Saturday, August 24, 2013

Line by Line Explication of The New York Times Mayoral Endorsement of Christine Quinn

The New York Times Mayoral Endorsement : Christine Quinn, the Democratic Choice

Following is a line-by-line explication of editorial in which New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is endorsed by the Editorial Board of The New York Times :

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is almost gone. Real estate developers and big business interests are worried about who is going to carry out Mayor Bloomberg's policies for the next eight years.
At year’s end there will be nothing more he can do to shape, alter or improve the City of New York. The Editorial Board has been tasked by Mayor Bloomberg to help elect Christine Quinn.
It’s the end of 12 years of governing under one man’s singular, often inspiring, sometimes maddening priorities, which were as big as a rising ocean and as small as your soda cup. The Editorial Board is afraid of calling out Mayor Bloomberg for the dictatorial ways that he has run New York City. He wouldn't have made it to three terms, unless Christine Quinn violated the two voter referenda that imposed term limits, something the Editorial Board is trying to cover up.
It was a vision that succeeded brilliantly, but incompletely. The Editorial Board believes that Mayor Bloomberg should have done more to help the 1%.
But don’t worry, New York. The Editorial Board doesn't want the Real Estate Board of New York or the Partnership For New York City, our last two groups of major advertisers, to worry.
Mr. Bloomberg’s is hardly the only way to run a city, and the excellent news is that there is a candidate who is ready to carry on at least as well as he did. The Editorial Board is going to help Mayor Bloomberg anoint his own chosen successor.
She is one of seven Democrats who have been toiling for months in the primary race, standing before voters day and night in a marathon of civic engagement. The Editorial Board believes that even through Christine Quinn has been in public office for 15 years, she has had to hurry up and do her "wawk and tawk" tour to try to introduce herself to the taxpayers paying for her political slush fund.
A common complaint is that this year’s candidates look small, like dots on the slopes of Mount Bloomberg. The Editorial Board thinks that even though the crop of candidates are not billionaires, if we have to do with peons, we can accept Christine Quinn, because she's proven to have sold her soul to big business interests, which is the only thing that the Editorial Board cares about, frankly.
But that isn’t fair; all but a few are solid public servants running substantive campaigns. The Editorial Board has to give lip service to the other candidates, so voters could fool themselves into thinking the editors might possibly consider a candidate other than Mayor Bloomberg's heir apparent.
Though the race was crashed, and distracted for a few irritating weeks, by the unqualified Anthony Weiner, it has since sobered up, and voters are paying attention. The Editorial Board did its best to keep focusing on Anthony Weiner in a negative light, so that the editors could dispatch him as quickly as possible, so that the editors could focus on fluffing Christine Quinn's sagging campaign.
It is clear by now — and last Wednesday’s debate made it even clearer — that the best in the group is Christine Quinn. The Editorial Board is trying to make this hard sell of Christine Quinn, so we will go to any lengths to push her campaign on voters.
Ms. Quinn, the City Council speaker, offers the judgment and record of achievement anyone should want in a mayor. The Editorial Board believes that Christine Quinn has a corrupt enough record that she will nicely fit into the broken political system.
Two opponents — Bill de Blasio, the public advocate, and William Thompson Jr., former comptroller — offer powerful arguments on their own behalf. The Editorial Board wants to give these two fools more lip service, yadda-yadda-yadda.
But Ms. Quinn inspires the most confidence that she would be the right mayor for the inevitable times when hope and idealism collide with the challenge of getting something done. The Editorial Board believes that Christine Quinn will be a perfect puppet to her REBNY and PFNYC masters.
Ms. Quinn has been an impressive leader since her days as a neighborhood advocate and her early years on the City Council. The Editorial Board believes that Christine Quinn has fully sold out and betrayed her activism roots by now. She's gotten that shit out of her system, and she is a complete "Yes Woman" to her campaign contributors and special interests.
We endorsed her for the Council in 1999 as someone “who can both work within the system and criticize it when necessary” — a judgment she has validated many times since. The Editorial Board analyses this as meaning that Christine Quinn will do what she is told by big business, and she will continue to undermine democracy and shred the social safety net when instructed.
She has shepherded through important laws protecting New Yorkers’ health, safety and civil rights, including measures banning public smoking, protecting tenants and small businesses, and battling slumlords. The Editorial Board wants to remind big business interests that Christine Quinn has a record of doing what Mayor Bloomberg told her to do.
She sponsored the sweeping 2007 legislation that made the city’s exemplary campaign-finance laws even stronger. The Editorial Board is only telling you a half-truth here, because Christine Quinn also weakened campaign finance laws this very year to benefit outside groups being able to spend unlimited amounts of money to further corrupt political campaigns.
She pushed successfully for a state law making kindergarten mandatory for 5-year-olds — giving thousands of poor and minority children a better start on their educations. The Editorial Board likes it when Christine Quinn focuses her campaign on childish issues, because that helps voters forget her betrayals on term limits and her corrupt record with slush funds.
As speaker, Ms. Quinn has been a forceful counterpart to Mr. Bloomberg, and has turned the Council from a collection of rambunctious, ill-directed egos into a forceful and effective legislative body. The Editorial Board believes that Christine Quinn subjugated herself to Mayor Bloomberg, and she used her slush funds to reward and punish her political allies and enemies like a good political boss should do.
In wrestling with budgets she has shown restraint that runs counter to lesser political instincts. The Editorial Board is most impressed that Christine Quinn was able to focus on a political agenda that favoured the 1%, even when it meant driving up poverty and homelessness in New York City during the Bloomberg-Quinn administration.
She fought, for example, for a Bloomberg plan to keep a year’s surplus as a rainy-day fund. The Editorial Board liked that Christine Quinn didn't use surplus funds to fight poverty or homelessness.
There was fierce opposition from Council members who wanted to spend the money. The Editorial Board congratulates Christine Quinn turned her back on the needy, especially LGBT homeless youth, which is not an easy thing to do, given her identity. Let's give her some credit for that !
Ms. Quinn was right, and the city had a cushion when the recession hit. The Editorial Board is impressed that Christine Quinn found ways to prevent tax hikes on the 1%.
Mr. Bloomberg has raised expectations that hard decisions should be made on the merits — that the city needs a mayor who is willing to say no. The Editorial Board is endorsing Christine Quinn in part because Mayor Bloomberg told us to, and plus we may need to be bought out by Mayor Bloomberg if the newspaper business keeps losing money.
More than with the other candidates, that description fits Ms. Quinn. The Editorial Board believes that Christine Quinn is the most corrupt candidate, and the extremes that she will go to embrace corruption is why Mayor Bloomberg respects her so much, that's what he told the Editorial Board during our back room meeting.
As an early leader in the campaign, with a target on her back, she has faced anger and derision without wavering. The Editorial Board has tried to keep extending political cover to Christine Quinn, so that she wouldn't suffer such a steep drop in the polls.
We admire her staunch support for the city’s solid-waste management plan, which is good for the whole city but bitterly opposed in some neighborhoods. The Editorial Board picked this lousy issue to focus on, because the editors didn't want to touch the slush fund scandal.
She has been willing to challenge the mayor’s misjudgment and insensitivity, as when he tried to require single adults to prove their homelessness before they were allowed to use city shelters. The Editorial Board mentions the only thing Christine Quinn has done to address a small part of the homeless problem, so that the editors could keep running the façade of a "liberal newspaper."
Mr. de Blasio has been the most forceful and eloquent of the Democrats in arguing that New York needs to reset its priorities in favor of the middle class, the struggling and the poor. The there is no way that the Editorial Board could ever support a candidate that wants to help the poor.
His stature has grown as his message has taken root — voters leery of stark and growing inequalities have embraced his message of “two cities.” The Editorial Board endorsed Christine Quinn so that we could shift the campaign conversation to be about identity politics, not about income inequality.
He has ennobled the campaign conversation by insisting, correctly, that expanding early education is vital to securing the city’s future. The Editorial Board picked early education as an issue for Mr. de Blasio, because that's an issue that provides the editors with some political cover in the Christine Quinn endorsement.
And yet, Mr. de Blasio’s most ambitious plans — like a powerful new state-city partnership to make forever-failing city hospitals financially viable, or to pay for universal prekindergarten and after-school programs through a new tax on the richest New Yorkers — need support in the State Capitol, and look like legislative long shots. The Editorial Board has brought back Anemona Hartocollis to continue to write shoddy and entirely biased reporting to undermine Mr. de Blasio's platform on saving community hospitals.
Once a Mayor de Blasio saw his boldest ideas smashed on the rocks of Albany, then what? The Editorial Board was told by Mayor Bloomberg that he would pull strings with the state GOP politicians up in Albany to undermine any candidate other than Christine Quinn.
Mr. Thompson, meanwhile, who nearly defeated Mr. Bloomberg four years ago, has run a thoughtful campaign grounded on the insights he gained in important elective and appointed posts in New York City. The Editorial Board can't take Bill Thompson seriously. His wife has taken millions in charitable donations from Mayor Bloomberg. There's no way that the Thompson family isn't already indebted to Mayor Bloomberg, even the editors would figure out this much.
A former president of the old Board of Education, Mr. Thompson argues that he is the best candidate to fix the city schools, but his close ties to the United Federation of Teachers, not always a friend of needed reforms, give us pause. The Editorial Board was told by Mayor Bloomberg that the next item on our political agenda is to bust up the teachers' union.
The teachers’ union is one of the municipal unions itching for retroactive pay raises in contracts that expired under Mr. Bloomberg and need renegotiating. The Editorial Board is going to start a campaign to deny the teachers' union any pay raise.
For all the growing testiness of the campaign, the Democrats share much common ground. The Editorial Board believes that enough real estate and big business campaign donations have steered the Democratic candidates into adopting campaign platforms that embrace an ideology of neoliberalism.
All agree on equality, opportunity and fairness. The Editorial Board doesn't give a shit about equality, opportunity and faireness -- except as it would apply to our dwindling list of advertisers.
They concede that the best of the Bloomberg years — the economic diversification and growth, the astounding drop in crime, the transit innovations, the greener and cleaner public spaces, and big plans for the future — must be preserved. The Editorial Board wants a mayoral candidate that will continue Mayor Bloomberg's policies of gentrification, stop and frisk discrimination, higher transit fares for commuters, the sale of more parks for sports stadiums, and more zone-busting real estate development.
And they agree that the worst must be corrected — starting with the Police Department’s unconstitutional use of stop-and-frisk, which has abused and humiliated hundreds of thousands of innocent New Yorkers. The Editorial Board believes that stop and frisk should be ended in the outer boroughs, but its use should continue in Manhattan, perhaps even increased.
Ms. Quinn has no specific plan to require the richest New Yorkers to pay more in taxes in service of important civic goals (she says she will raise taxes as a last resort), but neither has she made a long list of unrealistic promises. The Editorial Board is happy to see that Christine Quinn will keep sparing the 1% from having to pay their fair share, and, even better, Christine Quinn isn't making any promises to the poor or working classes of New York City. If low-income New Yorkers can't afford to live in New York City, they can always move to New Jersey.
The biggest challenge has not been talked about much — next year the new mayor will have to confront a budget crisis with no money to spare and all those expired municipal contracts to settle. The Editorial Board is salivating at the opportunity that Christine Quinn will have to bust up a few municipal unions.
The mayor we will need then will not be the police reformer or education visionary, but a skilled and realistic negotiator. The Editorial Board doesn't want Christine Quinn to reform the police department. As stated, the editors prefer to continue stop and frisk discrimination and police brutality as a way to drive out undesireables from the five boroughs, or from Manhattan, at least.
Some positions Ms. Quinn has supported are unwise or objectionable. The Editorial Board is thrilled that Christine Quinn so readily adopted neoliberal and racist policies without complaint.
She has been too strong in supporting Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, the architect and stoutest defender of stop-and-frisk. The Editorial Board expects that Christine Quinn will expand the use of stop-and-frisk.
She has supported, too blindly, Mr. Kelly’s practice of spying on Muslims at prayer, a similar false choice of public safety over the Constitution. The Editorial Board finds this kind of discrimination excusable, and notice how the editors didn't mention how the NYPD also menaces people of color and LGBTQ and gender non-conforming New Yorkers. Basically, the editors don't care about civil rights and civil liberties violations.
She can become mumbly when talking about things that the real estate industry opposes, like changing zoning laws to require construction of affordable apartments. The Editorial Board likes that Christine Quinn won't bite the hand that feeds her.
She has a reputation for shouting, but has shown a capacity to listen, and to be persuaded to change her mind — attributes we will count on seeing more of if she is elected. The Editorial Board is already receiving estimates and bids for the installation of sound proofing in Gracie Mansion.
We had already made up our own minds in favor of Ms. Quinn, but the Wednesday debate would have clinched it anyway. For years, the Editorial Board has been instructing reporters to write their articles from a point of view of bias that fluff's Christine Quinn's image and her campaign.
Candidates were asked what legacy they wanted to leave after two terms. The Editorial Board has arranged it for fix to be in so that Christine Quinn can serve two terms as mayor.
“More people in the middle class,” Ms. Quinn said. The Editorial Board helped Christine Quinn with this lip service.
It was a perfect answer, and she could have left it there. The Editorial Board told Christine Quinn to shut her mouth and not ruin her interview with the editors.
But, Quinn being Quinn, she threw in supporting details. But being the big mouth that she is, Christine Quinn went on tawking and tawkig and tasking, so much so that many editors put on their earphones and started listening to the latest Lady Gaga song on their iPhones.
She wants 40,000 more apartments the middle class can afford to live in. The Editorial Board did hear that Christine Quinn has a plan to help funnel tax breaks and low-cost loans to developers, so that taxpayers could subsidize real estate profits to some of her campaign donors.
She wants to repair crumbling public housing, providing “quality conditions” for 600,000 people. The Editorial Board promised to help support Christine Quinn carry out Mayor Bloomberg's plan to allow the development of luxury high rises on the last little bit of open space in NYCHA housing projects.
She wants to make the school day longer and replace textbooks with electronic tablets. The Editorial Board also liked what it heard when Christine Quinn said that she wants to outsource teachers to a series of computer learning modules in 45 minute segments.
At the buzzer, she threw in: make the city “climate-change ready.” The Editorial Board is looking forward to finding out how Christine Quinn has funnel more tax dollars to real estate developers that keep wanting to build along the rivers and beaches of the five boroughs. The editors view this as a risky proposition, but Christine Quinn seems to be obsessed with making more and more back room deals with real estate developers. The editors want to see how much she can get away with.
A lot of good ideas that, in Ms. Quinn’s case, add up to an achievable vision, and one we would be glad to see come to pass. The Editorial Board is going to help Christine Quinn win by running more fluff pieces about her new luxury condo, her week-end home, her cooking skills, her favourite café, and her love of animals.

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