Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Daily News: (Out Lesbian) Quinn
& Corruption at NYC Council

Is it my imagination, or do mainstream media outlets only mention the out status of gay and lesbian politicians when they are climbing up the political ladder, but when corruption on their part rears its ugly head the gay or lesbian elected official's sexual orientation is omitted?

This damning editorial appeared in yesterday's Daily News, and deserves some attention in the gay blogosphere. Quinn being a lesbian is not mentioned once:

When city government puts contracts or grants out to bid, New Yorkers have every right to expect that all qualified applicants will have the same chance of winning an award.

That's how things work - except in the City Council.

There, Speaker Christine Quinn and her members only pretend that everyone who applies for so-called member item funding - for Little Leagues, senior centers and other local programs - has an equal shot at success.

In fact, as far as the Council is concerned, some New Yorkers are much more equal than others. ...

Where are all the LGBT equality advocates when we need them to point out the inequality perpetrated by the likes of Quinn? Crickets chirping.

What exactly is the corruption issue at hand here and how much in taxpayer dollars are we talking about?

Those who live in districts represented by Quinn's allies bring home far more money than do members who have broken ranks with the speaker. And the needs of any particular community are irrelevant as the speaker divides a $50 million annual pie. ...

[Councilmember] Recchia is a Quinn lieutenant and chairman of the Finance Committee. He represents Coney Island, Bensonhurst, Brighton Beach and Gravesend. This year, he distributed $1,630,064 to groups ... His total amounted to $10.30 per resident.

[Councilmember] Barron is a self-styled civil rights firebrand who has attacked Quinn's leadership. He represents East New York, Brownsville and Canarsie and was permitted to deliver less than a quarter of Recchia's sum to groups in his neighborhood: $399,464, or $2.40 per person. ...

The editorial writers at the Daily News are not the least bit happy with this current system:

The Council's member item program has been both corrupt and corrupting. ...

Meanwhile, the speaker uses control over the slush fund to keep members in line. They then can trumpet an ability to win funding at election time.

So it goes in a boss-ruled legislature. But after the criminal scandals, Quinn and this Council announced that not-for-profit groups would be welcome to seek grants by using a simple electronic application system. ...

Ouch, calling the Quinn-led City Council "boss-ruled" should sting her for the corruption and favoritism she is responsible for. With such lowly credentials and acceptance of corruption, she might make the ideal successor to Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his heavy-handed, money-driven style of leading New York City.

The Daily News editorial's facts came from a just-published report by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. You can read the report here. A press release about the report is online here

(Photo: Christine Quinn speaking at a rally. Credit: Bryan Smith, Daily News.)

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