Sunday, July 10, 2011

Quinn's Political Slush Fund Tricks

Christine Quinn Continues Her ''It Get's Bitter'' Slush Fund Retribution Campaign Against Progressive Liberal Democrats.

So, this morning's The New York Post finally gets to the bottom of what we have already reported on this blog, namely, that Speaker Christine Quinn's slush fund scandal isn't just about misappropriating taxpayer money for personal use, but also about using the secret member items as a way to reward political operatives like indicted political boss Vito Lopez and punishing progressive, liberal Democrats, like Councilman Peter Vallone, Jr.

Here is the text of The NY Post's latest editorial about the latest corruption developments in respect of Quinn's slush fund scandal, with our ''special'' editorial commentary following :

It was noted in this space last week how well Brooklyn Democratic boss Vito Lopez fares in City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s annual tax-dollar giveaway.

There have been developments.

Lopez, a state assemblyman and the subject of a federal corruption investigation, needed a front-end loader to haul away the so-called member-item cash lavished on him in the new city budget by Quinn — who used four pliant council members as cutouts.

But it turns out that Quinn took a fire ax to Queens Councilman Peter Vallone’s share of the boodle.

Vallone is a truly singular council member, in the sense that he has thus far managed to avoid attracting the attention of federal prosecutors, and it seems unlikely that he ever will.

But he irked Quinn by vocally opposing the renaming of the Queensboro Bridge in honor of former Mayor Ed Koch — so the speaker slashed his member-item take by 42%, or roughly $600,000.

Let’s be clear: Nobody should be getting member-item money.

These are lump-sum appropriations that corrupt the political process by giving incumbents cash to curry unfair favor with constituents; simultaneously, these cash goodies give bullying council bosses undue leverage over their underlings.

And Vallone — who apparently irritated Quinn and had his cash yanked as an example — proves the point.

Yet Quinn is cool with Lopez, who attracts the FBI like overripe pork attracts flies. Quinn channeled $4.4 million this year to his Brooklyn power base — the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council — through Brooklyn council members Domenic Recchia, Erik Dilan, Stephen Levin and Elizabeth Crowley.

While some $3.75 million is earmarked for alleged “capital construction,” the rest neatly covers salary and benefits for:

* Chris Fisher, Ridgewood executive director/Lopez campaign treasurer ($607,000).

* Angela Battaglia, Ridgewood’s housing director/Lopez girlfriend ($282,940).

(Quinn also managed to find $2 million for the United Federation of Teachers’ academically shaky charter school — but that’s a tale for another day.)

One final note: Quinn is many things — brash, personable, ambitious, maybe New York City’s next mayor.

But we’ve never thought her to be petty.

Until now.

Because she wasn’t content with punishing just Vallone for his temerity. She also took it out on the councilman’s father — former Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr., arguably the last person to perform the office’s duties with decorum and dignity.

Cut from the budget was $6 million for a City University public-policy program named in his honor.

That’s the Vallones’ loss, to be sure.

But mostly it’s the city’s.

Christine Quinn should be ashamed.

Meanwhile, check out what other blogs are saying about this latest disgraceful turn about Speaker Quinn's slush fund scandal :

The fact that former mayor Ed Koch is the reason that Speaker Quinn chose to lash out at Councilmember Vallone just goes to show you that there is a quid-pro-quo going on between Quinn's mayoral campaign, the Rudin Family, Ed Koch (Mayor Koch was hired to be the Rent-A-Hire-Spokesman for the luxury condo conversion of St. Vincent's Hospital ; For his astro-turfing work for the Rudin Family, Mayor Koch earned the distinction of being the ''Snooki'' of New York City Politics, a term specially created for Mayor Koch by political blogger and artist Suzannah B. Troy.) In exchange for lobbying for the luxury condo conversion on behalf of the Rudin Family, who are large contributors to Quinn's mayoral campaign, Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Quinn rewarded Mayor Koch with the renaming of the Queensboro Bridge after him, even though Mayor Koch is a poor choice to honor as a closet LGBTQ leader in the city, especially given that Mayor Koch had a bad record of responding to the AIDS epidemic.

Op-Ed Bonus ! What a disgrace. How does Christine Quinn find hundreds of thousands of dollars for an indicted political slime ball, and millions in aggregate monies for member items, but she could not find $1 to save St. Vincent's Hospital in her very own city council district? This is sick and twisted. When are the over-taxed, over-fined, over-ticketed, over-tolled, over-run people of New York City going to wake up and vote Christine Quinn out of office? I realise that LGBTQ people want to rally around a leader, but damn, can't we pick one with a little bit of integrity? How about just a minimal standard of integrity? Is there a lowest common denominator of integrity we can demand out of LGBTQ leaders? How about a lowest expectations of integrity? If we scraped the bottom of Christine Quinn's diluted soup pan of weakened integrity broth, would we find any integrity sediment at all?

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