on the attack
In what may be the most direct and harsh attack to emerge from her campaign so far, Council Speaker Christine Quinn took her Democratic rival Bill Thompson to task today for his cross-partisan support from former Senator Al D’Amato.
“Al D’Amato isn’t just anti-woman,” an email from Ms. Quinn’s campaign declared to supporters, “he is anti-choice, anti-Medicare, and anti-civil rights. He also had the dubious honor of being known as the most investigated Senator in New York history.”
Quinn on Quinn
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn may be a tough broad, but she assured Monday night that she doesn’t think it’s necessary to be a “raving lunatic bitch all the time.”
Ms. Quinn, the early frontrunner in the race for mayor, was the keynote speaker at FORTUNE Magazine’s Most Powerful Women event at the Time Warner Center–a gathering of some most accomplished female leaders in the nation.
Earlier today, Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Health Commissioner Tom Farley unveiled new legislation to raise the city’s minimum age threshold for tobacco purchases from 18 to 21 years. The move was applauded by smoking advocates, including Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Lung Association of the Northeast and more, but not everyone was happy with the bill.
Notably, Jim Calvin, the president of the New York Association of Convenience Stores, argued that the vast majority of underage smokers obtain their cigarettes from older relatives and friends–not by over-the-counter purchases–rendering the legislation ineffective.
Although the New York Post ran a front-page story today reporting that Governor Andrew Cuomo is seriously considering a coup d’etat against influential Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver, the governor himself is denying any such scheme exists.
“It is wholly up to the legislative bodies to select a leader,” Mr. Cuomo said on The Capitol Pressroom this morning. “I would never, even for a moment, try to influence that decision.”
Hammering on Halloran
The City Council will vote next week to strip Councilman Dan Halloran of all his committee assignments after he was charged today with taking part in a bribery scheme.
“These allegations represent a reprehensible abuse of the public’s trust,” Council Speaker Christine Quinn said in a statement earlier this afternooon. “If true, then the full weight of the legal system should be brought to bear on all parties implicated. The matter will be immediately referred to the Council’s Standards and Ethics Committee.”
This morning at the New School, Council Speaker Christine Quinn gave a sweeping speech on reforming New York City’s education system, where she rolled out ideas like tablets replacing textbooks and online service programs for both students and parents. Creatively using the online shoe company Zappos.com as an example, Ms. Quinn also pressed the case for how more should be done within the city’s existing educational framework.
“Now, not everything we’re talking about here requires a new program, sometimes it’s just about recommitting to doing things better,” Ms. Quinn said, quickly pivoting to a her shoe-based explanation. “I don’t know … how many of you are familiar with the online shoe company Zappos? Now, for those of you know me, I know you’re shocked I figured out how to work shoes into the speech. But I will say, 50 percent off online and they’re good, okay?”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who previously declined to slam House Speaker John Boehner over Congress’ stalled Hurricane Sandy aid, took his argument to the next level this morning and suggested federal lawmakers are partially to blame for the delay in the vote on the package because they insert “things that are totally extraneous” into bills such as this. Although Mr. Bloomberg didn’t specify the extraneous problem items, the legislation has been criticized by Republicans like Rep. Paul Ryan for being “packed with funding for unrelated items, such as commercial fisheries in American Samoa and roof repair of museums in Washington, D.C.”
“There’s this ‘Christmas Tree effect’ where legislators put in their favorite bills and tack them onto something. The [Obama] administration does that, that’s why you have an omnibus bill–to force everybody to vote for things that would never stand up in the light of day if they were individual,” Mr. Bloomberg said on his weekly radio show with John Gambling. “I’m sympathetic. Yelling and screaming at [Mr. Boehner] is just not my style. It may be effective, it may not be. Everybody’s got to make their own decisions. I think the legislative leaders who criticize and those in the Legislature should stop and think, they do exactly the same thing in terms of ladling on things that are totally extraneous but it’s the only way they get them through.”
Earlier today, President Barack Obama gathered with the majority and minority leaders of both houses of Congress to move forward in avoiding automatic spending cuts and tax hikes set to occur at the end of the year. Although Democrats and Republicans have, at times, seemed to have irreconcilable differences in the process, the various elected officials walked out of the Roosevelt Room with an optimistic outlook that a compromise would be reached.
“I can only echo the observations of the other leaders that it was a constructive meeting. We all understand where we are….We are prepared to put revenue on the table provided we fix the real problem,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters, according to a White House pool report. “Most of my members, I think without exception, believe that we’re in the dilemma we’re in not because we taxed too little but because we spent too much.”