Saturday, November 16, 2013

New York City: Where Republicans Can Be Elected Mayor and Meet This Author

Christine C. Quinn. With Patience and Fortitude: A Memoir. New York: William Morrow, HarperCollins Publishers, 2013.

The author claims she had a perfect childhood, except she didn’t have a dog. She enjoyed horseback riding and learned her Grandmother survived the sinking of the Titanic.

The author’s mother developed breast cancer when the author was six years old. Her mother had a mastectomy which left a large scar The author this made her want to solve problems for others, which led her to politics.

As a young girl, she as able to quickly size up people. This is a skill known as social or emotional intelligence. She understand many of life’s situations. This would help her in her political career.

Quinn learned the importance of reading from an early age. As New York City Council President, she successfully fought to open public libraries over six days instead of the previous five days that they were  open.

After her mother died when Quinn was a teenager, she developed bulimia.

Quinn attended Trinity College. She was the school mascot, a Bantam. She interned with ConnPIRG, an environmental and consumer protection Ralph Nader organization.She often visited state legislators and discussed issues such as consumer hazardous waste. She did fundraising canvassing door-to-door.

Quinn became active in social issues. She learned about New York City Council operations, about community leaders, and the problems facing community housing associations. She joined the campaign of Tom Duane for City Council. She was one of four paid staff members. She learned a lot about political campaign.

Duane was openly gay and would introduce Quinn as his “straight campaign manager” not realizing that Quinn was secretly in denial that she is gay. When she began dating a female, she was ironically worried about telling her gay boss she was gay. Her boss was fine with the news. Her father reaction, though, was “never say that again.” He later became supportive of her lifestyle and walked her down the aisle at her wedding.

Duane told the public he was HIV positive. Duane was elected. Quinn because his Chief of Staff. City Council members had staffs of three or less.

New York City has 50 community boards that advise on city issues. Each Board has about 50 members. These board districts do not overlay Council districts. There were three community boards in at least part of Duane’s Council district.

Constituent requests were a major part of Council staff work. Quinn believes people what to be heard and each constituent was acknowledged.

Quinn learned Sundays were slow news days. A Sunday event with someone dressed in costume often got press attention.

Quinee saw a problem with tenants placed by the Division of AIDS services were being housed in substandard. Slumlords were properly maintaining the residences even though the city was provided them funds.

An issue arose with the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, operated by the Ancient Order of Hibernians, refused to let the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization march. Gay groups could march in Ireland but not in New York. Duane refused to march and most elected officials joined in also not marching. Duane offered compromises such as gays marching under the City Council banner. So far (as of 2013), gays are not allowed to march.

Quinn helped Duane fight Mayor Rudy Guiliani on eliminating the AIDS Services Division. City Council codified the office as a permanent division which prevented the Mayor from eliminating it.

Quinn opened up to her bulimia. She went to a clinic.

Quinn was Duane’s Chief of Staff for six years. She was finding the ob was getting too easy. She believes when things get too easy, one doesn’t do the job as well. She decided to seek something new. She became Executive Director of the New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project.

Duane was elected State Senator. Quinn ran for Duane’s Council seat. She was elected, defeating several candidates including two other openly gay candidates. She was appointed to Chair the Council’s Health Committee.

Quinn was the lead sponsor of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposal banning smoking in bars and restaurants. She held several hearings and let all have their say.

Quinn ran for City Council Speaker in 2004. Speaker Gifford Miller was running for Mayor so the position was open. Quinn’s observation of Miller was he was engaged in too many deadlocks with Mayor Bloomberg. Quinn felt there could be compromises in many of these issues. She received a key endorsement from Tom Manton, a leader of the Queens delegation that votes as a block. Manton has voted against gay rights yet admired Quinn’s work ethic.

Quinn opposed Mayor Bloomberg on building a football stadium in her district. Even though she dind’t always agree with Bloomberg, she found him easier to work with than with Giuliani.

The voters twice voted to limit the Mayor to two terms. Bloomberg sought to run for a third term. She supported this, even though it meant she would have to delay her plans to run for Mayor. She feels vindication on this position as voters elected Bloomberg to a third term.

Quinn worked to have the city sue landlords and seize assets in order to have buildings repaired.

Quinn supported a state legislative bill to create benefits for domestic partners. A Republican Assembly member who supported the bill lost her Republican leadership job for voting in favor.  In the Senate, all 30 Republican State Senators and 8 Democrats voted against the bill and it was defeated 28 to 24. Efforts continued. Today, New York provides for gay marriage. Quinn married her love.


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