker, there is no borough that I've gone to that where I haven't met or interacted with with an LGBT person. And in the city of New York, although we're obviously concentrated somewhat in some neighborhoods more than in others, the truth is we are really everywhere - and all of the county Democratic organizations now have active LGBT members. This victory is a reflection of how hard rank-and-file LGBT Democrats have worked and how much progress they have made in moving our community forward in politics and activism in this city.
Hm, good answer! Although a bit misleading. Manhattan writers often see the outer boroughs as scary hinterlands devoid of any progressive communities, much less a visible LGBT presence (anything outside Manhattan becomes "Brokeback Mountain") and Christine is right to call Sean on his assumptions. But, as I wrote in "Christine Quinn, NYC Council Speaker" (Jan. 12, 2006), progressive Democratic politics in Queens is not what necessarily got the Queens Democratic Party bosses to endorse Christine for the Speakership position. Indeed, she might be a tad too beholden to Tom Manton, Chair of the Queens Denocratic Party, and not necessarily the most progressive of Democratic party leaders in the city.

Much has been made of the
February 17th city council blood bath as 61 city council staffers were axed from their jobs though I'm willing to believe that this is par for the course whenever a new Speaker is elected (after all, most are political appointments). But some in the City Council's Black, Latino and Asian caucus are raising flags about the timing and arbitrariedness of the firings and say that they will keep an eye on how the positions will be filled and if she will reward Queens party leaders. The Quinn team responded by placing this item in the New York Observer's Politicker blog. But Backroom Deal Breaker has gone a step further and filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the full list of fired employees (hm, can an anonymous source like BDB do that?). In any case, it might get more interesting... or maybe not. This sorta thing bores people anyway.

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